Saturday’s devotionals are now written by my husband Ron. Enjoy!
2 Sam 23:24 – 24:25
David is a central figure in scripture. He had a group of fighters who were very loyal to him and courageous warriors. Maybe this reminds us that our loyalty to God and courageous approach to life is important. If you think this list is a bunch of OT gibberish then consider this. First, they were warriors that fought off evil in regards to God’s chosen people. Next, Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband is mentioned, and Eliam, Bathsheba’s father is listed. These men were loyal to David and would give their lives for him. So we can see that David dealt very treacherously with these men who were loyal to him, by taking Bathsheba who was not his wife, and by killing Uriah. David was a great man but we must all realize that we are capable of great evil so we must take precautions.
We are all inclined to trust in something besides God… careers, fat bank accounts, the American Way, great military strength, our own strength… the list is large. By taking a census, David could take pride in what he had built and the strength of his fighting forces. This was a test of David’s pride and national Israeli pride. And, vital point here, sin is always social.
It is enlightening to know that God, even in all of His power, is still more merciful than the wrath of man.
Last, in verse 24, David makes an interesting point. We should not offer something to God that has cost us nothing and then take credit for it.
Peter and John went on their way to a prayer time at the Temple. We know from Matthew 26:41 that our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak when it comes to prayer and spiritual disciplines. I think these consistent times of believers gathering together to pray are invaluable and in fact vital to the health of the individual and the church.
Peter and John focused on what they could give the lame man, rather than lamenting on what they couldn’t give him. In verse 12 Peter confesses that it was not his power or holiness that healed the man. I am sure I would have been tempted to say, “Wow! Look what I did!” or “Wow! Look what we did! That is just way cool!” But of course God did it and Peter used it all to teach about Christ.
Sometimes my obedience to God is like that of a well-trained hunting dog: attentive, on task and tuned in to my Master’s desires and prompts. I am bought with a price so my Master’s authority is legitimate. All too often though, I am selfish, wanting to do things in my own way and in my own time, so I am like that of a strong but self-willed horse that needs a bit, a bridle, a whip and even some spurs to keep me on the correct path. I can learn from the servant and the slave girl in verse two. And to look to God for mercy is a wonderful opportunity and privilege. We get burdened by sin, by trials, by afflictions, by monotony and a host of other ills. Looking to the Lord for mercy is good for our souls and our wellbeing.
Man! Do I ever need to remember… that a harsh word to someone might be true… and completely useless or even hurtful! But “pleasant words are persuasive!”
Noah Webster, a very impressive Christian, defined discretion in his 1928 dictionary as this;
1. Prudence, or knowledge and prudence: that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment and judgment, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding one’s own conduct.
Wow! Is this ever needed in our society today! The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. And with diligent study of the scriptures, wise friends and a heart that seeks God hopefully we can achieve something of value.