Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 92/260: David

Read Psalm 12

Contrasting the Speech of the Wicked to the Speech of God

Do you ever notice a difference between the way your friends at work or school speak and the way Christians speak? Certainly, the words used should be different. It is never fitting for a Christian’s speech to be littered with four-letter words. But take it a step further, and think about the manner of speech, and not just the vocabulary used.

Perhaps David describes your non-Christian acquaintances in the twelfth Psalm. “They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak” (Psalm 12:2). Does that sound like the folks at the office? They chatter on and on without really saying anything, and will say whatever they think someone wants to hear just to get in their good graces. Did you know that Jesus warns against idle talk? He said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). What we say is important!

David also talks about how boastful the ungodly men in his day spoke. “May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?’” (Psalm 12:3-4). We see in the New Testament that we should not boast in our abilities. “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). When all is said and done, we are nothing without God!

Consider the words of the Almighty and how different they are than those of wicked men: “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever” (Psalm 12:6-7). Man speaks in disingenuous and boastful ways. God, however, speaks in purity and we can be assured that He will fulfill what He has promised.

How does your speech compare? We are called to be like the Father. Jesus said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6). Do your communication habits align with Scripture, or with the wicked?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 91/260: David

Read Psalm 59

God Is My Defense

“What have I done to deserve such poor treatment?” Have you ever wondered this when someone takes advantage of you, talks behind your back, or threatens you? Perhaps it has gone even further and you have suffered some physical harm, but you cannot for the life of you figure out why.

David faced the same problem before he became the king of Israel. Saul became jealous, paranoid that David was trying to usurp the throne. In response to his delusions, Saul sent men to kill the young man who had defeated some of Israel’s most fearsome foes.

David wondered why Saul pursued him, and why others were taking Saul’s side. “For look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty gather against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine” (Psalm 59:3-4). He recognized them for what they are: “enemies,” “those who rise up against me,” “the workers of iniquity,” and “bloodthirsty men” (Psalm 59:1-2), but that did not explain why he was the target of their savagery.

What was David’s solution? He turned to the Lord for help. He prayed for deliverance and sang the praise of God, knowing that God is faithful to His children. “But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, my God of mercy” (Psalm 59:16-17).

Do we demonstrate the same resolve and assurance in God’s power? When all is said and done, the truth will come shine forth. If we are true to God, we have nothing to worry about. God’s enemies will be scattered and consumed, but His faithful followers will be exalted and satisfied.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

God Sees and Hears the Righteous (Acts 12)

God Sees and Hears the Righteous (Acts 12)

(Acts 12; cf. 1 Peter 3:12)

I. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous (Acts 12:1-4)

    A. The evil of Herod Agrippa I
    B. The martyrdom of James the brother of John (Psalm 116:15; Revelation 14:13)

II. And His ears are open to their prayers (Acts 12:5-17)

    A. God answers the church’s prayers concerning Peter
    B. Such an unbelievable turn of events, the church didn’t believe it

III. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (Acts 12:18-24)

    A. Herod’s pride (Romans 1:24-25)
    B. Do we give God the proper glory? (Matthew 5:16)

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Rules the World

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Rules the World

I. Godly mothers

    A. Jochebed (Exodus 2:2-10; Hebrews 11:25)
    B. Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2)
    C. Lois and Eunice (2 Timothy 1:3-5; 3:14-15)
    D. Mary (Luke 2:41-52)

II. The influence of a godly mother

    A. “Behind every good man is a good woman” – and that good woman is often his mother (Ephesians 5:23; 6:1)
    B. The power of a mother’s prayer (Rudyard Kipling’s “Mother O’ Mine”; James 5:16)

III. The sacrifice of a godly mother

    A. She takes initiative (Proverbs 31:13)
    B. She provides for her family’s needs in the home (Proverbs 31:15)
    C. She is shrewd in business dealings (Proverbs 31:16)
    D. She is generous (Proverbs 31:20)
    E. She is not lazy (Proverbs 31:27)
    F. She is blessed (Proverbs 31:28-31)

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 90/260: Jonathan

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 19:1-24; 20:1-42

True Friendship

It was Jonathan, the son of king Saul, who attempted to reconcile the relationship between David and his father, and who on multiple occasions came to David’s defense against his father’s allegations. The Scriptures describe their friendship such that “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18:1).

It should come as no surprise that Jonathan was upset by his father’s actions against his friend. Wanting to smooth things over between the two, he had a conversation with Saul and encouraged him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you” (1 Samuel 19:4). In response, the Scriptures state that “Saul swore, ‘As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed’” (1 Samuel 19:6). How trustworthy was Saul’s oath? Had he not been insincere and violated such in the past?

Indeed, Saul’s true colors were shown as his jealousy and paranoia returned. He attempted “to pin David to the wall with the spear” (1 Samuel 19:10), and then “sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning” (1 Samuel 19:11). David escaped with the help of his wife, Saul’s daughter, Michal. David then fled to Ramah to find Samuel and told him all that had occurred. Saul pursued him there; David fled again, and again his true friend Jonathan was there to help.

Saul became terribly angry with his son, calling him the “son of a perverse, rebellious woman,” warning Jonathan that “as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom” (1 Samuel 20:30-31). Saul was determined that David must die.

Despite the knowledge that he would never be king, Jonathan defended his friend. “Why should he be killed? What has he done?” (1 Samuel 20:32). Saul, enraged by his son’s loyalty to David, threw a spear at Jonathan in an attempt to kill him!

Do you have friends that will defend you when you are wrongly accused? Are you the type of friend that will stand up against false allegations against your friends? May we all strive to be friends like Jonathan and David.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 89/260: David

Read Psalm 36

A Prayer of Protection Against the Wicked

The man who sets himself on a pedestal is sure to be knocked down by God; it may be in this life, it may be after death, but it will happen. David’s words about the “transgression of the wicked” are as true today as they were when they were first penned about three thousand years ago: “There is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1).

When one fails to recognize the awesome might of the one true God of heaven, he can do anything without repercussion in his own mind. In the words of the inspired poet, “For he flatters himself in his own eyes, when he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not abhor evil” (Psalm 36:2-4). Is this not the very picture of the heathen world that Paul painted in the opening chapters of Romans? Is that not the very same picture painted today by newscasters and reporters?

Those who have “ceased to be wise” are the same as those who refuse to “abhor evil,” and then you get in a whole mess of destructive deception and transgression. Sin is dangerous and must be hated. Yes, we must love those who commit sin, but urge them with every ounce of love we have to leave those acts that are abominable in the eyes of the Lord.

And yet, Paul warns those “who are spiritual” that in the attempt to restore an erring brother, we must have “a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). If we are to be gentle with those who should know better (other Christians who have strayed), should we not be even more gentle with those who have not yet come to a knowledge of the truth?

There are some, though, who will refuse Biblical correction and will continue in the ways of wickedness. Why? David often points to the pride of his enemies as the foundation of their sin. Was that not the case with Saul, who became jealous of David as he gained popularity with the people?

David writes, “Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away” (Psalm 36:11). We must humbly stand in the truth that was revealed by inspiration, and not allow the sinful, prideful man drive us from our foundation in the gospel.

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 88/260: David

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-16

Wisdom or Fear?

God had already told Saul through the prophet Samuel that the kingdom would be taken away from him. After God indicated to Samuel that the next king would be David, “a distressing spirit” came upon Saul. Could it be that Saul became paranoid, always looking over his shoulder, always wondering when he would lose the throne?

The inspired record states, “So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely” (1 Samuel 18:5). Upon one occasion, the women danced and sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). Saul’s reaction was one of anger, and he asked, “Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” (1 Samuel 18:8). He was jealous of David’s popularity and he realized that losing favor in the sight of the people would lead to his downfall more quickly. He kept an eye on David from that time forward, and even threw his spear at him.

1 Samuel 18:12 is very telling: “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul.” God had given up on Saul as the king had disobeyed Him time after time, and Saul knew that God was no longer with him. He could clearly see that the Lord was with David, though, which caused terror in the king’s heart and mind.

David’s behavior was always one of wisdom before the king. David’s behavior troubled Saul because he knew that the Lord would bless David as long as he was faithful and wise. Not only that, but David’s behavior fostered love in the hearts of “all Israel and Judah” (1 Samuel 18:16). There was little Saul could do right in the sight of the people; there was little David could do wrong.

Our reputation is important, as long as it is based on our character and integrity. We should desire people to speak well of us and be honest with their reports. One of the qualifications for the eldership in the church today is that a man “must have a good testimony among those who are outside” (1 Timothy 3:7). And when someone does speak poorly of us, we should let our character speak for itself so that “those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1 Peter 3:16). Let us labor to be wise and faithful, and put away thoughts of paranoia and fear when others do well!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 87/260: David

Read Psalm 9

Be Glad and Rejoice in God

Many of the Psalms were written by David, the shepherd who would become king of Israel. There are varying opinions as to the occasion that led to the writing of the ninth Psalm. Some believe that it was composed after David’s deliverance from Absalom, while others believe it was written much later by another author after the nation was delivered from Babylon. Many assign to it a much earlier date, perhaps following David’s defeat of Goliath, the Philistine giant. It is with that latter view in mind that we read it today, one day after considering the inspired record of Goliath’s defeat in 1 Samuel 17.

The ninth Psalm begins with a declaration of praise for God: “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-2). Are there lessons for us in just these two verses?

Notice David’s attitude—his praise for God will not be half-hearted. Rather, his praise will be accomplished “with my whole heart.” Indeed, the fact that one’s love for the Lord must be “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) is identified by the Messiah as “the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:38) and one of the two commands that “hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). Without this whole-hearted, whole-souled, whole-strengthened attitude, the rest of God’s law for man in every dispensation is without foundation.

Notice next David’s attention—he sees what God has done and wants to tell others about it all! “I will tell of all Your marvelous works.” Nothing was to be omitted from David’s reporting of what God had done! Was this not the attitude of Paul the apostle? He said to the Ephesian elders, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Let us tell of everything that God has done for us, and everything He will do—both the good and the bad, dependent upon our response to Him.

Third, consider his adulation that is a result of God’s goodness. “I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Too often we forget to thank God when He has blessed us, let alone praise Him for His grace and mercy. Can we imitate David’s attitude, attention, and adulation?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 86/260: David

Read 1 Samuel 17

God or Goliath?

The Philistines were one of the great enemies of Israel. Israel had won at Michmash and it took many years for the Philistines to recover from that defeat. Their most fearsome champion at this time was Goliath, a giant from Gath. The armor this giant was wearing was very heavy as described by the inspired writer.

Goliath taunted the Israelites. He was confident that no one could defeat him. He was big and strong and well-protected. He was so confident that he issued such a challenge that the loser’s side would be servants of the winner’s. “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10).

The response of Saul and the Israelite army, while not surprising, is disappointing. “When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11). Never mind what God had done in delivering the people out of Egypt; forget all the times he had raised up judges to deliver them from their oppressors. Even in the days of Saul himself, had God not shown Himself to be stronger than Israel’s foes? Yet, time and time again, the people show dismay and fear.

There was one young man, however, that was not afraid. He was not even a part of the army, but when he heard the jeers of Goliath, David wondered at the Israelites’ reaction. “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). David knew the power of God, even if everyone else had forgotten.

We are going to face Goliaths in our lives. The challenges hurled at the people of God today come in many forms: physical persecution, societal discrimination, and sadly, sometimes, trouble from within the church itself. We serve the same God that David served, and He is still bigger than any problem we may face.

Let us have the same attitude as David, who said to the king, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:32). Face the problem head-on, knowing that God will be victorious when all is said and done!

The Conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10-11)

The Conversion of Cornelius Acts 10-11

Acts 10-11

I. Cornelius was a good man

    A. He was devout (Luke 10:25-28; 9:23-25)
    B. He was reverent (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Psalm 36:1-4)
    C. He was a leader in his home (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
    D. He was generous (Leviticus 19:9-10; Galatians 6:10)
    E. He was a praying man (James 5:16)

II. Cornelius was a lost man

    A. He needed to be told what he “must do” (Acts 10:3-8)
    B. Peter brought the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10:28-29, 34-35, 42-43; 1:8; 2:39)
    C. God showed the acceptability of the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; Mark 16:20; Acts 10:47-48)

III. The Jewish response

    A. Initial backlash (Acts 11:1-3)
    B. Peter’s defense: “at the beginning” (Acts 11:15, 17)
    C. God was glorified (Acts 11:18; Galatians 3:28)

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)