Careless Worship

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

If you are wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been on vacation. As we continue to journal through the book of 2nd Samuel this is where we left off; David was finally King over a unified Israel, and 2nd Samuel 6 tells us about how King David plans on getting the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place. You see, the Philistines had captured it after a battle (1 Samuel 5 & 6) and having it, brought nothing but trouble to them. So they carted it off to the nearest town they could find that worshiped the God of Israel.

It would be over 20 years before the Ark was returned to its rightful place. King Saul was too busy pursuing David to care about God’s presence; if you remember, Eli, the High Priest fell backwards off his seat, broke his neck and died when he heard that the Ark was taken in that battle. You would think that getting it back would be priority, but King Saul was wrestling with some pretty dark stuff to be trifled with the affairs of the priesthood. He just didn’t VALUE God’s Presence.

We place a value on everything that we have, and the things we do or do not do, are also prioritized by how we value them. We as human beings place or bestow honor to things.

I value my family; therefore I care for the needs of my family. They are important to me so I honor them by working hard. My kids know that I love them, and I care for them because I value them.

We value our favorite teams, musicians, politicians and actors. We treat them with the utmost respect and reverence. We are awestruck when we catch just a glimpse of them. We will wait for hours in bad weather to watch them walk down the red carpet at the award shows. Some people idolize their hero’s, they are fanatics, with posters and memorabilia, adorning their rooms.

My question today is…

• Where is our adoration for God?

• Where has our reverence gone?

• What value have we placed on that relationship?

Peter calls us to be; Holy as God is holy, and we are also called a holy nation, a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9

Holy/Pure: not mixed with anything else!

Have the things of God become so commonplace in our lives, that we no longer honor or value Him?

Where is the fear of that Awesome God — the Master of the Universe?

Many would ask,

• God, where are you in my life?

• Don’t you see what’s going on?

• My family is in shambles, my finances gone, I’m at the end of the road, and I can’t take much more.

• Don’t you care?

God would say to you today, when will you honor ME, when will you revere ME? I am able to do more than you could ever ask or imagine, (Ephesians 3:20) but where is the honor due ME?

We all want to experience the God of INCREASE, the God of More than Enough, but some just need to Experienced God first!

You may have been saved for 20 or 30 years. BUT what in your life TODAY points to an Almighty God as your Lord and Savior? I know He used to move in your life, but what has HE done for you, or through you lately?

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (NIV)

You see the time has come for true worshipers to come together, yet there are some that refuse to be moved.

Think about this, If Jesus said, there were true worshipers, that must mean some worship is not “true worship”.

My prayer for you today is to experience God once again!

We have no problem cheering like maniacs at sports arenas, crying like sissies at the show, yet we come to church with the notion that somehow God has to stir you.

What do we have to do to have a visitation from the Almighty?

We were created for continual fellowship with God, but sin got in the way and since God is a HOLY God, He had to remove man from His presence.

The environment God created in Eden was ideal for this unique fellowship. It was Gods garden, and man had dominion over everything there. It was a perfect place where the Creator and all of creation lived in harmony. When Adam chose to eat the only forbidden thing in the garden, God DROVE man out of His presence and since then, man has been longing to fill that emptiness, and restore that connection with other things and other gods.

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

It was never Gods plan for us to have to WORK to get into His presence. Every part of our lives was to be done in the presence of God. His plan was for us never to have to function without HIM!

Praise and Worship doesn’t put us back into Gods presence, it brings His presence to us.

You might say, “Dude, I just don’t know how to praise! It’s awkward, and it’s weird!” That is because Praise that isn’t practiced privately can’t be displayed publically!

Psalm 22:22 (NLT) I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.

During King Saul’s reign, the Ark of the Covenant was not among Israel. The Philistines had removed it. The Ark of the Covenant was the literal presence of God tabernacling with His people. (Exodus 25:8 paraphrased… “Make a place for me to dwell among my people”)

God had given Moses detailed instructions of how the tent/tabernacle was to be built. He had set it up in such a way that you just couldn’t stumble into His presence, because if you did… you would die! It was curtained off, with inner and outer veils. There were altars that continually burned sacrifices, lavers for cleansing and special clothes for the priests to wear.

God had to be approached clean, and in a prescribed manner.

So after King Saul died, King David wanted Gods Glory and presence in the city of David. Something was missing in Israel and it was God. King David knew that he couldn’t rule without God so he got a plan to get back the ARK.

2 Samuel 6:1-7 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. (NIV)

There is a right way and a wrong way to come to God, Again I ask, where is the reverence and honor due HIM?

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

His grace is sufficient, I know. And the blood and sacrifice of Jesus is a game changer, but has God changed? The Bible states that He doesn’t change, He is the same today yesterday and forever. He still is HOLY; He still is awesome in Word and Deed.

Psalm 56:4 (Amp) By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?

Praise is a CONSCIENCE choice.

I have made a choice to commend, approve, and glorify Him. It isn’t an emotional decision. It is a choice.

THEREFORE, it doesn’t matter how I feel, I will praise Him in the STORM, I’ll praise Him in the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll praise Him in the good times and the bad, because it is a conscience choice and not based on emotions! I can praise because I KNOW that He is the ANSWER to all my problems.

Psalm 145:2 (Amp) Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Hebrews 13:15 (Amp) let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

All farmers know that in order to produce fruit there has to be a time of sowing.

Sowing isn’t easy, it comes with a cost.

Praise sometimes takes everything within you. Giving God your sacrifice of praise means that you choose to dwell on Him instead of yourself, your issues, your roadblocks, your problems, and your circumstance.

Praise is an EXPRESSION of Faith, So Praise must be expressed.

James 2:17 says, So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Praise expressed in faith holds on to a promise that is not yet seen. It is Praising God even when the circumstances say otherwise; it is Praising God when the outcome isn’t visible. It is Praising God while the walls are still round about your promise.

A sacrifice of praise says, “I don’t know what You are doing or why You are doing it, but I’m going to trust You because You have never failed me.

I don’t understand it, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me… YET I WILL PRAISE.

Psalm 34: 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 Uzzah’s careless act cost him his life, perhaps he was used to the Ark, since it was at his house for 20 years, I don’t know perhaps he took peeks at it wherever it was stored. We could all speculate the “WHY” of this act of carelessness, but one thing is certain… the Ark still had power.

That had to be demoralizing to David. Here he brings a 30,000 piece marching band and choir to bring back the Ark, and during one of the songs God shows up and kills a guy.

How many pastors would have quit after that service? David was hot with God, he had his moment of frustration but he realized, perhaps I don’t know what I’m doing here. We better figure out the prescribed way of carrying this thing.

Were the 30,000 genuinely worshipping? YES!

Was there an acceptable way that was pleasing to God? YES!

It took David 3 months to get over that disastrous worship failure, so when he finally decided to give it another try. They carried it by hand the next time the prescribed way.

I believe with every step they took and as the Ark got closer to the place it was supposed to be, the glory surrounding it increased, and I also believe there are folks that will read this that also have to take steps back towards your rightful place.

• There are some that have wandered off… come back!

• There are some that have been led astray… come back!

• There are some that have given up hope… come back!

• And there are some who have nothing to lose and nowhere else to turn… come back!

Father God, We need your presence in our lives, our families, our work places, our communities and in our churches. We have grown accustomed to the busyness of our everyday lives and our worship has become common. Forgive us for thinking we can habitually come into your presence in a manner that is less than reverent and holy. We have gone too far, too long without You and we repent and ask for forgiveness. We need You like we need the air we breathe. We desire You like a thirsty man in the desert. May our worship be a blessing to You and may our sacrifice be an acceptable sweet smelling fragrance in your nostrils. We love and appreciate your grace, kindness and mercy towards us. You are Holy and Worthy to be PRAISED.

AMEN!

soulKANDY

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?

About a year ago I posted this message, and it happened to fall on the week I am journaling thru 2nd Samuel Chapter 5. I didn’t change much except for a few thoughts and the prayer. I didn’t feel like there was much to add. As I read through the Scriptures I look for something that will minister to me, these few verses still stood out as what I needed to continue to marinate on. Perhaps it is because I feel inadequate sometimes? Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and in the process of having to compete with younger people at the Department of Transportation for job opportunities? Nevertheless the taunts of the enemy are sometimes overwhelming. It’s always good to hear what God has to say about it.

So if you are saying to yourself, “I already read this a year ago why bother?” I say to you, “perhaps you need to hear it again!”

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

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

Burning Bridges

Isn’t this how the Living Word is supposed to work? It cuts deep, it rightly divides soul and spirit, it gets down to my real attitude, my true thoughts and heart’s desires.

‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭29:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The entire Philistine army now mobilized at Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine rulers were leading out their troops in groups of hundreds and thousands, David and his men marched at the rear with King Achish. But the Philistine commanders demanded, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish told them, “This is David, the servant of King Saul of Israel. He’s been with me for years, and I’ve never found a single fault in him from the day he arrived until today.””

If you have been following the story, We find David in a pickle. The words of King Achish paint a picture of a loyal and faithful servant.

Wait – what?

Can you believe I’m using “loyal and faithful” as words to describe a man who not only left Israelite territory because he needed to put distance between himself and the one he was called to serve, but also has been spending the last years with their enemy the Philistines?

I say loyal and faithful because King Achish is sticking up for David when questioned regarding David’s involvement in this battle.

Achish uses these words to describe David, “the servant of King Saul of Israel”.

That could only mean that David and his men probably never bad mouthed or dishonored the crazed man they were forced to flee from.

Right there is a lesson to be learned.

How many of us burn bridges?

Well if I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve been known to demolish them. When I was done with someone, I was DONE!

I’ve used the reasoning that most people use, maybe even you yourself have used it.

“I’m never going to let them hurt me again!”

Or

“Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!”

Yep, those are ones I’ve used. I’ve not only taken people off my Christmas card list, I’ve taken them off my prayer list.

I know,

…”and you call yourself a Christian!”

Hey, I know you have seen the bumper sticker that says, “Christians aren’t perfect just Forgiven!” I lived that as if it were my personal ethos.

I’ll wait for those that had to look that word up.

Don’t we have the dumbest ideas? It’s almost like a Christian get-out-of-jail-free card; act anyway you’d like to act and use forgiveness as an excuse. I’ve heard leaders of the church say this often, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” But there’s nothing Biblical about that; it’s not Scriptural!

If anyone had the right to cut someone off it was David; a man who was unjustly accused, unrighteously attacked, lied about, and slandered.

Men have murdered for less!

How could David suffer such humiliation and still act with honor and integrity?

And why do I act like I have the right to play the avenger? This part of the Scripture is really challenging me. I need to take a deep look into myself and find the root of pettiness and self-importance. I read this and ask…

”John, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!”

If David didn’t exercise his right, what gives you the right? It’s challenging me to rethink how nasty I’ve really been. How very much UNLIKE Christ I have on occasion acted. I’m deeply embarrassed and repentant right now.

But isn’t this how the Living Word is supposed to work? It cuts deep, it rightly divides soul and spirit, it gets down to my real attitude, my true thoughts and heart’s desires.

When I first read this chapter, I didn’t think that there was much to talk about. The next chapter gets really good. Things are about to pop. But for some reason this portion really struck a chord in me. It could have been so easy to gloss over it, to comment on some other part, but God really wanted to reveal something in me.

To me.

John, when you exercise your rights, you damage people unnecessarily.

Now I’m not being insensitive to people that have suffered violent and criminal acts against them. By no means! Criminals need to be punished. That’s NOT what I’m talking about. I’m talking about PRIDE and FEELINGS, I’m talking about petty rivalries and shame. I’m talking about things I ask God to forgive me for that I want Him to punish others for.

Not too many of my enemies would ever come to my defense. I’ve built walls after I burned bridges and I’m convicted by this verse.

Oh that my foes could describe me in such a fashion.

“This is John, servant of the Living God, and I have found no fault in him from the day that he arrived until today.”

Father God,

This one wasn’t easy! Forgive me for my petty, selfish behavior. Enable me to mend relationships that I have destroyed in my self-righteous indignation. I pray that these few words will also stir the reader to do a “system check” in their lives and relationships. Jesus, you were the only one who ever had a right, but still didn’t exercise it. Help us to be more like you. And may those that really KNOW me, recognize a real change in me from this day forward. Amen.

Love y’all

-Keep Pressing

soulKANDY

‘fran(t)ik

Friend, perhaps you have been crossing lines you shouldn’t cross, venturing just far enough to always come back when in a pinch. Eventually there will come a time when you too will call out and it will be eternally too late.

’fran (t) ik

1 Samuel 28:4-5 NLT

“The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.”

The stage is set for all out war, once again these familiar enemies encamp against each other; King Achish and the Philistines on one side and King Saul and Israel on the other.

But something is different, something changed. There is a sense of confidence on the Philistine front that wasn’t there since Goliath, the champion from Gath, had hurled insults towards the Armies of God for 40 days and nights so long ago. There was a palatable air of sureness coming from the other side that Saul hadn’t felt in years. A slow tremor begins to run from Saul’s fingertips all the way up his arm. His voice is shaking, as well as his heart. He is stricken in fear. Fear has overtaken him. He wonders if his trusted advisors can tell… surely they can see that this once confident man who stood head and shoulders over Israel was reduced to a frantic mess. Saul was in deep trouble.

Are you wondering what happened? What has changed in one chapter? One minute King Saul is chasing David all over the territory with 3000 of Israel’s Special Forces, and the next minute King Saul is frantic with fear!

Here is what I see…

1. David took himself out of the equation.

Proverbs 26:20 says, where there is no wood the fire goes out.

With David out of the picture, Saul now has to deal with the fact that he has been neglecting his duty as King and leader of God’s people/nation.

Who knows, perhaps with all his focus and attention on killing David, other areas were not being taken care of. He was hell-bent on one thing alone and that was David.

But David in the last chapter removed himself from Israelite territory, and Saul mistakenly took David’s absence as a sense of security.

Ask yourself… In what area(s) do I need to remove myself from the equation?

To what person or group of people is my presence a fuel to the fire?

How does my absence affect the outcome?

2. The Prophet Samuel died.

The spiritual leader is dead, and the one who could sooth Saul (David) is nowhere to be found.

King Saul has come to the harsh realization that God has also removed himself from him.

Now he is truly alone!

Imagine calling out to God and hearing NOTHING! Not a comforting whisper that says, “Son, I’m right here.” Not even the reassuring feeling of your conscience that lets you know, “you got this!”…nothing! Absolute silence!

The silence is deafening to Saul! And he is scared out of his wits. He is frantic with fear. He either has never felt this alone in his life, or at the very least, has never felt so alone in a very long time.

Looking across the battlefield and seeing the enemy, has him in a panic.

Before, as long as David or Samuel or the prophets were around, they had the words that brought assurance and comfort.

Saul didn’t have much of a relationship with God, God was an afterthought since he knew how much God loved His people Israel and figured he could do as he pleased and God would swoop in and save the day.

But there comes a time when even God says… ENOUGH!!!

Friend, perhaps you have been crossing lines you shouldn’t cross, venturing just far enough to always come back when in a pinch. Eventually there will come a time when you too will call out and it will be eternally too late.

King Saul got to that point in his life.

1 Samuel 28:6 says, “He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets.

And when God refuses to answer, he consults a witch to summon the spirit of Samuel and this is what that spirit says to him…

Verse 16 …the Lord has left you and has become your enemy. The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David.” NLT

Two things we can take away from this story.

A. There is a God timing to a God calling, and you are just going to have to wait like David sometimes. It most likely won’t be easy, but it is worth the wait so WAIT!

B. God is long suffering and abiding in love, but he doesn’t reward rebellion and pride. If that’s you, repent and humble yourself.

Father God,

I know, like Saul, I have been prideful and rebellious. I repent of that wickedness right now in the name of Jesus. Forgive me for the times I have done things my own way, when I have neglected godly counsel and common sense. Thank you for watching over me even when I have strayed from the path and crossed lines I shouldn’t have crossed. Enable me to listen to correction, heed your instructions, and press forward towards things that are righteous. I never want to be in a place in my life when you don’t respond to my cries for help, because you have turned me over to my evil desires. Thank you for your Word, may it accomplish what you purpose for it to accomplish in my life. Father God, for the times when I’m like David, inpatient or frustrated, help me to develop a trust, and a confidence knowing that your calling and anointing is sure. Enable me to learn to wait on your timing and not to force my agenda and plan. Help me to remove myself from people, places and programs that are not part of your plan and purpose for my life. Amen

Love ya!

-soulKANDY

David Who?

Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.

The scene is set during sheep shearing season, something David as a shepherd would have naturally known. Like harvest time for the farmer, shearing season marked the end of long nights out in the elements for the shepherds. It was a time to shear the sheep and process the wool; it was a time to celebrate and be merry.

David doesn’t ever seem to be able to catch a break. He is constantly hounded by Saul and his army, and now when it appears that just when he is finally at a time of respite and peace from Saul’s pursuit, this man Nabal pushes David to his limit.

David would have known that the owner of the flock would be popping open the wine bottles, opening the storehouses, and getting the barbecue grill clean and ready.

David and his men have spent a good part of the season out in the fields near the place where Nabal’s shepherds were grazing the sheep. It most likely was throughout the colder season because the sheep would have been shorn to keep them from overheating as the weather gets warmer, and also because this would be just before any lambs would be born. It would give the sheep time to grow back their coats before the cold weather returned. So as a former shepherd, David realizes this is a festive time at the Nabal Ranch.

Scripture backs this up by stating that it is a time of festivity, a special occasion, and a day to celebrate. So Nabal was about to have a feast worthy of a king.

So here is what you missed in case you are not familiar with the story…

Nabal is throwing a party for the shepherds to celebrate this season and David is asking for a portion because as he sees it, he and his guys provided security for Nabals shepherds and sheep.

We cannot overlook the fact that David was a shepherd. He knew the dangers of being out in the open with sheep. Danger from marauders and danger from wild animals. David himself said he encountered bears and lions while tending sheep, so he knew what it meant to be secure and protected for an entire season.

All he was asking for was a share in the festivities. Just a little bit. But David’s messengers come back with this response from Nabal…

1 Samuel 25:10 NLT

“‘Who is this fellow David?’ Nabal sneered to the young men. ‘Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.’”

Who is David? To David it probably sounded more like-

WHO IS DAVID!?

I don’t know what was actually going through David’s head, but if it was me I’d be saying,

“Ask Goliath’s brothers!- they know who David is…

“In fact, ask any Philistine! They’ll know who David is.

“Why don’t you ask your King? He knows who David is.

“Saul Killed thousands – I killed ten thousands.

“What kind of stupid question is, ‘Who is David?’

I’ll show you who David is!!!!!”

Yep, I’m sure it went just like that, or very close. Because what comes next is the sound of David sharpening his sword and strapping on his armor. Nabal and his household are about to find out exactly who David is.

1 Samuel 25:21-22 ESV “Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.””

Who is going to protect Nabal now? Nabal was the original guy who kicked the hornets’ nest.

It’s ironic that a few decades later David’s own son would write about this type of knee-jerk reaction and response in Proverbs 26:4 MSG, “Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself.”

David would have been perfect for a Snickers commercial. He isn’t very happy when he’s hungry.

But is this response warranted?

How do we respond when we are embarrassed?

How do we respond to those who have offended us?

Are the words of a foolish person enough to get you to forget who you are?

The anointing oil that Samuel poured over David’s head has long vanished; the words spoken over his life are a distant memory. The plan of God and his purpose grow dimmer with each passing day.

The one who believed in him, his friend the Prince, hasn’t kept in touch. And the ones who are with him depend so much on him that the burden of responsibility is wearing him thin.

This is the same David that writes the following in Psalms 139:16-17 ESV, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

You see, God knew that one day David would feel disrespected and respond irrationally. Even while knowing that David was eventually going to get to a tipping point, He called him still and anointed him.

It doesn’t really matter what men think of you or how they size you up.

If God be for us…

Word on the street was that David was running like an escaped slave.

But..

The truth is that David was nothing but loyal to King Saul.

And God sent Abigail to remind him.

Remember who you are, David! You will be the Leader of Israel and you will have a lasting dynasty, God Himself is your protector and He will remember His promise concerning you.

David relented from his folly; from taking action against a very foolish man. And he was spared the guilt and shame that this rash decision would have brought him.

What is it that you need to rethink?

Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.

Remember who God says you are.

-John