Wednesday, July 8, 2020

8 July 2020 - God is working behind the scenes

GOD IS WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES

Today’s passage is 2 Samuel 17:1-15

 “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom and it will stand forever.” Daniel 2:44, that is God’s purpose— to set up a kingdom that will stand forever.

If  you were with David that night on the west side of the river Jordan, knowing well that David’s son has proclaimed himself king and is coming down upon David in thousands, and it all may be over by the morning —won’t you wonder how is God going to work out His plan? Watch God at work here.

Absalom somehow wanted to kill his father King David, for the love of wanting to be the next King. So, he seeks for advice of Ahithophel and of Hushai.

Ahithophel Vs. Hushai

Ahithophel suggests to Absalom, to move quickly and come by a surprise attack with overwhelming force and with a focused objective. He advices to gather twelve thousand men at night and pursue David, when David is weak and weary. Ahithophel assures Absalom that he will kill King David. That was good advice to Absalom.

However, to be sure, he asked the advice of his next counsellor, Hushai. But Hushai disagrees with Ahithophel’s advice.  Swanking about King David’s strength in war, he says “It’s better by far to wait awhile and gather a vast army from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.” Hushai is appealing to Absalom’s vanity, that he would lead this largest army that Israel has ever seen. Absalom and his men were completely impressed with this guidance, in fact thought it was a better advice.

It wasn’t actually better. Militarily it was a poor strategy. If that time was given, David will get organized, people will go over from Absalom to David. It’s a tough tactic, but for some reason Absalom buys it because he buys into the vanity of it.

And now we learn the secret of Hushai’s success. It was because God had ordained to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. And why? To the intent that God might bring evil on Absalom (17:14). Thus, behind the scene God was seen to be at work confirming Absalom’s defeat. When David came out of the situation successfully, all would know that it was God who had accomplished it. Don’t forget David’s prayer; O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness! (2 Samuel 15:31)

REST BY KNOWING GOD IS WORKING

Have you ever found yourself facing a situation at some point in your life, where having been praying to God about it for a while, there was still no visible change seen?

Just because you don’t see any instant change, it does not mean that nothing is happening, nor does it change the fact that God is at work behind the scenes arranging things in your favor. Romans 8:28. In all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, this includes you. God will prepare a Hushai to talk in favour of you, because He has thoughts to prosper you.

Let me remind you, how God was working behind the scenes, in the life of Joseph. To bring three men together in the same place–so that Joseph could interpret their dreams. Be certain, that God is working in the lives of a person or people perhaps you have never met, in a place you have never been, in order to accomplish His purpose for you and for them. Philippians 2:13, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. No suffering is wasted, and God is always at work for our good and His glory. When we cannot comprehend why trials come and struggle to imagine that anything good can come from them, we can rest in the security that GOD is in CONTROL because HE IS SOVEREIGN.

Prayer: Father, sometimes I struggle to trust you when you are silent. Increase my faith and help me believe I am always in Your thoughts Father. You have plans to prosper me and, give me an expected end. In Jesus name Amen.


 

 

 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

7 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 16:15-23

7 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 16:15-23

In today’s bible passage, we read of two men, Hushai and Ahithophel. Both men differed much in moral character, but they were similar in position as both were advisers in the affairs of state. From their acts, it showed that they are men of wise mind. Using their wisdom, they played the most important part in the events of this part of David's life who has been hit with series of opposition. Even his son, Absalom, was impatient to become king himself, and started a rebellion to take over the throne.

Hushai –

He was a friend of David, a trusted member of David’s court. In other words, he is the personal adviser to the king. In verse 17, Absalom was wondering why Hushai did not go with David, as this is what a friend should do when one is in need. Hushai answered Absalom that “just as he served the father, so he will serve him” (verse 19). This answer most probably will have Absalom to believe that Hushai is also loyal to him too.

In the next chapter, 2 Sam 17, you will read that Hushai was very loyal to David. When consulted by Absalom of Ahithophel’s plan to attack David in the night, he opposed that plan and proposed his own plan to Absalom which was accepted and that gave the advantage to David. In actual fact, it was David who sent Hushai back to Absalom, to both spy on him and to give him bad advice (2 Samuel 15:32-34).

What about you? Are you a close friend of Jesus? Would you follow him faithfully, willing to bear the cross, “walk as he walked,” to separate yourself from the evil that is in the world, to confess his name before men, and to promote the accomplishment of his purposes? Friends come and go. But if Jesus is your friend, He will be your friend forever.

Ahithophel –

He was Bathsheba’s grandfather, a wise and respected counselor, one of David’s most trusted advisers. Sadly, he devoted the force of his wisdom to the evil cause of a rebel. He appears to have secretly aligned himself with Absalom’s rebellion in its planning stage.

In verses 21-22, Absalom, seeking counsel from Ahithophel, is advised to strengthen his position by lying with his father’s (David) concubines in the sight of all Israel. Why would Ahithophel suggest such an act? He could have been motivated by the bitterness he had against David for his treatment of Uriah and Bathsheba, so now it is time for him to get even.

However, for Absalom to take possession of his father’s concubines, would signify Absalom’s assumption of royal power, and in doing that, will shut off all avenue of possible reconciliation between father and son. All of Absalom’s acts were calculated to proclaim without any doubt that he was the new king who had fully replaced David. Interestingly, this advice by Ahithophel was prophesied by prophet Nathan to David in 2 Sam 12:11-12.

Verse 23 also pointed out that “in those days, the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.”

Ahithophel was a man in great repute as a counselor, but he was not in honor with God. His clever head was associated with a corrupt and treacherous heart. The fact that David had been anointed by God must have been familiar to them all, and to rebel against the Lord’s anointed is also to rebel against the One who anointed him. But when men are alienated from God, they became blind and desperate, seeking not God, but the worldly pleasures and power. Thus, the greater the abilities, the greater the sin of not using them for God and his kingdom.

Suggested Prayer –

Ø  God is indeed a God of Grace and Forgiveness who delights to forgive and to restore. Bring before God any wrongdoings and seek for His blessing.

Ø  Pray that you will stay close to Jesus always. Be His close friend. Ask Jesus for divine protection against any temptation that intends to draw you away from Him.

Ø  Pray for those whom we know are mentally gifted, holding high positions – that they may be good men including their solemn responsibilities before God.

Monday, July 6, 2020

06 July 2020 - 2 Samuel 16:1-12

06 July 2020

Today’s devotion is from 2 Samuel 16:1-12

The context of day’s passage is that David has fled Jerusalem in light of his fight with Absalom. In this story, we read that Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, gave David some food and provisions (v.1-2). If we recall 2 Samuel 9, Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and King Saul’s grandson. Ziba, has been on of Saul’s servants. In 2 Samuel 9, David showed kindness to Mephibosheth to honour the memory of his friend, Jonathan.

Who can we trust?

In the first half passage, Ziba lied to David to make it seem as though Mephibosheth turned against David. David was so distracted by Absalom’s attack that he failed to discern that Ziba was not telling the truth. David rewarded Ziba’s apparent loyalty and transferred all that belonged to Mephibosheth to Ziba. When David finally returned to Jerusalem, there was evidence Mephibosheth was loyal to David  (2 Samuel 19:24–30). David did not bother to even check Ziba’s story probably because he was too preoccupied being hurt by his son’s betrayal. Just like David, we could find ourselves in a vulnerable situation and easily trusting others’ words. It may be that we are preoccupied with stress at work, school or home so that we are vulnerable to believe in gossips or false tongues resulting in misjudging others. Jesus warned His disciples, "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16). We should not trust others blindly and we should recognize that not everyone has good motives. The serpent seemed kind to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden but Adam and Eve blindly trusted the serpent who had an evil motive. Adam and Eve were vulnerable because they were distracted by their own selfish desires. Ultimately, our trust must be in God above all: Psalm 118:8 says, "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man”. Even when we are distracted or vulnerable, we should exercise wisdom and find out the truth before believing a lie.  We should ask God for discernment in whom to trust and trust Him with the results.

Looking at your problems from a different perspective

In v.5-12, we have Shimei cursing David. Shimei is one of Saul’s relatives and therefore, probably blames David for the death of Saul. David had his army with him (v.6), David could have ordered Shimei to be killed. How did David respond? He was verbally abused and took in hurtful comments but he did not retaliate and he did not lash out a response. David exercised self control and patience. In v.9, we read that Abishai wanted to take off Shimei’s head. David could have said yes, kill Shimei but he did not. He saw things from a bigger perspective. He knew his real problem was Absalom and not Shimei. He also saw it from God’s perspective. He might not have known at that time was God was doing but he knew God was in his circumstances. David focus on God’s faithfulness and trusted that God allowed his current circumstances for a reason. He said it v.12, It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today. David understood that his present dire circumstances is just temporary, and God can use evil for good (Genesis 50:20).

Suggested prayer:

Heavenly Father, I put my trust in you because you will not forsake us and only in you can we find true refuge. Holy Spirit, help me to discern what is right and wrong so I can live according to Your ways. O Lord, help me focus on your goodness and faithfulness instead of the problem facing me. I know you will help me through whatever this life brings. Amen.