Too often we look at others and wish we had their gifts and talents. We think about our mistakes, our education, our family history and we wonder … can God really use me? I hope you’ll take some time to read and consider today’s post and who God used in this passage.
1 Samuel 22 & 23
What Do You Need to Do to Be Used by God?
1 Samuel 22 & 23:
Mighty Men & Women
Have you ever wondered about your spiritual gifts? Or lamented the fact that you don’t have certain talents? Even wondered if you were good at anything?
It’s so easy to look at someone with great musical abilities or teaching gifts or success in the business world and wish that were you.
Perhaps it’s education you believe you lack … or experience … or opportunity.
Or maybe it’s your past mistakes or your family history or even your race that you believe keeps you from being used by God.
I hope you’ll take some time to read and consider today’s chapters here in 1 Samuel. Look at the men described here … men who would later be called David’s “mighty men.”
“… everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented …” (v. 22.2).
These were not the elite or the talented. These were not the princes or the royalty. They were probably not well educated or polished. They were the guys not making it some place else.
Yet … God would make a mighty army out of them. They would one day march into Jerusalem. They would become the king’s men.
But what if they had stayed home and simply bemoaned the fact that they weren’t well bred or well educated or born into different circumstances? Instead, they took a risk. They had to leave something behind and go where God was working.
What do you need to do to be used by God? Is there something you need to leave behind? Do you need to quit grumbling and complaining and get in motion? Where do you see God working? How can you join Him there?
Maybe you don’t have a degree in theology. Maybe you don’t have a degree at all. But you can go to a Bible study. You can pray and look for someone to disciple you. Perhaps you need to start working on that degree or get some other training. Maybe you can take classes online. You can read books … or listen to podcasts. There is a wealth of information out there!
Perhaps you don’t have the experience to teach a class right now. But you can volunteer to be an assistant and let that teacher mentor you. Maybe you aren’t the soloist, but you can join the choir. Start where you are. Use what you have available to you. God can do great things with those who will humbly and obediently make themselves available to be used by Him.
I spend a lot of time helping and encouraging men and women who want to be involved in Biblical counseling. There are many resources and opportunities to get trained today. Many of them are free and doable from home even with kids and jobs and other responsibilities.
Maybe you just want to be better equipped to help or able to answer questions when friends ask for advice. There is a wealth of information and training available through the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship … much of it absolutely FREE!
Many Bible teachers offer their sermons and notes online. There are podcasts, audios, and even, video recordings. (I’ve listed a few other websites below.)
Get in motion! God can and will use you, if you’ll be faithful with the opportunities you have (Lk. 19.11-27)! God is a great Rewarder of faithfulness!
It’s Not Always Smooth Sailing
Let’s go on with our passage. Notice how David sought God in these verses, and as he did, God blessed and protected him.
2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”
And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.”
3 But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David inquired of the Lord once again.
And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah (1 Sam. 23.2-5).
But also see how his decision in chapter 21 to deceive the priest, Ahimelech, had far reaching consequences. Because Ahemelech, unknowingly, helped David flee from Saul, Saul had him killed along with many others:
16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house!” 17 Then the king said to the guards who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled and did not tell it to me.” But the servants of the king would not lift their hands to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 And the king said to Doeg, “You turn and kill the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck the priests, and killed on that day eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod. 19 Also Nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and donkeys and sheep—with the edge of the sword (1 Sam. 22.16-19).
David acknowledged his guilt and took responsibility for it in 22.22:
22 So David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have caused the death of all the persons of your father’s house.
What about the priests and the other people? Why did they have to suffer the consequences of David’s actions?
Walking with the Lord, even stepping out in faith to be used by Him, doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks, struggles, or great cost.
God doesn’t guarantee us a life free of pain and suffering, but in 1 Peter 3 we’re told, “… even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed (v. 14) … For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (v. 17).
Today’s Other Readings:
God Is My Defense
The psalmist felt surrounded by cruel enemies, but he kept his eyes on the Lord and the ultimate end of the wicked:
“But You, O LORD, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision. I will wait for You, O You his Strength; for God is my defense. My God of mercy shall come to meet me; (vv. 8-10).
Pure in Our Own Eyes
Verse 2, “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits.”
We’re not exactly impartial when it comes to judging ourselves. To begin with we often use the wrong standard of measure. We compare ourselves to other people and think we’re not doing so badly. But the standard is God and His Word.
The God Who “Tabernacled” with Us
Verse 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This verse speaks of the Deity of Christ. Jesus, the Word, was “in the beginning,” when the worlds spoken of in Genesis 1 were created, Jesus already was. He was with God the Father and He was God. He and the Father were and are One.
Verse 14 tells us that, wonder of wonders, God Himself chose to come in the form of a man so that He could “tabernacle,” dwell with us, and that we could know God better as we come to know Jesus through His Words and His works.
Get in Motion
Where do you need to grow? Are there some opportunities you might investigate? Start where you are and be faithful!
Grace to You, John MacArthur Sermons, Audios, Podcasts
In Touch Ministries, Charles Stanley
Ligonier Ministries, R.C. Sproul
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