Taunted

If David had never dealt with Goliath, or the taunts of one man, how could he have ever dealt with the taunts of an entire city?

2 Samuel 5:3-6 (Amp) So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them [there] before the Lord, and they anointed [him] king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began his forty-year reign. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah. And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, You shall not enter here, for the blind and the lame will prevent (stop) you; they thought, David cannot come in here…

If David had never dealt with Goliath, or the taunts of one man, how could he have ever dealt with the taunts of an entire city?

1) How have you dealt with opposition in your life? (Taunts)

Proverbs 21:22 (Amp) A wise man scales the city walls of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

A wise man sees the obstacle in front of him, a wise man considers the strategy of the enemy, and he plans the engagement carefully. The enemy trusts in his walls, the same walls that supposedly are keeping you out, are holding him in. He’s trapped in what he thinks is his salvation. While hiding behind deaf, dumb, lame and blind gods.  If you are always trying to accomplish things on your own, and using your own means, power and provision, then the enemy sees you as easy pickings. In fact he sees you as such an easy opponent that the blind and the lame, could keep you from getting that which has been promised to you.

Judges 1:21(NKJ) But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

At one time Jerusalem had been a conquest of the tribe of Benjamin, but they allowed the Jebusites to dwell among them, and eventually the Jebusites took over the city. How many times in our attempts to manage our troubles do we eventually get to the point where our troubles overtake us? Little problems and sins that we fail to completely surrender, now taunt us every time we perceive to confront them.

Strongs: 2982  Yebuwc (yeb-oos’); from 947; trodden, i.e. Threshing-place;  947 buwc (boos); a primitive root; to trample (literally or figuratively):  KJV– loath, tread (down, under [foot]), be polluted.

Trample: to tread heavily, or to tread heavily on something or somebody so as to cause damage or injury. Trample: to behave in an insulting contemptuous way or to treat somebody in a hurtful insulting way

Pollute: Corrupt or Defile: to make somebody morally or spiritually impure. Pollute: Desecrate; to violate the sacred nature of a holy place. (Encarta Dictionary)

Those very people whom the tribe of Benjamin allowed to live and dwell among them ended up taking over, they became a reproach. The possession of peace became a threshing place. The promise of God became polluted, desecrated, this strategic location, this central city, this city on a hill, became a place where its inhabitants worshipped blind and lame gods, (idols) and they didn’t even dispute that. They didn’t hide that fact they trusted in their walls.

2) If you were David, what would you be prepared to do?

• Turn back and come another time?

• Be so twisted by the taunts that you lose your cool and make a mistake?

• Question God?

Or Would You…

• Prepare to take your city!

• Prepare to get what’s promised!

• Prepare to fight with valor.

The Jebusites have taken the city and have fortified themselves in it, and if you weren’t a threat they wouldn’t be looking for you to come.

They glory in their walled fortress, but the Bible says:

Proverbs 18:10 (NKJ) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

The very name of our Lord should be a fortress to you.

Romans 10:13 (NKJ) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

They glory in their advantage, but the Bible says:

Hebrews 13:6 (Amp) So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

Psalm 27:1 (Amp) The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 118:6 (Amp) The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

They glory in their pride and strength. But the Bible says:

Psalm 56:9 (ESV) Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.

Romans 8:31 (ESV) then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

• You are not taking that city alone

• You are not facing this difficulty alone

• You are not dealing with this obstacle alone

3) Who is your fortress, pride and strength?

Psalm 71:4-8 (AMP) Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of the unrighteous and ruthless man. For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence. Upon You have I leaned (stability) and relied from birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb and You have been my benefactor from that day. My praise is continually of You. I am as a wonder and surprise to many, but You are my strong refuge. My mouth shall be filled with Your praise and with Your honor all the day.

Psalm 121:1, 2 (MSG) I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

4) Have you considered who you surround yourself with?

Because even the blind and the lame could keep you out if you let them, if you surround yourself with people of no vision, and no spiritual walk! Ah ha! There’s the catch! Who are your companions? My grandma used to always say, “Show me who you walk with and I’ll show you who you are.” I never really paid that much attention, because I always felt my crowd was ok. But don’t we all think that the crowd we are running with are different than those hooligans down the street. I mean we never really did anything too bad. Or were we just better at getting away with dirt than them? Who are we really surrounded by?

• Do my companions have vision? Do they have a call, purpose and destiny that they are striving for?

• Do my companions walk uprightly? Do they make good decisions, and do they hold me to a godly standard in my spiritual walk?

• Do my companions enable me to realize my destiny? Or are they foolish and a hindrance?

Maybe that’s you, surrounded by foolish companions. It’s not too late to pray with me…

Father God,

I’ve been a companion with fools, I have made bad choices, silly decisions and nearly forfeited my future for what is temporary and nonsensical. I’ve let those with no vision and walk steer me to places I never should have gone towards, but only by Your Grace have I’ve made it through all the mess. Heavenly Father, I know it’s not too late to realize the destiny, promise and purpose for my life for as long as I have breath, there is still hope. Thank you for not giving up on me, enable me to make new friends, with like minded people of purpose and destiny, and give me a courage to stand for the things that are righteous even when it not popular to do so. Knowing I am not standing alone. Help me to get past the taunts of those who would keep me from what You have for me, and tune in on Your Word and Your voice. Amen.

So what did David do? He and his guys took the city!

2 Samuel 5:7,10 Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the City of David… David became greater and greater, for the Lord God of hosts was with him.

-soulKANDY

I Die

We have the tendency to overlook the weasel and the snake, because we are looking for the roaring lion and the wolf in sheeps clothing. And all the while the weasel and snake are undermining the plan, purpose, and potential in our lives and ministries.

My wife and I are journaling the book of 2nd Samuel together and she made a statement last week as we were discussing chapter 4. She said, “There sure is a lot of killing in this book!”

So as I am meditating on what I read, her statement keeps coming to mind. There is a lot of killing in this book, 1st Samuel ended with the death of King Saul and Prince Jonathan, and 2nd Samuel picks right up with the killing of the Amalekite messenger, a battle between Joab and Abner with a total of 379 men dead, the murder of Abner at the hands of Joab, the assassination of Ish-bosheth at the hands of Baanah and Recab, and the killing of Baanah and Recab for what they have done.What’s the deal?!

And as I am thinking about that, this is what comes to my spirit: when a Kingdom is established, something has to die. That is the brutal fact of war and kingdoms.

Look at history and tell me if you agree. Kingdoms require subjects, and Kings demand loyalty.

Is the Kingdom of Heaven any different? Do we not have to die to self? Doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer say, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? That means MY kingdom and MY will must die.

I remember talking to a Pastor in Rialto, California in the early 90’s. I used to be in the Christian Rap group Private Boiz and we ministered all around SoCal and the neighboring southwest United States. At that time, a lot of pastors were trying to reach the inner city kids and the best way to do that was through music. Rap just happened to be the primary genre that the Inland Empire youth were listening to at that time. He said he had booked his 1st youth outreach with a rap group, he served hot dogs, hamburgers, and refreshments, and a crowd was gathering near the outdoor stage and tent they had set-up. He had drove away for a few minutes to get more ice at the local Stater Bros. Market and when he came back he was shocked to hear a crowd of kids all yelling, “KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN!”. He said, “I left the bags in the trunk and ran towards the stage worrying and expecting to see someone getting beat to death.” But the kids were just repeating the hook of the song about a new life in Christ requiring someone to die to their old ways, habits, and lifestyle.

Isn’t that what baptism symbolizes? The death, burial, and resurrection of a believer?

I like how The Message translation puts it.

Colossians 2:11-15 “…Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ…” MSG

2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” NLT

Also take the time to read:

Romans 6: 1-14

If God is going to establish His kingdom in your life, things need a drastic change; there is going to have to be a funeral.

So as we look at the book of 2nd Samuel in this light, yeah, there is a lot of killing that comes with a new kingdom. The Amalekite messenger tried to weasel his way into favor with the king and it cost him! Abner, Baanah, and Recab tried to scheme their way, and it cost them as well. They all found out the hard way, that the new king can’t be bought or won over with favors. His appointment and anointing was God-planned, and he (David) is letting God do His thing in His time.

If we know anything about David so far, it’s that he is a very patient man and he isn’t easily swayed.

How many pastors (leaders/bosses) do you know that would have given the Amalekite messenger, Abner, Baanah and Recab, seats on their board(s) or advisory committee(s)?

How many pastors (leaders/bosses) have the Amalekite messenger, Abner, Baanah and Recab on their boards right now?

We have the tendency to overlook the weasel and the snake, because we are looking for the roaring lion and the wolf in sheeps clothing. And all the while the weasel and snake are undermining the plan, purpose, and potential in our lives and ministries.

When I was a youth pastor, I told the teens to notice that the middle letter in obedience is “I” and the middle three are ”DIE.” If you are going to be totally committed and connected with God, and His call, purpose, and destiny for your life, “I” must die! We must decrease so that He may increase, we must become less so that He may be greater still.

Lord, I surrender; every bit, every part, every habit, every thought, every friend, and every idea. I want your plan, will, purpose for my life and I know that things that I’m afraid to lose must die. Lord, I know you will never owe anyone, and there is nothing that I surrender that you cannot possibly replace with something better. I’m done being lord and king, I’ve tried and failed miserably. Take your rightful place in my heart and life, as Savior and Lord. Amen.

-soulKANDY

Selective Righteousness

You see this happens all too often, when self-righteous people get accused of something. They start waxing philosophical, quoting Scripture, and deflecting.

Continuing the chapter by chapter look at 2nd Samuel.

2 Samuel 3: 8-10 Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David. And yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman. 9 God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the LORD has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.”

As Saul’s General, Abner was on the Elite Squad that hunted David and his men down for years. Abner who is growing in influence and power, as most military commanders do when there is not strong leadership, is being accused of sleeping with one of King Saul’s concubines; an offense punishable by death.

But instead of being humble and contrite, Abner goes on this tirade; he is indignant and his statements to Ish-bosheth reek of pride and contempt. He is literally saying, “Am I a filthy, vile creature that doesn’t care where he lays?” You see in those days, dogs to eastern cultures are NOT the man’s best friend of present day western civilization. They were pack animals that rummaged through garbage, ate dead things, and most likely ran amok on the roads, alleys, and trails where people had to walk. Most of us know how disgusting dogs running free about a neighborhood can be, so there is nothing cute and cuddly about wild dogs in that culture, in those days.

He then states he has really been a loyal protector of Saul’s family and friends. He never denies nor confirms the charge against him. He more so diminishes it as a trifling thing that should have been overlooked. And perhaps it would have been to Ish-bosheth’s best interest to do so. But that’s NOT what I want to talk about.

You see this happens all too often, when self-righteous people get accused of something. They start waxing philosophical, quoting Scripture, and deflecting.

That is what stood out to me.

Look at verse 9. God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the LORD has sworn to him,

All of a sudden, Abner confesses that he knew all along that the kingdom he is so diligently backing was rightfully, and more importantly, DIVINELY sworn to and promised to David. How convenient! It wasn’t until he is in hot-water with Saul’s family for being a nasty dog, that Abner NOW decides to do the LORD’S work and help David get what’s rightfully his.

Would this be his stance if Ish-bosheth had never confronted him with the issue with Rizpah?

Nevertheless, he is now set on doing the right thing and that is exactly what he does. He turns his back on the family which he so passionately defended and served, and proceeded to carry out his kingdom transfer plot with King David of Judah.

There is more to this story than the 3 verses I chose to reflect on: at first it seems that things go exactly as Abner has planned, but then we see that he didn’t account for the “Blood Feud” that Joab, David’s General, had with him, so the story takes a violent turn rather quickly.

Call it karma, comeuppance, or the law of sowing and reaping, but evil or deceitful people will eventually get what’s coming to them. We just need to wait patiently, and let God have His say.

Father God, Forgive me for the times when I have picked and chosen when to act righteously. Help me to be a man of integrity and of good character always, regardless of the situation or how things may, or may not benefit me. Holy Spirit, keep checking my spirit when I may be going in a way contrary to the plan of God for my life, and soften me to accept when others call me out for doing wrong, and give me the courage and humility to change my behavior.

Love

-John

The thrill of the CHASE.

What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?

Follow along as I journal through the book of 2nd Samuel, if you haven’t been keeping up, go back and read 1st Samuel. -John

2 Samuel 2: 18-24

“Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrusted the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.”

Reading this, I would love to ask that kid, “What in the world are you chasing? Have you even thought about what you are going to do if you catch up?”

It wasn’t a foot race; if it was Asahel would have won. Unfortunately, it was a battle, and Asahel was not ready for a battle.

What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?

We could speculate but we will never know for sure. Was it that Asahel was always in Big Brother Joab’s shadow?

The local news rag would read: Joab the mighty warrior! Asahel the…quick.

Or, Joab the formidable opponent. Asahel the Gazelle.

Yeah, nope. Doesnt have the same ring to it. For real, how many kids have pictures of track stars on their walls? Some I’m sure, but compared to boxers, wrestlers and MMA guys, the numbers don’t even compare.

So it could have been that Asahel was having to deal with older brother comparisons, or maybe it’s just as simple as, he got caught up in the excitement of the fight?

How many times do we do the exact same thing? Chase after something without an intelligible reason for doing so. How many instances can you recall in your life that have figuratively knocked you to the ground by some “Abner” you were blindly chasing?

Perhaps it was a career path? Perhaps the opposite sex?

Maybe an illicit affair, a hobby, a drink, a drug, a dream or an idea?

Reality can knock the wind out of you; for Asahel, it took his life. I know for me, there have been a few instances where I can look back and say that the warnings signs were there, though I relentlessly blew right past them, the guardrails, and headed perilously towards the cliff. I can’t say what I was thinking. I don’t fully understand that part. I know there was an inner struggle, but the flesh man got the upper hand.

The enemy knows our weaknesses even better than we do ourselves. So we get on this deadly pursuit led by our evil desires that have us blindly racing toward treacherous territory. Not everybody gets second chances, and most end up a spectacle on the side of life road like Asahel, while people gather around wondering, “why didn’t he stop when he had the chance?”

Why didn’t Asahel heed the warnings? Why didn’t he humbly submit to what turned out to be some “spot on” counsel? We may never know. Perhaps pride got the best of him? It’s not easy to admit you are being reckless. It’s even harder to look a person or people in the eye and ask them to forgive you.

But this I do know, if you happen to receive the gift of grace. Don’t squander it! Ask for forgiveness and work towards reconciliation. Then maybe, just maybe, you can rebuild or reestablish trust.

Father God, thank you for second and third chances as I (we) ask for forgiveness, and thank you for your gift of grace and mercy. Jesus, thank you for saving and redeeming this wretched sinner, and Holy Spirit you are welcome to prompt, prod and penetrate this heart of mine, enable me (us) to be Spirit-attentive to your warnings. Thank you Heavenly Father for this Word, it struck some very raw areas, but I (we) know it doesn’t return to you empty or void, but it accomplishes what you purpose it to accomplish in my (our) lives. Thank you for never giving up on us, for remaining faithful even when we are faithless. Love – John

soulKANDY

A Song for Heroes

So when I say the “King Sauls” in my life would probably not merit a song from me, it’s because I’m mostly too busy to bother to write one.

2 Samuel 1:19-27

If you have been tracking along with me as I wrote my thoughts chapter by chapter through the book of 1st Samuel, you would have known that David had been sorely harassed by Saul for many years. King Saul was oppressed and jealously hated David for his fame and the anointing on his life. David had multiple chances to kill Saul and end this relentless pursuit, but each time he remembered this one thing about King Saul…HE IS THE LORD’S ANOINTED!

That means: Hands Off!

You see, David knew that if God lifts up someone, God can and will bring them down if need be. In His time and in His way.

That one aspect of David’s character stood out to me the most in the last few months, because I am prone to impatience, and because of that, I get myself into trouble. I covet that in David most. Not his courage, and not his anointing but his ability to wait on God. I would have worried myself to death wondering, “When God? Now? Tomorrow? Soon? How ‘bout giving a brother a hint?” I would have pestered God, how they say in Horry County…”Until He was slap wore out!”.

But how can David not only be patient and reverent towards this man out to destroy him, but also care enough to lament him? To genuinely mourn his passing? There is another one of my shortcomings. I lack empathy. I would have probably cheered on the passing of a foe, I would have said in the most pious way…“Thank You, Jeeeesus!”. But one thing I know I would have never done: wrote a song and heralded them HEROES.

I’m not speaking for you, but how many others are out there that could honestly say, “I share your sentiment.”

I’m betting that there are quite a few, and this is how I know. I work for the South Carolina Department of Transportation, so I spend most of my time on the roadways, literally on the road. I’ve been cut off by teenagers and the elderly alike. I’ve been refused opportunity to pull out off the shoulder or median wherever I’m working by impatient people with only their destination on their minds. I have seen, almost daily, people texting and people just busy doing everything but paying attention to the road while in active work zones. People are so preoccupied with what is important to them at that moment, that the lives of those who work on the highways mean very little. We are surrounded everyday by people who barrel down the roads with vehicles weighing tons who couldn’t care less if my co-workers, contractors, or I ever made it home alive. We are an inconvenience at best and at the very least, the reason they will arrive to their destination a few minutes late. So when I say the “King Sauls” in my life would probably not merit a song from me, it’s because I’m mostly too busy to bother to write one. Much less mourn and miss a meal.

That’s rough, well, I’m speaking about me. I need to be more compassionate and empathetic toward those around me. I need to flat-out just care more.

Yes, another buttkicking from the Scriptures, and it’s well deserved. I vow to change. To pray for those who I feel are against me, and have it out for me. To text less and listen more. To love and appreciate LIFE, and to mourn at the loss of it.

-soulKANDY

Final Chapter

If God promises you something, He will see it to fruition. In His time. We just need to trust that He has got it figured out.

Wow, this Book is finally over. It has been a challenge, especially since it seemed like the entire second half of the book we were reading about Saul chasing David.

It has been a long 18+ months since I first posted chapter one of 1st Samuel, “The Revolution of Days.” This Book starts with the birth of the prophet and ends with the death of the king. Righteousness is contrasted with rebellion; promise and hope are contrasted with pain and despair. It chronicles the rise and fall of one man, Saul, and the rise and wait of David. It started with Hannah travailing spiritually for a son and Israel wanting a king; and God gave both what they asked for. Hannah was faithful with her gift and gave him back to the Lord, and Israel got exactly what they asked for… a man, who went from sizzle to fizzle rather quickly. Israel traded the plan, promise, and provision of God for the taxes, trouble, and tyranny of a king.

This is how King Saul perished…

1 Samuel 31:1-2 ESV

“Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul.”

1 Samuel 31:3-4 ESV

“The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.”

The man who was head and shoulders above the rest of the men in Israel, full of promise and destined for greatness, is struck by a stray arrow shot by an unnamed archer. In just 4 verses, we see the predictions of the prophet come true as spoken by Samuel when Saul had called him up with help from the witch / medium of Endor. (1 Samuel 28:16-19)

He fell on his sword. He off’ed himself. He didn’t want to get tortured by the Philistines, so he took his own life. Rather disappointing way for David’s nemesis to go, right? Shouldn’t the archenemy of the story get blasted by the hero? Wouldn’t it have been better if David somehow had the last laugh. Isn’t that how good revenge stories end? No such luck for the reader because instead we get: Saul gets hit by a random arrow and chooses to kill himself. End of story.

Wow.

I guess God didn’t want David linked in anyway to the death of Saul. No, he’s off fighting the Amalekites trying to get back his family and stuff back. God in the meantime handles David’s “Saul problem”.

So what can we learn from this?

1. God is in control

2. Mind your own business

3. Let God handle the heavy lifting

4. The battle is not yours

If God promises you something, He will see it to fruition. In His time. We just need to trust that He has got it figured out. We have a tendency to jump the gun, think too much, and sometimes plain disqualify ourselves because of a lack of patience.

We will read of his mistakes soon enough, yeah he wasn’t perfect, and that too points to the love, patience, and providence of God.

I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to the next part.

Thanks for following along!

-soulKANDY

No More Tears!

This type of pain makes you want to run away; you don’t feel like seeing anyone, and wanna say, Just leave me alone!”. BUT David found strength in the Lord his God.

Based on 1 Samuel 30

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind; it starts encouraging and victorious and ends a deflated, disastrous disappointment.

One foolish day in Chicago, a little boy wanted to go to the carnival. Bright lights, the smell of caramel corn and cotton candy, the call of the carnie rousers yelling, “Step right up, or try your luck!”, cheap thrills, oddities…and well, for a 9 year old boy, acres and acres of fun. Let’s just say his parents didn’t see it that way; he was forbidden to go. So he did what any 9 year old boy who dreams of fun, candy, games of luck, and a chance to win a stuffed animal 1 ½ times his size would do. He took his allowance and decided to run away to the carnival, if only for the day.

Well, little Johnny’s parents didn’t know his intentions. He left them no note or other clue as to where he was going, just an empty room and a missing boy.

The carnival was a blast, I had… errr, I mean Johnny had the time of his life. No parents telling him, “No, you can’t eat that! No, you can’t ride that, No, you can’t play that! Blah, Blah, Blah!”. Freedom was as awesome as he pictured it to be. But we all know that a few bucks don’t last very long at such a great place, and eventually walking around watching everyone else having a blast gets boring. So he decided to un-run away. After all, that was his intention all along since he didn’t even pack a bag.

So at the end of a fun-filled, glorious, candy eating, carnival riding, game of luck playing day, he finds himself walking through the alleys back toward 3713 West Dickens St.

He had spotted it by the time he got somewhere near North Hamlin Ave; the family station wagon. His stomach sank. He could see dad was driving while his mom was in the passenger seat and it looked like they were happy to see him, yet very unhappy at the same time. The parental oxymoron, “ecstaticanger.”His mom had the “my little boy is safe, I’m going to kill him look”, and his dad just had the “I’m going to kill him look.” Long story short, they didn’t spare the rod that evening.

Nope!!! And Johnny never ran away again. He had experienced both the mountain top and the deepest darkest valley that day.

And that’s what David and his men are feeling.

They were just let off the hook by King Achish, and sent home from a potential battle against their own people. How awesome was that? They were in a major pickle; they had no clue about what would really happen when the fighting took place. Do they back up the man who has offered sanctuary and opportunity, or do they support Israel by default?

In God’s providence the choice to let them go back home was offered. That truly was a gift and if no one else knew it, David did.

A mountain top experience to be sure. How many of you can say there has been at least one time you were let off the hook, and given an “out” when there clearly was no “out”?

But the elation doesn’t last for them. In fact, the party comes to a screeching halt when they see from a distance, in the direction of what should be home, smoke rising from the rubble of what was supposed to be their place of rest.

1 Samuel 30: 3 & 6

“And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.”

“And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.ESVEMPHASIS ADDED

If you have never experienced tragedy, then you won’t be able to relate to this story. But all kidding aside, this is nothing like getting a spanking after disobeying your parents. How would you feel if you have been a good and faithful son, a passionate believer or a devout follower, and then all hell breaks loose in your life? Would you curse God? Would you assign blame, and want answers? Would you lose your faith?

David has been faithful, he has been honorable, and he has been a godly man. He has been tried, tested, provoked, chased, lied about, and lied to. He has been a target, and now when he is finally feeling peace in his life, he comes home to find everything that he has fought for is GONE.

His home, his family, and all his possessions are GONE. All that he has left are the few provisions he would have taken when he went off to battle. But that is not all that he has to worry about. His men, the guys that were depressed, discontented, and discouraged and in debt. Yes, those same guys that had joined David while he was on the run from King Saul, those very same guys that now have a purpose, a place, a plan and a future. THOSE GUYS are now talking about stoning David. You see they came to David as nobodies with nothing, and when it was just David’s head on the line, and David being the recipient of all the drama, life was good. Heck, they even made a life out of it. They had property, got married, had children…life was peachy. But tragedy has hit home! And it has not spared anyone. This time, everyone was affected, and the men do not know how to deal with it. Some versions read, “They cried until they had no more tears!”. These are mighty men, valiant soldiers and warriors, but they are also husbands and daddies too.

I believe David could find strength in the LORD his God, because when King Saul would have evil spirits, and mood shifts, he would call on David, and David was able to play, and praise him through those stressful and trying times. You see David had already had private worship services; he already had all night prayer meetings. He already knew how to intercede on someone else’s behalf, so praying for himself was normal. I didn’t say easy; I mean it wasn’t foreign. He saw God come through for Saul, so he knew God could come through for him. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know how God would, but he knew God could. David has faced, lions, bears, and actual giants; now he is facing another type of giant. ”Bitterness in Soul.” That’s a whole different level of pain. A pain way down deep in your innermost being. There is a grieving in that pain. This isn’t a hit my thumb with a hammer pain, this is a; my wife and my baby are missing and I’m a mess pain. This is a WHAT IF I…? A whoulda shoulda pain. The kind that racks your mind so you can’t sleep. The kind that just won’t shut off or go away. A distress in your soul.

This type of pain makes you want to run away; you don’t feel like seeing anyone, and wanna say, Just leave me alone!”. BUT David found strength in the Lord his God.

I’ve been there! I know how debilitating tragedy can be. I know how it can tear a family apart and I know how close to the edge I personally came. I know the doubts, the regrets, the excuses, the fear, and the relentless agony of spirit.

But I also know… if NOT for GOD.

Father God, we know all Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in how to live upright. And we know that this section is there to help those who like David and his men, have lost everything precious to them. God, we don’t always know the why of things, but we do know that when we are going through those times, we can find strength and peace in You. Help us to be strong enough to resist the temptation to throw in the towel and give up, blaming You for not saving us from hurt, and accusing You of being the cause of it. We know you are a good Father, sometimes only when things are going great. Help us to realize you are a good Father in all things good and bad. Help us to place our trust and confidence in You, and enable us to heal from false teaching, bad counsel and our moments when we are faithless.

Amen

Keep Pressing!

-soulKANDY