Saturday, July 4, 2020

04 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 15: 16-37

04 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 15: 16-37

I cannot even imagine the devastation David must have felt to be leaving his home and country again.  And the circumstances – his own son Absalom and many people turned against him.  This was a new low for David.   

Whether through our own actions, or injustices against us, rejection is a hard thing to bear.  David bore this exile in humility.  But what about us?  We can carry an attitude of rejection, unaware, our entire lives.  Those forgotten hurts from the past can be the reasons for today’s defensive walls, supposedly protecting us from more pain; or filters causing us to misinterpret people’s intentions, making us wary or untrusting; or a weight of frustration, that we aren’t recognised for our value and talents or contributions, leading us to be angry and argumentative.  The attitude of rejection becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Ask God to show you what your heart is really like.  Stop to listen to the self-talk that goes through your head.  What are you telling yourself?  When you feel a negative reaction to something, stop, clarify and articulate what exactly is the message you are feeding on.  Because what is in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth (Matt 15:18).  And what proceeds from the mouth brings life or death (Prov 18:21).  What is really in your heart is what you will live by, and God wants us to live by His truth.

I myself realised I had a tendency to be untrusting of people’s intentions!  Where did that come from?  Asking God, a memory floated to the surface.  When I was ten, I was eating my lunch on the steps at school by the field.  The cool guy was walking past and called something to me but I didn’t catch it, so I asked him to repeat.  I later found out he said hello, but with my bad hearing I didn’t hear it.  But what I DID hear him reply was: “You deaf cow!”  Ouch!  Sometimes people would be embarrassed about having to repeat, but yeah.  As an insecure kid that was a whammy!  I was so humiliated.  So what to do?  Thank God for revealing this!  Forgive the person.  Ask for forgiveness for allowing that attitude to come in and ask God to break it off completely.  Ask God to reveal anything else He wants to say about that situation. 

Breaking free of rejection is a process.  God will reveal different things at different times, but it all has to start with humility, like David showed.  Sometimes what God wants to show us comes through another person, and requires us to be humble to receive what is being said.  God is willing to pick us up at any stage of the journey.  He is faithful and gives us opportunities to be transformed, but we have a choice as to whether we remain in our brokenness or allow Him to transform us.

Take some time to worship and thank Him for His goodness to us!  The lyrics are on the videos.

He Knows my name   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7owFiihXgg

Waymaker   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJCV_2H9xD0


Friday, July 3, 2020

03 July 2020 - 2 SAMUEL 15:1-15

03 July 2020 - 2 SAMUEL 15:1-15

An Unaccountable Leader Rises Up & Causes Trouble

As has been stated earlier this week, the story of Absalom is a tragedy. He was David’s son. A prince of Israel. 1 Samuel 14:25 states he was a good-looking man. He certainly had charisma like his father. He demanded people to take him seriously. And when they failed to do so, he was not afraid to punish them (2 Samuel 14:28-33.) He had ability. From this reading today, he knew how to self-publicise and win people to his side. Many people seemed willing to submit to his leadership. He had ability, he was charismatic and handsome. He had a reasonable claim to become King after David.

So what went wrong? How is this relevant for us today?

The first time he is mentioned is when he comforts his sister after she was raped. You can read this story in 2 Samuel Chapter 13:20-22.

Absalom is incensed at this crime, and possibly at King David’s failure to punish Amnon (the rapist and eldest son of David). The Bible is quiet about how this situation was resolved, likely because it never was resolved. Two years later Absalom exacts his revenge on his halfbrother the rapist. Absalom takes the whole situation into his own hands and murders Amnon. He does not seem to recognise the role of the law, or his father the king and leader. He is understandably angry, but he does not submit to the leadership structures already in place. Why does he not tell the king, his father? Why does he not demand justice for his sister and punishment for Amnon? He just quietly seethes in the juices of his own bitterness and hatred. The story hints at a distance between Absalom and David on both sides. David refuses Absalom’s invite to Baal Hazor (2 Samuel 13:25). Absalom then ends up going into exile. When he returns from exile 2-3 years later David refuses to see him (I Samuel 14:14). Absalom appears to be blind to the hidden love of his father David. David does not appear to know how to deal with his son, either as a father or as the leader of the nation. David did however recognise the danger from Absalom. He was worried about Absalom murdering all his siblings, not just Amnon. David knew he had to leave Jerusalem swiftly when he found out about Absalom’s rebellion, before he too fell victim to his murderous anger.

So what can we learn from this passage?

1. You can have ability and a just cause, but these do not give you a right to be judge, jury and executioner. Neither do you have the right to overthrow God’s anointed.

2. In both the Old & New Testaments we are told repeatedly in most situations to respect and work with the God-given authorities and government. We are to respect their authority. David himself understood this, which is why he would not harm King Saul despite Saul’s very serious and prolonged attempts to murder him.

3. In the account of the centurion who had more faith than the whole of Israel, Jesus taught us that in order to be able to have authority, we all need to be subject to authority. See Matthew 8:8-13 & Luke 7:7-9.

4. In John Chapter 10, only those who come in the sheep pen by the gate (that is Jesus) can lead His sheep. All others are thieves and robbers. We need Jesus authority. We are forbidden to take leadership over the people of God by our own authority.

1 Peter 5:6 says we are to humble ourselves under His mighty hand and He will lift us up. James 4:6 says God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble. At no stage did Absalom humble himself. He just did as he saw fit. He did not think that he was accountable to his father, the King, or to anyone else. Neither did he think that he was accountable to God. He did not realise that God sits in ultimate judgment and it is not for Absalom or any of us to try and occupy that place. God opposes the proud, and Absalom was proud. Pride makes us think we can be like God. The truth is we always need to humble ourselves before Him.

Do you obey and submit yourself to the God-given authorities? Do you have authority from God? Are you humble before God and wait for Him to lift you up? Do you trust God, and wait for His timing? Or do you, like Absalom, try and take matters into your own hands, that are best left to God? Unfortunately, Absalom’s pride and violence caused a lot of avoidable grief and pain.

In our times, we continue to see disputes in the world and sometimes also within the church where people seek to advance their own agendas, with no regard for authorities or God Himself. Much needless heartache and pain results from this kind of behaviour.

Suggested prayer: We pray to humble ourselves before You Lord. Forgive us for our pride, and any bitterness or unforgiveness against our brothers and sisters. May we put our faith in you. May we keep ourselves accountable to our leaders inside and outside the church. We pray for unity in Your church. We pray You lift us up in Your own good time. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

02 July 2020 - Psalm 62

02 July 2020

Today’s devotion is taken from Psalm 62.                                            

In the above passage, we can see that David was writing about his ordeals and torments, particularly on some people who were attacking him (verse 3 and 4). Torments could take the form of different issues, perhaps, the fear of failure, suffering from anxiety and so on. Whatever it is, David wrote the above Psalm to encourage us to look to God for comfort and peace in times of trouble. Though he was being put down by the world, his faith in God did not waiver. He persisted in trusting God. Why? Because God was his hope and salvation.

Torments and attacks

We face torments and attacks from people around us from time to time. It could be our bosses or others around us putting us down on a daily basis or friends calling us names because of how we look or act. This can lead to great mental suffering and unhappiness in our lives if we do not deal with it. But our Heavenly Father does not want us to live in such torment, which could lead us into depression and darkness. God has promised that while Satan only comes to steal, kill and destroy, He has come to give us eternal life (John 10:10). Living for the approval of others is a miserable way to live and it will cripple our life. While it is easier said than done, it is necessary to make a conscious to affirm our faith daily because only God can truly deliver us from the evil plans laid to ruin us (see and pray Psalm 91-1:16)

But how do we respond to attacks and torments?

The world will tell you that revenge is the way to redemption! But the bible tells us otherwise. Matthew 5:11-12 says that:

 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Of course it is difficult to rejoice and be glad when we are being tormented or attacked! Which is why, David tells us that we must (first and foremost) find rest in our Heavenly Father. Only then can we find peace and react wisely! We rest with peace because we know we have been forgiven by God and He is in control of our lives and all that we face. It is with this inner peace we face each day and thus are able to be at peace with others around us. Therefore, the key to responding to attacks and torments focus on Christ and bring to him our petitions so that His peace that surpasses all understanding may rest upon us (Philippians 4:6-7). We must cultivate our relationship with God and the more we love God, the less we set our minds to worldly interest which is vulnerable to for us to feel hurt. This is why the Psalmist reminds us to trust in him at ALL times for God is our mighty rock and refuge (V.6-8).

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I declare that today I will stand firm in you, my rock and my refuge! I choose to stand against the attacks of the enemy and that it will not have control over me. I put my trust in You completely because You are my hope and salvation. Today, I put on the full armour of God so that I will be ready to face any situations that present itself to me. Lastly, I pray for Your joy and peace to fill my life even in times of despair and torment so that I may react wisely to those who hurt me.

 


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

01 July 2020 - Love Song

01 July 2020 - Love Song

Song of Solomon 1:1–2: “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. The Shulamite: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— / For your love is better than wine.”

1 Kings 4:32 tells us that King Solomon wrote 1005 songs, and this one is called “the song of songs.” This was THE song, his #1 hit. There are many possible interpretations of the Song of Songs. Some see it simply as a sensuous love song between Solomon and his first wife; while others, especially Jewish rabbis, teach that it depicts the spiritual relationship between God and the nation of Israel. Most Christian expositors understand it to be a picture of the love between Jesus Christ and His church. Some Christians also see it as a biblical guide to married love.

The song’s story is placed in the 10th century BC. Solomon, Israel’s richest king, owned a vineyard in the northernmost part of Galilee, near the foothills of the mountains of Lebanon. While visiting his vineyard, he met a country girl, a Shulamite, who captured his heart. For sometime he pursued her, making visits to see her at her country home, until he finally asked her to marry him. Assuming the story is a picture of Jesus’ love for us, His bride, then this is saying that God pursues us, that we personally matter deeply to Him, and that He desires to have a meaningful relationship with us.

As Paul the Apostle was praying for the Ephesians, he prayed that they would “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Eph. 3:18–19). The love of Jesus Christ for us is so deep, so rich, so intense that we can never completely grasp the full depth of it.

“LORD, we are embarrassed by Your love since You seem to love us so much more than we show our love to You. Help us to show You love this day by walking in obedience to Your truth.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

30 June 2020 - Song Of Solomon 1:1-17

30 June 2020

Today’s passage is from Song of Solomon 1:1-17

1 Kings 4:32, says of Solomon, "He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs were a thousand and five." That’s a lot of songs! The Book Song of Solomon/Song of Songs is a very unique one; It is primarily an allegory describing the love relationship between God and His people. This great Song of Songs illustrates the love, the intensity, and the beauty of a relationship that should exist between Christ and the believer.

“The chief speakers are not Solomon and the Shulamite… but Christ and his Church.” – Chuck Swindoll

It is important to understand there is a huge difference between knowing that God loves you and experiencing God’s love in your life. It is intimate and personal, with that understanding when you read this passage, it sure is an exclusive experience.

MY BELOVED IS MINE AND I AM HIS

Verses 1-7. The dialogue between the maiden and the young man begins with this passionate desire of the maiden. Love is better than wine Vs 2. She wants to receive and experience the love of her beloved. Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of Victorian England, in his sermon titled Better than Wine, drew forth two main points:

“Christ’s love is better than wine because of what it is not: It doesn’t cost anything. Taking more of it does not diminish the taste of it. It is without impurities.

“Christ’s love is better than wine because of what it is: · Like wine, the love of Christ has healing properties, a symbol of joy; it exhilarates the soul.

It flowed out in streams of blood, from the cross of Calvary, and we partake of it in remembrance of Him”.

A PERFUME POURED OUT

Vs 3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes. The love of Christ is an ointment that heals the wounds of the heart, adds fragrance that is refreshing and makes one joyful.  And in love, the King brings the bride into His chamber, a place of closeness. Isn’t that true of a heart of worship when you love Him with all your heart and soul every day? It is in your quiet time, that you are welcomed into the affections and secrets of His heart.

The Shulamite considers her own shortcomings in appearance Vs 5 Dark am I… Likewise, we also suffer in our negatives sometimes and we do not want our natural life to be exposed. Unless it is sufficiently dealt with by the Holy Spirit, it is difficult to get over such feelings. If you are conscious that you are restrained in prayer, that you have neglected searching the Word, and that you have not lived as near to God as you ought; then this is the time you need to come into close communion with Christ. For His love covers the multitude of sins.

ADORNED IN HOLINESS

Verse 8-10 The beloved praises His lover. If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock. Poetically, the beloved tells the maiden where she can find Him. He welcomes her presence and companionship and is happy to have her with him. More specifically, He praised the way she made herself beautiful, with ornaments on her cheeks and chains of gold on her neck. The ornaments are compared to the grandeur and beauty that the Lord can adorn us with, in other words it is the grace and glory that can be given by Christ, when we surrender our lives to Him. Infact, He admires this incorruptible beauty that can come only from God Himself, upon us.

Vs 11 When the on-looking daughters of Jerusalem saw how the King cared for her, they wanted to be kind and good to her. The Lord will turn people in your favor when you have found favor in the eyes of God. Be assured that the beauty of His holiness and the gentle spirit remodels you, and will attract people to you. Proverbs 3:4. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of man. When your love relationship with God gets stronger, many other strained relationships will be set right.

AN EVERLASTING LOVE

Vs 13-17 The maiden understood her ability to attract her beloved; and she also understood His ability to attract her. These dynamics of mutual attraction is delightful, for it speaks more about character corresponding commitment- an eternal love relationship.  This intimate relationship with Christ will always keep life alive, attractive and full of good scents, like that of the vineyards of En Gedi, an oasis in a Judean wilderness.

Prayer:

LORD, you love me so much more than I show my love to You. Thank You for meeting with me today and reminding me of this love relationship. Keep me close to you. In Jesus name, Amen