West End Assembly of God
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Daily Devotional Guide
TUESDAY, December 3
II Samuel 5:3b-5 – …and they anointed David king over Israel. David was 30 years old when he became king, and he reigned 40 years.
All the turbulent events in chapters 2 through 5 signify that God was exercising his divine providence to turn the kingdom over to David. During the long war, David “grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.” David’s success rested squarely on the fact that “the Lord God Almighty was with him” (5:10). God had appointed the shepherd boy to “shepherd my people Israel” (5:2). The lessons learned in the sheep grazing pastures, learned in Saul’s palace, learned on the battle field with Goliath, learned while hiding in caves, and learned in the crucible of loss—God used all of it to shape this young man’s character and prepare him for his divine destiny. David responded correctly in each scenario--with deep humility, worship, and a renewed determination to trust God. How do you respond when God leads you through crucibles intended to shape your character and prepare you for your divine destiny? No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:11).
WEDNESDAY, December 4
II Samuel 6:12b – So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.
The Ark of the Covenant represented the power and presence of God, which David valued above his kingship. However, right motivation is no guarantee of divine blessing. David broke Moses’ law that described exactly how the Ark was to be properly transported—by hand, and only by the priests (Deut. 10:8; 31:9, 25; Josh. 3:6). They tried to carry it home on an ox cart (6:1-7). This irreverent and disobedient act cost Uzzah his life. Presumption led to the death of an innocent man. What can we learn? We must seek God’s direction in our methods as surely as we seek His direction in our goals and objectives. We must be as careful in implementing a vision as we are in clarifying it. If we become motivated toward a goal but jump into incongruent implementation processes, inevitably someone will get hurt, become disillusioned or give up. At first David was angry (vs. 8), then afraid (vs. 9) as he tried to find a solution to the serious problem he had caused. Ultimately the Ark came back to the City of David carried by hand (vs. 13) according to God’s command. Seek God’s will as purposefully for implementation processes as you do for goals. Then you will see good success.
THURSDAY, December 5
II Samuel 7:18-19 – Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said: “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord? (Vs. 22) How great you are…there is no one like you…”
David wanted to build God a house (7:1-3). God responded that He would build David a “house” (a posterity, a family), a “throne” (a royal position and authority), a “kingdom” (a sphere of rule), and all of this “forever” (without cessation). David felt a profound sense of humility and repeatedly expressed respect for God’s greatness and sovereignty. When we experience seasons of overwhelming blessings and fruitfulness, we join David in his response: Who am I, O Sovereign Lord…that you have brought me this far?” (vs. 18b). God not only sustains us through the tough times, but also He leads us to places of rest and abundance. We give thanks to God for the blessings of life as well as the profound work of grace He performs in our hearts through times of trial. No matter where you are on your life journey, always remember the blessings and faithfulness of the Lord. Recognize and honor his sovereignty; and worship Him as David worshiped Him.
FRIDAY, December 6
II Samuel 12:9 – Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?
Had David been on the battlefield with his men, he would have been saved from this temptation. Idleness, power, and a willful choice led to David’s fall. The consequences to his sin were these: perpetual conflict, evil in his own house, and public humiliation. After so many years of humility and obedience to God, David despised Him through breaking His commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Our behavior reflects attitudes and beliefs of the heart. In a single moment, we can sin in ways that change the course of our lives forever. Though we seek forgiveness with tears, fasting, and prayer (vs. 16), sin always produces some form of death. Remember how the mighty have fallen. Learn from David’s example. Don’t abandon your post of duty. Beware of idleness and purposeless living.
SATURDAY, December 7
II Samuel 23:2-4 – (vs. 1) These are the last words of David…(vs. 2-4) “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.’”
In his last days, David’s songs contained wisdom learned through hard life lessons. Though he rose from obscurity to rule over Israel and forever will be hailed as their greatest king, David had feet of clay like all of us. We read his songs and identify with his feelings of remorse, the heart-felt groans, the hope placed in a faithful God. We must learn from David’s whole life: from hopeful beginnings to tragic, life-altering choices, to conscious-stricken repentance, to intercessory prayers on behalf of his people. His stories challenge us to live in daily communion with the God who loves us. His failures teach us the necessity of making Godly choices when we sit in places of authority and influence. If we do not learn from David, we will make our own bad choices, bring harm to those we love most, and hurt the Kingdom of God. As God’s people living in this day and age, let us impact those within our sphere of influence and “rule in the fear of God” so that His blessings will brighten our path and bring life to the people around us.
The King Who Thought He Had It All (Solomon)
MONDAY, December 9
I Kings 2:2b-4 – (King David to his son, Solomon) “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’”
The first book of Kings continues the history of the kings of Israel and Judah in their relation to God, the Divine Sovereign. Throughout the book, two thrones are in view—the throne of God and the throne of man. The throne of God is immovable in the midst of changing governments of man. Heaven’s throne is always filled, while earth’s throne is sometimes vacant. God’s throne is permanent, while man’s throne is increasingly failing. All forms of human government without God are doomed to failure. Rejecting God in any government leads to a godless society that increasingly embraces evil, which leads to evil consequences. There is no remedy for the evil consequences of rejecting God’s government, except by a return to God’s government. (With due acknowledgment to G Campbell Morgan—Living Messages of the Books of the Bible.) These are strong and serious words for us today. Let us pray for our country to “Walk in His ways, keep his decrees and commands…and walk faithfully before (God) with all our hearts and souls.”
TUESDAY, December 10
I Kings 1:39-40 – Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him, playing flutes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.
In the first two chapters of I Kings, we read how God established Solomon as king. Adonijah, the usurper of Solomon’s throne, was exposed and executed. Abiathar was removed from the priesthood for helping Adonijah. Joab, who supported Adonijah, fled and died. Justice came on the heels of Solomon’s coronation; and he began his reign with a love for God and a determination to walk in his ways. When a country’s leaders pursue faith wholeheartedly, that posture of heart before God ushers in blessings and wisdom for every internal social challenge and external threat. The New Testament instructs us to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Tim. 2:1-2). Let us be faithful in prayer for our government leaders. Pray for leaders who enable us to live godly and holy lives.
WEDNESDAY, December 11
I Kings 3:7-9 – “Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
God appeared to King Solomon in a dream by night and asked him one profound question: What do you want? How would you have answered that question? Solomon asked for a discerning heart “to govern (God’s) people” (vs. 9) and for “administering justice” (vs. 11). What utter selflessness and abandonment to God! The Lord was pleased and gave Solomon all that and more. Peace settled over the country (5:4), both external and internal; and peace comes to us as the result of living under divine authority and honoring God wholeheartedly. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7). God’s peace is one aspect of our divine inheritance as God’s children through Christ. Wisdom also is available to us when we ask for it. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
THURSDAY, December 12
I Kings 6:12-13 – As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.
Solomon carried out his father’s desire to build a house for God, the Temple. The building of God’s temple would be accomplished by a diversity of ministries (5:13-18; I Cor. 12:4-31). It would preserve the basic pattern of the wilderness tabernacle. Its magnificence would be in keeping with the One who was to occupy it. It was built in silence (6:7), symbolic of the reverence in which Jehovah was held. But the continued blessing of God was not dependent upon the beauty of the house of God, but on the continued obedience of the worshipper. Today the presence of God lives in temples of flesh: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. (I Cor. 6:19). This is a wonderful thought. We carry his presence with us as we move about in this world. The blessing of God’s overshadowing presence depends on us living in obedience to His Word. How are you doing with that?
FRIDAY, December 13
I Kings 11:4-6 – As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
Solomon’s failure originated in his disregard of God’s law (11:2). His failure came, not at the time when he felt insecure (2:12), but after his kingdom was firmly established. His failing came in a time of peace and safety, not during a time of conflict and danger (5:4), and it came during a time of prosperity rather than need (10:14-19). He failed when he was old and experienced, not young and immature (11:4). He failed not before God appeared to him, but after God had appeared to him twice (3:3-10; 9:1-2)! To please his wives, Solomon participated in idolatrous worship (11:10). The joy and satisfactions once found in God were vainly sought for in other sources (Ecc. 2:1-11). Sometimes we think that age and experience create a solid foundation for life, when in reality security only comes through our daily, ongoing attention to our relationship with the Lord. There is no time for coasting for unique temptations come along with success. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). Our challenge is rooted not in starting strong as in finishing well.
SATURDAY, December 14
I Kings 11:12 – So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it our of the hand of your son.”
Solomon’s mighty kingdom began to fall as God stirred up two of his adversaries against him (11:14-25), and as Jeroboam was raised up (11:26-40), and through the folly of Rehoboam (12:1-24). Solomon’s divided heart led to the division and downfall of his kingdom. What a tragedy. We must learn from his mistakes. What leads your heart away from the Lord? Are you making excuses, or accessing God’s power to overcome its grip on your life? Be vigilant. Determine to live with a fully devoted heart toward God.
MONDAY, December 16
Matthew 1:17 – Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.
Matthew writes his book to the Jews, and they were exceedingly interested in a person’s lineage. Throughout the Old Testament we frequently find lists of the genealogies of famous men. The reason behind this severe interest in pedigree was that the Jews set the greatest possible importance on purity of lineage. If there was the slightest mix of foreign blood, he lost his right to be a Jew and a member of God’s people. Throughout the New Testament we find references to Jesus being called “the son of David”: by Peter (Acts 2:29-36); by Paul (Romans 1:3; II Timothy 2:8); by John (Revelation 22:16); by the people (Matthew 12:23; Matthew 15:22); by the blind men (Matt 20:30, 31); and by the crowds as He entered Jerusalem for the last time (Matt 21:9, 15). The Jews were a waiting people. They awaited the descendant of David who would lead them to the glorious kingdom. Indeed, Jesus came to establish a glorious Kingdom; but it would look very different from the one the Jews expected. What kind of kingdom do you seek? An external kingdom that brings power and prosperity, or an internal kingdom that brings redemption and newness of life? Remember: Jesus works from the inside out, “…the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
Wednesday, December 18
Matthew 1:21 – She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.
The name, Jesus, is the Greek form of the Jewish name Joshua, and Joshua means Jehovah is salvation. Long ago the Psalmist penned these words: He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities” (Psalm 130:8). The angel told Joseph that this child would grow to become the Savior who would save God’s people from their sins. Jesus came into this world for our salvation. Consider the ways that Jesus has rescued you from sin—from its devastating effect on your body, soul, and spirit. Think about the ways Jesus brings salvation to entire families and redeems them from the kinds of dysfunctional behaviors that haunt them generation after generation. Jesus changes the trajectory of our lives. He frees his people from their sins. Give thanks today for the precious name of Jesus and His redeeming work in your life.