Searching for the Heart of God

Today’s Reading : 2 Samuel 2Psalm 34

During our journey through the books of Samuel, we have encounter many versions of Saul and David, and this is the time that we are able to see David become king of Judah and soon Israel.   The one amazing trait that I see constantly throughout the text is David’s passion and undying reverence and relationship with God and David’s heart.

2 Samuel 2: 1-7

 After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

In these verses, David is inquiring and listening to the direction of God.  He active listens to God and then clarifies the orders to make sure that he is doing the exact mission and directions that are presented to him.  There have been many times that I have wondered what way to travel or which road to take.  Because I relied on my own understandings I have experienced some very interesting adventures and been saved from myself through grace.  How different would my adventures have been if I was aligned properly with God and had the discernment to ask these easy questions?  David has lived and understood the richness and fullness of what God has in store for him.

Also in this passage, we see that David is genuinely compassionate for Saul, God’s anointed one.  He has had several opportunities to take the throne and have his revenge on Saul, but he always refers to “What is God’s plan for His Anointed?”   David has been given Saul’s life so many times in 1 Samuel, it is hard to keep a tally.  But he always inquires God about how to deal with Saul.   He revenges the lies that were spoken about Saul’s death and blesses those that buried Saul: his king, mentor, and father-in-law.  This is a testament of his internal character, David loved God and loved his neighbor and his enemy.   This is the Ahava, an unconditional love that cannot be explained.  It is the love that God has for us.   Once we have tasted the goodness of God, it is impossible to not want to give it to others.  May we be blessed to seek God as David has and listen to his direction.

Wait on the Lord

1 Samuel 26 and Psalms 27

1 Samuel 26 reads like a repeat of 1 Samuel 24, that we explored two days ago with Jennifer Armstrong.  The circumstances are two different events, although  similar, with Saul once again pursuing David. David has another opportunity to kill him, yet he shows mercy for the second time.  The picture Jennifer painted of choosing reconciliation over revenge, and trusting God’s authority, is applicable to this chapter as well.

I love how Psalms 27 so clearly describes David’s experiences outlined in 1 Samuel. He shows us that putting the Lord at the center of his life removes his fears (verse 1). Surrounded by enemy armies, he declares his confidence in God’s protection (verse 2-3). Even when David had the opportunity to take control, kill his enemy, he chooses to show mercy and allow God to work how He will.  TWICE!

Like David, we can trust God to deal with our enemies. Do you have a Saul in your life that you need to commit to the Lord’s hands?  He is the supreme authority, the righteous judge, and the ultimate miracle worker.  As a mentor once told me, “Let that go… it’s above your pay grade. That’s work that the Lord will do”.

I’m so encouraged by David’s cries out to the Lord in this Psalm, seeking wisdom and leadership (verse 11) in the middle of his drama. He chooses to WAIT for the Lord, even when under duress.

In contrast, my instinct is to take action. The Lord continues to give me opportunities to be patient and wait on Him. I’m a problem-solver, coming up with a mental action plan for the 12 “what-if” scenarios I create in my mind for any given situation. Inaction can make me uneasy, even when I know that immediate action isn’t always the best solution.  Waiting – whether it’s on direction from the Lord, or for my kids to get in the car – does not come easy.

I can think of a big season of waiting in my life, while handling hurts at the hands of others. God used this time to grow my trust in Him, He provided more wisdom, and delivered hope.  He protected my heart from seeking revenge, and in time, turned it toward reconciliation.  Had I taken immediate action, the outcome would be very different.  While the waiting can be the hardest part, in hindsight, we can see the beautiful work God does. For me, more time brought more truth.  And more time and truth brought more healing.

Lord, Thank you for being a righteous judge.  Please give us an ear to hear your direction and a heart to follow. Help us to know the difference of when you are leading us to wait and when you are leading us to action. Amen 

Are you there?

 

Todays Reading

I Samuel 9, Psalms 10

Have you ever been in a position in your life that you are asking God “Are you there?” It could be during a difficult examination; receiving some bad news; being at the bedside of a loved one; or the passing of a close relative. We all have at one time or another asked the question “God, are you there? God do you care?” The answer is hard to contemplate during these times because were are human and want to have the results instantaneously.

This week we will be starting the Lenten season of reflection and insight, and as we enter this season we seek a new and profound relationship with God. Some may sacrifice items or time to allow them to pursue Christ more. Some may commit to a particular practice as prayer, devotion, or mediation to connect. But during this time some of us will have immediate connection with God and others it may take some time. Through these time of intentional reflection or devotions God is present and He is continually mindful of us, his children. God is a father that is in tuned with His people and knows our desires, pains, and afflictions before we are aware of them. We may feel that He is distant, but He is actually right beside us in these most vulnerable times.

In my own experiences , I have asked the questions of “Are you there?” many times. The ones that I remember very vividly are: Exactly seven years ago this week, my son, Ollie was admitted to the hospital and my wife and I had no idea the pain and suffering he was experiencing. At six weeks old, Oliver had a 21-day stay at OSF in Peoria and we did not know what each day would entail. We as first time parents did not know if our son would survive each following day. “God, Are you there?”   Four years ago, on the day that my daughter, Ruby, was born and she was immediately placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to her having several conditions that were potentially life threating. My wife was not able to see my daughter until 12 hours after her birth. I went to the NICU with Ruby and held her hand the entire time. I prayed constantly “ God, Are you there?” Last year, my daughter Nadya, had an accident at a store and had several issues with consciousness and alertness.    I rushed her to the hospital and waited with her as she underwent test and exams to ensure that she did not have a concussion or seizures. As I wait, I ask “ Are you there?” Now as I reflect on these powerful and impactful times in my life, I can assure you that the last portion of the Psalm is true:

Psalms: 10-16-18

The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

 

In I Samuel, the 9th Chapter, we see that God knows the direction and the timing of all the things that are for His good. In this chapter each detail that is explained has been already set into motion by the Most High and we all have the ability to acknowledge and accept Him. He directs Saul to a certain region in response to one mission, but God has a different plan and purpose for him. Samuel has been given insight at the exact time and location that he will meet Saul. Then the meeting of the two allows each one to fulfill God’s purpose. God gives us the options and we have to ask for discernment to make the best decision.

So the question is “Are you there?”, the answer is “Yes, are you listening and are you aware of my presence?” Throughout the bible, the Spirit of God is present at all places and is now present of the believers. We now have to ask ourselves “ Are we ready to acknowledge Him?”

Have  a blessed week.