Monthly Archives: March 2016

41. Forgive others and move on

Last week we saw how Absalom killed his half-brother Amnon for raping his sister, Tamar. Absalom harbored hatred and revenge for two years in his heart and when the time came he unleashed his hatred and had Amnon killed. Then Absalom had to flee to Geshur and had to live there for three years. This whole debacle caused a lot of heartache and pain, for Absalom himself, for David and all his sons and household. Hatred and revenge never pays. We learned that we have to let go of it and rather fill ourselves with God's love. That doesn't make what they did to us right, but it does free us to walk in God's grace and love. He will handle them.

So Absalom fled to Geshur as we saw last week. He stayed there for three years. In the meantime David really missed him. Joab, David's commander noticed it, and through a plan devised by him, he persuaded David to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem. So Joab sent for Absalom and brought him back. But David still didn't want to see him:

"And the king said, "Let him return to his house, but do not let him see my face." So Absalom returned to his house, but did not see the king's face."2 Samuel 14:24

This sad state of affairs went on for two years. Absalom became despondent, he couldn't understand why he could come back, but his father didn't want to see him. He summoned Joab and Joab in turn spoke to David. David relented and welcomed Absalom:

"… Absalom came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed him." 2 Samuel 14:33

David took two years to see his son Absalom and to be reconciled with him. The Bible doesn't tell us the reason specifically, but if we read between the lines, David battled to forgive Absalom for what he had done. This period of two years made Absalom bitter as we will see later on. This spurred him on to come in rebellion against David. This period of waiting came with a cost to David and even more heartache and pain.

As we read this account of what had happened we cannot help but see ourselves in it. We also harbor long periods of resentment or unforgiveness towards someone. We cannot get ourselves so far as to contact them and sort it out. It is so important that we do that. Those periods where we do not forgive and do not want to reconcile, can cost us in the end. It can magnify the heartache and pain. That is not what God wants for us. Jesus forgave those who crucified Him even whilst hanging on the cross. He certainly didn't waste a second in forgiving them. And we need to do the same. The only one we are really hurting is ourselves and God wants us free from all heartache and pain. Jesus came to set us free, we shouldn't inflict more pain on ourselves. Then we are just like wayward sheep, not listening to the Shepherd, running towards the cliffs. And when we fall off and get hurt, we blame Him and ask Him why He allowed this to happen to us. And all the while we were running away from His loving arms. Stop doing that today. Follow His voice calling you, follow Him every step of the way, forgiving all that have hurt you in the process. Do not waste another moment.

Father, thank you that all our sins have been forgiven at the cross. Thank you that Jesus has set the example for us. David didn't have His example to follow, but we do. Thank you for that and please help us to follow You in all that we do and to forgive all those who have wronged us. We can only do it with Your help. Thank you that we can know that You are always there for us. Amen

40. Do not harbor hatred and revenge

Last week we saw how David's son, Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. She begged him to marry her now, as it was a disgrace not to be a virgin anymore, but his love for her turned into hatred and he chased her away. David was angry, but made a terrible mistake in not disciplining his son for doing this. This opened the door for revenge and a lot of innocent people were hurt in the process, even David himself as we will see later on.

Absalom, Tamar's real brother and David's other son, hated Amnon for doing this to his sister. He allowed the hatred to fester until the time was ripe. Two years later Absalom had a party at his house. He invited King David and all his brothers. King David declined, but he sent all his sons, including Amnon. When they arrived, Absalom ordered his servants to kill Amnon when he was merry with wine, which they did. All the sons had such a fright that they immediately climbed on their mules and fled. In the meantime the news reached David, but it was wrong, the messenger told David that all of his sons were killed. David tore his clothes and fell on the floor. But just a while later the correct news came that it was only Amnon who was killed. Then David's sons arrived and everyone wept bitterly. And David mourned for his son.

Absalom in the meantime fled and went to the king of Geshur and was there for three years. David missed his son terribly and longed to see him.

All of this heartache could have been avoided had David disciplined Amnon in the first place. David suffered the loss of two of his sons in the process, Amnon being killed and Absalom being exiled. Plus it caused emotional stress to his whole household and all his sons and servants.

It was primarily David's fault as he didn't discipline Amnon, but it was also not right of Absalom to take revenge into his own hands. He should rather have gone to talk to his father and maybe sort something out; instead he harbored hatred in his heart and added murder to it. And in the end it cost him as well. He had to flee from his home and stay in a foreign land for three years. Later on we will see that it cost him his life too. That was not God's plan for him. God wanted to much more for him, and yet he chose to cherish hatred and revenge.

Do you maybe have revenge on the mind? Do you have someone that has done you a lot of harm that you want to get even with? Is there something that happened that hurt you so much that you cannot help but hate the person? There are so many examples in the Bible as well as in our modern day life that show us that hatred and revenge doesn't pay. It doesn't help us at all. It keeps us prisoner in our own cage and because we harbor those feelings, God cannot come close to us and bless us. We in effect shut the door in His face. We need to let go. We need to forgive and then we will see that the prisoner we are releasing is ourselves. Jesus came to forgive us all, of every single sin that we have ever committed, and because He lives within us, He wants to forgive others through us as well.

Yes, Absalom had every right to be angry; he had every right to want to get even. But he should have given that over to God. Saul also did terrible things to David, and yet David never sought revenge. He left it in God's capable hands and God judged Saul for what he did. Absalom should have done the same. We can learn from him and see where his hatred got him. Now we should make sure we don't follow the same destructive path as he did. God wants us filled with His love. His love is the most powerful force in the Universe and if we want to have it manifest in our lives, we should allow His love to consume us. And this can only happen if we let all hatred and thoughts of revenge go. Jesus came to give us life and life in abundance and this is found in His love. Harbor His love and see all the good things manifesting in your life!

Father, so many people have done us wrong. But then we remember how many did Jesus wrong too and He forgave them all. Help us to do the same. We don't want to be prisoners of our own hatred anymore. We want to be filled with Your love and more and more of You. Amen

39. Discipline your child

Last week we learned that God makes all things work together for our good. Good things and bad things. He will use all things to enrich us in the end that good will come out of it. We might not understand it now, but continue to trust God and love Him; in the end you will see it. God blessed David with a very special son, Solomon and He helped David to conquer Ammon and to be enriched in the process. All because David continued to love God and to honor and worship Him.

Now David had many wives and as a consequence of that he had many children too. And there was not much love between all these children. God never wanted anyone to have more than one wife. God made Adam and Eve, one on one. He didn't intend that any man have more than one wife, as He knew the trouble that it could bring. Plus marriage is a picture of Jesus and His bride. So if God wanted more than one for mankind, what does that say of Jesus? That we must share His love with others? No, God ordained, one man and one woman. And He especially told the kings that, because He knew that they will do whatever they pleased due to their ranking:

"Neither shall the king multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away: nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself." Deuteronomy 17:17

But David didn't heed God's Word and here all his trouble began. The first crises began because Amnon fell in love with his half-sister, Tamar. Amnon followed the advice of his evil friend and pretended to be sick. He asked David to send his sister to him to care for him, which David did. She came and he raped her. She tried to talk him out of it, to rather let him marry her, but he wouldn't listen. Afterwards she still asked that he marry her, for it was shameful not to be a virgin anymore, but his love for her had turned into hatred and he sent her away. He had done a despicable thing. The Bible tells us David was very angry at what happened but it is clear that David didn't do anything about it. He didn't discipline Amnon for his actions. And this was a big mistake. The Word tells us that we must discipline our children:

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." Proverbs 13:24

David didn't discipline Amnon for this despicable act. And this resulted in a lot of heartache and pain. For Absalom, Tamar's real brother, hated Amnon for doing this to his sister and decided to take revenge. We will have a look at it next week. The point is David could have spared so many lives if he had just disciplined Amnon. The events following this rape are truly sad, and so many innocent people were hurt in the process.

We must learn from this and discipline our children when they have done wrong. They need to learn the right ways of God. And you as their parent are the best person to do it. You need to show them the way of life, so that when they grow up, they will not depart from it. Otherwise if you leave your child and not discipline him/her, they will grow up hurting many innocent lives in the process. It is your job to teach them and to lead them unto the way everlasting. Start when they are small, then they won't deviate when they are bigger. Do not make the same mistake as David. You will be so glad that you disciplined them.

Father, thank you so much for the children in our lives. Thank you that You have blessed us with them. Help us to teach them right from wrong and to lead them unto Your pathway for them. Amen

38. Continue to love God

David committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. The moment he was confronted with it by Nathan, the prophet, he repented and tried to convince God to take the consequences away. But when that didn't happen, David still went to worship God within His house. David always turned back to God. He immediately confessed when he did something wrong and returned to God. We can certainly learn from him and always turn back to God even though we do not get what we want. We should also be open to uplifting word from people, and we should turn our backs on sin and continue to follow God just like David did.

So as we've seen last week, the child born out of wedlock died. But David turned to God and still worshipped Him. Then he went to his wife, Bathsheba and comforted her:

"Then David comforted Bathsheba, his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him." 2 Samuel 12:24

Isn't it beautiful? God blessed them with Solomon. And as we all know, Solomon became the next king of Israel, the wisest man that ever lived. And it is beautiful to see that God loved him.

God gave them beauty for ashes. Because David repented and turned back to God, God blessed him with a very special son. I don't think this would have happened if David remained angry with God and turned his back on Him.

Not only that, but God brought victory for Israel over Ammon as well. Joab, who has been besieging Rabbah all this time, called for David to come and finish off the job.

"So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah, fought against it, and took it. Then he took their king's crown from his head. Its weight was a talent of gold, with precious stones. And it was set on David's head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance." 2 Samuel 12:29, 30

God was with David, because David's heart was for God. And God blessed him with even more riches and honor.

Even if we make mistakes, God will be with us and restore us. This reminds me of Romans 8:28:

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

God will make ALL things (good things and bad things) work together for our good. But notice one very important part of this sentence - 'to those who love God'. David certainly continued to love God and that is why it worked out for his good. We should continue to love Him as well and not be angry with Him. We should look up to Him and praise Him in all circumstances, knowing that all things will work out for good, even if we don't see it that way now.  Next time something happens, remember this and hold onto it. God will make it work out for your good, even if others plan evil against you or circumstances don't work out as you had planned. Just remain close to Him! Even your enemies' evil plans will enrich you in the end, God will make sure of it.

Then I would like to end off with something interesting as a side note. Solomon was born and named Solomon by his father. But in 2 Samuel 12:25, we see that God called him Jedidiah, Beloved of the Lord. I love it. God also changed Abram's name to Abraham, Sarai's name to Sarah, Saul's name to Paul etc. This just made me wonder if God has a spiritual name for us as well? It could be. Why don't you ask Him? I am sure He will reveal it to you.

Father thank you that You make all things work together for the good of those who love You. We trust You in all circumstances that what happened will somehow work to the good even though we cannot see it right now. Thank you for kindness and goodness. We love You. Amen

37. Continue to worship God

Last time we witnessed the very first misstep of David. His life has been one massive example to us all. Unfortunately at the pinnacle of his life, when God had given him everything that he could ever desire, he committed adultery and murder. This displeased God greatly, as David was a man after His own heart. David thought he had gotten away with his actions, but God knew and David couldn't escape the consequences.

God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David.

"Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword." 2 Samuel 12:7-9

God was very angry and through Nathan the prophet God spoke that adversity will arise within David's own house and the child born out of wedlock will die.

Nathan confronted David in his own home. And once again it was amazing to me to see how David reacted. He could have denied it, he could have pretended that it wasn't true, he could have kicked Nathan out, but instead he humbled himself again before the Lord and repented. He confessed that he had sinned and that he was sorry about it.

The child got very sick. David fasted and pleaded with God to save the child's life. He lay on the ground and pleaded. The elders tried to lift him off from the ground and wanted him to eat, but he would not. On the seventh day David heard that the child had died. His reaction again was commendable to me:

"So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped." 2 Samuel 12:20

Wow, even though he didn't get what he had pleaded from God, he still went to God and worshipped Him. That is truly admirable. He could have been angry with God, he could have decided to stop following God, but no, he decided to go and praise God and worship Him.

When David was confronted with his sin, he repented and then he tried to convince God to take the consequences away. But when God wouldn't, he still praised Him. We can certainly learn from his reactions.

We should also be open to other people pointing out our sin to us. We might be blind to it and even try to justify it, but when it is pointed out; we should listen to it and repent of it. Now today God doesn't punish us for our sins anymore, as Jesus bore our punishment, but the consequences of our sins might remain. If we committed adultery and is divorced because of it, we must bear all the consequences that comes from a divorced life. If we lost a dear friend due to our gossip, it is a consequence of our sin. If we are punished at work due to unethical behavior, it is a consequence of our sin. And so I can go on. We need to understand that it is not God punishing us, but it is simply what happens if we allow sin to run rampant. And we should accept those consequences and continue to praise God and honor Him. We shouldn't turn our backs on Him. It is not His fault. Though God doesn't condone our behavior, He forgives us and will help us through it. Trust Him, hold on to Him and never let go. David did just that and we will see next week how God blessed him.

Father, we are sorry for the sins that we commit. We are so grateful that You have forgiven all our sins at the cross; we praise Your mighty Name. Please help us to bear the consequences of our sins. Please help us that the load is not too heavy for us. We praise You now and forevermore! Amen

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