Has it ever happened to you? You are growing in the things of God and have dealt with some area of sin when all of a sudden you find yourself dealing with the same issue again. Could it be God’s homework?
Also, do you ever find yourself bored with your prayer life? In his book, Praying the Bible, Don Whitney poses the question, “Why don’t Christians pray more?” He gives the startling answer that we don’t pray more because we tend to pray the same old way about the same old things, day after day, and prayer becomes boring! Read more about how to pray the Bible in today’s post.
1 Samuel 24 & 25
1 Samuel 24 & 25:
Why Am I Here Again?
Do you ever feel like God shows you something and you think, “OK, I’ve got it!” And then, almost immediately, God gives you an opportunity to put that truth to the test. We sometimes think, “Wait a minute. Why am I here again? I thought God was pleased because I had responded the way I should.”
I think it’s kind of like a teacher who gives homework to solidify something you learned in class. Without the repetition and practice, we may understand it on one level, but we haven’t had the opportunity to develop the skill and make it a habit.
That’s how I see these two chapters in 1 Samuel. First, David is hiding in a cave when, low and behold, Saul comes into that same cave to relieve himself. This is too good to be true! Has God delivered him into David’s hands?
But David recognizes that this is a test. If he had killed Saul he would have been getting ahead of God by taking matters into his own hands. David responded rightly and Saul, convicted by David’s righteousness, goes back home. Good job, David, now everything should be smooth sailing from here on, right?
Instead, God gives David another opportunity to practice waiting on God’s timing and allowing Him to deal with those who have wronged him. David and his men, in their coming and going through the less inhabited regions, had watched over and protected other men, in this case, some of Nabal’s shepherds.
When it was time for the sheep shearing and Nabal and his men were celebrating and reaping the rewards of their labor, David sent some of his men to ask if they would provide them with some provisions.
Nabal, whose name means “fool,” lives up to his name. He selfishly and pridefully, not only refuses, but insults David and David is hot! Who does this guy think he is? David mounts up with his men and heads to their camp to wipe them out.
But God sends Nabal’s wife, Abigail, to intervene and David recognizes the truth of what she tells him. God in his mercy had provided the way of escape (1 Cor. 10.13). I believe that is why God called David a man after his own heart, not because he never blew it, but because when God called his hand, he repented and did what was right.
God knows that we, too, will blow it just when we thought we had finally overcome that sinful way of responding. The question is “How will we respond when God sends someone to call our hand?” Will we respond with defensiveness, avoidance and selfish pride? Or will we respond with humility and genuine repentance?
Today’s Other Readings:
Praying the Psalms
In his book, Praying the Bible, Don Whitney poses the question, “Why don’t Christians pray more?” He gives the startling answer that we don’t pray more because we tend to pray the same old way about the same old things, day after day, and prayer becomes boring!
While he says it’s not wrong that we pray about the same things on a regular basis, he gives us a method of praying God’s Word back to Him that enables us to pray in a fresh, living way. You can read the review or purchase book to get more details. But how might we pray this psalm?
¹ O God, You have cast us off;
You have broken us down;
You have been displeased;
Oh, restore us again!
2 You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
3 You have shown Your people hard things;
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
We might pray:
Lord, I know that we are a disobedient people. We have displeased you with our attitudes and actions and you have allowed the consequences of those things to come to pass. Lord, forgive us of our sins. Heal our family (marriage, nation, etc.). Restore us again! Please bring wisdom and peace where we have confusion and hardship.
4 You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah
5 That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and hear me.
Lord, Your Word is truth. Restore that banner of truth in our lives. Hear our prayers, deliver us and save us.
6 God has spoken in His holiness:
“I will rejoice;
I will divide Shechem
And measure out the Valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine;
Ephraim also is the helmet for My head;
Judah is My lawgiver.
8 Moab is My washpot;
Over Edom I will cast My shoe;
Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
God, we all belong to you. You have a plan and purpose for our lives. Lord, help us to live life your way so we can better serve you and fulfill that purpose.
9 Who will bring me to the strong city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
10 Is it not You, O God, who cast us off?
And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies?
11 Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless.
12 Through God we will do valiantly,
For it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
It’s only with your help that we can overcome the enemy and our own sinful nature. Please do in our lives what only you can do.
You might pray this psalm back to God in a different way. That’s OK. Those are the thoughts I had as I read the passage. The idea is to pray God’s Word back to Him. Try it for yourself with this or another psalm.
Commit It to the Lord
“Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.”
That word “commit” speaks of total trust and submission to the Lord. When we’re relying on ourselves, especially in a difficult situation, we often fret and worry, and second guess our decisions. But when we give them to Him, totally and completely, and trust that He is working and giving us wisdom, our thoughts will be established and we’ll be at peace.
You’ve Got to Be Kidding!
I love this passage where Jesus is gathering some of the disciples to Him. We see their humanness, especially with Nathanael when he is first told to come and meet Jesus of Nazareth. He responds by saying in effect, “You’ve got to be kidding! You’re telling me some guy from Nazareth is the One Moses prophesied about? “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (v. 46).
What about you?
Are you anxious and struggling with some decision? Have you prayed and truly submitted it to the Lord so you thoughts can be established and fixed on Him?
Are you discouraged with some setback? Ask yourself, “Is this just homework meant to strengthen me?” Or, possibly, God’s loving hand closing a door or leading me another direction?
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