Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 115/260: David

Read 2 Samuel 15:1-12; 16:15-17:23; Psalm 41

Misplaced Trust

Have you ever heard the phrase, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” When one reads the events concerning Ahithophel during Absalom’s rebellion against David, that question could certainly be asked. Ahithophel served as a trusted counselor to the king, but when he believed Absalom would succeed in overthrowing David, the counselor became a traitor.

Could he be the person that David had in mind when he penned the words of Psalm 41:9? “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Truly, the statement could refer to a number of people in David’s life, including his mutinous son Absalom or his advisor Ahithophel. To be sure, anyone in a position of power must consider the possibility that those who are closest to them might have ulterior motives. Even Jesus had a traitor among the Twelve: Judas Iscariot.

Does this mean that we should stop trusting the people around us? No! Keep in mind that they are human, however, and they have the capacity to sin. Pride and envy are dangerous attitudes and often we do not recognize them within our own lives until after we have succumbed to some temptation. There is One, however, that we can always trust without reservation.

God is faithful to the faithful: “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” (Psalm 41:1). This does not mean that everything will be good all the time. Rather, God will provide opportunities for those who want to obey Him to do what is right.

We are faced which temptations every day. It is a decision each must make whether he will give in to selfish desires or follow what God has inspired. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

You can trust the Lord. Can He trust you?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 114/260: David

Read 2 Samuel 12:13-23; Psalm 32

Personal Responsibility

Suffering is not always caused by sin, but sin always causes suffering. King David learned this the hard way and was confronted by the prophet Nathan about his sin. In response to Nathan’s accusation, the king admitted his wrongdoing and acknowledged the just punishment of the Lord. He also rejoiced in the forgiveness that was offered. It is God’s mercy that we read about in Psalm 32.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).

Guilt can gnaw at a person’s insides and make them sick—emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. David wrote, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer” (Psalm 32:3-4).

He could not get past the guilt of what he had done as long as he tried to hide it, but there was a solution: admit his transgression and seek the restoration of his relationship with the Almighty. “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).

The king understood that God wanted to forgive him; still today, God wants to forgive man! We need to own up to our shortcomings and seek to repair the damage we have done to our relationships with other people as well as our relationship with God.

Some have described repentance as a change of heart and mind that leads to a change in action. That is exactly what happened in Thessalonica. Paul reminded those Christians that they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Repentance requires not only a cessation of wickedness, but also a commitment to righteousness.

David acknowledged his sin and after the death of his child, “he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:20). “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11).

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 113/260: David

Read 2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 51

Godly Sorrow

The apostle Paul wrote, “Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

When the prophet Nathan confronted David about the king’s sin, he humbly acknowledged his wickedness and said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). It was not mere lip service, but true contrition. He knew he had done something evil, and he knew he had to behave more properly in the future.

David composed the fifty-first Psalm after these events. A 16th-century writer said, “This psalm is the brightest gem in the whole book, and contains instructions so large, and doctrine so precious, that the tongue of angels could not do justice to the full development.”

The king pleaded, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1). This was no mere lip service; David was truly sorry for the things he had done. It pained him so deeply that he wrote, “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4).

While it is true that he sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, the greater sin was against God Himself. In similar fashion, the patriarch Joseph declined Potiphar’s wife’s advances by asking, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Certainly, Joseph would have sinned against Potiphar as well, but he recognized that all sin is truly against God above all else.

Perhaps if we had this view of sin we could more easily combat temptations. Considering what God has done for us and how much He loves us, how could we commit sin so easily and so frequently? When confronted with our failures, may we have the same penitent attitude as David, who cried, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 112/260: Nathan

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-15

Confronting Sin

Confronting sin is often awkward and embarrassing. Confronting the sin of a powerful person can be intimidating and at times dangerous. The prophet Nathan was tasked with exposing the sin of the king who had just murdered a man by putting him on the front lines of a battle. The king who had executed the giant Goliath. The king who killed the Amalekite who took credit for Saul’s death.

Wouldn’t you be nervous in such a situation? The Scriptures, however, do not reveal any hesitation or avoidance on Nathan’s part. “Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him” (2 Samuel 12:1). Moses offered excuses when God called him; Jonah tried to run away! But Nathan simply did what God told him to do.

He began with a parable about a rich man who took advantage of a poor man. When the king heard the story, his “anger was greatly aroused against the man” (2 Samuel 12:5). David became so angry, in fact, that he said, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this thing shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:5-6).

David’s indignation was justified. It was righteous. How dare this rich man mistreat his neighbor? Who ever heard of such despicable behavior? Nathan took hold of the opportunity before him and answered the king, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7). A bold proclamation but a true one, and the very reason he was sent to the king.

David, though he was a godly man who feared the Almighty, had been overtaken by sin. He was tempted, and he gave in to that temptation. We are all responsible for our actions. We must answer for our decisions, and we cannot shift the blame to others—not even to Satan! He may be powerful (1 Peter 5:8), but he does not have the power to control us.

Nathan had a daunting task and he stepped up to the plate. May we all develop the spirit of Nathan in our dealings with sin! “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Are you among those “who are spiritual” and fulfilling your duty?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 111/260: David

Read 2 Samuel 11

In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

We’ve all heard stories about someone who has gotten “lucky” because they just happened to be “in the right place at the right time.” Maybe they caught a historic home run ball at a baseball game, or ran into a celebrity while eating at a restaurant and asked for an autograph.

What about those who are “in the wrong place at the wrong time” though? The Scriptures tell us about a time in David’s life when he was not where he should have been.

“It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1). The Scriptures do not say why David did not lead his men into battle, but since he was not where he should have been, he saw something he shouldn’t have seen.

“Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold” (2 Samuel 11:2). Had David gone to battle, he would not have seen this beautiful woman bathing.

Having seen something he shouldn’t have seen, David thought something he shouldn’t have thought. Lust is a dangerous thing, as it often leads to inappropriate actions. Jesus warned, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29).

Being where he shouldn’t have been, seeing what he shouldn’t have seen, and thinking what he shouldn’t have though, all led David to do what he shouldn’t have done. “Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her; for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house” (2 Samuel 11:4). David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and then tried to cover up his sin!

It all started because David was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have a choice to make. Will we place ourselves in the way of temptation or will we avoid going where sin lives?

Reception and Rejection in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:42-52)

Reception and Rejection in Antioch of Pisidia Acts 13

Acts 13:42-52

I. Two reactions

    A. Reception (Acts 13:42-44; 13:26; Galatians 5:4)
    B. Rejection (Acts 13:45, 50)

II. Paul and Barnabas refused to back down

    A. The Jews should have accepted the gospel (Acts 13:46-47; 13:17; Romans 1:16)
    B. The Gentiles joyously accepted God’s grace (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 2:12)
    C. Joy resulted in evangelism (Acts 13:49)

III. The missionaries driven out of Antioch

    A. You can knock them down, but they will get back up (Acts 13:50-51; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Luke 9:3-5)
    B. Despite opposition and persecution, the church was planted and disciples were joyful

God Is Gracious

Grace God is Gracious

I. Complementary attributes of God

    A. Goodness (Matthew 19:16-17; Romans 11:22)
    B. Mercy (Titus 3:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9)
    C. Benevolence (Hebrews 13:6; Psalm 118:6; James 1:17; 2 Corinthians 1:3)

II. God’s grace in the Old Testament

    A. Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:18-24; Proverbs 18:22)
    B. Noah (Genesis 6:5-9)
    C. Abraham (Genesis 22:15-18)

III. God’s grace in the New Testament

    A. Man can do nothing on his own to erase the stain of sin (Galatians 5:4)
    B. Grace does not negate obedience (John 1:17; Hebrews 5:9; Titus 3:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9)
    C. “Grace alone” is false doctrine (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Acts 10:34)
    D. Grace is available to all, and it demands obedience (Titus 2:11-14)

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 110/260: David

Read 2 Samuel 9

Kindness

David made a commitment to his friend Jonathan that he would show kindness to his family. Many years after the death of Jonathan, David made good on that promise by seeking out those of the family of Saul who had survived. The son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, was found. Mephibosheth had been lame since the age of five; he grew up and married and had a son of his own.

David assured Mephibosheth that he was not looking for vengeance against Saul’s house. “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually” (2 Samuel 9:7).

Mephibosheth showed his gratitude toward David in humility, acknowledging his unworthiness of such an honor. “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?” (2 Samuel 9:8). David fulfilled his vow to Jonathan and did all that he said he would do for Mephibosheth. “‘As for Mephibosheth,’ said the king, ‘he shall eat at my table like one of the king’s sons’” (2 Samuel 9:11).

Brother James Burton Coffman relates David’s kindness to the son of Jonathan to God’s kindness for all humanity. “Sinners all, we mortals, like Mephibosheth, have been wounded, crippled, because of the ‘fall’ of our progenitors in Eden. Like David did for Mephibosheth, God has honored and blessed us with the promise of eternal life, inviting us to feast at His table in the kingdom perpetually. Also, God does this, not because of any merit or righteousness on our part, but ‘for Jesus’ sake.’”

Do we appreciate God’s mercy as we should? Separated from Him because of our iniquity, and yet despite our rebellion and rejection, He leaves the door open for us to return. He does not want to execute judgment upon us; He wants to forgive us and fellowship with us. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Let us accept His gracious offer and submit to Him in humility, and let us extend mercy to those around us just as He has extended mercy to us!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 109/260: David

Read Psalm 24

The King of Glory

Perhaps this song was sung by the people when David brought the ark from Obed-Edom back to Jerusalem, but there can be no denying the Messianic implications contained within. Observe that the subject of the first two verses is God, and in the next four verses, the subject is the man who stands before God. It would make little sense for the final four verses to then refer to a human king; David’s inspired psalm is nothing less than a prophetic declaration of the Messiah as the King of glory.

God’s rule over the world is established in the first two verses. “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2). He “founded” it and “established” it, thus He rules over it!

Who can stand before such a powerful Being? David describes the man who is not worthy (for none truly are worthy of such an honor), but nevertheless is permitted to “stand in His holy place” (Psalm 24:3). “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:4).

“Clean hands” has no reference to the dirt and grime that can be removed with soap. Such things concerned the Pharisees in the first century, but Jesus explained that “to eat unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Matthew 17:20). Rather, it is a reference to one’s behavior and activity. Are you doing sinful things? If so, your hands are not clean.

If your hands are not clean, then you lack the “pure heart” that David mentions. Again, the words of Jesus sheds light on what is meant: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 17:18-19).

The Psalm concludes with the identification of the King of glory. It is not David, who ruled Israel well with God’s blessing. “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory” (Psalm 24:10). May we acknowledge Him and show Him reverence as our King!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 108/260: David

Read Psalm 8

The Excellency of God

This Davidic psalm touches on the themes of the expanse of the universe and on the dignity of man, but neither subject fits the overall theme that is the excellency of God. David begins and ends with the words, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1, 9). The skies are beautiful, and the dignity of man is glorious, but both are only used as proofs of the Lord’s excellency.

David writes, “Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2). The story of Moses begins when he was but an infant, placed in the Nile and discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter. It was through that baby that God would eventually deliver His people from the slavery of Egypt.

Likewise, the history of God in the flesh begins in Bethlehem when Jesus is born of Mary. It was through that baby that God would eventually deliver His people from man’s greatest enemy, Satan, and the slavery of sin via the crucifixion. Thus, this Psalm looks both backward to the historical deliverance of Israel through Moses, and prophetically looks forward to the deliverance of all mankind through Jesus.

David looks at the sky above him and acknowledges the smallness of man in relation to heavenly bodies. “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4). What makes man significant in the eyes of God, considering all the beauty of His creation?

The answer comes in the next line: “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). It is nothing that man has done, but what God has done. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26). What an awesome standard for which we should strive: to be like God! His righteousness, His graciousness, His mercy. A lofty and noble goal for His creation!

Man has dominion over all creation because God has granted such to him. May we ever remember that we are stewards of the nature He has made and that we have done nothing to deserve that honor. Indeed, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!”

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)