He Reached Down

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters." 2 Samuel 22:17

As you go through life, you need this. You need God to just reach down and take hold of you. More often than we care to admit, you think He might just reach down and shake you into your senses, but this is not the case in this passage. No, after spending a lot of time and more energy running from his enemies, David just cried out to God. In fact, this entire chapter is like that. You can tell that being on the run took its toll on David. He's spent, exhausted, ready to just hang it all up.

We get like that. We sometimes feel as if we can no longer move. But God, through simple, honest prayers like this, restores our soul, renews our spirit. But we have to take a step of faith and let it all go. Blurt it all out. Holding in all the junk and misery of life just complicates it. Let it all go.

Read the entire 23rd Chapter of Second Samuel out loud, then close your eyes and just worship. Weep if you need; raise your hands if you must, but cry out to Him.

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Just Because

David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. 2 Samuel 22:1-2

This is very similar to what we see all throughout the Psalms. David accomplished something great and he took time out to Praise the God who delivered Him. He did it often enough to make me think that it was a part of his character. Sure he sinned and fell and doubted and worried and obsessed over his enemies. But he also praised heartily.

We have the same things going for us. Of course we aren't kings and queens, but we still have our victories and valleys, our depressing times and our times of elation. We have ups and downs, highs and lows. Sometimes our lows are ruts, and our highs are Mt. Everest-like. But still, we seek Him.

Take time today to praise the Lord. Praise Him for who He is. Praise Him for what he's delivered your through. Praise Him for what He's continuing to do through you.

Praise Him, just because.

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But the King Knows

Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out for herself on a rock. From the beginning of the harvest till the rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies, she did not let the birds of the air touch them by day or the wild animals by night. When David was told what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's concubine, had done, he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.) David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.

They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul's father Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land. 2 Samuel 21:10-14

Buried in the Bible are these little stories that can easily get passed over for the "juicier" sections (e.g., Moses parting the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Jesus turning water into wine). Rizpah, a relative of Saul, wanted to protect the bodies of the seven men who were killed. She was protecting them from the birds. A simple act of kindness and decency. No one would notice. After all, the men she was protecting were already dead.

But King David heard about it and acted. Long story short: Saul, Jonathan, and the seven men were all buried together. Away from the birds, away from the open air.

Rizpah's legacy lives on around the world. Most people have never heard her name but they are like her. Most reading this are like her. You work and labor and wonder if it's making a difference. No one seems to notice your deeds. You get discouraged and want to give it all up for an easier life.

But the King knows. The King is recording all of those deeds. Sometimes he rewards you on the spot; most times, however, your small acts of kindness and hard work go seemingly unnoticed. Seemingly. The Enemy would want you to think that it's all for nothing. But it's not.

Take heart, Brothers and Sisters, your work for the Lord is not in vain, even the smallest things you do for others. Like the concert pianist whispering in the ear of a five-year-old as he plays a simple Chopsticks, "Keep on, Lad, you're doing great. Keep it up. I'm here with you. You're doing good. You're doing great. Don't stop now."

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What a Choice

They answered the king, "As for the man who destroyed us and plotted against us so that we have been decimated and have no place anywhere in Israel, let seven of his male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed before the LORD at Gibeah of Saul—the Lord 's chosen one." So the king said, "I will give them to you."

The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul. But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD. All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning. 2 Samuel 21:5-9

David had inquired of the Lord when there had been a famine in the land for three years. The Lord revealed that "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death." So David went to the Gibeonites to ask them how he could make amends with them. They responded that "let seven of Saul's male descendants be given to us to be killed and exposed before the LORD." So David went and chose seven and handed them over to the Gibeonites, skipping over a few he knew personally.

A man I knew was working for the United Nations in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was still in power. Word on the street came that he and his family had to be out of town the next day. They could choose one Iraqi family – and only one – to go with them. The remaining Iraqi UN workers would remain and would most certainly be killed for associating themselves with the United Nations. Think of that! One family, all other co-workers and their families would meet their deaths! Needless to say, this husband and wife had to undergo some serious counseling when they returned home.

There are Believers in many countries who must make these choices regularly, the choices that you and I will never have to make. And those who have persecuted Christians have no feelings for your children, your wife, your husband, your friends, your fellow Believers. Satan has guided these people into believing that persecuting Christians is a way to squelch the movement!

Pray for that persecuted pastor who must make impossible decisions knife or a gun at his throat. Pray for the Believer who will lose a limb because he has not nor will not deny Christ to his captors.

Pray that you might have compassion in this area and get involved. The Bible describes these believers as people for whom "the world was not worthy of them." Pray for them like you've never prayed before.

Voice of the Martyrs

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

"And say to Amasa, 'Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab.' " 2 Samuel 19:3

Joab gives David the best advice a top adviser could give (by speaking frankly), and how does David reward him? David fires Joab and hires Amasa in his place. He was trusted and loyal to David, and still David ditched him. But fortunately we haven't seen the last of Joab because Joab was a very powerful military leader. As a king, I would want a Joab on my side, if not for any other reason than I wouldn't want him against me!

As a leader, you may be asked to accept difficult advice. David took the advice but fired the messenger. You and I need grace to accept difficult advice without being hurt by the messenger giving it. Pray that you will be able to do that in the little things. If someone is speaking frankly with you, take the advice and cherish the friendship. It probably took the person a lot of courage to challenge you. You need that kind of counselor in your life. We all do.

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