Devotions for October 19 – 25, 2015
Samuel 5:1-5, 6:1-5
Monday, October 19, 2015
“While Saul was king over us it was you who led out Israel and brought it in” (2 Samuel 5:2a).
Some kings begin their reign when they are still young children. For instance, Josiah, one of the kings during the divided kingdom began his reign when he was eight years old. Not so with David. David was first anointed king by Samuel. He was a mere teenager and a shepherd. David didn’t begin his reign until he was thirty years-old. In those intervening years David served in Saul’s court and he rose through the ranks of the Israelite army. Saul also attempted to kill David and David had to flee for his life. Through all of this time, the Lord was equipping David to be the leader of God’s people.
There is a Christian cliché that goes, “God doesn’t call the equipped, but rather equips the called.” That isn’t always the case, but in David’s life it was. God started with a young man who was a man after God’s own heart. From that beginning God formed David into a righteous king (not a perfect king) who ruled Israel with justice and who encouraged the people to worship the one, true Lord.
The Holy Spirit molds us and shapes us into God’s image. The Spirit develops our talents and strengths so that we can accomplish the calls that God gives to us. Through us God can accomplish great things. All God needs are people who desire to serve the Lord.
O Lord, here we are—take us, use us, be honored through our lives. Amen.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
“The Lord said to you: ‘It is you who shall be ruler over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:2b).
David had to wait around fifteen years from the time he was anointed by Samuel to the time he became king. During those years he had some super highs: he fought and killed Goliath, he had a close friendship with Jonathan and he was a successful warrior. David also had some deep lows. King Saul became jealous of David and tried to kill him with a spear. During his bouts of insanity Saul hunted David like he would some wild game. David narrowly escaped death. During these years David must have wondered if the Lord really was going to make him king. Through those good times and those bad times God’s hand was upon David and was moving to accomplish God’s purpose.
The calls and visions that we receive from God usually are not fulfilled instantaneously. They take time. During that time we may doubt our call or the vision that the Lord gave us. We may think that the obstacles before are too great to be overcome and we may be tempted to give up. David’s story encourages us to persevere. The Holy Spirit is moving even though we may not be able to see the Spirit. God will accomplish God’s purpose in our lives; God will use us to honor God. The call and vision that God gives us will be fulfilled.
O Timeless God, give us patience, a strong faith and a sure hope as we wait for you to accomplish your will in our lives. Amen.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
“You shall be shepherd of my people Israel” (2 Samuel 5:2c).
When God first called David to be king and had Samuel anoint him king, David was a mere shepherd boy. As David watched over his father’s flock he was learning valuable lessons. He learned how to guide a flock of stubborn sheep who didn’t want to follow him. David became adept at finding strays and bringing them back to the fold. David developed courage as he fought off the bears and lions that sought to kill his sheep. During those quiet (boring) hours with the sheep David became a skilled musician and cultivated a rich prayer life. David started as a shepherd of sheep, but eventually he became shepherd of God’s people.
Every day of our lives is a valuable opportunity to learn. We can gain knowledge and understanding about God, the world and ourselves. We can develop skills to work with people and the discipline to be faithfully obedient to the Spirit’s leading. Spiritual disciplines can be practiced and strengthened. Through difficult times we can develop tenacity, strength, resiliency and humility. The lessons that we learn can allow us to be shining lights who reflect God’s glory and humble servants who share God’s love and grace.
O Divine Teacher, give us eyes to see, ears that hear and hearts that are open to your instruction. Amen.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
“And he reigned forty years” (2 Samuel 1:4).
The number forty keeps popping up throughout the Bible. It rained for forty days and nights when Noah was in the ark with the animals and his family. The Israelites wandered for forty years in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Moses was up on Mt. Sinai for forty days when he received the Ten Commandments from God. Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days when he fought Satan. Forty is a number that represents completeness.
David reigned for forty years; David’s service to God and God’s people was complete. God had accomplished what God had intended through David’s life. There will come a time when we will be in a similar situation as David. The visions that we had been given will have been fulfilled. The calls that we had been given will have been accomplished. Things will be complete. It will be then that we will hear those welcomed words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” What a day that will be!
Faithful Lord, may we be faithfully obedient to you so that the calls and visions that you give us may be fulfilled to your glory. Amen.
Friday, October 23, 2015
“David and all the people of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might” (2 Samuel 6:5).
David’s reign had not yet been completed, in fact it had just begun, in this verse. Jerusalem had been attacked and defeated, and David had made it his capitol city. David was now bringing the Ark of the Covenant from its temporary home in Baalah to its permanent home in Jerusalem. In essence, David was bringing church and state together and strengthening his rule. It was a time to celebrate. When they celebrated, David and all of Israel pulled out all of the stops.
We don’t need to wait until the end of our lives, when everything is complete, in order to celebrate. We can celebrate the little things in life; the small accomplishments and the little victories. We can even celebrate a few of our disappointments knowing that the Lord is still at work in our lives. When we celebrate, we can do more than merely say, “Thank you, Lord.” We can shout God’s name and sing God’s praises. We might even kick up our heels and do a little dancing. It’s good to celebrate. It’s good to acknowledge the small gifts of life. Giving God thanks and praise not only honors God, it also refreshes and renews us. Celebrating opens us to the abundant life that God has given us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Gracious Lord, we are usually not party animals. Still we do want to give you thanks and praise for your grace and the blessings that you have poured into our lives. May our celebrations glorify you. Amen.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
“Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it … the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah” (2 Samuel 6:6-7).
People who knew Stacey knew that she was a disciple of Jesus Christ. Stacey didn’t flaunt her faith, but she didn’t hide it either. Today Stacey was having a tough day. For some reason people wanted to argue with her. “How can God be a loving God and allow so much suffering in the world?” an acquaintance asked her during lunch. While Stacey was enjoying a few quiet moments between classes her friend, Ted, approached her. “Have you heard the latest news? The priest at the church down the street was just arrested for molesting some boys. How can you be a part of a church that hurts so many innocent people?” To top her day off, a Christian zealot accosted her on her way home and accused Stacey of not being a Christian because she belonged to the wrong denomination and hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
In each instance, Stacey refused to argue. She knew that trying to defend God by explaining her point of view would not be heard and would only cause hurt and hardened hearts. When she responded to these individuals she acknowledged her limited understanding and admitted that she didn’t have all of the answers. “All I know,” Stacey said, “is that God loves me and nothing will be able to separate me from that love. In response to God’s love, I want to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength—and love my neighbor as I do myself.”
The story of Uzzah is a strange story where we are caught off guard and puzzled by God’s wrath. All Uzzah wanted to do was to help out and to keep the Ark of the Covenant from falling. It seems rather harsh for God to kill him. God wanted to teach a lesson to David and the people of Israel. God didn’t need to be helped or defended. If the Ark tipped over it was God’s will that it tip over. God was a big enough God that God could defend himself. It would be good for all of us to learn and remember this truth.
Almighty God, help us to remember that you are a powerful God, while we concentrate on sharing your love and grace through our words and deeds. Amen.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
“The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom … So David went and brought up the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:12).
David might have been a little selfish. He saw that the household of Obed-edom had been blessed because the Ark of the Covenant (the presence of God) was with them. David wanted God’s blessing, also. So, he brought the Ark of the Covenant from the Obed-edom into Jerusalem.
God’s presence is no longer confined to the Ark or the temple. God is present in each of our lives through the Holy Spirit and we are blessed because of it. Through both the trials and triumphs of life we are blessed because of God’s presence. We were created to be in relationship with God. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that relationship is reopened for us. Living in the reality of God’s presence enables our lives to be full and free as we celebrate God’s love and grace.
Ever Present God, we thank you that you are present in our lives and that nothing can separate us from you. Amen.