Tuesday, April 13, 2021

STOLEN HEARTS

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 15

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

On the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem is the Kidron Valley, where thousands of graves are located. The bodies were placed with the feet pointed toward the Eastern Gate in the wall of the city, with the expectation that at the resurrection they would stand up and be facing that gate into which Messiah will enter. In today’s reading, King David escaped through this valley toward the east and the Jordan River, 25 miles away.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 15:31

Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!”

 

Now, David prays. He’s in big trouble. From Chapter 12 onward, David’s story, and that of his family, reads like a horror novel. There is incest, murder, palace intrigue, outright treason, and civil war. David’s much-loved son, Absalom, after four years of political manipulation, makes his move to seize power, usurping his father’s throne. To King David, nothing was more threatening than that Ahithophel, David’s most trusted and wise counsellor, was part of the plot. David reasoned that if he could just outwit Ahithophel’s counsel, Absalom’s rule would be shortened and he would return to his throne. It’s worthwhile to note how David sets out to accomplish this. Firstly, David prays, not against Ahithophel personally, but against the counsel Ahithophel is giving to Absalom. Secondly, David composes the 3rd Psalm, David’s prayer and confession of confidence in God. To read David’s own words, click here.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for wisdom. May I learn to always put my trust in You, worshipping You and confessing my confidence in You, even when I may not feel like it. Please give me grace to back up my prayers with obedience. In the Name of the One who always does this, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

For about six months of the three years that Norma-Jean, our four little children, and I lived in Deep River, Ontario, the Atomic Energy of Canada’s residential area, we lived in half of a double house. In the other half of the house lived Amnon Gilat, along with his wife and son who was named Ittai. This is the same name as found in our reading. Amnon was an Israeli nuclear physicist on an exchange program between Israel and Canada. Mrs. Gilat had entered and won the annual Israel Bible knowledge contest. We had some great Bible studies together. I asked them one day as to why they had named their son Ittai. Ittai’s Mom quoted verse 21 of today’s reading and said that they hoped and prayed that their little Ittai would grow up to be as loyal to Israel and its legitimate government as the Ittai who was totally loyal to King David. My son, Reynold, who is our photographer for this blog, and Ittai played together almost every day when they were two years old.

Also, I can’t help contrasting David’s entrance into Jerusalem from the opposite side of the city to his departure now. He entered with singing and dancing (2 Samuel 6:12-15), and now departs and “All the country wept with a loud voice.” Sin really messes everything up! No wonder God hates sin, but He loves sinners (Romans 5:6-8).

Yours for repentance and reconciliation with God, which results in rejoicing,

David

P.S. Perhaps I should point out that this chapter gives an example of a mistake in copying the original manuscript. In 15:7, it infers that Absalom was stealing the hearts of the people over a period of 40 years. We know that David’s reign spanned only 40 years. So what’s the problem? Perhaps 100 years after the original historically correct manuscript had been written, a copyist’s pen slipped and made the number 40 rather than 4. One little dot on the manuscript could’ve caused this and future scribes continued to copy a mistake. Josephus, the Jewish historian, may have gotten it right when he wrote that Absalom was four years undermining David’s rule and manipulating the people into rebellion. This in no way changes the “inerrancy” and “verbal inspiration” of the original writing. After sharing a scribal mistake, I need a lift. I found a rather irreverent piece of artwork of David entering Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant. If it looked anything like this, no wonder David’s wife, the daughter of Saul, was embarrassed at her husband’s gyrations (notice her in the window). Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2021

HERE COMES THE JUDGE

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 14

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

In the Armenian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, there is a church with this door built inside an ancient gate. Note the heavy bolts on the left. Security has always been important. King David knew that his security came from God, yet there is no record that he prayed about his decisions concerning Absalom. When big trouble comes (tomorrow’s reading), David turns to God in prayer. Why bolt the door when the enemy is already inside?

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 14:14

For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.

In this chapter we read of King David’s General Joab, who schemes to create a plan to bring about a reconciliation between David and his son, Absalom. Joab, as a principle counsellor to David, brings a widow before the king to present a fake issue on which David is asked to waive the next of kin’s obligation to avenge his murdered relative. The application to David in Absalom’s murder of Amnon is obvious. Joab wins his point and Absalom returns from exile.
In her appeal, the widow pleads God’s mercy and clemency to guilty sinners. While the case she presented was false, the two instances of God’s mercy were true. Firstly, we see the patience God displays toward those who break His laws. Secondly, God has made provision for the restoration of sinners. We are told in 2 Peter 3:9 that God, “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” We may want to read all of 2 Peter 3 and meditate on “judgment.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, Your Apostle Paul tells me that if I judge myself, I will not be judged. I can read that in 1 Corinthians 11:31. In that chapter the “Lord’s Supper” is presented. When I partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine, I seek to review my conduct and judge myself. You show me areas of my life where I need to repent. I pray for ongoing grace to live in that attitude of repentance. In Your strong Name I pray, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I very much encourage every blog reader to come along side the Crossroads Family of Ministries. In my opinion, the flagship telecast, 100 Huntley Street, is the most effective television anywhere when it comes to confronting the culture, particularly now. Please respond with your best ministry gift, and if possible, monthly support (click HERE to donate). If you are already on board with Crossroads/100 Huntley Street/Context/etc., thank you so much! There’s a new teaching telecast hosted by Nizar Shaheen in English (he’s already blanketing the globe in Arabic). HERE is a little about this new program. Nizar’s gift of teaching is exercised humbly and compellingly. Your prayers and support, with God’s love and power, makes it all possible.

Yours for learning to judge ourselves,

David

P.S. Check out Nizar’s ministry (click here). Back in the 1990’s Nizar and Jim Cantelon teamed up and were on TV daily for four years as a part of the 100 Huntley Street telecast.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

INCEST and MURDER

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 13

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Two Shepherds milk a sheep amidst the ruins of Jerash, Jordan. This photo is a reminder of the ewe in Nathan’s story (II Samuel 12:1-4).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 13:15a, 28

Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her…Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, “Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.”

In yesterday’s reading, we read that the prophet Nathan chastised David for his sin of adultery and arranging for Uriah’s death. Nathan predicted accurately what the future would hold. The sins of David were repeated in his children. Incest and murder, recorded here, provide a lesson on the true horror of sin. Second Timothy 3:16 teaches us the reason for the inclusion of such a story in Scripture. It is “for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” King David did not have the writings of Paul as we do. The Apostle made it absolutely clear that, “Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:7b & 8a). After eight more days of reading in 2 Samuel, we move over to the New Testament to read Galatians. Let us all be disciplined, as disciples of Jesus, and not give up our daily reading. We will reap benefits as a result of our faithfulness. Paul also says in the very next verse, Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray that I will pay closer attention than ever to Your “instruction in righteousness.” Please Lord, write Your Word on my heart again today, and every day. Keep me faithful in my daily reading of Your Word I pray. In the Name of the One who lives in my heart and who is always faithful, my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As I read today’s awful, tragic story, I thought of the tabloid papers that it seems impossible to avoid as I pass through the checkout counters at the grocery store. I try to avert my eyes so that I’m looking at my groceries and concentrating on my payment. Nevertheless, in the corner of my eye, there they are, filled with lurid headlines, half truths, outright lies, and awful pictures. I’ve spent a lifetime checking out Bible stories and have concluded that, while some of them are horrible, they are, unlike the tabloids, an accurate record of the human condition. In other “religious” writings, I find that the writers do not have their sins splashed across the pages as we find in the Bible. To me, this honesty is a great proof of the fact that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). I believe that God has responded to diligent seeking hearts with truth. I’ve just taken the time to read a New Testament chapter, Hebrews 11. What an amazing gallery of God’s celebrities! It’s far more interesting than any tabloid, and there is one great advantage in reading the Bible… It’s TRUE!

Yours for making the Scriptures the vital component in our spiritual DNA,

David

P.S. This week marks the anniversary of the death of the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher (dies April 8, 2013). At that time, I put a link on my blog to a transcript of her message to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It’s well worth reading again (click here).

Saturday, April 10, 2021

WHITER THAN SNOW

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 11-12

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Mount Hermon is the only ski resort in Israel and is located in the north. Even in Summer a snow cap can still be seen. King David prayed, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7b).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 12:7a

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!…”

In today’s Bible reading we learn that it is impossible to hide from God. God told the prophet Nathan all about David’s sin. David had tried to cover it up. God will rip the covers off in His time and for His purpose. Perhaps because David had been so blessed by God, he thought he would be an exception and that God would let him get away with his sin. When we read together the Psalms, we’ll see that David has a special relationship with God. Is it possible that David thought God would let him get away with adultery and the deliberate act of ensuring Uriah’s death? Perhaps David no longer feared God as he once did. Psalm 111:10 tells us, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Jesus is quoted in each of the first three Gospels saying, “There is nothing covered that will not be revealed” (Matthew 10:26). This should put “the fear of God” into us. David, when he was caught, repented. He wrote Psalm 51 at this time. Let’s take time to read it together. In 51:7b he states his confidence that God washes away his sin and makes him “whiter than snow.” While God forgives, the circumstances don’t always forgive, as we will see in tomorrow’s reading.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I join King David in his prayer of repentance: “Have mercy upon me” (Psalm 51:1). “Cleanse me from my sin” (51:2b). “Create in me a clean heart” (51:10a). I pray this through Jesus, Who bore my sin on the cross and Who washes me clean in the blood that He shed (1 John 1:7b – let’s read all of 1 John chapter one). Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I believe that “repentance” is a constant in my life. John the Baptist began his ministry with the word “repent” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus did the same (Matthew 4:17). Is this a top priority for a believer? That’s for sure! To me, “repentance” means a 180 degree turn!  At 179 degrees, I’m still moving away from God. Daily Bible reading and prayer keeps me focused like the surveyor I saw with a transit scope the other day. I must not look away from God’s will for my life. David did, and look what it cost him.

On one occasion, I had the joy of skiing at Whistler, British Columbia. The lifts were full and I found myself sharing a three-person chair with two young ladies from Quebec. The move to separate from Canada was big then. They told me they would vote for Quebec as an independent country. I said, in my best French, “Look around you. British Columbia is your country now. It won’t be if you separate. How could you possibly give up all this beauty?” They answered, “We’ll think about that.” Then I asked them to think about Someone else… God. I quoted Job 38:22 – “Have you considered the treasures of the snow?” (that’s my rough translation from French). That opened the conversation for the next few minutes to talk about the Lord! Good seed was planted in their hearts. I saw them from a distance twice more that day, and they waved and gave me their biggest smiles. Perhaps they we’re laughing at my accent, but I think not! Je pense non! Oui?

Yours for “whiter than snow,”

David

P.S. Over a three-year period some 50 years ago, I read the French Bible daily in my time of devotions. I suggest that this is a great way to learn a language, holding in one hand the English text, and the French in the other. Here’s a link to a French and English parallel version of today’s reading (click here).

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

THE KING’S TABLE

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 8-10

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

A view of the Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea. Somewhere in this vicinity of the valley of salt, the armies of Israel and Syria met in battle (2 Samuel 8:13).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 9:7

So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”

In Chapter nine we see the Lord’s kindness to King Saul’s descendants. Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth, had a son, thus preserving the family name and inheritance.
David was faithful to the covenant relationship into which he and Jonathan, Saul’s son, had entered, as recorded in 1 Samuel 20:14-16. How much more faithful will Jesus, the Seed of David, be to the covenant He has made with His loved ones. That’s us! — we who believe in Him. Jesus’ new covenant is described in Hebrews, chapters 8 & 9. We may want to find that in our Bibles to read and meditate on Jesus’ faithfulness.
Twice in our reading it is mentioned that Jonathan’s son was “lame in his feet.” Those feet were placed under David’s table continually. This was grace…unmerited favour from David. Jesus has placed our feet under His table, seating us in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:4-9). Our lameness is covered, and we sit at the table of the King. God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You not only place our feet under Your table, You have set an example of washing Your disciples’ feet. I pray that, by Your enabling strength, I will do a better job of washing the feet of others, as their servant, in a variety of ways. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

On Palm Sunday we celebrate the anniversary of the day Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. Jewish people were coming to Jerusalem by the thousands from all over the world to celebrate Passover. They knew the prophecies well and the reputation of Jesus. They shouted “Hosanna,” which means “save now” (Matthew 21:1-11). No doubt, many believed that Jesus was about to overthrow and declare Himself an earthly king, freeing Israel from the rule of Rome. Matthew would show us that Jesus’ commitment was meeting the needs of people like “Mephibosheth,” rather than sitting on an eartlhly throne.  I believe God has spoken to me about a “Mephibosheth” for whom I should show more love and practical service.

Yours for placing feet under the King’s table, because of His amazing grace,

David

Thursday, April 8, 2021

FOREVER

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 7

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

This is a full-sized replica of an ancient synagogue located in Nazareth. Even when the Temple in Jerusalem was operating in the time of Jesus, local synagogues were used for schools, reading of the Scriptures, commenting on the Scriptures, and the worship of God. However, as useful as they were, they were always considered as temporary. The Temple of God is forever.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 7:16

And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

Let’s fast forward to Luke 2:1-7. Jesus, the Seed of David, is born in “The city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he (Joseph) was of the house and lineage of David.” The “forever” King has arrived. No doubt, as the assistant to Paul, Luke had at least two years to research the material for his Gospel during Paul’s custody in Caesarea. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was still living. Bethlehem is only five miles south of Jerusalem. This careful physician, Luke, would have no doubt interviewed shepherds who were now 60 or 70 years old. Their memories of when they were 15 or 30 would still be sharp. It’s worthwhile to notice that no one, not even those who were enemies of Christ Jesus, questioned, in any writings, the truth of these reports. The promise of God to David through the Prophet Nathan has been fulfilled, and because “He ever lives” (Hebrews 7:25), it continues to be fulfilled. God promised that David’s son would build the Temple in Jerusalem, but David’s greatest Son would build the eternal Temple.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord Jesus, You are building a Temple of “living stones.” I thank You that I have the faith to believe I’m one of those stones. I pray for grace to always be strong and in place as part of the mighty eternal structure You are building. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

When I drive north on Highway 69 into the city known as the nickel capital of the world, Sudbury, Ontario, I can’t miss the church building known as “Glad Tidings.” It’s on the left just across from a number of high-rise apartment buildings. The former Glad Tidings, where I was pastor during its construction, is there on the right atop the next high rock. It’s now “All Nations Baptist Church.” Every time I pass that structure, I see the large retaining wall which keeps the parking lot from falling down onto the highway. I arranged to strengthen that wall with steel rods from the rolling mills of INCO, the International Nickel Company. In the process of grinding the ore into a powder, these rods, which helped do the job, were ground down from a four-inch diameter to about a one-inch diameter, and then discarded. Of course I got them free, and along with volunteers from the congregation, we placed hundreds of them into the concrete retaining wall. That was in 1966. The building was dedicated to God on July 1, 1967, as a centennial project celebrating Canada’s 100th birthday. The emblem of the maple leaf is chiseled into the granite cornerstone. To make me as strong as I can be, I believe that, like the steel rods, God has put the steel of His strength up and down my backbone. David, in Psalm 16:8, wrote, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Amen!

Yours for an unshakable, absolutely solid confidence in the eternal Son of God and Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ!

David

P.S. Here is a powerful testimony from 1998 of a First Nations man from northern Ontario…much further north than Sudbury! You can watch it HERE.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A REASON TO DANCE

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 6

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Here are the remains of a column rising out of the ground in ancient Laodicea, the home of the “lukewarm church,” one of the seven churches of the book of Revelation (Rev. 13:14-22).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 6:14-15

Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.

Psalm 68, a song, may have been composed by King David for the occasion of bringing the Ark up to Jerusalem. David writes, “Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. Sing to God, sing praises to His Name.” He also tells of a procession into the sanctuary: “The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after. Among them were the maidens playing timbrels” (Psalm 68:24-25). The Apostle Paul quotes a verse from Psalm 68:18 refering to Christ’s ascension into Heaven (Ephesians 4:8-10). There was at least one person who was not happy on the day the Ark was brought to Jerusalem. Saul’s daughter, Michal, was miserable. She had been manipulated by her father, and it seems that David didn’t love his first wife. Back in 1 Samuel 17:25 it is stated that Saul’s daughter would be given to the man who defeats Goliath. We can be sure that Michal had no say in the matter. Nevertheless, she came to love David (1 Samuel 18:28), and they were married. In the next chapter, Michal saves David’s life (1 Samuel 19:11-17). Then Saul intervenes again and gives Michal to another man. Now, after David took her from the other man, it seems there was no love there. Michal and David had been deeply hurt. Perhaps this history will help us understand David’s later conduct with other women (no excuse), and Michal’s bitterness and outburst against him…and why she was childless.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I ask for healing of hurts from the past. I ask for a greater measure of joy and for freedom to express that joy before You in my worship of You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I’ve been thinking of the words of Isaiah which Jesus read from the scroll when He announced His mission before His hometown congregation (Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:18). As I meditated on the messed-up relationship between David and Michal, I’ve been feeling sad. Now, however, I’m starting to rejoice as I read Isaiah and Luke. Jesus declared that the Spirit of the Lord has “sent Me to heal the brokenhearted” and “to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Yes! Yes! I’ve seen Jesus do this again and again. Jesus is our “Ark.” He is the manifest presence of God in our lives. In fact, I’m thinking of two married couples I know well whose hearts were broken. Recently I sat in a restaurant with one of these couples and heard these words from both husband and wife: “Jesus has healed us so powerfully that we love each other more than ever before.” Only Jesus can do that. Jesus changes everything! Rejoicing fills my being as I think about Jesus.

Yours for expressing the joy of the Lord!

David

P.S. Norma-Jean showed me her facebook link to Budapest, Hungary. Here is a dance of joy from their celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. They call this a “Flash Mob.” To think that just over 20 years ago their communist government was trying their best to eradicate faith in God from all Hungarian people. I say to all killjoy atheists: Give up! You’ll never win! (click here) Celebrate Jesus!

In today’s reading, David brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem. The sacred Ark contained the two tablets with the Ten Commandments, the rod of Aaron that blossomed and a pot of manna.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

JERUSALEM

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 4-5

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Jerusalem is where David’s ancestor, Abraham, built an altar on Mt. Moriah, and where God promised that He would provide a sacrifice. Not Abraham’s son, but God’s own Son became that Sacrifice. It was here that Melchizedek, King of Salem (Jerusalem means city of salem or peace) and priest of the most high God brought out to Abraham and those with him, bread and wine, signifying the establishment of our communion observance today. In today’s reading, Jerusalem becomes David’s capital city.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 5:4

David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.

Early in David’s life he was fully aware that someday he would replace Saul as King of Israel. Being human, he must have been tempted to take a shortcut to the throne instead of waiting for God’s time. He was tremendously popular with all the people from the time of Goliath’s death. Day after day, we’ve been reading stories of his victories. A lesser man would have become impatient and run ahead of God’s plan. Eventually David was crowned King and reigned for much longer than his waiting period. David was confident that God would keep His promises. When David was hiding in caves from Saul, or feigning insanity amongst enemies, we can be assured that he drew strength and was encouraged by the sure knowledge that God does not make mistakes. We may learn today that “patience,” a Fruit of the Spirit, can grow in our lives as we wait on God.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I wait for Your timing in all things… in life with its outstanding opportunities, and even in death with the glorious prospect of fulfilling Your plans for me throughout all eternity. Please continue to produce “patience” in me, and may that Fruit be out there on the branch of my life, so that others can partake of Your “patience.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I read this morning the designated readings, and I’ve been meditating on David’s victories over the Philistines and his taking of Jerusalem, making it his capital city. However, David did not conquer himself in the area of his human desires. He added “concubines and wives” (2 Samuel 5:13), and not satisfied with this, he seduced, as we’ll read later, another man’s wife and then arranged to put that man in a place in battle where he would surely be killed. If only David had called upon the God he knew so well. The God he wrote about so powerfully in the Psalms would surely have helped David overcome sexual sin. As we’ll read over the next days, David, his family, and the people of his kingdom paid dearly for David’s failure in this area. I’ve often stated, “Jesus changes everything.” In contrast to David’s many wives and concubines, Jesus taught one-man/one-woman marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). Years ago I read inside the cover of my dad’s Bible, in his handwriting, these words: “Sin will keep you from this Book, and this Book will keep you from sin.” That’s just one of many reasons I’m so committed to doing this blog every morning.

Yours for “patience,” and, yes, persistence in reading God’s Word every day without fail,

David

Monday, April 5, 2021

HE IS RISEN! THEREFORE, LOVE ENEMIES!

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 3

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

The theatre of Philippi – No doubt the enemies of the Apostle Paul had been in this very theatre. It was in Philippi where Paul and Silas were severely beaten and thrown into prison. They loved their tormentors, and because of their love, they led many to Christ (Acts 16:16-34).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 3:1, 36

Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker… Now all the people took note of it, and it pleased them, since whatever the king did pleased all the people.

Today’s reading documents the continuing struggle between those loyal to Saul’s legacy versus David’s. Saul’s General Abner and David’s General Joab lead the continuing conflict with good reason. Abner, as Saul’s right-hand man, had tried again and again with his soldiers to kill David. Abner had personally killed Joab’s brother, Asahel. It might be good for us to read Jesus’ Words in Matthew 5:43-48. By having a welcome feast for Abner, David was not only making a wise political move, he was showing that he could rise above the past and love his enemy. No wonder the northern tribes were willing to transfer their loyalty from the house of Saul to David. Once again David mourns over the death of an enemy. It has been said the very best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend. Jesus is known as the Friend of sinners. Romans 5:8 declares that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:10 tells us, “When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” Because Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” we have the sure knowledge that JESUS will never leave nor forsake us and nothing can separate us from His love. Therefore, with His love in us, we too can love our enemies.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, in the Name of Your Son, my Saviour and Lord Jesus, I pray for grace to love people more and more, and not just those who love me but everyone I meet. I want to be more and more like You, Jesus. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

As I read of the banquet David put on for Abner, I kept thinking of David’s words in Psalm 23, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” David’s experience was that God did this for him. Now, David does this for others.

In over 50 years of seeking to communicate God’s love to mass media audiences, I have had a number of critics who, while I wouldn’t call them enemies, were not very friendly. I had learned that I should make no defence or offence of myself when attacked verbally in the press. I really tried to be friendly to these people in practical ways. When the negative publicity hit the fan concerning certain TV evangelists, these people who had attacked me in the past rallied immediately to my defence, saying very positive things about 100 Huntley Street and about me as an evangelist. Proverbs 11:30b says that, “He who wins souls is wise.” I pray for wisdom fervently every morning, because I know that if I do not have wisdom from God, I’ll turn more people away from God than I bring to Him. I’ve just accessed on Youtube the old hymn, “Jesus, What A Friend of Sinners” by the Gaither Vocal Band. Here’s a link to the audio of them singing it a capella. I’m blessed!

Yours for loving all people, even those who may have acted like enemies,

David

Sunday, April 4, 2021

BE BLESSED

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 2

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Beit She’an from the top of the tel mound. The most ancient area of the city, where Saul’s body was taken from the wall by the men of Jabesh Gilead, is under the mound. From antiquity to the present can be seen in this photograph.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: 2 Samuel 2:5

So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, “You are blessed of the Lord, for you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him…”

To be “blessed” is to experience the favour of God and people. The men of Gilead blessed Israel by their act of respect to King Saul’s body. In return, David blessed Gilead by making the effort to thank them and to pray that in return the Lord would show kindness to them. There is no indication that David was looking for any favours from them. David was the kind of person who often took the time to care for others. It’s no wonder that David was so popular in Judah at this time, and eventually throughout all of the tribes of Israel, even in Saul’s tribe, Benjamin.
We may want to show someone our gratitude today. A letter, an e-mail, a phone call, or even a personal visit can bless a teacher, a pastor, an employer, an employee, an elected representative in some level of government, or the clerk at the grocery store. So many could be blessed when each one reading this blog makes the effort to say thanks as David did.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, thank You for the people You’ve placed in my life. Help me to always express my appreciation for them, never taking them for granted. Most of all, I’m determined to show my appreciation to You, Jesus, by thanking You for the ultimate favour to me: Your death, resurrection, and constant care. THANK YOU, JESUS! AMEN!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My heart is filled with gratitude to God and to all those who faithfully pray for me and who support ministry in Jesus’ Name all over the world. During 2010 and 2011, I had the privilege to travel to 180 cities, towns, and villages across Canada to say “Thank You” to as many people as I could find who had supported the Crossroads/100 Huntley Street ministry throughout the years. Norma-Jean and I, along with the ministry team, and particularly all who’ve given their lives to Christ for many years now, say “Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!” Thank You for the past, present and future. I’ve just remembered that I promised yesterday to tell another story from Uganda.

It was just before Christmas, 26 years ago, President Museveni of Uganda had just assumed office and was determined to reverse the curse of the Idi Amin years. God put it on my heart to ask our viewers to send in a small Christmas gift for the orphans of Uganda. Canada did not have diplomatic representation from Uganda, so I called the Ugandan ambassador in Washington D.C. and asked if I could use the address of his embassy to which people could send these gifts, telling him we would pick them up just before Christmas and send them to Uganda. He said, “Yes.” One week later, he called to say that so many gifts had arrived that he could hardly get into his embassy because of them. The American Air Force volunteered a C-130 cargo plane to take the gifts to Entebbe. President and Mrs. Museveni arranged for the gifts to be taken to the TV station where, on Christmas Day, for five hours live, they distributed the gifts to thousands of the children who had been orphaned by Idi Amin’s atrocities and by the scourge of AIDS. On live TV, the President blessed “those Canadians who brought Christmas back to Uganda.” He also thanked the Americans for their help in the transportation of the gifts.

Yours for blessing others!

David

Ugandan children. How can we not do our best to bless them? My son and daughter-in-law, Reynold and Kathy, are now living in Uganda where their ministry, “World Embrace,” is sponsoring a unity movement among the church leaders. Please pray for the success of their mission.