Archive for tag: David

27. Always look UP

Last week we learned a valuable lesson from David. He was at an ultimate low point in his life. He had been in exile in a foreign country for a very long time, and the main reason was that he had been following God's calling on his life. And now even whilst following God, the Amalekites destroyed his and his men's homes, took all their possessions as well as their wives and children, and if this was not even bad enough, his men started talking about stoning him. David was at an ultimate low and yet the Bible tells us that he found his strength in the Lord. He didn't rebel or blame God, no he turned to Him and God used his obedience to prosper him. David never gave up and continued to trust in God.

God told him to go after the Amalekites and to retrieve all that was theirs, He would be with them. David and six hundred of his men went after the Amalekites. They found an Egyptian slave along the road. His master had left him behind because he got sick. David was kind to him and he led them to the Amalekites, where they were feasting and drinking of all the spoils that they took, not only from David and his men, but of the whole region. Then David and his men attacked them.

"Then David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either great or small, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all." 1 Samuel 30:17-19

God was mightily with him. He helped them to rescue everything that was taken from him, but not only that, they could take all the other spoil that the Amalekites took from the Philistines also. David was in fact enriched by this whole episode, because He continued to trust in God.

This is in stark contrast with Saul. Just in the next chapter we are told how Saul and his sons died in the battle with the Philistines. Saul was severely wounded and his enemy was pursuing him. Then he fell on his own sword and basically killed himself as he didn't want to fall into the enemies' hands and his armorbearer didn't want to kill him either. It is such a sad end to his life. It could have been so different if he had trusted God inexplicitly as David did.

We can learn from David. We should not look at our outward circumstances; we should rather look inside to where God is leading us and what He is busy doing for us. We should look at our life through heaven's eyes. The enemy might bring certain things our way, but with God by our side, we will be enriched in the process just like David. We should never give up and turn our back on Him. We should keep moving forward, with our eyes fixed on Him and Him alone. Then true victory will manifest for us. Stay steadfast in your faith. Keep looking UP. He is always with you, the great and victorious One.

Father thank you so much that You are always there for us. Thank you that You are such an amazing God, the Victorious One, walking alongside us, always ready to help. We praise Your Name, we look up to You, please lead us to where we need to go and be. You are glorious. Amen

26. Never give up

The previous time we discussed the life of David, we saw that we can hear from God ourselves. We needn't rush from prophet to star signs to personality types to understand where God is leading us. No, we can hear from Him ourselves. We shouldn't stoop as low as Saul and consult mediums, we should rather trust in Him inexplicitly and in His mighty power as well as His perfect timing for our lives.

But Saul did consult a medium and called up Samuel from the dead. Samuel told him that he will die in the battle against the Philistines and that Israel will lose the battle. He was paralyzed with fear, as he knew that God would not be with them in the battle.

On the other hand David was with the Philistines, ready to attack Israel. What David's real plan was, the Bible doesn't say, but it does say that the Philistine princes didn't trust David and they didn't want him and his men to go with them to battle. The king of the Philistines trusted David and tried to convince them that David should go with them, but it didn't work. David and his men had to return home.

But when they did, they found Ziklag, where their home was, raided by the Amalekites. They took everyone that was left behind, men, women and children, as well as all their belongings and burnt the town to the ground. David and his men came upon this scene and were devastated. They cried, so much so that the Bible says - '…they wept, until they had no more power to weep.' Then a shocking thing happened, David's own men turned on him:

"Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters." 1 Samuel 30:6

The men were so devastated that they started to think irrationally. They wanted to portray their frustrations unto David. And what did David do?

"But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." 1 Samuel 30:6

Isn't it just amazing? His own men were turning on him; he has lost all earthly support. He was hunted by the King of his own country, his family has been abducted, all his belongings were gone and now his own men were turning on him. And instead of cursing God, instead of asking why, instead of blaming God, he turned TO Him to be strengthened. I love it. He could have easily said: "You know what Lord; I have only been faithful in all that I do, everything. And where has this brought me? I am living as an exile, in a foreign land, with nothing to my name and no family to support me and now even my own men is turning against me. What does it help to follow You?" But no, he didn't. This was the biggest test of David's life. This was a make or break moment. He was at the lowest level he had ever been. And yet he was wise enough to turn to the Lord for strength. And as you will see as his life story is told, is that this low point in his life, is quickly succeeded by exaltation to the King of Judah. So at this low point, he was so close to his breakthrough. Can you imagine if he had given up there and then? How sad that would have been! But he didn't and therefore we can read about him as the greatest Israeli King that ever lived.

The same might happen to us. We might be so close to our breakthrough, even though things in the natural are not flowing as we might have expected, our breakthrough might be around the next corner. We shouldn't give up. We should never turn our back on God and forsake the route that He has laid before us. We never know what could be next for us. God is so patient and kind, so full of love. He wants the best for us. Do not stop digging just before you find your treasure. Do not give up. Find your strength in God as David did. Find Him in all that you do. He will give you the strength to continue. Never ever give up. In fact rejoice in a low point on your road with God, He will then take you higher! Just like He did with Job. Afterward Job had double than what he had before the trial. Walk with that confidence in mind.

Father thank you that we can find our strength in You. Thank you that You never give up on us. Help us to continue on Your path even though it seems as if we are on the wrong track or that everything is falling apart around us. Give us the assurance that this road is from You. If not, then help us to find our route back to You and where we need to be. Amen

25. Be content right where you are

Last week we saw that we shouldn't fight against the plans of God. It doesn't help as it only frustrates us and make our lives miserable. We should rather take hands with God and walk this pathway with Him leading the way. Then whatever comes our way, we can be assured that He is with us every step of the way.

Now whilst David was still living in Philistine, the Philistines gathered together to go to war against Israel. They gathered together and encamped at Shunem. Saul was terrified when he saw the army of the Philistines. He desperately wanted confirmation from the Lord that all will be fine:

"And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets." 1 Samuel 28:6

So when Saul couldn't hear the voice of the Lord he became even more desperate and sought the guidance of a spiritual medium. They told him of a woman at Endor. He immediately went there. What made this quite ironic is that Saul had banished all mediums and spiritists out of the country, and here in his moment of need, he turned to one.

Now he came in disguise to the woman and didn't reveal his identity. He asked her to call up Samuel for him. And the moment she did, she knew he was Saul. After putting her at ease, he spoke to Samuel. Samuel confirmed his worst fear. His end has come. The whole of Israel, the King and his sons would be delivered into the hands of the Philistines the very next day. Saul's end has come. Samuel told him that he would be with him the very next day.

Saul was paralyzed with fear and fell down on the ground and refused to eat. After some persuasion, they convinced him to get up and to eat and to 'face the music'. It was a very dark day for Saul indeed.

I have also witnessed, experienced and seen Christians getting desperate when they feel that they don't hear from God. I know of Christians going from 'prophet to prophet', to hear what God is saying about their future. I know of Christians who read the star signs every day to determine what is going to happen in their near future. I know of Christians believing in the star sign they were born under and building their whole lives around the 'personality type' that they are according to their star sign. It is absolute nonsense and God is not pleased. He wants us to hear directly from Him. That is why Jesus came. He came so that He could release us from the power of sin and impart unto us righteousness so that His Holy Spirit can come and live inside of us. And because He is living on the inside of us, we can personally hear His voice. We can know what He wants us to do.

But one thing that I have learned through the years is that God doesn't necessarily show us exactly where He is leading us. He isn't going to reveal His exact plan and detail all at once. Step by step He will guide us on the way. Unfortunately we as humans don't like that. We want to know months and years ahead and therefore we resort to going to our modern day 'mediums and spiritists'. But look at what happened to Saul. God doesn't honor that. He wants us close to Him, walking this pathway with Him. He wants to guide us step by step. We should learn to take His hand and to walk this pathway and not run ahead of His perfect timing as we are used to in this rushed world, especially now during this COVID-19 epidemic. We want to know when all this will end, we want to know when we can go on with our lives. We want to desperately see into the future, but we can't. Fortunately we know the ONE who does. All we need to do is to trust in Him one day at a time and not fear. He is in control of our lives. We must just surrender to Him and allow Him to do His perfect work in us.

God knows best, we can trust Him and His timing. There is no need to run to all sorts of other people or signs. God will provide all we need to know for the present moment. And that should be enough for us. He knows it will not be good for us to know the future. We simply need to take one step at a time, hand in hand with Him. He will lead us unto the right paths. All glory to Him on high!

Dearest Father, I am so sorry that I get so impatient at times, wanting to know my future and to where You are leading me. I want Your Spirit to consume me to such an extent that Your patience will overwhelm me, that I can be content waiting for Your gentle leading hand to guide me. Thank you Jesus for making it possible to hear Your voice loud and clear. Amen

 

24. Do not fight God's plan

Last week we saw how Abigail saved all the men in their household from certain death, because she was prepared to humble herself and to give what she had to David and his men. She was a peacemaker in a dire situation. She allowed God to use her in a mighty way. In the end her actions was rewarded. She saved their household and became the wife of David.

David was however still in hiding. He was in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul heard about this. Apparently he totally forgot about the previous time that David saved his life. He was back in full force, with three thousand men to kill David and his men. David sent spies and they confirmed that Saul was encamped close to them. David went himself and saw Saul and his commander Abner, lying asleep within the camp. He and Abishai crept closer. Saul's spear was stuck in the ground by his head and everyone was sleeping. Abishai immediately said that they should kill him. But once again David prevented him:

"Do not destroy him: for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless? As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him." 1 Samuel 26:9, 10

David was honorable once again. He trusted God without any doubt. He didn't hurt Saul, but he took his spear and the jug of water by Saul's head. God helped them during this process as the Bible tells us that God had made them all fall into a deep sleep. When David was far enough away he called out to the people sleeping. Saul immediately recognized the voice of David and repented once again when he realized that David could have killed him again and yet he saved the life of King Saul. Saul again realized that the mighty hand of God was upon David.

Saul stopped chasing David for that moment, but David knew that it wouldn't last long before he chased him again. And he was right. So David fled to the land of the Philistines as he knew that Saul won't come to look for him there.

Saul didn't learn his lesson. He has experienced time and time again that God was with David, he even spoke about it how he saw that God was with David. And yet he didn't give up pursuing David, trying to kill him. Saul was in fact fighting against the will of God and of course he never succeeded. And in the process he made his own life miserable. He could have been home in luxury as king and here he was running after David from the one wilderness to the next. It was not the most comfortable of places, evn if you were king. And yet he did it to himself.

We might also be fighting against the will of God in our lives. And in the process we might be in the wilderness where things are not as comfortable. It is solely our choice to be there. We could have been 'most comfortable at home', but because we chose to fight against God's plan for our lives we are struggling. It made me think of Jonah again. He also fought against the will of God. He didn't want to go to Nineveh, so he travelled in exactly the opposite direction. And we all know how that turned out for him.

Rather learn from Saul. Learn that it doesn't help to fight against what God want for you. I believe a lot of suffering in the world is because people are rebelling against what they know God wants them to do. They ignore Him instead and rather follow the fleeting pleasures of sin. And before they know it heartache and pain have knocked at the door.

Do not be like that. Do what you find before you to the best of your ability and then as the cross roads come, place it before God and allow Him to lead you. He will, He wants to, you are His special child. Do not fight Him, but rather walk with Him. It is a very special road.

Father thank you that we can know that Your plan for our lives are the best. We don't always understand and we don't always know why it would be the best for us, but You see the bigger picture. You see way into our future and will provide for us. We love You. Amen

23. Be a peacemaker for God

Last week we saw how Nabal immediately jumped to conclusions about David without having all the facts. He judged David, without even listening to his own shepherds testifying of David. He judged him and refused to give even a crumb to him. We learned that we should be different and rather gather all facts and allow God to be the Judge. He and He alone knows best. And to share with others from all the prosperity that we have.

Now Nabal's reaction made David very angry. He immediately called four hundred of his forces together and advanced towards Nabal and his household. He was ready to kill all the males in Nabal's household. One of the young men of Nabal's household ran to Nabal's wife, Abigail and told her what had happened. She immediately reacted and prepared two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep, one hundred clusters of raisins, two hundred cakes of figs and roasted grain and sent it to David. She also went after the supplies to personally meet with David. She apologized profusely for her husband's bad behavior. She had the correct facts about David and praised him as the future ruler of the land. David relented from going on and killing all the men in Nabal's household:

"For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you have hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!" So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, "Go in peace to your house. See I have heeded your voice and respected your person." 1 Samuel 25:34, 35

David relented because one woman was brave enough to humble herself and to give freely of what she had. And what is wonderful to me yet again, is that David glorified God as the One keeping him from hurting them. He looked past Abigail and saw God working through her.

God wants to work through us too. Jesus is our Mediator; He is the One mediating on our behalf in the Throne room. And we are part of His body, therefore to mediate between men is part of our heritage. We are to shine God's light and bring peace to potentially explosive situations. God's Spirit will flow mightily through us and give us the wisdom on how to act in certain situations. We simply need to be willing to be used. You might literally save lives by your actions.

But having said that, there are moments where the tempers have flared too much, and in the heat of the moment it might not be the wisest thing to intervene. That is why I am saying that you must go where, how and when the Spirit leads you.

Abigail definitely moved with the Spirit. She did what she could to alleviate the situation and left the judgment of her husband to God. The very next day the Bible tells us:

"….Nabal's heart died within him, and he became like a stone. Then it happened, after about ten days that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died." 1 Samuel 25:37,38

God will intervene on our behalf. We must just do what He places on our hearts and then leave the rest to Him. He knows best and knows what timing will work.

Plus God looked after His daughter that acted so wisely. The moment David heard that Nabal had died, he sent for Abigail and made her his wife. And today He will look after us too, we needn't fear.

Father, please give us the wisdom to know when to intervene in a situation and when to leave it. Help us and lead us onto Your pathway for our lives. We want to be obedient in all things. And thank you very much that You are looking after us, and that You will be the Judge on our behalf. We rest in You. Amen

 

 

22. Do not judge

Last time we saw how courageous David truly was. When his men urged him to get even with Saul and to kill him, he refused. He knew better than to touch the anointed of God. He made the wise choice to rather leave it in the hands of our Almighty God!

David however still lived in exile. Even though he refused to kill Saul, Saul was still not on friendly terms with David. So David went to live in the wilderness of Paran. Now there also lived a man close by named Nabal. He was wealthy and during that time that David lived close to him, he and his men protected the flocks of Nabal. David never stole anything from him; in fact he was like a wall of protection around Nabal's flock.

As it happened one day David sent 10 of his men to Nabal to ask if he would give them anything for the Jewish feast at hand. David told the men to be kind and to bless the house of Nabal and to just ask for whatever he found in his heart to give. But Nabal wasn't very kind in return:

"Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?" 1 Samuel 25:10, 11

Nabal jumped to conclusions without having all the facts. He immediately assumed the worst of David without even knowing all the circumstances. He didn't even ask his shepherds if it was true that David helped them. He didn't care, he had his own opinion. And then he also was stingy and didn't want to give with a willing heart. He didn't want to share his prosperity with anyone.

Isn't it sad? Next week we will see that it didn't work out too well for Nabal in the end. God dealt with the hardness of his heart.

But are we not the same sometimes? We often jump to conclusions and form a picture in our minds concerning someone without knowing all the facts. We often judge based on one side of the story that we heard. We often times label someone just like Nabal did here. We often do not make the effort to actually hear the full story. Especially if the wrong doing involves people close to us, we must truly make an effort to hear the full story and not just jump to conclusions.

A story always has two sides that we need to hear. Always. And even then, who are we to judge? We are just the clay in the very capable hands of the Potter. Who are we to cast a sentence? Why not leave it rather to the Judge of the Universe? He alone is the One who knows the whole story, the One who knows the past, no one else truly knows. And if our judicial system is necessary in certain instances, then it is fine, but leave the judgment out of your heart. The only one you are truly hurting is yourself.

And then when God prods you to give to that party, then give, give with a willing heart. Whether it is forgiveness that you need to give or whether it is a blanket or food. Whatever the Lord places on your heart. He loves a cheerful giver and will bless you in abundance for it!

Father, please help us to stay neutral and to see certain circumstances from Your perspective. We need Your perspective on things. You and You alone are the true Judge. We are so sorry that we assume that role so many times. Lead us unto Your pathway and prompt us to give where we should. We will always follow You. Amen

20. God will protect you

Last week we saw how David and his men went and saved Keilah from the Philistines. But the minute the Saul heard that David was there he wanted to go there and kill him. God also revealed to David that the men of Keilah would deliver him to Saul even though he just saved them from the Philistines. We learned that we cannot put our trust in men. God alone is to be honored and trusted with our lives.

Poor David had to flee again and he stayed in strongholds in the wilderness of Ziph. The Bible tells us that:

"Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand." 1 Samuel 23:14

God was like a wall of protection around David. And not only that, God sent Jonathan to encourage David and to affirm again that he was going to be King:

"Then Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows it." 1 Samuel 23:16, 17

Once again isn't it wonderful how Jonathan didn't fight the will of God. He was supposed to be king, but he submitted himself to God and even went to encourage the one who will be king instead of him. I really have so much respect for him!

In the meantime Saul heard where David was and pursued him there. So David had to go to the wilderness of Maon, but Saul pursued him there as well. This time Saul was succeeding in closing in on David. He and his men were on the one side of the mountain and David and his men on the other side.  Saul was so close, he and his men were encircling David and his men preparing to capture and kill them. It was a dire situation for David. But just then a messenger came and told Saul that the Philistines were invading the land. Saul then had to call off his pursuit of David and rush back to fight the Philistines. Of course it was all God's plan and His doing, saving his future king yet again.

God will also protect us in the same way. He will make sure that no enemy can close in on us if we walk on His pathway for our lives. And when we get discouraged like David, thinking that this situation will never end, He will send someone to encourage us! I have personally experienced this many times in my life. Just when I really get discouraged God sends someone to encourage me to continue.

God's protection encircles us and that is such joyful news to me. It made me think again of Psalm 91. Allow me to quote verse 1-7 for you:

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and armor. You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you."

Isn't it stunning? It shall not come near us. Why? Because God is for us. And notice verse 1. These promises are to those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High and who abide under His shadow. Now to dwell and to abide means to stay there, to make your home there. Plus to be able to be in someone's shadow you need to be close to him. Therefore see in this Psalm that we need to stay close to Him, just like David did. David trusted God without a shadow of a doubt. He knew that without God he was nothing. And today we need to have that same realization. We are so self-reliant and independent, but God is calling us to depend on Him and Him alone. He wants to protect us and help us, but if we run away and go on our own pathway, we are not abiding in His Shadow. Rather come back and stay close to Him. So close that you can breathe Him in. Then you will experience His protection and His abundance freely available to us all.

Father thank you for everything that You have provided for us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for protecting us, thank you that we can trust in You and be at peace. You are our Good Shepherd and will always look out for us. We praise Your mighty Name! Amen

19. Trust in God, not in men

Last week we learned that we shouldn't critisize or publically ridicule or gossip about our spiritual leaders. We should rather pray for them and uplift, encourage and help them wherever we can.

Today I want us to look at the opposite. It is when people let us down and criticize us. Let us continue with the life of David.

David and his men were in Judah, as God told them to go there through the prophet Gad. Whilst there he heard that the Philistines were attacking Keilah. David then did the right thing. He turned to God and asked Him what to do. God told him to go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah. David's men were naturally afraid to do that, because they weren't exactly welcome in Judah in the first place. So David turned to God again and God encouraged him:

"Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand." 1 Samuel 23:4

God promised to be with him and David was obedient. I love it how David was obedient the whole time. He immediately reacted when God spoke. We can certainly learn a great deal from him.

David and his men went down to Keilah and saved all the inhabitants and defeated the Philistines. Saul heard about this and immediately wanted to go there and kill David. Look how twisted his mind is:

"God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars." 1 Samuel 23:7

Saul actually believed that God was helping him in this instance. I was actually shocked that he believed that, seeing that he just mercilessly killed 85 of God's priests and a whole innocent town. People can indeed be twisted and believe the weirdest things in the Name of the Lord. One should be careful from whom you take advice and word 'from the Lord'.

David heard from Keilah that Saul was coming to kill him. He turned to the Lord immediately for advice and the Lord told him that the people of Keilah will deliver him to Saul. David once again listened to God and left Keilah in order to be safe. When Saul heard this he didn't come to Keilah anymore.

I wonder how David must have felt. Here he went and saved the town of Keilah from certain death. He had nothing to gain; he was literally just being obedient to God. He saved a whole town from destruction. And when his life is threatened God tells him that these very same people will turn on him. I don't know about you, but I would have been upset. I just saved their lives and now they are not prepared to stand up for me. I was doing what the Lord placed on my heart, and what thanks do I get?

People are fickle and can change their attitude towards us at the first chance that they get. It has happened many times that I have helped people and barely got a thank you. It has happened countless times that people whom I have done a lot for don't return the favor when I needed help. Many times they even turned their back on me when I needed support the most. Does it sound familiar? Through all of this I have learned that Psalm 146 is so true! Let me quote verse 3-5:

"Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God."

I have learned not to place my trust in men. Not to expect anything from them. I do not always get it right; I must be honest, especially when it comes to people close to me. But I am getting better, day by day with the strength given to me from Above. My trust should be in Him and in Him alone. My thank you will come from Him. My reward is from Him. He will always be there for me, He will always help me. I am never alone and I should never be afraid. The God of the Universe is with me, what more can I want? He loves an obedient, willing heart and He will reward my obedience. When? I don't know, but I know I can look forward to it, just like David. David didn't retaliate against these people who would have delivered him to Saul. He didn't get even and waste his energy there. No, he moved on in the will of the Lord and his reward was great.

Father, thank you that we can trust in You. Our hope is in You and You alone. Our hearts sometimes get hurt here on earth, as fellow human beings let us down. But thank you that we can know that You will never let us down. We can always trust in You. Hallelujah! Thank you Lord!! Amen

 

18. Pray for your spiritual leaders

Last week we saw how caring David was. He arranged with the king of Moab that his parents can stay there so that they will be safe and looked after whilst Saul was searching for him. It is heartwarming to see how he cared for his parents, just as God wants us to.

David then listened to the prophecy of Gad that he shouldn't stay in the stronghold, but that he should depart for Judah. He was obedient and went to the forest of Hereth. Saul then heard that David and his men were there. He then stirred up his servants, especially his servants from the tribe of Benjamin that he was also from, that David was the enemy. And it was here that Saul did an evil thing. Doeg, the Edomite split on David and told Saul that he went to Ahimelech at Nob when he fled from Saul. So Saul called Ahimelech and all the other priests to come to him. He interrogated them insinuating that they were conspiring against him with David. They didn't know what he was talking about as David never shared the truth with them. It was then that Saul did a horrible thing. He ordered that all 85 of the priests be murdered. He even went further and ordered that the whole city of Nob be struck with the edge of the sword, men, women, children, oxen, donkeys, sheep, everything. He ordered the massacre of innocent people, all because he was jealous of David.

We should never allow jealousy to become so out of control. Many, many people are in jail today due to jealousy. Many murders have been committed due to the ugly head of jealousy rearing its head. We should never allow it to fester and to grow so big, driving us to do inhumane things.

The other lesson that I believe that we can learn here is that God's leaders can so easily come under attack. They are easy targets because they are elevated at church, but we should never allow that to happen. Even if we don't agree with our leaders at church, we should never bad mouth them, never spread lies about them and never belittle them. God doesn't take kindly to His men and women being attacked.

I know spiritual leaders can let us down and I know they can make mistakes. But it is not our job to judge them, let alone attack them or gossip about them. If they are preaching things that are contrary to the Word of God we need to have conversations with them and share our perspective with them. And if we cannot come to an agreement we can leave the church if we truly do not agree with their doctrine. There are many avenues to follow. But publically attacking them or discrediting them is not the way.

I know some spiritual leaders are there merely for their own personal gain, but I believe most are there because of their heart for God and we need to honor that. The leaders of the early church were violently persecuted, but they continued due to the fire for Christ that they had within them. Their members prayed for them and it pulled them through on many occasions. Today we need to pray for our leaders too. They need our prayers, our encouragement and our love. We need to lift them up and help them to keep on standing. Just like Aaron and Joshua kept up Moses's arms. Everyone gets tired now and again. An encouraging word might be all that they need today.

Father we pray for our spiritual leaders. We pray that You will keep them standing. We pray for supernatural courage and strength to continue with their all-important work. We are sorry that we so quickly criticize them, instead of lifting them up. Give us the wisdom and the right words to say. Amen

17. Honor your father and mother

Last week God showed us that David's family came to him when he was in exile, even though they didn't believe in him at first. They mocked him and didn't respect him, but here it was clear that they did. David forgave them and they joined his forces at the cave of Adullam. Other men who owed money, who were in distress themselves, the outcasts of the society joined him as well until they were 400 in total. But as we will see God used them all mightily and they became men of valor.

From that cave David went to Mizpah of Moab and he asked the king there:

"Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me." 1 Samuel 22:3

The king of Moab agreed and his parents stayed there the whole time that David was in the stronghold. I just love David's concern for his parents. Saul most probably wanted to get his hand on them in order to either lure David back, or simply out of rage because David escaped. Either way, I love the fact that David was worried about them and made sure that they were safe and looked after. He also had a lot of guts to ask this of a king who was an enemy of Israel. But as we've seen God was with him and gave him favor wherever he went.

This act of David made me think of Jesus too. He also made sure that His mother Mary was looked after. At the cross whilst enduring the most testing time of His life, He made sure that John would look after His mother. Another example is Joseph. He also sent for his father and brothers to come and live with him in Egypt even though his brothers treated him shamefully. When they were in need, he didn't hesitate to help them. It truly is beautiful to see and an example to us all.

God wants us to look after our parents. He wants us to make sure that they are safe and well looked after. It is not the responsibility of others or the church to look after them. Even in the early church when they looked after widows and orphans, they were instructed to only look after widows who truly had no one else. If they had children, their children were expected to look after them.

I know if you have a good relationship with your parents it is easy to look after them, but it is very difficult if your relationship is strained. God is merely placing on our hearts today to make sure that they are okay. We cannot have our parents living on the streets as beggars. We need to help them with the love of Jesus. He will be with us and supply the heart of love and the resources that we need in doing so.

Father flow mightily through us and pour Your love out on us. Shower us in Your Shalom peace and give us the courage to do the right thing. We follow and honor You in everything. Amen