Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, Relational,

May 25 – Today’s Readings – 2Samuel 1-3 and Psalms 145

Well, here we are, already in the book of 2 Samuel. The first book was intense and the second is also adrenaline-charged. 2Samuel contains many details of David’s kingship and some of the secrets that made him “a man after God’s own heart”.

Life is full of self-promoting and ladder-climbing people – those who, for the sake of power, authority, influence or money, push others away or step on their heads to climb to perceived success. The very first thing we notice about David is that he did not carry this kind of attitude. – “In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. ‘Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?’ he asked. The LORD said, ‘Go up.’ David asked, ‘Where shall I go?’ ‘To Hebron,’ the LORD answered.” (2Samuel 2:9)

David was always “inquiring of God” as to what his next step should be and he did not want to be self-promoting outside of the divine timing of the Lord. Readers of first and second Samuel are waiting for the inevitable to happen. We know that David is supposed to become king. The people of Judah knew he was to be king. The enemies of Israel knew that David was anointed King. Why was there any doubt among the Israelites? POLITICS – people vying for power and maneuvering to get an upper hand. Was David alarmed? – Perhaps. Was he anxious to get on with the job? – Probably. But he let time pass and behaved appropriately while he was waiting on God. He showed genuine grief for the “mighty” of Israel when they fell in war or by murder and did not rejoice in his political enemies’ demise. In Chapter 2:36 we see the result of such a heart attitude; “All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.” David did not get involved in “war games” with Israel and he continued on with his duties seven and a half years before the kingdom finally became his.

In our careers there is definitely a place to properly “market” ourselves. We need to be people of excellence in what we do and say. If we work for a company or a boss we need to do our part and help create a prosperous and thriving business for the owners. We need to pray for it’s success and weep when things are not going well for the workplace. This is the example David gave us. If the boss doesn’t promote you after you’ve shown attitudes like that, then he’s the loser. You need to just keep doing what is right and let God open doors of opportunity for you. Remember, between the years of hiding out in caves and the years living in Judah there was a lot of water that passed under the bridge in David’s life.

Questions:

1. Make a list for yourself of all the people you are supposed to help prosper.
2. Make a plan for yourself of how you are preparing yourself for “kingship”.
3. If all this talk about prosperity bothers you, ask yourself – Is it not God’s will that I prosper – physically – emotionally – spiritually – financially –relationally?

Finding Strength

May 24 – Today’s Readings – 1Samuel 30-31 and Psalms 144

We could spend time talking about the tragedy surrounding the death of Saul and his sons but I would rather focus on David’s troubles this morning. David did not have an easy time leading and governing his “mini-army”. Remember, these were the guys that nobody else wanted – “in debt, in distress and discontented”. They were happy with David as long as they were winning but when they had a setback, it was a different story – “When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because of the obvious but also because these “faithful” men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.” (1Samuel 30:3-6)

In this short but very poignant account, we find nothing wrong with David’s leadership or his relationship to God, but people like to follow a winner – and at the first taste of defeat they tend to abandon ship. They may even mutiny and throw the captain overboard.

These verses also reveal that David had developed a capacity (resilliency) to be strong in the Lord. When in trouble he spent time with God and drew strength from Him. The same can also true in the less adventurous lives you and I lead. Many of the “friends” we have stay close to us when they are getting what they need from us. When, for some reason we become unable to produce the winning combination of positive vibes, these people may soon become distant. This scenario unfortunately also occurs in marriages and other covenant relationships. What was David’s response to the problem at hand? Well, after he had wept till he had no more strength, he got up and did something about it!

Do you have a broken heart over some relationship problems in your life? It’s not a sin to weep till you have no more strength but before you lose all victory over the situation you really have to run to Jesus and find strength were the source of strength lies. He will give you a new perspective and a new strategy to once again gain the victory in the face of defeat.

Questions:

1. Tell of a time when you wept because of a situation, but then found strength in God.
2. Tell of another Bible character who became “bigger” in God because of tremendous adversity driving him or her closer to God.

Voices And Counsel

 

May 23 – Today’s Readings – 1Samuel 28-29 and Psalms 143

Chapter 28 certainly is a sobering “wake up call” for many who hold to our society’s ideas about “spirituality”. So many very influential people in this world consult with their “inner voice” or some other form of “spiritual” counsel for their life decisions. Without a doubt, it is because the real counsellor, the Holy Spirit, seems irrelevant to them or perhaps that no one has told them about the “Wonderful Counsellor”.

There is (sadly) ample proof in Scripture regarding the limited and deceptive power resident in “spiritual” practices:

The magicians in ancient Egypt tried to match Moses miracle for miracle – “So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” (Exodus 7:10-12)
Balaam was also recognized as a “prophet” even though he was not a prophet of God.
The witch of Endor, who is referred to in this passage, had tapped into dark spiritual power.
Simon the sorcerer had “amazed all the people of Samaria” before Philip the deacon came to town and showed them Jesus. (Act 13:6-12)
Even the young girl who “followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God who are telling you the way to be saved” was possessed by a spirit. …”Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned and said to the Spirit, “I command you to come out of her’! At that moment the spirit left her.” (Acts 16:17-18)
There is plenty of Biblical evidence of irrelevant or wrong ways to get spiritual “guidance”.

Should we be concerned? – Of course. These poor people are getting guidance from voices in the wind! We know all too well what the enemy’s voice is all about – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full…” (John 10:10)

Let’s talk about who we listen to for a moment. If people can go to a spiritist to get advice, surely we should be able to consult the Holy Spirit who lives in us! John 14:26 reads, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Holy Spirit speaks to us concerning God’s will in the written Word or by His inner voice in us or by Godly counsel, and even through situations we may find ourselves in. A word to the wise here concerning seeking personal direction for your life – Not all those who claim to have “The word of the Lord” for your life are hearing from the Spirit of God. What you hear must be grounded in the Word of God and confirmed by the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Who you seek council from is just as important as “the word” you receive. Let’s be wise. Let’s not do things without first “consulting” God! He is ever there to give us Godly advice.

Questions:

1. Do you know of modern stories, where people made bad decisions because of “bad advice”?
2. Are there any common practices in North American Christianity that boarder on being “occultish”?

Rebellious or Wise?

May 22 – Today’s Readings – 1Samuel 25-27 and Psalms 147

In these chapters we find Abigail, the wife of a “wealthy” but “surly” man. Here is a woman who possessed some wonderful character qualities; attributes we should take to heart. She had great insight and perspective and even though she was loyal to her husband (as “wicked” as he was), she was even more attune and loyal to the Lord and the workings of God. She saved her husband Nabal’s life and business but also saved David from taking vengeance with his own hands and slaughtering Nabal and his men. Her actions and words made David even more qualified as future King because his integrity was not compromised. Her speech in this passage honors God and David and shows great discretion as she presents her case to David.

There’s a little twist though – in order to save Nabal’s life, she actually had to go behind his back – do things and say things that she was not authorized to do or say – she also had to be brutally honest about Nabal’s shortcomings. “She fell at his (David’s) feet and said: ‘my lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name is Fool, and folly goes with him.” (1 Samuel 25:24-25)

In this interchange she reveals humility, frankness, sincerity and spirituality in her approach. If Nabal knew what she was doing or saying, he would have hit the roof and would no doubt have been abusive to her as well. She broke commonly accepted norms in a desperate situation but saved many lives and honored God as well as the future king in doing so.

Does this affect our lives in any way? Well, aside from it being adrenaline-charged reading, I think there is a lesson to be learned here. There may be times in our lives when extreme measures do need to be taken. Wisdom itself will dictate to you when to act in an extreme way and when to act within established patterns. Had Abigail stayed home and been a “submissive wife” much would have been lost. We too, when faced with very difficult decisions, may find ourselves doing things that are out of character or role. There may even be times when we are completely misunderstood for the things we do or say. That’s OK – even Jesus was completely misunderstood at times – and The Apostles too went against established authority when they declared that “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29)

Fortunately, God knows our hearts and HE will direct our paths.

Questions:

1. Give another example from Scripture where established “authorities” had to be disobeyed in order for God’s purposes to move ahead.
2. Give an example from history that also reveals this same pattern.

The Cave Of Adullam

May 21 – Today’s Readings – 1Samuel 22-24 and Psalms 141

Without a doubt, the “Cave of Adullam” portion of David’s life has created a “romantic” image in my mind since I was a teen. When reading the account this time, however, I saw it somewhat differently – (maybe its just age). A dark cave – filled with smoke – dirty – smelly – no washroom facilities – no kitchen facilities – a group of 400 men who were either “in distress or in debt or discontented” all living in the same tight quarters – David’s own family who had been so negative with him, all gathered there with him (probably out of fear for their lives) – no money – substandard weapons – no food readily available – and to top it off, David had a psychotic king who was determined to find him and kill him! – Sounds like a typical family camping trip to me!

It’s amazing though, that through this hard experience, a group of people were knit together who could withstand all of the future trials of David’s reign as king. Who ever said that Christians should never experience hardship? Sometimes hardship is the tool used by God to make a people fiercely loyal to one another and to grow character in our lives. Back to the camping analogy for a moment – those of you who have camped out with family or friends can attest to the fact that some of the best stories come from those wet nights when the dog smells and the tent seems far to small or when you have a close encounter with “excitement”. As a family, we look back on those moments (after months or years) with great fondness. Somehow – we were drawn closer through the “fellowship of suffering”. I vividly remember a night almost forty years ago when my university-student bride and I were camping on our honeymoon. The place was Long Beach, Vancouver Island. Our accommodation? – a borrowed and well-worn tent trailer – and the late August weather forecast was unknown to us because we were too infatuated with each other to care. We didn’t even question our precarious situation when all the rest of the campers packed up and left. We were rejoicing at the near-empty, romantic camp-ground.

In the wee hours of the morning however, the first Long Beach winter storm (probably closer to a typhoon) raged in upon us. I’m sure that a major percentage of the Pacific Ocean was gathered up by the wind and pressure-washed right through the feeble tent sides of our abode. We were forced to unceremoniously collapse what was left of the tattered and sodden tent trailer and flee all the way back to Victoria (5 hours in those days). This disastrous camping experience has become one of our best recollections over the years and it most certainly helped us grow closer together.

At times you too may feel like you are in the Cave of Adullam. Its not too cheery and the physical surroundings are abysmal. David really had little choice concerning his circumstances however because this harsh existence had been forced on him for a season. What enabled this cave dweller to keep the victory? It was God’s enabling power – and the group of people he was with. The same is true for you and I.

The best news is this – even while living his “caveman” days, David was still busy doing great exploits for God, penning Scripture and living according to Godly principles – (sparing Saul’s life). Now there’s a hero figure for you!

Questions:

1. Tell of a “Cave of Adullam” experience from your life.
2. How did this experience affect you and your growth in God?
3. Tell of someone else’s experience and how it affected them.
4. Did it make them “bitter” or “better”?

Page 1 of 74

Website Developed by Graphically Smart Inc &