December 14, 2012

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 2:1-11

David had just finished singing a song of lament over the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.  Now, he’s ready to leave the land of the Philistines and go back home to Judah.  David sought the Lord for advice and acted upon the Lord’s advice to go to Hebron.  The men of Judah anointed David as king of Judah.  Then, they let David know that the men of Jabesh-gilead were the ones who buried Saul.  This pleased David so he sent a message of blessing to the men of Jabesh-gilead.

Meanwhile, the commander of Saul’s army took one of Saul’s sons, Ish-bosheth, and crowned him king of Israel.  So, David was king of Judah and Ish-bosheth was king over Israel.  That’s the basic outline of this passage.  Keep following 2 Samuel to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

Verse 1 stuck out to me today.  David wanted to go back to his home, but before he just jumped up and took off, “David inquired of the Lord,” and asked specifically if he should go back to one of the cities of Judah.  The Lord gave him the affirmative to go, so David asked specifically where he should go.  The Lord told him to go to Hebron.

So, it’s that easy?  Can I just ask God what to do and where to go and He’ll speak specifically and answer my questions every time?  That hasn’t been my everyday experience.  I find myself frustrated at times because I can’t seem to hear God or know what He wants me to do.  I’d love to ask God, “How do I reach more families in Richmond and get them involved at CPC Richmond?” and hear Him say, “Well, Rich, just do this, say that, go here, do that, and, voila, you’ll have a congregation full of families at CPC Richmond!”

I realize I may not get specific details each time I seek God’s guidance, but here are a few things I learn from this verse.

  1. I must seek God for advice.  “I have not because I do not ask.” David inquired of God about whether he should go to Judah. Sometimes, God does speak very specifically, but I can’t expect God to give me direction if I don’t ask for it.
  2. I must ask God for specifics.  My inquiries of God should be very specific.  David asked God specifically where he should go in Judah.  I wonder if God gets annoyed with my very general, “Lord, please lead, guide, and direct me” tagline prayers.  Maybe He desires me to say, “God, show me how to do this project at work, today.” Or, “How do I reach one family, today?” Or, “Help me to know the specific steps of faith to take to invite Jonny to church today.”
  3. God speaks in various ways.  David was likely inquiring the Lord via the priest, Abiathar.  So, God spoke specifically to David through the priest.  Obviously, that’s not the only way David communed with God, and, obviously, there isn’t one specific way to hear from God.  Sometimes, God will speak specifically to us through pastors and connect group leaders.  He also speaks to us through the Bible, music, other believers, His creation, circumstances, etc.  I need to learn to be a good listener in various circumstances.

Where do I need specific guidance from God today?  I want inquire of Him and listen well.

Posted by: Rich Duffield

December 13, 2012

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 1

We start this new book with the end of Saul’s reign as king. He and his son Jonathan have died in battle. David finds out about this from someone who escaped from the camp.

Put yourself in David’s shoes. You have been told that you will be king once Saul is dead, the very same man who has chased you all over the place trying to kill you. What would your reaction be? If you and I were honest we would be happy. Think about it. You now get to be king and not get chased by an army out to kill you. Sounds pretty good. David continues to show us his reverence and honor for his king and, more importantly, his God and the authority God had put in place. David mourns the death of Saul and Jonathan. Now, I think we can understand David mourning Jonathan, who was his best friend, but Saul? This is the man who had tried to kill him over and over again and the one standing in his way of becoming king.

So what can we learn here? I think the key things for us to take away are these:

1.      Integrity really shows itself when we live it out in private

David continued to honor God’s anointed many times while Saul was alive. David could have easily thrown all that out once Saul was dead but he did not. That shows it to be true integrity and not a show. How about you? Do you live with integrity at church but then throw it out at work or home? True integrity is constant, no matter where you are or who is watching.

2.     God will always follows through with His promises

David was told he would be king and he waited patiently for his time. God opened the way for David to become king, David didn’t make it happen, God did. Sometimes we struggle to trust God because we get too impatient and feel like we have to take matters into our own hands. It was that kind of thinking that caused Saul to lose God’s favor (see 1 Samuel 13:8-14).

Posted by: Robbie Byrd