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Archive for January, 2013

ImageGod has answered David’s prayer in the cave.  He’s given David an army of emotionally, financially, and spiritually bankrupt soldiers.  Consider his first two priorities after he becomes their leader.

 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth. ~1 Samuel 22:3-5

The very first thing on David’s list of things to do as a leader is find rest for his aging parents.  When we consider all the needs both he and his soldiers had at this time, we realize that this is quite a noble deed.  Surely it would have been easy for David to justify using his time to stockpile weapons, train his army, obtain more adequate shelter and provisions, or, even, worship God corporately in order to boost morale among these broken men.  But, no.  David considers and cares for the needs of his parents’ safety and rest first. (more…)

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ImageDavid is running for his life.  He has been for quite some time.  No matter where he turns or what he does, he is met with danger and hostility.  After many failed attempts to find refuge from his enemies, he lands himself alone in a cave and pens psalm 142.

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
    with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;
    I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit faints within me,
    you know my way!
In the path where I walk
    they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:
    there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.

I cry to you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,
    for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
    for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,
    that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
    for you will deal bountifully with me.~Psalm 142:1-7

David seeks refuge in God alone.  Little wonder!  There’s no one else who will hear him.  I can hear him crying, “Please, God!  Show mercy!  Look at the injustice done to me!  No one cares for me.  Deliver me!  Free me!  Help me!  Give me someone of like-mind with which to converse that I might glorify you!” (more…)

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ImageDavid had fled his own land and is seeking refuge in the enemy’s camp.  Ironically, his king jealously hates him while the enemy’s king has shown him favor.  Meanwhile, his own people love him and the enemy’s subjects despise him.  Remember, David is now in the land of the Philistines.  Goliath was their hero and David is now carrying his sword!  How jealous must these men have been when he came around!  God’s providence sure finds his people in some strange debacles. (more…)

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ImageTemptation hovers like a thick blanket.  It’s allure attracts more forcefully than a fan club.  It’s claws search tirelessly for the weak and tired places.  

Mindfully, I’ve already accurately answered all the, “Did God really say” interrogatives thrice over.  Self and serpent have moved past cliches and on to more believable lies.

“You are fallen, Eve.  Look at you.  You are pathetic.  You will never overcome.”

and they knew that they were naked. ~Genesis 3:7

The stark reality of my fallenness, when called to remembrance, strengthens the pull upon me.  I know just what kind of trouble I’m in.

“Where are you?” my God inquires.

My thoughts wage war.  I gather every ounce of faith I’ve ever owned for the want of five words.

 “No!” I resist. “Jesus, where are you?”

With inexplicable power from heaven, my Lord keeps me.  For a moment, the demons vanish away and I can breathe.  I am safe, but insecurity begs, knowing just what kind of war zone I’m confined to live my days out in.  Restless, I relive the battle Christ has just won on my behalf.

With fire as hot as a furnace, miraculously, my Lord saved me.  He delivered me from death-driving deeds, even today, by his own blood.

But what about tomorrow?  You are naked, Eve.  You’re fallen.  You will never overcome.  The battle is too difficult.  Stop this pain-inflicting program and be who you really are.  You’re fallen.  You can’t win, Eve.  Believe me…

Tears fill my eyes as I am deceived post-victory.  Exhausted from the fight, I mutter a prayer for peace.

“Rest, sweet child,” my Daddy whispers,  “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:20

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breadDavid has now departed from his wife, his home, his military position, and his best friend.  Saul’s rage against him could not be kindled neither by prophet (Samuel), nor prince (Jonathan).  Where has he left to turn?

Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David trembling and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.” ~1 Samuel 21:1-9

David runs to the tabernacle and turns to Ahimelech the priest. (more…)

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One on One

ImageWith half-open eyes I shuffle into the local YMCA.  

“Let’s play basketball.”

“Basketball?”

“Yeah.  One on one.  It’ll be fun.  Come on.”

Rolling my eyes, I stubbornly oblige my husband’s request.  I grab a ball and dribble in.  He half-heartedly blocks and I sink my first attempt to escape the 7 a.m. funk.

“OOOOH!  She scores!” I taunt.

As the battle ensues, I soon realize how small I am, how tall he is, and how little chance I really have in this whole charade.  As if I really had any doubts to begin with…

Every shot is blocked.  Every turn is stopped.  Every fake out is found out.

As he takes the ball, I wise up.  It’s on like donkey kong.  I pull out my elbows.  I hang on his arms with my full body weight.  I jump up and down in front of him and I push him backwards with both hands.  

All’s fair in love and war, right?  I didn’t see a ref, did you?

News flash: he still beat me.  Physically, I am certainly no match for this bearded hillbilly.  Who’s surprised?  At 5’3″, I’m not headed to the NBA any time soon.  But the score, well, we’ll just call that a draw.  It’s kind of hard to win with a monkey on your back.

I file the thirty minute show-down into my list of things to remember about one on one wars. My findings are thus:

1. Never agree to a duel unless you’re fully awake.

2.  Don’t taunt your opponent at the front of a fight.

3. Recognize who you’re up against before you’re fully engaged.

4.  Use whatever you’ve got to stop the bully.

5.  It doesn’t matter how strong you are, you will never be able to win with a monkey on your back.

Our spiritual life isn’t a game – it’s a war.  It’s generally fought one on one – you vs. you.  Wake up.  Be humble.  Know your enemy.  Get the monkey off your back.  Stop at nothing to win.  You can’t afford to lose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfUYuIVbFg0

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ImageJonathan now fully understands the murderous intentions of his father towards David.  Just as he promised, he returns to the field in which David is hiding and he shoots his bow as a sign of warning.

 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city. ~1 Samuel 20:35-42

Jonathan’s original plan to signal David was to shoot three arrows.  Note, though, that he only shoots one, hastily sends the boy away, and hurries quickly to the place where David hides.  Why? (more…)

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