Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 17 September 2022:
1 Samuel 22:2 — And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
This is a great verse on leadership. David turned outcasts and losers into mighty men. Leaders bring out the best in people.
1 Samuel 22:8 – …all of you have conspired against me… No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.
Saul was a narcissist who was full of self-pity and thought everyone was out to get him. Self-centered people tend to define reality on their own terms to justify themselves. They are usually complaining through the process and blame everyone else for their problems.
1 Samuel 22:13-15 — In pursuit of faithful David, Saul accused everyone else of infidelity and conspiring against him. Guilty people often project their own sins upon others – liars call other people liars, racists accuse others as being racists, etc.
1 Samuel 22:18, 19 — Godless people have no respect for the things of God and show no mercy. God does not always save His people from persecution, but He always brings out a greater good in every situation for those called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
1 Samuel 22:20 – But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David.
God preserves a witness to continue His work and His ways. This is reminiscent of what happened with Gideon’s sons.
1 Samuel 22:22, 23 – I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.
David took the blame for the slaughter of the priests. David took responsibility for his actions and errors, not in the world’s way where you say you’re sorry and then walk away from the consequences, rather by owning up to the consequences and seeking reconciliation and restitution (as the Bible commands). David personally and publicly took responsibility for Abiathar’s welfare. How many others would have placed the blame on Saul or Doeg and simply walked away? True leaders take responsibly for their actions. Unfortunately, David will show us later what happens when leaders don’t.
Psalm 106:1 — Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Having an attitude of gratitude and contentment before the Lord changes your perspective on everything else:
“Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” (Psalm 106:2, 3) The more you genuinely appreciate God, the more you will desire to obey Him. If obeying God is challenging in some way, it is an appreciation problem, a perspective problem, a relationship problem. To make temptations smaller in your life, make Jesus bigger by getting closer to Him and focusing on Him, abiding in His love with gratitude.
“Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.” (Psalm 106:6) The more you truly appreciate the grace you have received, the more willing you are to show grace to others. “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
“When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord, the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan….” (Psalm 106:16, 17) When you are appreciative and content with what God has given you, you won’t covet. Jealousy and envy are sins of the heart that lead to sinful, destructive deeds. In actuality, jealousy and envy are not displays of resentment against another person but rather against God, ingratitude for what He has given you and resentment for what He has given others rather than you. How powerful is envy? Envy led to the crucifixion of Jesus – “For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.” (Matthew 27:18) Have nothing to do with envy and jealousy. Be grateful and content in the Lord!
- James 3:16 — For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
- 1 Corinthians 3:3 — For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
- Ecclesiastes 4:4 — Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
- Job 5:2 — Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple.
- Exodus 20:17 — “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
- James 3:14 — But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
- 1 Peter 2:1 — So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
- Galatians 5:26 — Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
“They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.” (Psalm 106:25) Better to live in your tent given to you by the Lord with gratitude, contentment, and peace than to envy the mansions of others. Ingratitude leads to all sorts of sins and enslaves you. The Israelites in the desert longed for the comforts and luxuries of Egypt, forgetting that in Egypt they were slaves. If we have a right relationship with Jesus, we can only be grateful, despite our circumstances, and only when we are grateful can we truly worship Him as we ought: ” For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God…. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2, 28, 29)
“Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.” Give glory to God by standing out in the crowds due to your unbelievable, unshakeable thankfulness. Be known for your thankfulness to God, which is different than simply a positive or can-do attitude often based on self-confidence and self-reliance. Rejoice in all situations because the grace of God is more than sufficient. Radiate joy as a testimony to the truth of the Gospel.
Psalm 106:2, 3 – Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!
The more you genuinely appreciate God, the more you will desire to obey Him. If obeying God is challenging in some way, it is an appreciation problem, a relationship problem. Don’t focus on the object of your temptation, focus on Jesus.
Psalm 106:6 – Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
Remembering that you rely each day on God’s grace should compel you to show grace to everyone around you who offends you.
Psalm 106:13 – But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.
We sin when, at the moment, we forget God.
Psalm 106:16, 17 – When men in the camp were jealous of Moses and Aaron, the holy one of the Lord, the earth opened and swallowed up Dathan….
Jealousy and envy are sins of the heart that lead to sinful, destructive deeds. In actuality, jealousy and envy are not displays of resentment against another person but rather against God as you display ingratitude for what He has given you and resentment for what He has not given you.
Psalm 106:25 – They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
Better to live in your tent given to you by the Lord than to envy the mansions of others. Obeying God often means not enjoying the frivolous or sinful pleasures enjoyed by others around you. When you start to feel sorry for yourself, know that you are experiencing a symptom of losing sight of God and His love for you. Truly trusting God to provide for you is to be grateful for what He has provided without worrying about what He is providing others, understanding that what God provides you is the very best for you. Have you not noticed that the richest people in the world are often the most miserable and untrustworthy? The Israelites in the desert longed for the comforts of Egypt, forgetting that in Egypt they were slaves.
Psalm 106:37, 38 – They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
How many abortions will American Christians commit this year?
Psalm 106:40 – Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage.
“His heritage” – Most of the warnings in the Bible are for the ‘believers,’ not the unbelievers. How is the Holy Spirit convicting you through God’s word?
Psalm 106:41 – …he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
God punishes by giving people terrible leaders.
Psalm 106:42 – Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.
God punishes by giving victory to enemies.
Psalm 106:44 – Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.
God will accept genuine repentance.
Psalm 106:47 – Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
God intends for His people to honor Him and to be a light among the nations. Our nation’s problem is that the light isn’t bright enough because God’s people have not honored the Holiness of God.
Proverbs 17:1 – Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
Strife takes the joy out of everything. What good are riches and resources if you can’t enjoy them because your heart is not right?
Proverbs 17:3 – The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.
The Lord is testing your heart through your circumstances to see if you will remain loving and faithful. What you say about your situation reveals more about you than your situation. How does God test your heart? What is God revealing to you about your walk with Jesus?
Proverbs 17:5 – He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
Is there a part of you that is happy when offensive people suffer the consequences of their behavior, or do you pray that they will be driven to the comfort of Jesus. Jonah couldn’t stand the thought of God forgiving evil Nineveh. Do you ever feel that way?
Proverbs 17:6 – Grandchildren are the crown of the aged.
God calls us to have plan for generations.
Proverbs 17:9 — He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
Gossip is contrary to your God-given mission of reconciliation and makes you an adversary of God.
Proverbs 17:14 – The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
Just drop it – that is the Christian thing to do.
Proverbs 17:15 — Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent–the Lord detests them both.
Personal forgiveness and civil accountability are two different things. You should personally forgive the criminal, but he still must be held accountable to society.
Proverbs 17:16 – “Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?” There is a political theory that says that poverty (economic plight) and poor education is the cause of strife. However, the issue is the heart, and no amount of education or money can fix the heart.
Proverbs 17:19 – Whoever loves transgression loves strife.
Strife is the product of sin. Avoid the love of transgression. When someone transgresses against you, don’t respond with transgression.
Proverbs 17:20 – A man of crooked heart does not discover good.
Heart problems keep you from the fullness of God’s blessings.
Proverbs 17:27, 28 — A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Your temper and rash words reveal your spiritual immaturity and lack of Spirit-enabled self-control. All the Bible knowledge in the world and logical thinking can’t hide this heart problem
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 September 2022: Today, “praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”