“When You’re at Your Wits’ End” May 14

 

When You're At Your Wits' End - David was at his wits' end, even his own men had turned against him. Yet he wasn't at his faith's end. Instead, David strengthened himself in the Lord? How can you strengthen yourself in the Lord when you're at your wits' end?David was at his wits’ end, even his own men had turned against him. Yet he wasn’t at his faith’s end. Instead, David strengthened himself in the Lord?

How can you strengthen or encourage yourself in the Lord? What should you remember about God’s sovereignty, goodness, justice, and mercy? How might God be using this for good so that as Romans 8.29 says, you can become more like Christ?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 29, 30 & 31
Psalm 61.5-8
Proverbs 16.7-9
John 3.18-36

 

When You’re at Your Wits’ End

 

1 Samuel 29, 30 & 31:

A Man after God’s Own Heart … Are You Kidding?

 

What was David thinking?! Wanting to join the Philistines and go to war against Israel! God used the princes of the other Philistine clans to prevent him from doing such a foolish thing.

But God wanted to get David’s undivided attention. So while he was off involved in a situation in which he should never have been involved, God allowed the Amalekites to burn down his city and carry off all the women and children.

“… they did not kill anyone, but carried them away …” (v. 30.2).

 

Unmet Desires

 

God would allow them to recover their families, all their possessions, and even take the spoil of the Amalekites. But David and his men didn’t yet know the outcome. They came home tired and anxious to see their wives and children only to find the city burned and their families gone. After they wept over their losses, their emotions turned to anger against David.

Matthew Henry in his commentary on the Bible says they had joined David because they believed he would become king and they expected to all be princes by now. Instead, it looked like they had lost everything. Their grief was coupled with discontent, impatience and disappointment over their unmet desires. To quote Henry, “Their own discontent and impatience added wormwood and gall to the affliction and misery, and made their case doubly grievous.”

 

At His Wits’ End

 

David, on the other hand, demonstrated what made him “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13.14). He didn’t turn on his men. He didn’t point out their wrongs. He didn’t give in to fear over their threats. Instead, he “strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (30.6) and sought His counsel (30.7-8).  Continue reading

“Why doesn’t God deal with that?” November 7

 

Why doesn't God deal with that?Abuse, rejection, abandonment, criticism … when we’re the victim of such things, we often wonder “Why doesn’t God deal with that?”

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 5 & 6
Psalm 119.169-176
Proverbs 28.14
Hebrews 3.1-19

 

Why doesn’t God deal with that?

 

Ezekiel 5 & 6:

Getting Away with Sin

 

God works very hard to help us understand His truths. In the New Testament Jesus told parables, used illustrations from the agricultural world, and told stories like that of the prodigal son to help explain the Word.

Here God instructed the prophet Ezekiel to act out many of his prophecies. In these verses he was to cut his hair and use it as a picture of the nation of Israel: burning a portion of it, chopping a portion with the sword, scattering a portion to the wind, and binding a small “remnant” in his clothing to protect it. This was an illustrated warning of the coming judgment along with God’s promise to protect His faithful remnant.

God is good, but He is also holy and righteous, and although, His patience and mercy cause Him to hold back the hand of judgment, there will be a time when it must be carried out.

On a personal level, we often look at someone else’s life, especially if they’ve sinned against us, and ask “Why doesn’t God deal with that?”

But when it’s us, we want mercy and cry foul when we suffer the consequences of our actions.

The reality is, we must trust in the sovereignty and wisdom of God in every situation whether in our own lives or the lives of others, knowing that God is faithful to His Word in His own perfect timing.

If we’re experiencing God’s discipline, we need to know it’s because of His love for us. Hebrews 12.5b-6:

5 … “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

And when we are sinned against we need to remember Romans 12.17-21:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And finally, Galatians 6.7-10 reminds us:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap,” and “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” In reality, no one “gets away with anything.” God knows everything that is going on both externally and in our hearts. There will be a day of accounting for those who never surrender to the Lord. Even for believers, God disciplines His children. God will not be mocked, but because He has perfect wisdom, He knows the exact balance of justice and mercy required in every situation.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 119.169-176:

I Have Gone Astray

 

I have gone astray.

Verse 176 says, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.”

After extolling the wisdom and virtues of the Word and his love for it … for 176 verses … the psalmist still recognized his own sinful nature, “I have gone astray …” and understood that he needed God to keep seeking him!  Continue reading

December 10 “True friends”

true friendsFriends who are true friends will encourage us to grow and change, not make it easier for us to remain spiritual babies.

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 11 & 12
Psalm 139.17-24
Proverbs 29.22
Jude 1-25

Hosea 11 & 12:

God’s redeeming love

God’s love is not a pampering love, but a redeeming love. The nation of Israel was ungrateful and disobedient and He would allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions, but He would eventually restore them because of His love and mercy.

 

prayer, biblePsalm 139.17-24:

Search me, O God

Like the Psalmist in verses 23-24, we should pray:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
 Try me, and know my anxieties;
 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
 And lead me in the way everlasting.

Our hearts are so deceitful that we can be blinded to our own sin. Jeremiah 17.9-10a says: Continue reading

November 7 “Balancing justice and mercy”

gavel justice mercy verdictAbuse, rejection, abandonment, criticism … why does it seem that those who do such things sometimes get away with it?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 5 & 6
Psalm 119.169-176
Proverbs 28.14
Hebrews 3.1-19

 

Ezekiel 5 & 6:

Balancing justice & mercy

God works very hard to help us understand His truths. In the New Testament Jesus told parables, used illustrations from the agricultural world, and told stories like that of the prodigal son to help explain the Word.

Here God instructed the prophet Ezekiel to act out many of his prophecies. In these verses he was to cut his hair and use it as a picture of the nation of Israel, burning a portion of it, chopping a portion with the sword, scattering a portion to the wind, and binding a small “remnant” in his clothing to protect it. This was an illustrated warning of the coming judgment along with God’s promise to protect His faithful remnant.

God is good, but He is also holy and righteous, and although, His patience and mercy causes Him to hold back the hand of judgment, there will be a time when it must be carried out.

Sometimes we look at someone else’s life, especially if they have sinned against us, and ask “Why did God let them get away with that?” Continue reading

October 31 “Make a difference”

counseling comforting convinceAs believers, we are part of a family. And as a family, we have responsibilities to one another. We also have a responsibility to lovingly speak truth to those who are lost. Each of us can make a difference.

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 47 & 48
Psalm 119:113-120
Proverbs 28:5
2 Timothy 4:1-22

 

Jeremiah 47 & 48:

Overcoming evil

In these two chapters the Lord speaks to the Philistines and the Moabites and warns them of coming judgment. Even though God would first use these and other heathen nations as instruments of judgment against the nation of Israel, He would also judge them.

Sometimes, in God’s sovereignty, He allows people in our lives to sin against us, too, because He knows He can use it to grow us and help us to become more like Christ.

Romans 8.28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

When it happens, we are to respond with love and forgiveness and to trust Him to deal with them appropriately. Continue reading

August 16 “You are able!”

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As the Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able and, therefore, should be willing to get our hands dirty, risk what people may think, and risk rejection, in order to speak the truth in love.

Today’s Readings:
Job 23-25
Psalm 96.7-12
Proverbs 23.9
Romans 15.1-24

Job 23-25:

Understanding and comfort from a book like Job

As we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions.

How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings, disappointments, and temptations to wonder where God is? As the story continues to unfold, and we see God’s response and the latter part of Job’s life (chapter 42), how can it bring us comfort?

Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions. Now to today’s reading.

goldI shall come forth as gold

23.9-10, “When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

What a great statement of faith after all Job had been through! We may not be able to “see” what God is doing “on the right hand” of our lives. We may not understand why he is allowing something else “on the left,” but when we understand the goodness of God, the trustworthiness of God, the faithfulness of God, we can know that if we will stay focused on Him, when it’s all said and done, we, too, will have been tested and refined and come forth as gold!

anxiety & depressionIf you feel that you are being tested and you’re struggling to understand or if you want to help someone who is, James MacDonald has an incredible study called When Life is Hard available in print or on Kindle . You can also purchase a video Bible study kit from his website Walk in the Word. Continue reading