1 Samuel 21… Consider Him Who Is Always There

David is fleeing for his life now and when he comes to Nob, the priest is puzzled to find David there alone.

“Why are you alone and no one with you?” [21:1]

And it certainly appears David is alone, as if no one is with him. But once again, I cannot get past what I know is coming, how this story plays out. David will become king; and the Messiah will come from his royal line.

As I contemplated the priest’s question, I was both humbled and awestruck to realize I could see what the priest could not. David was not alone. He Was There; He Is Always There.

Consider Him Who Is Always There

Although David is running from danger, deceives a priest and ultimately ends up feigning madness before a pagan king, he is not alone.

Although fearful and perhaps perplexed how all this will lead to a throne, he knows he is not alone. He is convinced of God’s presence. David wrote Psalm 34 relating to this time in his life.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! [Psalm 34:7-8]

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry. [Psalm 34:15]

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit. [Psalm 34:18]

David knew he was not alone; though in need of rescue and refuge, though reduced to tears, brokenhearted and crushed in spirit, still he knew. He knew the only One he truly needed was there, He Is Always There.

We, like David, are not promised freedom from trials and difficulties, but we are promised He Will Always Be There.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [John 14:16]

…for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” [Hebrews 13:5]

How do we respond to Him Who Is Always There?

Let us learn from David.

Let us walk through our trials and difficulties in faith. Rather than allowing the trials to overwhelm us, let us be consumed by the amazing grace of Him Who Is Always There. And may our lives become a wellspring of praise and humility to exalt Him at all times.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together
. [Psalm 34:1-3]

Let’s Grow Together!

1 Samuel 20… Consider the Lovingkindness of the LORD

Jonathan understood David was God’s anointed. Unlike his father, Saul, Jonathan chose to submit to God’s will, placing himself in humble submission to the Lovingkindness of the LORD.

Consider the Lovingkindness of the LORD

If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die? 15 You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” [20:14-16]

  • The Lovingkindness of the LORD was his only hope for life
    • If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die?
  • The Lovingkindness of the LORD would provide hope for all eternity
    • You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever
  • The Lovingkindness of the LORD would be demonstrated even though he belonged to the house of the enemy
    • not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.
  • There will come a day of reckoning for all who refuse the Lovingkindness of the LORD
    • So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.”

How do we respond to the Lovingkindness of the LORD?

  • Our only hope for life is found in the death of Jesus Christ, given by the Lovingkindness of the LORD, to satisfy the debt of sin we are utterly unable to pay.
    • For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. [John 3:16]
    • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23]
  • When we receive the free gift of God, secured by the death of His sinless Son, we can be assured we are eternally held by the Lovingkindness of the LORD.
    • and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. [John 10:28-29]
  • Let us give all praise and thanksgiving for the extravagant Lovingkindness of the LORD, Who gave His life to save and reconcile His enemies.
    • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. [Romans 5:8-10]
  • As we consider and dwell on His grace and Lovingkindness how can we contain ourselves? How can we keep so great a salvation to ourselves when we know His Day of reckoning is coming? Let us bow in humility, gratitude and love for our Savior, Jesus. And may we grow in readiness to share with others what we have received from Him, the gift of the Lovingkindness of the LORD.
    • “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left… 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [Matthew 25:31-33, 46]
    • but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; [1 Peter 3:15]

Let’s Grow Together!

1 Samuel 19… Consider Him Who Overrules the Rulers

Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. [19:1]

King Saul had plans to hang on to his throne. While Saul is convinced in his own authority to dictate the course of events, the LORD had other plans and Saul’s murderous schemes would come to naught, thwarted by Him Who Overrules the Ruler.

Consider Him Who Overrules the Ruler

  • He Overrules the Rulers as He moves in the hearts of man
    • So Jonathan told David saying, “Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard… Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Do not let the king sin against his servant David… [19:2, 4]
    • Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. [19:11-12]
  • He Overrules the Rulers as He provides a way of escape
    • Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night. [19:10]
  • He Overrules the Rulers as He sends His Holy Spirit
    • Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; … 22 Then he himself went …and the Spirit of God came upon him also… [19:20, 22]

How do we respond to Him Who Overrules the Rulers?

No matter the situation, God’s purpose will prevail. There is no authority, no government, no ruler able to turn back His plans.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. [Proverbs 21:1]

 For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” [Isaiah 14:27]

  • At times, we may feel like this world is out of control, but let us trust Him Who Overrules the Rulers as He moves in the hearts of man.
    • Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, [Ezra 1:1]
  • At times we may feel we are trapped, but we must not give in. By faith, let us look to Him Who Overrules the Rulers as He provides our way of escape.
    • No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. [1 Corinthians 10:13]

At times we may feel helpless to face the rulers and powers of this world.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 6:12]

  • Let us receive the power of His Holy Spirit by faith, that He would grow us in boldness to share the gospel and use our witness to bring others to Him Who Overrules the Rulers.
    •  I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [John 14:16]
    • “…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]

Let’s Grow Together!

1 Samuel 18… Consider the Prosperity of His Presence

So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; [18:5]

David prospered. Wherever he went he prospered, as though he had the King Midas touch. David’s prosperity is impressive, but in reality, David’s touch had nothing whatsoever to do with his good fortune. It was not his accolades or his accomplishments that brought David prosperity; rather it was the Why of it all, the Prosperity of His Presence.

David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. [18:14]

Consider the Prosperity of His Presence

By His Presence David Prospered…

  • in relationship
    • Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. [18:1]
  • … in reputation
    • The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” [18:7]
  • … in safety
    • Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice. [18:11]
  • … in ability
    • David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. [18:14]
  • … in humility
    • But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” [18:18]
  • … in wisdom
    • Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. [18:30a]
  • … in esteem
    • So his name was highly esteemed. [18:30b]

How do we respond to the Prosperity of His Presence?

When my son was about twelve years old, we were driving through a beautifully affluent neighborhood when my son announced, “Mom, you should be rich.” I knew his little heart desired his momma to enjoy the blessings wealth appears to bring. My reply came quickly, “Son, I’m the richest woman I know.”

But today, in 1 Samuel 18, I realized my answer to my son was inspired by the abundance of God’s good gifts: my salvation, my family, our ministry, health, friends, and countless other blessings.

But today, in His Word, I saw a glimpse of true wealth, and it is not in His gifts, as generous and wonderful as they are. True prosperity is what David knew and experienced; the LORD was with him. David prospered because he knew His Presence; and the LORD has provided the way we too can know and experience Him.

The Lord, rich in mercy, has lavished His grace and kindness on us that we would be saved to know the Prosperity of His Presence.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 2:4-7]

Let us fervently pray we will come to the place in life where everything pails in comparison to knowing and loving Him. May we truly desire Him and the Prosperity of His Presence above all else.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
[Psalm 73:25-26]

Let’s Grow Together!

1 Samuel 17… Consider Him, the Champion Incontestable

In ancient times, matters of war were sometimes decided by one battle; a battle fought between the two so-called champions representing each opposing army. In this place of proving, the reputation of each army’s god was at stake; each seeking the victor’s crown for his own god.

This could reasonably explain two armies facing off as anxious spectators, with the only semblance of battle occurring through Goliath’s taunting challenges during a stand off of forty days.

The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath… He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”… 16 The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand. [17:3-4, 8-10, 16]

And while the entire army of Israel flees in fear, there is one youth who accurately assess the situation.

When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid… 26 Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” [17:24, 26]

David, already convinced of the outcome, knew. This proving place would only serve to prove to both armies what David already knew. There was not one doubt in David’s mind; the God of Israel would prove Himself the Champion Incontestable.

Consider Him the Champion Incontestable

  • He is the Champion Incontestable; He is the Living God.
    • For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” [17:26]
  • He is the Champion Incontestable; He is the Deliverer
    • But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” [17:34-37]
  • He is the Champion Incontestable; He is the LORD of Hosts
    • Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. [17:45-46]
  • He is the Champion Incontestable; the battle is His
    • …and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” [17:47]

How do we respond to Him, the Champion Incontestable?

We have much to learn from the young David. Rather than fixating on the situation, the size of Goliath and the fear and panic of his own people, he fixed his eyes on the truth of his God.

  • He recognized God as the one, true living God
    • For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” [17:26]
  • He recalled God’s protection in the past
    • Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear…” [17:36-37]
  • He relied on God’s power for the present
    • “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” [17:37]
  • He refused to trust in the provisions of man
    • Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39 David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” [17:38-39]
  • He regarded his God as the Champion Incontestable
    • Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. [17:45-46]

David prevailed, not by his own wits, strength or help from man. David prevailed by faith.

Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. [17:50]

May we grow in faith, to become like David; may we realize our strength is in Him alone. May we grow to stand strong in the strength of our Champion Incontestable.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. [Ephesians 6:10-11]

Let’s Grow Together!

1 Samuel 16… Consider Him Who Looks at the Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1Samuel 16:7]

We have a tendency to look at things, and people, from the outward appearances. The nation Israel had assessed their new king, Saul, by what they could see.

Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish… He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. [1 Samuel 9:1-2]

But Saul’s stature and good looks were not the LORD’s criteria, and did nothing to secure his position before God.

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? [16:1]

The LORD sees not as we see and He sees what we can’t, for He Looks at the Heart.

Consider Him Who Looks at the Heart

“She has such a good heart,” is a comment we’ve all heard or perhaps said ourselves. However the LORD sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart; and what He sees is anything but good.

“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 “I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
[Jeremiah 17:9-10]

How do we respond to Him Who Looks at the Heart?

It can all feel so hopeless…where is the cure for the heart so desperately sick? The cure is in Christ alone.

…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.[Romans 10:10]

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2 Corinthians 5:17]

A new heart does not however equal perfection. When we think about David, the man after God’s own heart, we know he was far from perfect. The LORD is looking for hearts who recognize and understand their only hope is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [Colossians 1:27]

When we place our faith in Him, He Who Looks at the Heart transforms our hearts to see and know Him.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. [Matthew 5:8]

…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. [Ephesians 3:17]

May He Who Looks at the Heart transform us through the blood of Jesus, the work of His Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

  • The Blood of Jesus
    • In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, [Ephesians 1:7]
    • …knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. [1 Peter 1:18-19]
  • The Holy Spirit
    • … and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. [Romans 5:5]
    • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; [Galatians 5:16, 22]
  • The Word of God
    • Your word I have treasured in my heart,
      That I may not sin against You.
      [Psalm 119:11]
    • For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12]

Let us live in gratitude for His creative work in our hearts as we depend on His Holy Spirit to work through His Word, that we would “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 12:2]

Let us daily pray and ask Him Who Looks at the Heart to transform us that we would guard our hearts as we seek Him in His Word and grow in faith to love Him with all our hearts.

  •  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    Be acceptable in Your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
    [Psalm 19:14]
  • Watch over your heart with all diligence,
    For from it flow the springs of life.
    [Proverbs 4:23]
  • As in water face reflects face,
    So the heart of man reflects man.
    [Proverbs 27:19]
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    And do not lean on your own understanding.
    [Proverbs 3:5]
  • You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. [Jeremiah 29:13]
  • Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [Matthew 6:21]
  • ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. [Matthew 22:37-38]
  • Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. [1 Peter 3:3-4]

Let’s Grow Together!

John 14… Consider Him With Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we find ourselves in the perfect place to celebrate Thanksgiving, for in John 14 we see the source of every good and perfect gift in the Trinity… the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Consider Him With Thanksgiving

  • Consider the Father With Thanksgiving…
    • Who gave us His Son
      • For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. [John 3:16]
    • Who gives us His Holy Spirit
      • I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [14:16]
  • Consider the Son With Thanksgiving…
    • Who gave His life
      • We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; [1 John 3:16]
    • Who gives us His peace
      • Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. [14:27]
  • Consider the Holy Spirit With Thanksgiving…
    • Who gives us new life
      • That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. [John 3:6-8]
    • Who gives us His presence and truth
      • I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. [14:16-17]
  • Consider the Godhead With Thanksgiving…
    • Who are Three in One
      • But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. [14:26]

How do we respond to Him With Thanksgiving?

We have all we need in Him. Let us praise Him, not just today, but may our lives be filled with praise and Thanksgiving each and every day.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old hymn, Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow this morning…  it was the first song playing as I began to consider Him. I love it when that happens!

What a perfect way to praise Him With Thanksgiving; the One worthy of all our praise today, and everyday.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s Grow in Praise Together!