November 15, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 9

One writer said of 2nd Samuel 9, “It is, in my personal opinion, the greatest illustration of grace in all the Old Testament.” David asks the question, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Again, to a servant of the former king, Saul, David asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

David loved Jonathon and respected God’s anointed king, Saul. Repeatedly, it seemed that David appeared grieved that Saul hunted him. David wished the king no harm while Saul saw David as a usurper. David could have gotten bitter and returned hate for hate. So much time had been spent running and hiding. Yet, even now, we see David’s love for his friend and his former, if unwanted, enemy. 

While Mephibosheth should have been considered an enemy of David, David embraced him as a son. Though lame, Mephibosheth wanted for nothing under David’s care. Mephibosheth’s words ring in our ears, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mephibosheth was a direct heir of the former king. As such, he threatened David’s power. Instead of death or imprisonment, David made him a son. Picture this from Mephibosheth’s eyes. He went from shame and poverty to honor and provision. In an instant, instead of death, he was made a member of the royal family. How grateful do you think Mephibosheth was?

How much more grace have we experienced through Christ? When we were lame and unable to serve ourselves, when we were under the shame of sin, when even our best works were worn like ragged garments, Christ died so that we might be sons and daughters of the King of the Universe. We look forward to an eternity with our Lord and eating from His table. How magnificent is that? The grace Mephibosheth experienced in part, we will one day experience in full. 

So, what should we do based on this passage? One obvious answer is to look for ways to bless others and thereby live out the heart of God. But as I think about how Mephibosheth must have felt I am reminded of how research has repeatedly shown that one of the number one things a person can do to increase their personal happiness is to turn up gratitude in their own life. If that’s true, and it is, then Christians should be some of the happiest people in the world because we should be the most grateful people in the world. If you’re having a bad day, bad week, or bad whatever, spend some time today reminding yourself of the things for which you are grateful. God’s grace is amazing, but sometimes it helps to remind ourselves of just how amazing it is. Do that today!

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate


November 14, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 8

Do the Right Thing

I used to work closely with a friend of mine, Dr. Dave Adams.  Often when we were trying to make an important decision, he would ask me, “Tim, what do you think is the right thing to do?”  I never forgot that – our lives would be much simpler, purer, and probably even easier – if we just did the right things.

David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), did that – at least most of the time.  In this chapter you see that David obeyed God by destroying the wicked Philistines. Now, I know that may seem brutal and maybe even unlike God – but God is as just as He is gracious.  He will not tolerate wickedness and our sin always has a price – for us and often for our family.

David dedicated all the gifts he was given from this conquest to the Lord in verses 11-12.  Verse 15 sums it up:

So David reigned over all Israel and did what was just and right for all his people.

David did the Right Thing…  and the Lord responded in verse 14…

…the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.

So.. I close with some very simple advice:  Whatever you’re faced with today… Do the Right Thing!

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor

November 13, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 7

In 2 Samuel 7 we see an intriguing account of David as he desires to build a house for God (a good thing right?) and God says no while establishing a covenant with David and then David praises God for who He is and His goodness. At first glance this is confusing, no doubt. However, upon further searching we see David was struggling with what we struggle with everyday: not making our God like the “gods” of our world.

You see throughout all history Eastern Kings would build and devote resources to temples and their “gods”… not to praise… but to “secure divine blessings for themselves and their kingdoms.” So, while what David wanted to do seemed good it was influenced by other pagan kingdoms and their “gods”. It is not bad to want to honor God in this way but God wanted to show that He was distinct from them. So, God said no (v. 4-17).

Through Nathan, God showed David that He, despite not having this building, is bigger and greater than any God he could fathom of this world. He [1] had been with them (v. 9-10) [2] is with them (v. 10-11) [3] and will be with them after the death of David (v.12-17). God made a covenant, a promise to David and all of Israel. 

Out of this David praised God (v. 18-29). He didn’t just praise God for all He has done, is doing, and will do. David’s praise came from the heart that God called out. David proclaimed, “Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God beside you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (v. 22). David was reminded, and we are reminded today that there is no God like God. He is distinct. Isaiah claimed the same thing in Isaiah 40:18-20,

To whom will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him?

An idol! A craftsman casts it, a goldsmith overlays it with god and casts its for silver chains.

He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not move.

Our living God has no comparison with the lifeless, stagnant, incapable “gods” of this world. Far too often these idols form our view and understanding of God. We must hold our view of God against His Word and see the glorious, holy, majestic God we serve for who He is!

  1. How has the “gods” of this world affected our view of God?
  2. What is God seeking to correct in our view of Him today?

By: Nick Parsons — Pastoral Ministry Associate: College

November 12, 2019

Today you should read: 2 Samuel 6:16-23

Today’s passage can be hard to understand and interpret in the current #metoo toxic masculinity culture. Upon first reading, you may think that David just got called out by his wife for dancing naked before the Lord (and others). In fact, many preachers and Bible teachers have taught it this way without proper context. That’s because different Bible translations say in verse 20 that he was half-naked, exposed himself or was uncovered before the servants’ girls.  My preferred translation (ESV) says “shamelessly uncovered”. So I really can’t blame those conclusions with this text which has led to many Christians justifying some pretty stupid and scandalous actions as long as it’s for the purpose of “honoring the Lord.” 

But by the time you read that part, you forget that verses 14-15 mentions him wearing a linen ephod so he couldn’t have been completely naked or even in his underwear as many believe. Of course this linen ephod was considered inappropriate at that time but nothing of which is described today. Besides, the purpose of this story is not David dancing in his underwear (in which he didn’t) but instead, it’s asking if we have that much joy when singing and dancing to the Lord ourselves that we don’t care what others think? Do we feel like we have so much freedom in Him, celebrating the victory He gives us in the gospel, that we can sing without care? 

That’s the point of these verses. Not “what was David wearing?” But “What was David thinking?” And the answer to that is not controversial; he was thinking “I love the Lord and will unashamedly sing and praise Him out of the overflow of my heart and I don’t care who sees me and how embarrassing it may be.” Do you praise the Lord like that?

Here’s a good devotion over that type of praise. 

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor