Life Along the Way

A Daily Devotional

"With God You ARE The Majority"

“So every man of Israel deserted David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king.”

 

2 Samuel 20:2

 

When you read 2 Samuel 20 you get the idea that “every man of Israel departed David” but when you read the whole story you discover the amount was relatively small in number. Word’s are important and understanding there meaning is critical. Here in chapter 20 when it says “every man” what it means is every man who was dissident deserted David, not that every man deserted him. It’s important to note that the enemy of our soul loves to twist God’s Word to create confusion in our lives. He has from the beginning. He deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden and he has been attempting to deceive us ever since. The book of Proverbs tells us regarding the spoken words we speak, “life and death are in the power of our tongue”. The same is true regarding the written word too. The last thing in the world the devil wants you and I to know, beloved, is the truth that the bible teaches because as Jesus said when you and I know the truth…the truth will set us free!

The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 1:9 when refuting the Judaizers who were in danger of the judgment of God that stands against anyone who teaches a different Gospel message other than the message of Jesus Christ when he wrote, “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” The devil has already been judged because he has been a liar from the beginning. The only hope we have against the lies that the devil will try to convince us of is to commit ourselves to understanding the Word of God…truth. Get in His Word today, hide it in your heart, write it on your post-it-notes, and know that no matter who the devil says is against you, realize, that there is one who is for you…God…and if God is for you than who can stand against you! Don’t focus on the lies of the devil…focus on the truth found in God’s Word…and as you go about your day stay loyal to your King Jesus!

 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 

2 Timothy 2:15

 

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"Bring Back The King"

“But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. Now therefore, why do you say nothing about bringing back the king?”

 

2 Samuel 19:10

 

Here in 2 Samuel 19 David is mourning the death of his rebellious son Absolom. For David his sorrow reached a place that it was becoming unhealthy for him because it was clouding his vision of the present need, but the pain and grief he is feeling provides us with a picture of the heart of Father God in that He does not take pleasure in the death’s of those who have rebelled against Him. Ezekiel 18:32 says, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

Here David is so grieved over the death of his son he finds it difficult to focus on the living. So much so that Joab censures David saying, “Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well.” Though Joab was correct in pleading his case, he was totally out of place in that he shows a lack of respect for his friend David the King in the way he expresses his views.

A good reminder to us all is we can be totally right in what we say and totally wrong in how we express ourselves. How soon we can forget that we can win the battle and lose the war so to speak by the words we use to communicate with others, especially in moments when we disagree. An old friend and pastor once offered this sage advice to married couples on how to deal with conflict that Joab should have employed here, “if you are wrong confess it, if you are right…shut up”. As the book of Romans reminds us we can if we are not mindful we can suppress the truth of God by our unrighteousness. Yes, friend, we can know the truth and be right but still be totally wrong if the attitude of our heart is wrong within us. That’s why we must guard our hearts, the bible instructs us, for out of them flow the issues of life.

Fortunately for Joab, David is a man of God and he doesn’t respond in kind. David listens and takes to heart what Joab is saying but David doesn’t take his marching orders from a man of war…no…but rather David gets his orders from the Lord. It’s often times a good thing to listen to others complaints about us when they are shared with us in private but it is a very dangerous thing to act upon them. We need the wisdom that comes from heaven to see clearly in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. David is a type of Christ here in chapter 19 and the same way that David did not take his rightful place as king until invited back our Lord and Savior does not force His presence upon our lives. Jesus knocks at the door of our heart and waits for us to give Him audience.

The bible makes so clear that we will find the Lord when we seek the Lord with all of our heart. Yes, God is knocking at the door of every heart but the doorknob to our hearts is on the inside. We have free will! God never forces His way into our lives, nor His will upon us. We must open the door! Jesus comes to us by invitation only. “Call unto Me the Word of the Lord declares and I will answer thee”. The book of James again says, “We have not because we ask not”. Make it your prayer each day to call on the Lord and invite Him to lead you and guide you by His Word and by His Spirit.

The bible declares that one day “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ as Lord unto the glory of the Father” but not everyone will bow their heart to Jesus and open up to Him and His leading in their life. We can only have one king governing our lives; there is not room on the throne of our heart for two. Bring back the king! We can only serve one master! Someone has to sit on the throne of our lives. It’s either Absolom (the man of flesh) or David (the man of God and here David is a type of Jesus Christ). For you and me it’s simple…either Jesus rules our lives or we do. I like that old saying that says, “He is either Lord over all or He is not Lord at all.” with regard to our lives and who sits on the throne of our heart. We can show our allegiance for the King and reveal our love for Him as an act of our free by bringing back the King! Come boldly before His throne and leave walking humbly with God as you go.

 

“Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray.”

 

Psalm 5:2

 

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"Like Father Like Son"

“Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom–my son, my son Absalom–if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”

 

2 Samuel 18:33

 

There is an old saying that says, “what a parent does in moderation a child does in excess”. The bible tells us that the sins of the parents are transmitted to even the third and fourth generations. David’s sin with Bathsheba, though pleasurable for the moment brought consequences that would last far more than a lifetime…and ultimately played a major role in Absalom losing his life.

If only we would learn from the mistakes of others, loved one. Today’s message is simple. Pray for your kids, teach them the Word of God, raise them in the way of the Lord and above all else, model a faith that is real so that if your children followed in your footsteps they would be following you straight to the throne of God. As Dad’s and Mom’s we have a solemn responsibility to raise up a heritage to the Lord, to raise our children to follow God and the best way to get them there is to lead the way. It’s true that we all learn more by what we see than what we hear.

David like many a man has his heart set on conquering. As a king he has a job to do, a land to claim in the name of God. That’s all well and good but not at the expense of his family. God was with David in battle but as we have already read and know, David’s failure wasn’t in the battle, it was in his neglect of it. When he should have been out in battle leading the charge, David chose to stay in the comfort of his home far from the fight. The results were tragic and as chapter 18 shows us, the fruit bore out of that bad decision would have a lasting and tragic impact. The good news is David will learn from his mistakes, he will learn to trust the Lord and to be completely dependent upon Him and in the end God calls David a man after His own heart.

As parents, commit your children to the Lord and dedicate them to his service. Invite them to serve with you and allow them to witness your life as you faithfully serve God. Train your children in the way they should go knowing that they will not depart from that way as they won’t know any other way.

We may teach our children what we know but we reproduce who we are. Yes, Dads and Moms, a picture is worth a thousand words in parenting. Model a faith that is real and pray that God would give you the spiritual insight needed to lead and guide your children in honoring God with their lives. Trust God that He will give you what you need when you need it. If you have blown it as a parent and if we are all honest we all have many times, simply confess it to God and confess it to your children and let God knit your hearts back together again. He’s the God of reconciliation!

Where you have failed your kids seek forgiveness and where your kids have failed you offer forgiveness. Don’t live in guilt and condemnation, walk in the freedom of the Lord! His mercies are new every morning so get up and know…it’s a new day and God can make all things new. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Trust your family to Him and don’t lose heart.

If your parenting skills need sharpening don’t let it get you down…get into the Word of God. Sharpen your sword (your ability to use the word of God) and then use it to cut out the sin that comes against your kids. His Word is powerful Dad and Mom so be careful how you use it. Don’t forget the sword cuts both ways! Speak words of life to your kids, cleanse them by speaking words of truth in love. Comfort them with God’s Word when they hurt, remove their doubts and fears by helping them see what a mighty God we serve!

Show them the promises of God in the scriptures that are to them that love God and who are called according to His purposes. Don’t exasperate your children; teach them by showing them by your godly example to walk with God. Take up the shield of faith for your family and protect them against the attacks of the enemy that come against us all by committing your kids to God in prayer. Invite them to join you as you put on the full armor of God and then stand together against the enemy of your family’s soul.

Oh, how David must have wished he could have gone back to that one spring day and instead of staying at home enjoying the temporal pleasure of sin I know he too would have preferred to put on his armor and join in the good fight where he belonged. Let’s determine to learn from David’s mistake and stay in the fight for our families not against them. Don’t give up and don’t give in Dad… don’t lose heart Mom. Make a stand for your family together and ask God to help you provide a home life that your kids want to come home too. Even the prodigal knew he could return home! Just like Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us…help your kids know you will always have a place for them in your home. Even at age 54 I don’t have to knock on my Mom’s door when I go to visit as her home is still home for me. Remember, it’s love that turns a house into a home! Lets pray for families everywhere that God would be the Lord of our homes and that each of us would say…

 
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

Joshua 24:15

 

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"Abundant Life Is In Christ"

“…honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him to eat. For they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”

 

2 Samuel 17:29

 
The beauty of God’s grace is seen here in that the Lord provides for David through total strangers. What his own son fails to do for his father, God does through others. Isn’t it amazing how God uses the church to bless those who are suffering persecution even in their own homes? I love how the Lord takes the evil that is perpetrated in this world and can so quickly over come it with good. Just another testimony here of the goodness of God in our lives! We, as the bride of Christ share that same responsibility toward others. Jesus told us to go the extra mile, to overcome evil with good, to give to those who have need, to offer food, and clothing, and water to those who have none. We are to provide medical care to those who need it expecting nothing in return from those whom God allows us the privilege to bless. Oh to be used by the Lord to bless others, to be used of God to glorify His name. What a blessing we have been given.

David is being pursued here in chapter 17 by his own son yet the plans to catch him and to conquer him are thwarted by the Lord each and every time. So disappointing to Ahithophel that Absolom rejected his plan to kill David so that the people would return to Jerusalem without a fight that Ahithophel committed suicide. Pride causes many a man to commit spiritual suicide when the plan they offered wasn’t received. Instead of going on and trusting God their pride gets the best of them and they cut themselves off from the very life that God would have had them to enjoy. It’s so sad to see how the sin of pride takes hold of our hearts so tightly that we would rather die than to repent of it.

C.H. Spurgeon wrote concerning Psalm 10 that if man stripped away all his sins one by one that the sin of pride would be the sin closest to our heart and likewise would be the most difficult to rid ourselves of. If only we would learn to trust the Lord and allow Him to frustrate the plans of the enemy and bring judgment in His perfect timing.

God is in control of our lives, loved one, even when it looks bleak all around us. God will cause the plans that our enemies contrive against us to come to ruin just like He did with Absalom’s here. Again and again let the Word of God remind you, “if God is for us than who can stand against us?” Nobody…amen! Once again the waters of the Jordan provide a place of refuge, and opportunity to identify with the Lord. God is calling us to enter the waters of baptism, but not just the baptism that is associated with salvation but the baptism that comes by way of the Holy Spirit.

The Red Sea represents our salvation and the baptism that follows where as crossing the Jordan is a picture of the blessing of crossing over into the fullness of life made possible by the Holy Spirit when we are baptized by Him. Have you done that, beloved, have you crossed over the Jordan so to speak to the other side and our hiding yourself in Jesus Christ and the life He gives by His Spirit, or are you still fighting the enemy using human means? Go with God, rely on His Spirit and be refreshed today in Jesus! Remember, Jesus is the one who promised us life and life more abundantly.

 

“But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

 

John 4:32

 

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"An Ever Present Help in Time of Trouble"

“Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.”

 

2 Samuel 16:23

 

The wisest counselors of the day were Ahithophel and Hushai and both are with Absalom here and he thinks that makes him safe and secure when it comes to the decisions he makes. How wrong Absalom was and how wrong you and I can be too when we look to the so-called “wise counselors” among us instead of looking to our only wise God. Realize the ark was with Absalom yet he doesn’t inquire of God, he looks to man for his answers. Even godly men and women have limited, finite knowledge regarding any situation we face but God who is infinite in his wisdom promises to lead us and guide us if only we will look to Him and follow Him.

This chapter reveals to the man or woman of God that there will many voices clamoring for our attention, much “free” advice we will be offered by those around us (even counselors and pastors), some intending good and some intending us ill. We need now more than ever, beloved, to pray and seek the Lord and ask Him to fill our hearts and minds with the wisdom that comes from above where God is. We need now more than ever to pray for that separate and distinct filling with the Holy Spirit to come upon our lives so that we can walk in the victory the Lord has provided those who seek Him.

The Holy Spirit, and the power He provides will assist you and me in navigating through the snares of flattering lips, and the so called “wise counsel” that if listened to and headed will surely lead us to broken relationships and to violate the very oracles of God. Yes, beloved, we need the Holy Spirit today to make clear the path of God that He has revealed to us through the Word of God. We need the gifts that the Holy Spirit provides for us, believing too that the gifts and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are for today. Gifts like words of wisdom, words of knowledge, the ability to discern spirits, and prophecy are needed today like never before. Why like never before you might ask? The church and the world are becoming more and more self-reliant as knowledge increases. Instead of looking to God we have increasingly put more stock in the counsel and the wisdom of man instead of the counsel of God and His Word and the leading of the Spirit whom He has given us.

Our prayer needs to be that we recognize like King David in Psalm 146:3, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help” but rather, as Psalm 146:5, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” There is all kinds of counsel in the world today and all kinds of people offering it. I heard once in a leadership conference I attended a funny confession by the man leading the conference when asked what made him an authority on leadership. His answer was humorous in that he said, “an expert in any field is a person who is at least 200 miles from home”. What he meant by the statement is that there was no way for us to examine his life because he was so far from home so we would just have to take his word for it, that he was an expert. He was obviously kidding as he is one of the nations leading pastors and teachers on the subject of “biblical leadership” but it served as an excellent point.

There is another old saying that goes, “everyone has an opinion and everybody dies with them”. The world has an opinion on just about everything, just grab your morning newspaper or your internet home page and you will see. The danger in our information age is we mistake information for truth in the same way we mistake opinion for truth. God’s Word is truth and the more you commit your life to studying His truth, walking in His truth and quoting His truth, you will lead others to truth. A good friend to me these last couple of years gave me some of the wisest counsel I have ever received that might help illustrate this point when he said to me one day over lunch, “rat poison is 99% wheat and only 1% poison”. We can mix 99% of God’s word with 1% of sin and we still can kill people. Believing that to be true that is all the more reason I believe we need to spend more time talking to God about our problems and looking to Him for our advice as we pray and study His Word.

Make this a rule in your life before you seek advice from others. Make sure you have already sought the Lord in prayer and have studied His Word for the answer to the problem you are facing prior to seeking out the counsel of other people. Then, after praying for the answer and studying God’s Word, then, and only then, pray to God to whom should you seek out to counsel with regarding the answer you believe you have received. That’s where the multitude of counsel comes in. The beauty of God’s Truth is that it is always true! He never changes and that’s so good to know when you need help. Jesus is still the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by Jesus. Jesus is still the reason for every season!

 

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

 

Jude 1:25

 

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"It's What's On The Inside That Counts"

“Now in all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.”

 

2 Samuel 14:25

 
Its pretty obvious that it doesn’t matter much to the world what God thinks or what His standards are since the world uses it own measurement tool in selecting the people they admire and follow. God’s standards are opposite the worlds at best. James, the half brother of our Lord might have said best in articulating the point when James 4:4 says, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Holy Spirit inspired words that make clear that Gods ways are high above our ways and what pleases the world doesn’t necessarily please God! Absalom’s outward appearance might have not have been blemished but inwardly he was full of sin and deceit. So much so that his own father was not sprinting to receive his own son back like we read in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.

God knows our hearts, friend, and if we are honest there is a little Absalom in all of us. You know the part of you that thinks the worst about certain people, the best about others…you know the statements we can make like, “I know them”…”I know their heart”. The bottom line is, we are not much different than the world around us in how we think since we too were once of the world. We need to continually have our minds cleansed and our minds transformed by the living Word of God. Why, you may wonder? Because we have a free will and we believe what we choose to believe about others and we set standards that we want to set with regard to other people’s lives and how they measure up. So…if you voted for the winning candidate in the last election on the basis that you wanted to be associated with the winner you are part of the majority. Oh, how little human nature has changed over the last ten thousand years or so.

We get a glimpse here in 2 Samuel 14 of our heavenly Father’s heart. Though separated from his son, David still loves and cares for him…even when he is in rebellion. God loves us like David loves his own son Absalom here. God wants us to walk with Him and to enjoy unbroken fellowship but He has given us the ability to choose. We can honor our fathers and mothers or we can live like the prodigal son who asks (and receives) for his inheritance even while his father is alive and then goes and squanders it. Proverbs 25:28 tells us, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” The bible makes clear that “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Keep your heart tender to the Father and know that He loves and cares for you this day. He grieves for you when you aren’t in fellowship with Him in much the same way a parent lies awake at night waiting for their child to return safely home. God longs for us to be with Him and to enjoy the special bond between a loving parent and child. Love, joy, peace…the security of home, all this and more God desires us to have as His children. It’s available to us in Christ.

Don’t go it alone today, and try to make it on your own, or to build a name for yourself. Rather, come into His presence and enjoy all the comfort that only the Lord can give and supply. Thank the Lord today that you don’t have to set a field on fire to get God’s attention like Absalom, as you already have His heart if you are a son or daughter of the Most High. Simply accept His invitation today to come before His throne and to seek His face. Just as Joab was a mediator between David and Absalom, Jesus serves as our mediator between God and us and because of that we have access to God, 24/7.

So by all means…come before His throne today, come and be kissed by the King and enjoy the fellowship that is like no other! Bow your heart before the King and humble yourselves before His throne and He will lift you up! Are you discouraged today, a little down in the dumps? If so, come before the throne and let the Father shower you with His love, His mercy, and His grace. It’s all there as you seek the Lord in prayer, in His Word, in His presence. There’s no need to walk in the world’s ways or follow the standard the world has set to find success, comfort, joy and peace. You’ll find it all as you seek the Lord. Let the Lord show you today what is good and what He requires…

 
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

 

Micah 6:8

 

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