Monthly Archives: September 2014

107. New Year 2021

When I was contemplating what to write in this blog for 2021 God reminded me of the message that I wrote concerning 2020 in January 2020. I would just like to share with you a part of it:

"A dear friend of mine commented the other day that the year 2020 reminded her of having 20/20 vision. I therefore Googled 20/20 vision and the following definition was given:

"20/20 is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision you can see clearly at 20 feet."

So in essence if you have 20/20 vision you have good eye sight. And this made me think. Isn't that the essence of the message for us all for the year 2020? That we should all sharpen our spiritual eyesight so that we can see clearly what God wants us to do.

God has a special plan for us all; we just need our spiritual eyesight to clearly see the way, not only for this life, but for our place in the Kingdom of God. It is when we try to walk and plan our lives with our physical eyes that we stumble and fall. It is when we see everything in the natural that we get despondent and off the course that God has planned for us. We need to open our spiritual eyes to see the world as He sees it. In fact we need to see beyond this world, into the eternal Kingdom of our God and Savior."

Now isn't that interesting? 2020 certainly was the year where you had to look at the world through spiritual eyes, for if you looked at it through natural eyes you would have been totally despondent. God certainly knew that we needed His vision for the year, that we needed to look at everything through His eyes. I must be honest; looking at 2020 through God's glasses was the only way that I could stay positive and focused. Without Him, I think I would have crumbled.

2020 taught me so many things and I certainly want to take that into 2021. I would like to share shortly just a few of the insights that God gave me in 2020 and I believe that it will give you hope for 2021:

  1. We need to get off the treadmill of this life. We keep on running and running in a race that takes us nowhere. We need to stop participating in this race, get off the treadmill and walk on the road that God has ordained for us. To be part of the treadmill race is silly. We are just so used to it and think that this is the way that life should be, but we have a choice. We don't have to participate in the competition in life. We are free, free to be who God created us to be.
  2. We need to appreciate the ordinary things in life. A flower blooming, birds singing, new leaves growing, the laughter of a child etc. We should stop every now and again and take a moment to appreciate the beauty all around. Do not wait for a vacation or a special event to do that. There is beauty in every single day. Look up and see it all around you. It is there and it brings joy.
  3. See the happy moments in everyday life. Spending time with your children is a happy moment, playing a game with your loved ones is a happy moment, watching a movie together is a happy moment. Internalize those happy moments in your life, see it for what it is, and be in the moment.
  4. Be grateful for what you have. Truly be grateful. We all have so much when we truly think about it. Concentrate on that.
  5. Everything is beautiful in its time. Enjoy the season of your life that you are in now.
  6. Shrug therapy. Shrug off everything that you can do nothing about. Rather cast your cares upon God and leave it there. Trust Him with it and stop trying to fix everything yourself.
  7. Value the people in your life. Truly value them. Appreciate them for who they are and see them as God sees them.
  8. There is always something to laugh about. Laugh more and see the lighter side of life.
  9. Do not be easily offended.
  10. The sun rises and sets with God, forgive everyone else for being human.

I have so much more to say, but I will probably share more with you in 2021. But may we all take some of these 10 points into 2021. May it be a year of fresh beginnings, new mindsets and changes in how we see the world. There will always be devastation and heartache in this world until Jesus returns, but what matters is how we look at it. The choice is ours. Just love God, rejoice, do good unto others and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Life is actually as simple as that. Do not overcomplicate things, it is not worth it. Sometimes get out of your head and into your heart. THAT is where His Spirit dwells and that is where He will lead you. If we can all just do that, 2021 will be a wonderful year!! Full of new promises, new revelations and new pathways. God is with us, Immanuel! What more can we want?

Father, we look forward to 2021 because You are already there! You are already preparing the way for us. We trust You with our future. We want to look at everything through Your eyes. Please help us, help us to renew our minds and to really experience life through glasses of joy. Help us to see the beauty in everyday life. We love You. Amen

106. Christmas 2020

What a very interesting year this has been! I don't think anyone could have foreseen how different a year 2020 turned out to be. So when I asked the Lord for a message for Christmas 2020 He told me: Provision despite circumstances. And when I thought of what happened right after Jesus' birth I realized this to be true.

I am sure you all know of the three wise men that visited Mary and Joseph right after the birth of Jesus. God showed them a star and they followed the star from the east until the star stopped over Bethlehem where Jesus was born. They rejoiced with 'exceedingly great joy' as the Bible puts it and they brought gifts to Mary and Joseph:

"And when they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, they fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:11

They brought expensive gifts to Jesus and I know that God led them to do that. Because right after they left, God warned Joseph in a dream that Herod was coming to kill Jesus. God warned him and told Joseph to flee to Egypt, which he immediately did. Joseph was totally obedient to God and followed all His commands.

Until now, I have never really given thought to what happened, but I realized now that this must have been a very stressful time for Joseph and Mary. Not only did Herod try to kill their baby and most probably even them, but they didn't have any money. We know that Joseph was a carpenter and that he wasn't part of a wealthy family. He had to leave all he had behind in Nazareth to travel to Bethlehem for the census. He couldn't take much with him and Mary. He probably didn't expect them to be gone that long. And now they had to flee unexpectantly to Egypt. Now I assume they only took enough to last them for the time that they will be in Bethlehem and they certainly didn't have an ATM around the corner to draw money from for this unexpectant turn of events. But God looked after them; He sent the wise men with the gifts so that they had more than enough to go to Egypt and to sustain them whilst they had to be there. God foresaw what was going to happen and He provided for them despite the circumstances.

And this year it was certainly true for so many people. The amazing testimonies I have heard of how God provided during this year was simply awe-inspiring. Our own business didn't do well this year either. We had to live off 45% of our normal income since the lockdown started. But God has been so wonderful! People were so kind to us and we were so blessed in so many areas. We could pay all our bills and can even go to the beach this December. It is truly a testimony of how wonderful our God is and that He always looks after us! He really does. If we are walking in His ways, always looking up and asking for His guidance we can be confident that He will lead us on the best pathways for our lives. He will.

Many of the things that I have feared will happen, happened this year. And yet God brought us safely through it all. This gives me confidence and hope for the future. It makes me realize that it doesn't help to stress about things. God will provide, we simply need to trust Him. Joy is ours for the taking. Despite a raging world all around us, joy is an inside job. His Spirit is full of joy and He lives within us. Walk hand in hand with Him knowing that He will always provide for us and lead us onto higher ground. From there we have a bird's eye view of our lives and can see His hand in it all clearly. I see things so much differently now than I would have if 2020 had been just smooth sailing. I truly do and I am grateful. Diamonds are only formed through hardship. Slowly but surely the dirt is chipped off of me and pieces of the diamond are getting visible and that gives me courage to go on. May it inspire you too and may the diamond within you shine out for all to see. May your life be an inspiration.

Father, thank you that You are always providing for us! Thank you that You are always there for us, that You care for us and love us with an everlasting love. You are a loving Father. Thank you for forming the diamonds in each of us and leading us unto new heights in our lives. We love You. Amen

36. Stay close to God

Last week we learned a valuable lesson from David. He kept his promise to look after the descendants of Jonathan and Saul. He didn't back down, even though no one would have expected him to keep his promise. The same is true of us. We should keep our promises. We should do what we said we will do and we should keep to engagements that we committed to. We are children of the Most High God and people should be able to trust us. So in future remember, your 'Yes' should be your 'Yes' and your 'No', 'No'.

This is now my 36th devotion on the life of David and so far his life has been exemplary. He hasn't set one foot wrong and consulted God on all his decisions. He didn't move if he didn't have God's permission. He truly was a devoted man of God. But unfortunately his misstep also became one of the things people remember about his life. If you asked most Christians what they know of David's life, they will tell you of how he defeated Goliath and they will tell you about his encounter with Bathsheba. It is just sad for me that this one misstep tainted his character, as he was truly an exceptional man.

It was during spring, at the time that kings go to battle, that David sent Joab and his men to destroy Ammon and to besiege Rabbah. David stayed in Jerusalem. One night David walked on his roof and he saw Bathsheba bathing. She was very beautiful and he sent for her and slept with her and she became pregnant due to this. She told David about it and David tried to rectify his mistake. He sent for her husband, Uriah, who was away with Joab and his men. He hoped by sending for him that Uriah would sleep with his wife, then no one would suspect that the child was David's. But unfortunately for David, Uriah was a just man and refused to go to his wife while the armies of Israel were out fighting. David tried everything, he even got him drunk, but to no avail, Uriah stayed true to his principles. David then resorted to evil measures. He wrote a letter to Joab to ensure that Uriah be killed in battle. This happened indeed. And after Bathsheba's time of mourning, she became David's wife and bore him a son. David thought he had gotten away with his evil act, but God was not pleased.

David was a man after God's heart, God gave him everything his heart could ever desire and once He did, sin started creeping up on David. David was bored at home while his army was away and his boredom led to adultery and murder. At the pinnacle of his success, he displeased the Lord. God gave him everything he could ever want, and yet he wanted more.

The same happened with the Israelites if you read their whole history. The moment they had peace and were prosperous, they forgot all about God and served other gods. And then God would send enemies to suppress them, then they would repent and cry out to the Lord to save them. Then He does and the moment that they have peace again and are prosperous, the cycle starts all over again. It went on like this for centuries. And I am afraid that we are no different. Yes, we are fortunately under a New Covenant and our sins have been forgiven, but the moment all goes well, we tend to spend less time with God. But the very next moment we are experiencing stress then we rush to Him to help us. Wouldn't it just be better if we stayed close to Him all the time? Wouldn't it be better if we can humble ourselves before Him when it goes well as well as when it doesn't? Shouldn't we praise Him when we win and also praise Him when we lose? Why do we do this yo-yo act? Close to Him, far from Him, close to Him, far from Him?

Stay close to God, especially when all is well, when your dreams have become a reality and when all you have hoped have materialized. Stay within the Holy of Holies and breathe in His will for your life. When you stay there the bad times will become less and less, because you will be so consumed with Him, you will be living in Heaven already, and you will be breathing in His presence. Then your actions will be in line with His will and your pathway will be marked clearly by His Spirit. Just stay there; that is all He asks of you.

Father, thank you so much that we can come into Your presence at all times. Thank you for the wonderful privilege. You are such an awesome, amazing God. In Your presence is all the answers to life and everything we need to know. We want to stay close to You, no matter our circumstances. Jesus, you made it all possible and we praise You. Amen

 

35. Keep your promises

Last week we saw that David wanted to build the Temple of the Lord for Him, but God said no, Solomon will build it. David wasn't sour about it and he wasn't resentful, he instead praised God for His good plans and he exalted Him on high. And we learned that we should rest in His plans for our lives as well. We should obtain confirmations as to the way forward for us and then we should rest in that and trust God to know best for our lives.

David did only what God wanted him to do. And in the process he defeated the Philistines, Moab, the Syrians, Hadadezer and the Edomites. And the Bible tells us that:

"…the Lord preserved David wherever he went." 2 Samuel 8:6, 14

David reigned over all of Israel. He then remembered his promise to Jonathan and Saul to look after their descendants. He enquired if any were left. The only one he could find was Mephibosheth. He was the son of Jonathan. He was lame in both his feet, because when he was small he fell out of the arms of his nanny when she heard the news that Jonathan and Saul were killed. So he was disabled.

David sent immediately for Mephibosheth to come into his presence. Mephibosheth was scared to death; he thought David was going to kill him. Instead David took him in as a son and allowed him to eat at the King's table for the rest of his life, and he gave him all the land that was Saul's, as well as servants to work the land for him. David was very kind towards him.

David was kind to the grandson of the man who wanted to kill him. He could have acted differently, he didn't have to stay true to his word, and no one would have expected him to. But he was a man of honor, a man close to God's heart and he kept his promise to Jonathan and Saul.

We should also keep to our word. Jesus also spoke about it:

"Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No', 'No'." Matthew 5:37

We should keep to what we said we will do. No one might even remember what we said, but God does. Our word should be our honor. I have had the privilege to work with many Christians over the past couple of years. It has been mostly wonderful, I say mostly, because the one thing that truly saddened me was that people do not keep to their word. Christians especially are very quick to say yes, to do 'the right thing', but when push comes to shove, a whole lot of them dwindle away. It has truly saddened me as I prepare for them, I do a whole lot of homework for them and then they don't come as they promised they would. I know that urgent things can come up that forces you to change your plans, but for the most part people are not very apologetic or worried that they have violated their word. This really upset me, for I felt that they did not respect my time and my effort that I put in, but then God revealed to me that that is how He feels most of the time. This made me a different type of sad, I didn't feel offended anymore, but I felt sad for His sake and also sorry because I do the same thing to Him. It has happened a couple of time that I set apart time for Him and then I get busy with other things. Or I am in the middle of speaking to Him and then my phone rings and I answer immediately and forget about my conversation with Him after the phone call ends. I have repented of that and I have made myself more aware of it, so that hopefully it doesn't happen again in future!

Our 'Yes' should be our 'Yes' and our 'No', 'No'. We shouldn't be like someone tossed around by the waves of the ocean.  God doesn't want us to be double-minded. He wants us to be people that others can trust. He wants others to look up to us and know that we will be there when we said we would. And that we will do what we said we will do. We shouldn't act like this world and jump for the next invitation that looks better than the first. That is just sad. We should think before we answer, but when we do commit, we must stick to what we said we would do. Then when God sees that He can trust us to keep simple engagements and follow through on our promises, He will entrust us with even more. We should behave like mature children of God that can be trusted. Then the keys of the Kingdom will be given unto us. Isn't that more important than the next alluring invitation?

Father thank you that You keep all Your promises. Thank you that we can trust You without a shadow of a doubt. What a wonderful privilege that we have. We also want to be trusted. We promise that we will think next time before we promise anything and that we will follow through on our word just like You do. We want to mature to be just like You Jesus. Amen

 

 

34. Obtain confirmations when making big decisions

Last time we saw how bitter David's first wife, Michal was. She resented him in her heart as he danced with all his might to the Lord. Even though she had reason to be bitter, we learned that it is never a good thing to stay bitter. We must look up to a new day dawning and follow God to where He is leading us. New dawns are always around the corner, we should never miss it just because we wanted to stay behind the closed doors of bitterness. It cost Michal in the end, and we must make sure that the same doesn't happen to us.

God had given David rest from all his enemies all around. David was blessed indeed. David wanted to portray his gratitude to the Lord by building a Temple for the Lord. He conveyed his wishes to Nathan the prophet, who replied:

"Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you." 2 Samuel 7:3

But Nathan responded too quickly, because that night the Lord spoke to Nathan and said that He didn't want David to build Him the Temple. God declared that His Temple was going to be built by David's son. He however spoke kindly about David and solemnly promised that David's lineage will last forever. His throne shall be established forever. Nathan then returned and gave this message to David.

David immediately turned to the Lord and praised Him.

"Therefore You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all we have heard with our ears. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord God, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever." 2 Samuel 7:22, 29

David was truly remarkable. He could have been sour that God didn't choose him to build His Temple for Him. He could have been resentful towards his son who will have the honor to build the Temple instead of him. But he wasn't. Instead he immediately praised God. He knew that God knew best. He exalted His Name and glorified Him. Isn't it wonderful?

We might also have plans, plans that we view to be good plans, but God may have other plans for us. We should always consult Him and hear from Him. It happens often that we follow our own heads and our own planning, and then we get tired and things don't work out as we have planned, then we go crying to God asking why He allowed this to happen. But in the meantime, we never made the effort to actually hear if this is the route that we should take.

We should also make sure that we get more than one confirmation. Nathan firstly responded in the flesh and told David to go ahead, but God intervened and Nathan was humble enough to go back to David and tell him that he was wrong. But if the person is not humble enough to come and correct their 'word' to you, make sure that you have more than one confirmation on what you are planning to do. Now of course you don't need confirmations for every small thing, I am talking about quite big decisions in your life. Make sure that you clearly hear from God. You can hear yourself, through His Word and through other people as well. Then move on with confidence once you are sure what He wants you to do.

And if His plan is not your plan, don't resent what God is planning for others, but rather rejoice for all that He is planning for you. At the end you will look back and know that it was all for the best. He knows your personality, your circumstances, He knows everything and knows what will fit you best. Trust Him, truly trust Him. You will be glad that you did.

Father we want to honor You in all that we do. Help us on this journey and give us clear guidance as to where You want us to go. We cannot do this on our own; we will make too many mistakes. Thank you that we can know that when we humble ourselves before You that You will lead and guide us as we go. We love and praise You. Amen

33. Do not stay bitter

Last time we saw how David brought the ark of God back into Jerusalem. His heart was right and he wanted to honor God and have Him close to them. But he went about it the wrong way and Uzzah died in the process. At the end David learned from that and brought the ark back in correct fashion and he celebrated all the way. Today we should also make sure that our zeal for God is directed at the right things and that we flow with His Spirit and not where we think we should go.

Now as David brought the ark of God back into Jerusalem, he danced with all his might. Everyone was in a festive mood and celebrated with David, all except his first wife, Michal.

"Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart." 2 Samuel 6:16

And the moment he came home she went out to meet him:

"How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!" 2 Samuel 6:20

She was obviously very upset with him. David didn't stand back and answered her:

"It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humbled in my own sight. But as for the maid servants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor." 2 Samuel 6:21, 22

The Bible tells us that she stayed childless for the rest of her life, which was a terrible thing for women in those days.

The first time I read it I almost had sympathy for Michal. She truly loved David when they first married. She even helped him to escape from her father and saved his life in the process. Then she didn't see him for several years. She was married to another man, Palti. Then when David was crowned king, he sent for her. She had to basically divorce Palti, to be David's wife again. The Bible records how Palti cried when she left, indicating that he loved her very much. But she was now David's once again. The only problem was that she wasn't David's only wife anymore, he had many others too. So given the circumstances one can almost understand why she is bitter. I actually feel sorry for her. But the point to understand here is that she stayed bitter due to her circumstances, plus she didn't have the same zeal and enthusiasm for God as David did. I mean the whole of Israel was celebrating that God was going to dwell with them once again. They were dancing and singing; only she wasn't. She didn't appreciate God in their lives, she was too bitter. She didn't like it that David humbled himself before the Lord. And it cost her in the end.

There might have happened many things in your life that wasn't fair, especially this year during the COVID-19 epidemic. You might have good reason to be bitter. Your life might not have turned out as you had planned, you might have legitimate reasons to be angry and frustrated. But don't stay that way. Don't become a bitter old person who complains the whole time. Rather look up to God and rejoice in what lies ahead. Rejoice in new beginnings. Rejoice that He dwells with you and that He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Celebrate with other people, be glad when they are prospering and having their dreams fulfilled. Don't despise them, looking out of the bleak window of your soul. No, rather be part of their celebrations. Humble yourself before the Lord, and then He can use you and exalt you. If you stay inside, trapped by bitterness, more bitterness will manifest, it is just the way it is. Things will never change if you decide to wallow in it. True change will only come when you are walking and rejoicing with God, submitting to His will.

Father we are sorry that we can so easily become bitter due to our life's circumstances. We don't want to be that way. We want to follow You and rejoice with others. In praise and worship lies so much power and in joy is our strength. We want to follow You in it all. Amen

32. Get clear guidance from God

Last week we learned how David enquired with God on what to do as the Philistines came against him. He was just crowned king and the enemy was lining up. But David didn't fear, he immediately went to God and asked Him what to do. And then he was obedient to God's instructions. This resulted in victory for David and all of Israel as a whole. And we learned that we should always consult God in everything, especially when all is well and we are living our dreams. We should never forget about God but keep Him foremost in our minds.

Now after David defeated the Philistines, he gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand in total. He took all of them to go and fetch the ark of God from the house of Abinadab. Why did he need so many men to gather the ark of the Lord? It is because David wanted to honor and glorify God in the process. He wanted all the best men there to rejoice with him in bringing the ark to the tabernacle that David erected for it in Jerusalem. He wanted God magnified in the eyes of the people and he wanted them to celebrate with him that God was now coming to dwell with them:

"And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring from there the ark of God, whose name is called the Name, the Lord of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim." 2 Samuel 6:2

David celebrated this return of the ark to Israel. They played music with all kinds of instruments to the glory of God. It was truly a festive atmosphere, a joyous occasion. But then something terrible happened.

"And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of the God." 2 Samuel 6, 7

It came as a total shock to David. Here they were celebrating in the presence of the Lord and the next moment someone was struck dead because he tried to stabilize the ark from falling. David felt that it was unfair and he became afraid of the Lord (2 Samuel 6:9). David then refrained from bringing the ark to Jerusalem and instead he took it to the house of Obed-Edom. But three months later he heard how blessed the house of Obed-Edom was and decided to bring the ark to Jerusalem. Again they made music to the Lord and David danced with all his might. But this time they sacrificed oxen and sheep after every sixth step. So they bought the ark into Jerusalem and there David sacrificed some more and blessed the people in the Name of the Lord. He also gave a loaf of bread, a piece of meat and a cake of raisins to each person to celebrate with.

David's heart was right; he wanted the Lord close to him, close to Israel. But he went about it the wrong way. He didn't know that the ark had to be carried with specific poles and by purified priests etc. The reason was that God was holy and couldn't come into contact with unholiness as Jesus hadn't died yet. His holiness will burn up anything unholy that touches it. This is what happened to Uzzah. Now today we needn't worry about that, because Jesus has now clothed us with His robe of righteousness and therefore we can come close to God, hallelujah!

The lesson here for me today is the following - David wanted to do something special for God. But he went about doing it the wrong way. I think this is true of us today as well. Many times we want to do something for God. And in our hurried way we go about it the wrong way. We should rather spend time with God and ask Him to help us to be clear about the way that we should handle the situation. Our zeal can sometimes be a bit misdirected at the cost of those closest to us. For example we can become so involved at church that it influences our time spent with our families. It is a good thing, but is it truly where God wants you now? Make sure that you are where God wants you to be. And once you are sure, celebrate it like David did. Don't hide it under a basket. David could have stayed sad due to what had happened to Uzzah, he could have brought back the ark under solemn circumstances, but he didn't. He rejoiced and danced to the Lord in delight. We should be the same. We should celebrate the presence of God in our lives. We should dance and rejoice that He is part of our everyday lives. All glory and honor to Him!

Father please guide us in what You want us to do for You. Help us to see the bigger picture as You do. You know best and we love You for it. Guide us onto Your ways everlasting. Thank you Father. We love You and rejoice in all that You are doing in our lives! Amen

31. Always turn to God

Last time we learned how David waited more than 20 years for the promise that he will become King of Israel to come to pass. And during that time he waited with a good attitude, he acted honorably and followed God in everything that he did. God also prepared him to be king during that time even though he didn't even realize it himself. It is such a valuable lesson for us today, especially if we are in a season of waiting to receive all that the Lord has promised us.

But the moment David was crowned as king over Israel, his enemy arose against him, the Philistines. And true to David's style he first enquired of the Lord whether he should go and fight against the Philistines. And God told him that he should and that He will deliver them into his hand. David was obedient and the Philistines were no match for him. With God's help, he defeated them. And David gave all glory to God:

"The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water." 2 Samuel 5:20

Then the Philistines regrouped and came against David once again. David enquired of the Lord again; he didn't just assume he should attack as he did the last time. And he was right, this time God gave him different instructions:

"You shall not go up; circle around behind them and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines." 2 Samuel 5:23, 24

And David obeyed and he drove back the Philistines as far as Gezer.

David trusted in God inexplicitly and followed His commands to the tee. He did everything the way that God instructed him and it was wonderful to see how God just manifested Himself in a supernatural way. Wow. Imagine hearing God's army marching ahead of you to bring the victory for you. That must have been awe-inspiring. And why did it happen? Because one man was obedient to the Lord His God and sought Him and His will above all else. David was now king and that could have gone to his head, and yet he still humbled himself before God and followed Him and Him only.

The lesson for me here is that in the times when all goes well with us and when our dreams have realized, that we shouldn't turn our backs on God. We should still honor Him above all else and seek Him and His advice about every step that we need to take. We should never ever think that we have arrived and that we know best. I mean in my mind's eye it was quite obvious that David should attack the Philistines as they were coming for him. And yet David sought the will of God. So that serves as a reminder to us as well. Even if we think that the next step to take for us is quite obvious, we should still enquire of God and seek Him and Him alone.

Then of course expect opposition when you are exalted. People get jealous very quickly and want to drag you down to their level. But don't let it faze you. Be like David, seek the Lord and watch His army marching ahead fighting for you! David humbled himself before God and he was victorious because of it. And the same applies to you. Jesus bought the victory for us at the cross so that no weapon formed against us can prosper. We simply need to hold fast to God and trust Him above all else. We shouldn't try and take matters into our own hands, no, we should walk as the conquerors that we are through Jesus Christ. Allowing Him to manifest the victory for us. Getting even and defending ourselves only serves to exalt the ego. No, God wants us to exalt Him, to seek Him, to walk with Him and then victory will be ours without a shadow of a doubt!

Father thank you so much that Jesus bought victory for us at the cross. Thank you that we are more than conquerors because You love us. Hallelujah! We want to stay close to You, always and in all circumstances! Amen

30. Wait with a good attitude

Last week we saw how God lifted up David from the lowest point in his life, to being King of Judah, all in a matter of days. It was truly amazing to see. The same happened to Joseph, Moses, Job, but to name a few. We shouldn't despair at the low points in our lives, but rather we should take courage and look up to God. As long as we are walking with Him, we can be rest assured that we are on the right pathway for our life, and that He will exalt us at exactly the right time.

God was with David, because David sought the Lord in everything that he did. He reigned over Judah for seven and a half years. During that time, Saul's son Ishbosheth reigned over Israel. And as time passed by David got stronger and stronger and Ishbosheth became weaker and weaker. Even Abner, the commander of Saul's army turned against Ishbosheth and wanted to join forces with David. But Joab, David's commander, hated Abner because he had killed Joab's brother, so in secret he murdered him. David was very upset when he heard about this and mourned and fasted for Abner. All the people saw this and realized that David never wanted Abner to be dead.

So now without Abner, Ishbosheth's reign and power started to dwindle until finally one day two of the captains of the troops of Saul's army went into the house of Ishbosheth and killed him right there in his bed. They ran to David as they thought that this news would please him and that he will exalt them and give them favorable positions in his army. But as honorable as David was, he was very upset that an innocent man was murdered in his own bed. He ordered his men to kill these two for their wicked act.

It was then that all the elders of Israel came to David and asked him to be king over all of Israel. Finally, after many years since receiving the promise that he will be King over Israel, it materialized. Scholars believe that it was twenty years since the time that David was anointed as king by Samuel. Can you imagine waiting that long for the promise of God to materialize in your life? And what did David do during this waiting period? He trusted God and he walked wherever He led him.

"So David went on and became great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him. David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel." 2 Samuel 5:10, 12

David became great and he knew it was due to the favor of God. He didn't take any honor for himself. He knew that God was with him for the sake of all His people. David remained humble and gave God the glory.

During our waiting time, we should walk with God, grow with God and learn all His ways. You see during this waiting time God prepared David for the role as King. He served in the house of Saul, he could see how it was run, he learned combat, he learned how to be the leader of six hundred men, he learned the tactics of the enemies, he learned how to act honorably even during intense times, he learned so many things. He definitely didn't think of it that way when he was running for his life, but it certainly helped him. And the same is true of you. God is teaching you many things during your waiting time. You might not see it and you might not consider what you are doing as important, but God sees everything and He uses all the lessons that He taught you. The most important thing is to wait with a good attitude and to be honorable in all your dealings, to put God first and to consult Him in everything that you are doing. Learn from David. He had all the right reasons why he could be mad and murder those who seek his blood, but he never sought revenge. He looked up and followed God. And what an amazing example for us all today!

Father, You know best. Your timing is just perfect. We know that You are teaching us many things. Help us to be patient and to learn what we must learn and that we should grow in our knowledge of You every day, exalting You in everything. Amen

29. Be faithful right where you are

Last week we learned that we shouldn't rejoice when our enemies get hurt or are going through a tough time. We shouldn't be happy when others who despise us, are not excelling. We should rather pray for them that God's will be done in their lives. We shouldn't gloat or rub it in their faces, no; we should rather walk this road with God as worthy children of Him. David did just that when he heard that Saul had died. He wept for him and even wrote a song for him. David's actions were exemplary; given all that Saul had done to him.

Now that Saul was dead, David was free to go back to Israel. But instead of just assuming that he could go back, he first enquired of the Lord. The Lord told him yes, he can go back to Judah. God told him to go and settle in Hebron. He and all his men obeyed and went to settle in Hebron.

"Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah." 2 Samuel 2:4

Finally the promise made to David by God has been fulfilled. But only in part. He was only made king over Judah and not all the other tribes. Abner, the commander of Saul's army, took Ishbosheth, Saul's son and made him king over the rest of the tribes. So for seven years and six months David was king only over Judah and not the whole of Israel. And even though the full manifestation of all that God had promised him hadn't come to pass, David did the best he could with the kingship that God had already given him.

So basically within days from the lowest point in David's life, God exalted him to king over Judah. He didn't have to fight for it, he didn't have to reason with people and convince them that he had to be made king, no, God simply gave it to him. It was certainly one swift exaltation.

This made me think of Joseph too. He was one moment at the lowest point in his life, namely the dungeon and the next he was the second mightiest man in Egypt. This all happened without going through the hierarchy, without a whole voting process, without even proving himself. This happened because he trusted in God and God honored him.

The same with Moses. One moment Moses was a shepherd tending sheep in the wilderness and the next he was the leader of 2.5 million people, challenging the mightiest man on earth namely the Pharaoh. But God was mightily with him and exalted him at exactly the right time.

Do not despair when you are at a low point in your life. Don't give up when you don't see your God-given dreams materializing. Just keep walking with God. Give each step with Him. Just keep being faithful in the small things. Once God can trust you with that, He will exalt you higher and quicker than you ever dreamed possible. The speed at which you will move will astound you. But first things first, do what He has placed on your plate today with excellence. Do it to the best of your ability and do it as if you are doing it for Him, even the most mundane tasks. Do not look around you at what God is doing with other people, but focus on the here and now and what He is asking of you today. Do not consider anything that you do as unimportant. Everything that you are doing as His Temple has significance and can either lead people to Him or chase them away. God wants you to be a magnet to a lost world, drawing them closer to Him. He wants you to shine out as the Temple that you are and attract people to Him. And as soon as He sees your light shining brightly, He will raise you unto a hill so that more people can see His light shining through you. But until then, be faithful right there where you are.

Father thank you for Your plans for us. Thank you that we can know that our time of exaltation is coming. Please help us to be patient and faithful right where You have placed us. You know best Lord, our God and King. Amen