Daily Bible Reading

Be strong

Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.”

1 Chronicles 28:20 (NLT)

We, the Church, have the great task of building the Kingdom of God. We are to go into all the world preaching the Gospel and making disciples of all nations. That is a sizeable task. It can be daunting if we take the entire work upon ourselves as individuals or even individual churches.

But it is not our responsibility alone. While we should feel a great sense of responsibility to carry out the Great Commission, the pressure to complete it does not rest on any one individual, but the Church as a whole.

Jesus said that he would build his Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. If he promised it, he will perform it.

Like David instructing Solomon on building the Temple, Jesus instructed us on building the Church. David’s words to his son are as applicable to us in our endeavour to build the Kingdom of God as they were to Solomon in his to build the Temple.

We must be strong and courageous, and do the work. God is with us. He won’t fail us. He won’t forsake us. He has called us to work with Him and will equip us with all we need to complete the task as we need it.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 28-29, John 11:47-57

Daily Bible Reading

Powerful

Who doesn’t want power of some sort? Power indicates might, strength, resources. Power produces change. It is forceful. It is something to be reckoned with. Some want political power. Others military. Some intellectual and others physical. Power comes in many forms and from many sources.

Do you want power just for the sake of having it? Do you want it for your own selfish reasons? Or do you want power for the greater good?

And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.

1 Chronicles 11:9 (NLT)

Only one reason was given for David’s show of great strength—because the Lord Almighty was with him. When God was for Israel, they were strong and victorious. When God was against Israel, they were weak and defenseless.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:31b (NLT)

When our power comes from the Creator, nothing can stand against us. Like David, we can become more and more powerful for all the right reasons. There is no selfishness in the power that comes from God. It is for your good and it is for the greater good. It is the power to overcome darkness. The power to shine the Light of the World. The power over sin and death. And the power that comes from God is a result of sacrifice.

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

…despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Romans 8:35, 37 (NLT)

Overwhelming victory. That sounds like power to me. But the glory then, is not ours, but the Lord’s. As we discussed earlier, everything in the Bible points back to Jesus. The power that we receive through the Holy Spirit does, too. And that should encourage us since it is our job to point the world to Jesus. What better way to do so than to have his great power show through us?

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 11-13, John 9:1-25

 

Daily Bible Reading

My family

My mother has recently taken up our family tree. Through Ancestry.com, she has been able to trace our lineage back to the 16th century, debunking some commonly touted family legend and lore in the process. It’s good to know where you come from. We’re fortunate enough to have come from a line that could boast a modicum of wealth—this has greatly increased the amount of information my mother has been able to uncover the further back she traces.

Other lines of the family tree have not proved as fruitful. It would seem that, the less you have, the less important you are, and the less likely you were to have your name recorded for posterity’s sake.

In 2 Samuel, in David’s final address as king, he speaks of his family.

It is my family God has chosen!
Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me,
His agreement is eternal, final, sealed,
He will constantly look after my safety and success.

2 Samuel 23:5 (NLT)

Did you know that we, the Church, have a share in that agreement? That covenant that is eternal, final, sealed? Our names have been recorded in the Book of Life.

God made a promise to David that, so long as his descendants served Him, his line would be on the throne forever. If you read through the super-exciting genealogy in Matthew 1, you will see that Jesus is a direct descendant of David—on both his mother, Mary, as well as Joseph’s side. When anyone accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are also then accepted into the family of God.

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV)

We are a part of the chosen family David spoke of! God has made an everlasting covenant with you. His agreement is eternal, final, sealed.

No you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you.

Galatians 4:7 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 2 Samuel 23-24, Luke 22:31-53

Daily Bible Reading

Out

No one likes to be publicly called out when they’ve done something wrong. We humans like to keep our shame to ourselves and out of the limelight. Social media has gone a long way to out our wrongdoings—real or perceived. Just because we can out someone doesn’t mean we should. And, on the flipside, just because we can hide our wrongs, doesn’t make it right.

The story of David and Bathsheba is one told often. Leonard Cohen (and countless others since) even sang about it in his popular song Hallelujah. We see a king go to extremes to obtain a beautiful woman. He commits adultery. He commits murder. He tries to hide it all.

Some might think that God was playing the bully when He sent the prophet Nathan to deal with David. Yes, David was mortified and probably enraged that he’d been found out. The payment for his sin was the death of his first child with Bathsheba. Hey God, that’s a little harsh, don’t you think?

David was the man God had anointed as a youth to be king over Israel. Since Samuel first poured oil on his head, David was accountable to a different set of standards (not that it’s okay to sleep with the spouses of other people and then have their spouse killed so you can have that person to yourself). At this point, God had already promised David an eternal lineage of kings. The ball of salvation for all mankind was already rolling. Had David been allowed to continue along the line of the actions that lead to Uriah’s death, the lineage to Jesus could have been permanently sullied.

Instead, God sends Nathan to have a chat with the king. David knew what he did was wrong—he did it all in secret, after all. But it wasn’t until it was made public that he was able to deal with it.

It’s never comfortable to have someone else know about your sin. We’d all like to keep our secrets, well, secret. But without acknowledgement, there can be no healing.

Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin.”

2 Samuel 12:13-14 (NLT)

We must ask this: it is easier to live with the secret of our sin or to out ourselves and be freed from it?

Daily Bible reading: 2 Samuel 10-12, Luke 19:29-48

Daily Bible Reading

Good sense

I’m sure we’ve all cringed while watching someone do something everyone else seems to plainly see as foolish. The fool struts into the situation believing themselves to be of the highest order. Untouchable. The most intelligent being in existence. And then it all falls apart. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I even enjoy watching it—not if it causes harm, mind you.

Nabal was that fool. Everyone else could see that he put himself in an impossible situation. While he thought himself to be untouchable, someone else saw his folly. His wife saw his stupidity. I could go on about how important women are and that men couldn’t possibly survive without them, but that’s not the point of this story.

Nabal, his land, his servants, and all of his property has been protected by David and his men while they were camped near by. No harm came to Nabal while David was in the vicinity. One might think that, whether or not Nabal had asked for the help, that Nabal would owe David something. But when David requested some provisions, the man was indignant. Who was this David to make such a request of him? How dare he ask for something he didn’t deserve! Needless to say, David wasn’t impressed.

Now, we could all sit back and watch Nabal get what he deserves or someone could step in and try to avoid what is sure to be a disastrous situation.

Abigail, Nabal’s wife, decides to step in.

I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t may any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the messengers you sent.

1 Samuel 25:25 (NLT)

Rather than watch David kill her fool of a husband, Abigail steps in. Because of her plea (and possibly David’s weakness for beautiful women), David spares Nabal. Unfortunately for Nabal, his wife’s charity does not earn him a happy ending. He meets his demise a short while later (he suffered a stroke after the drunken rave he threw to celebrate the fact that David didn’t kill him, then God struck him and he died).

There is a point to all of this: are you Nabal—the fool, or Abigail—the one who smooths over the situation? If you are Nabal and tend to rush into situations are you able to humble yourself to listen to the Abigail in your life? Can you slow down long enough for someone to point out your folly? Can you accept redirection? If you are Abigail, are you wise enough to step in when needed? Can you do it in love and mercy?

Though Abigail didn’t appear to harbour any tender feelings toward her husband, she make the effort to save his life. She saw the error of his ways. And, had he been able to see what she saw, perhaps his fate would have been different.

This Christianity thing is no simple task. We need to lean on the Holy Spirit so we can learn when we need to be bystanders and when we need to be like Abigail and step in. Sometimes, God’s response to a situation is to send a person. Whether we need that person or we are that person, knowing God’s voice becomes ever so important.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 25-26, Luke 16:19-31

Daily Bible Reading

Renew

I’ve been to several wedding vow renewal ceremonies. I’ve also heard people scoff at the idea. After all, the couple made a promise for a lifetime. Why should they have to go through it again?

How many times did God renew His covenant with Israel? Over and over again! In 1 Samuel, I’ve counted no less than three times when David and Jonathan renewed their covenant of friendship with each other.

So to the two of them renewed their covenant of friendship before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh.

1 Samuel 23:18 (NLT)

If a covenant is supposed to last for life, why should it have to be renewed?

You may have heard the story of a husband who never tells his wife he loves her. His reason, “I told you I loved you on the day I married you, if anything changes, I’ll let you know.” Imagine how that wife would feel? How secure would she feel in the love of her husband if he never told her so?

The purpose of renewing a covenant isn’t necessarily to fix what was broken, but it serves as a reminder for all parties involved of the original promise. Often in church, a pastor will invite the entire congregation to repeat the prayer of salvation. While this serves to make a new believer more comfortable, it can also be a sacred time of renewal for a long-time believer.

I think that there are times in our walk with God where a reminder of our promise can be helpful. Perhaps you are going through a tough time. Maybe you’ve pulled away from your relationship with God. Or maybe you just need the affirmation that God is still on His throne and He still accepts you no matter what.

When you are offered the opportunity to recommit yourself to the Lord—no matter what your circumstance—don’t scoff at it, rather jump at it. Just like we may need a reminder of who we are committed to, I’m sure God enjoys and appreciates our words of a renewed covenant with Him.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 22-24, Luke 16:1-18

Daily Bible Reading

No hesitation

David was just a kid when he took on Goliath. He was never supposed to be on the battlefield. He was only there because he was bringing supplies to his brothers and would be bringing a report back to his father. As the youngest of eight sons, David had no business being where he was at that time.

For forty days, Goliath stood before Israel’s army with an invitation to fight. For forty days, Israel’s army shuddered in fear at the thought of taking on the giant. In one instant, David heard the challenge and had heard more than enough. He was filled with righteous indignation when he heard the nerve that Goliath had to mock God’s people. This kid was the first person to man up.

As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him.

1 Samuel 17:48 (NLT)

 

When the rest of the army hesitated, they made room for fear. Every minute they waited to slay the giant, was another minute fear was allowed to take root.

HES’ITATE, verb, to strop or pause respecting decision or action; to be doubtful as to fact, principle or determination; to be in suspense or uncertainty.

David didn’t hesitate. I believe that, the moment he heard the challenge, he accepted it—even before he said anything to anyone else.

How was David able to do what the rest of the army could not?

David shouted in reply, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you…

1 Samuel 17:45-46b (NLT)

With the Spirit of the Lord mightily upon him (1 Samuel 16:13), David knew exactly who he was and who was fighting not only with him, but for him.

“And everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours. the Lord will give you to us!”

1 Samuel 17:47 (NLT)

With God’s Spirit living in us and God fighting our battles for us, why do we, like the Israelite army hesitate? Why do we pause long enough to allow fear into our lives? We should all be like David, running out to meet our giants head on.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Romans 8:31b (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 17-18, Luke 15:1-10