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Saturday, June 22, 2019

2 Samuel 4 and 5, Devotional

Welcome to the devotional for 2 Samuel chapters 4 and 5, part of the Blogging Through the Bible series that spun off of the Revel in the Word ministry of Titus Women's Gathering, an online, world wide ministry gathering of women for kingdom purposes.

I have joined with other sisters, taking turns to start discussion of Bible chapters with a blog post, as we seek to READ THE BIBLE COVER TO COVER.  We have been so incredibly blessed as we revel in His word, and we invite you to join us to read it all.  Stacey at Scribbles and Sustenance, Angela at No Longer Lukewarm, and myself here at Grandma Mary Martha, and also at Telling Hearts would delight for you to join us!

I am sorry to say, that the sin, the violence, and the drama, just does not seem to quit, in the history recorded in 2nd Samuel chapter 4 and 5.  I literally had to take notes, in order to keep the story straight in my head. 

The story is told of son of Jonathan, having "both lame feet," but at age 5...falling and injuring himself further, so that he is "disabled."  As worded in the Bible, I would conclude that perhaps this was from a fall from his nurses arms.  Tragic.  This is not the end of the bleak news. 

More of the worst kind of betrayal and backstabbing, likely for selfish motive (perhaps to climb the ladder of military success in their twisted minds), happened when his own "raid leaders,"  named Baanah and Rekab, snuck into Saul's surviving son's house while he was napping.  His name was Ish-Bosheth.  Baanah and Rekab brutally murdered Ish-Bosheth in his sleep, then cut his head off and took it to King David as a show trophy.  

David expresses his extreme displeasure in this atrocity on what he called an innocent man, and orders them both executed!  They were killed in the most brutal way.  Their plan backfired.  All of that was recorded in chapter 4.

Chapter 5 gets a little more positive.  It seems that David's esteem in the people's eye has grown.  ALL TRIBES OF ISRAEL came to David and asked him to be their king.  Israel is united again.  V.3, Israel annointed David as their king.  He was 30 years old, and his reign would endure for 40 years.

I think if I were not in shock over the violence that I just read about, I could celebrate this coronation...unification of Israel, more-so.

David continued his warrior-ing.  I did not read his motive, towards "Fortress of Zion, but there, the "City of David," was established after seize and capture.  

2 Samuel 5:10
"And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him."

Hiram, king of Tyre, sent workers and materials to build a palace for David!!  Talk about blessed.  Talk about a gift!  Talk about having favor and esteem!  (2 Sam. 5: 11-12) This amazing gesture, David took it as confirmation that it was by the Lord's design that he was king over Israel.  From shepherd boy, hero, refugee, warrior, to amazing blessed and favored king, who all along fellowshipped in prayer with God.

He, David, took more concubines, and wives, and had more sons and daughters.  There names are listed in v.14.

The end of chapter 5 tells about David's war again with the Philistines.  I find it interesting that AGAIN in this conflict, David is conferring with His spiritual Father God, and receives guidance.  God gave encouragement, and some specifics.  David was obedient and faithful.  He, Israel, was given VICTORY.  This was not single handed.  David had followers, troops, armies.

My Take-Aways

Bad things happen to good people too.  This is not a pleasant thought but to me it is a reality.  Jonathon was on the right side, was he not?  Remember, he was on David's side.  He was a friend closer than a brother.  His son was lame and disabled.  For that matter, remember how Jonathan died.

David continued to be respectful even of the man Saul who had sought to kill him.  Neither did he celebrate evil befalling on Saul's son IshBosheth.

David continued to lean into the Lord, and seek guidance from Him.

Leaders like David, AND followers are necessary.

Even the called and blessed, (like David) may be hungry for confirmation of God's plan for their life.

Dear Father in Heaven, illness, physical discomfort, physical disability and pain, grievances with fellow-man, cross-ways politics, betrayals and back stabbing, is certainly the yucky side of life.  I do not understand it all.  I do not like it all (of life here). 

 I do choose to seek Your wisdom, Your ways, Your will despite it all.  Please forgive me of my sins.  Grow Your Holy Spirit inside of me.  May I be on the RIGHT SIDE, with my attitude, actions, and influence, whether I be a leader or a follower.  May I live honorably because of YOU.    

May I see confirmation for my role in Your will Lord, whether I be called to be a leader or a follower.  In Jesus is my HOPE.  To You I give all glory and honor.  In Jesus' name I pray.  AMEN

1)  How would you explain the cause of this violence among God's creations?  People killing people?

2)  What are your thoughts on David having WIVES and CONCUBINES, and also being favored by God?  Do you think God's will changes with the times?  Are His ways beyond our comprehension?

3)  If we can not possibly figure it all out or have all the answers, and if we are bound to err in one way or another in our comprehension and understanding, do you think we should err on the side of LOVE, HUMILITY, and GRACE, rather than judgement and enforcement?

4)  In light of THE YUCKY PART OF LIFE, what are some coping mechanisms that help you?  What gives you strength?  What words, stories, scriptures...are a blessing to your soul?

5)  Where or with whom, are you called to be a leader?  Where, or with whom are you called to be a follower?  Are all roles valuable?

6)  Is there an area in your life, where you would like your Christian family to pray for you, to see God's confirmation for His plan?
Do you have a friend or a group to discuss the Bible with?  Would you consider inviting someone to join you for the purpose of delving into God's Word?  Please let us know if you find value in our blogging through the Bible series.  Thank you for visiting. Please come again.  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Blogging Through the Bible: 1 Samuel 23-24

Following Stacey's devotional on 1 Samuel chapter 19 and 20 at Scribbles and Sustenance blog, and Angela's devotional on 1 Samuel chapters 21 and 22 at No Longer Lukewarm blog,  I am blessed to now open discussion of the next chapters!

1 Samuel 23-24
In chapter 22 the slaying of priests, and their town known as Nob, and its women, children, infants, cattle, donkeys and sheep was done upon orders of the jealous, ambitious, dare I say greedy, King Saul.  Ironic that the first fleshly, governmental king that these people have, does such a ghastly thing.  

Enemy and Best Friend, from same family!

This is the terrible back-drop of chapter 23.  Saul is in hot pursuit of David, the people's hero (for killing the giant Goliath, and for excelling at every task the king had given him...)  David is fleeing for his life, but in contact with a sect of his people, including Saul's son Jonathon.

Commune/Communicate with God? Something that I find interesting about this chapter is that in verse 2 of chapter 23, and again in verse 4, and in verses 10-12 DIALOGUE or discussion between David and the Lord, is documented.  This is just the first half of the chapter.

Read it.  Would you conclude that the Lord is available for approach in prayer, for dialogue, discussion, questions/answers?  To some extent, to me it seems obvious yes.  Now why do I bother to point this out?  Isn't this a given?

I think no.  It is not a given.  My experience and observation is that some people do not listen or expect any answers, direction, or advice to be given from the Lord, or the Holy Spirit or God, or reference as you wish.... Some people believe and some people do not.  The people who do not believe that God would talk to us in anyway other than written scripture, surely would not practice listening for His voice.

The Invisible

I believe.  I believe that there is a life that we see with our eyes, and there is a life invisible to these fleshly eyes, but perceivable by the ministering of the Holy Spirit.  I get much comfort, and direction in my heart, from this dialogue, or relationship with God through my redeemer Jesus Christ. How do you get this ministering, this relationship?

It is available to all who accept the gift of salvation, and who pursue Him, pursue a life that honors Him. 

Life in Christ 

Read His word, the Holy Bible.  Seek His Holy Spirit.  Pray. Live in obedience and love, and you will be blessed. 
Here is a post about salvation in Christ >>at Telling Hearts,.

Cat and Mouse Game in Real Life

As Saul and David play this cat and mouse game in the wilderness (uncivilized land), something else that I find interesting is that David, at one point came unknowingly close enough to kill this man who was maliciously pursuing him (chapter 24 verse 1-4).  He did not.  He only strategically cut off a corner of his robe.

He did not harm this man, this king, who sought to have him killed, because AGAIN (chapter 24 verse 6-7), He received something, like guidance, from the Lord.

Later he used that corner of his garment, and a messenger, and then face to face words of humility towards the king, trying to build a bridge.  David outright invited the Lord to be the judge between them. 

1 Samuel 24: 15 
"May the Lord be our judge and decide between us..." 

King Saul's bitter jealous heart was touched.  He wept (v.16) and a bridge of trust was built.  The end of this chapter marks the end of Saul's vendetta against David.

More intrigue and lessons to come.  Stacy will cover  ch. 25 and 26,   Angela will cover ch. 27 and 28.  When their publications go live, I will link here.


My biggest take-aways from 1 Samuel 23 and 24 are: 

*PRAY, and seek guidance from God.  Wisdom from Him will not contradict His HOLY WORD, so follow that...
*Be respectful of God's purposes, and whom He put in authority.  Commit our enemies, our challenges to Him.  Invite Him to judge, help, and lead...
*Be diplomatic, and use the brain that God gave you.  It is OK to strategize or logically plan, but do so with humility and wisdom, as David did.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for Your Word preserved.  I am blessed to have this history and this heritage to learn from.

I don't like to have enemies, and I don't like to have confrontations.  I am not much of a warrior on my own, but if I must fight for any reason, I pray that YOU would guide me, and give me what I need.   With YOU on my side, I would hope to be as cunning, loyal, good, and accomplished for YOUR purposes, as David.

To YOU I give all glory and honor.  Thank you for preparing a place for us in Heaven.  In Jesus's name I pray, AMEN

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Biggest Encouragement in my Marriage

*warning- long post, juicey, meaty post  

This post is so big in my heart, that I don't even know how to begin.

Being HUMAN is not easy.  Being a good human, and ever evolving, maturing human, getting closer and closer to the human IDEAL is even more challenging.  Physical life is challenging, and ends in death, but THAT DEATH is just the beginning of the best part, according to the Christian faith.

I am Christian. My husband is Christian.  I have blogged a lot about my marriage, openly, with hopes of encouraging others.  I have shared transparently about the good and some bad (referenced to vaguely).

There is an aspect of marriage that I have not written about until now, and today it is difficult for me to write this, though I feel called by God to do so.

In my 50s now, I am still learning about myself as a person, and my marriage.  In my 50s, I have become more aware of MY OWN flaws and weaknesses as a marriage partner, and NOT because my husband has pointed to said flaws.  He has his credit.  

Still, I believe by the Holy Spirit in my life, my eyes were opened to some  tendencies and habits that were not entirely functional or healthy on my part.  I tell more about that soon, here >>in my upcoming post at Telling Hearts<<(will be linked when live)

The aspect that for the first time I write about, here today, is spiritual leadership of the family.  If spiritual leadership of the family involves teaching the children, suggesting prayer, leading prayer, rallying the children for church, being the most involved in all things church (over the years)...then I have been the leader.  I did not want to be the leader, but I was, I am.

Earlier in my marriage, I begged my husband to do more.  I bought him books.  I talked (nagged), prayed, and modeled, all the while being discontent with his lack of leadership.

I would ask myself questions like "Why...?"
"Why is he like this?"
"Why did this happen to me, my family?"
"Why can't he be the leader?"
"Is there anything I could do to change him, help him, fix him?"
"Is this my payment for some sin?"
"Will my children be OK?"

I did PRAY, and I plugged onward.

We made it.  My family is far from perfect, but by God's grace and blessing, we are intact.  We love each other, I would even say that my husband and I are closer today and enjoy a more peaceful happy relationship today, than any year before, and I could blatantly BRAG on how well my children are doing, but I want to make it clear that I absolutely give glory and gratitude to God for all of that.  

There was much prayer along the way.  I messed up badly sometimes, and sometimes I did a lot right.  Mostly it is the way that it is today, because of the blessing, mercy and grace of God, and because we LOOKED to Him...again I say, LOTS OF PRAYER...

I am literally working everyday to be a better wife.  I work to be more patient, more loving, more healthy and functional in my communication and living habits in my marriage. I say "work" because it takes conscience effort, because I NEED to WORK at it.

Last night in my sleep, the Lord encouraged me.  You could say- in a dream, but it was more like, "I received clarity and encouragement in my sleep, to my soul, from God."

For me to try and put it all into words, what was delivered to my spirit, some in word form, some not...It was something like this:
Being human is not easy.  All have  stresses, wounds, burdens, frailties, flaws, both you and your husband.  God heals, YES, but all is not perfect until Heaven.

When you signed up to be his MRS., you signed up to love him and honor him, your husband.  Be obedient to ME and I will work out my purposes.

So he is not the leader that you wished for?  You have had your flaws to.  Remember that.  Don't worry about how far from perfection your life, your marriage, your husband is. Just worry about LOVING HIM.

That is your job- to love him.  Love him whole-ly, completely, flaws and all, and get over your disappointment(s).  

John the Baptist didn't get to choose NOT to have his head cut off.  Mary, mother of Jesus did not get to choose to have traditional marriage then pregnancy.  No.  She had to deal with some stress with Joseph learning and adjusting to their roles in this divine plan.

This is not a fairy-tale life.  It is what it is.  So your husband is not the LEADER like you wanted or dreamed of.  He is your husband, and no one knows better than you, the sweetness and blessing in that relationship.

Don't worry about what is not the way you would order it.  Just focus on loving your husband, and doing your part in obedience and love.

If you must be the leader, then how may you be the most loving, kind, gracious and wise leader, so that you are above reproach?  That is your job.  To love your MR. and live in gratitude and humility.

Disclaimer:  I know there are all kinds of circumstances in marriages.  I am speaking for my marriage.  Be encouraged if you think it applies.  I pray God's blessings on my readers, in their marriages and in their journeys in Christian faith.  The Lord's will be done in our hearts and in the world, as in Heaven.  Amen.
Tammy@ Grandma Mary Martha blog

I would be delighted if you shared, to encourage someone else, or dropped me a comment or two to let me know that my writing matters.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Rise of a One King, and the Fall of Another

First Samuel 17 and 18 contain the famous story of David and Goliath, and so much more.  In these chapters we witness the exciting culmination of political and worldly tensions between Israel with Judah, against the Philistines.  We witness God's annointing and calling on a humble young shepherd.  We read about terrible violence, mounting tensions, shifting political climates, and victory to God's favored.  Also there are lessons to ponder!

Sisters from the online Christian fellowship called Titus Women's Gathering, "blog through the Bible," and share and discuss in the Revel in His Word, album. Women are welcome to join, here>> the link to the Titus Women's Gathering Facebook group..  To get background, of devotionals to previous chapters of 1 Samuel, you can visit Angela at No Longer Lukewarm and Stacey at Scribbles and Sustenance.

Let's jump in!
Chapter 17 in many Bibles, is sub-titled "David and Goliath."  In this chapter, you can read in detail the history from which the famous Bible story for children was drawn.  In summary, a common shepherd boy emerges courageously to the battle scene where a giant (about 9 feet 9 inches according to my research) was threatening, taunting, and defying the armies of the Israelites, now under Saul's kingship.  

David wins!  He slays the giant with a stone from his sling-shot, cuts off his head, and changes the direction of history.  His assent from shepherd boy to king, begins before the people, and continues as his every challenge is met with favor and victory.

This chapter is long, but truly worth the time to read.  In this devotional here, I would like to pause and comment on a few points that stand out to me, perhaps easily overlooked amidst the exciting bare facts.

1) For those that are intrigued by NUMBERS, patterns, history, mysteries there of perhaps... I thought it interesting in verse 16, that the Philistines had been taunting the Isrealites for 40 days, morning and evening, before David was victorious and put a stop to it.

2) Taxes are not mentioned in the Bible, until Saul became king of the Israelites. Recall that the prophet and priest Samuel had warned the people that if they had a "king" other than the one true God as their king, that the "king" would "take" from them.

These people that Jesus descended from did have a history of sacrificing and giving unto the Lord in ways as specified and instructed through His inspired prophets and priests, but now we see the people "giving" to support worldly government, worldly armies.  Verse 17 of chapter 17 tells about David's initial reason for approaching the battle scene as to deliver food from his dad, to his brothers (in the army) and to the commander of their unit.

Maintaining the worldly government is now costly above what was given to sacrifice and offering in the temple or on the altar of worship.

3) When David learns the situation that has the Isrealites intimidated and at a stale-mate in battle, he responds with confidence and determination (verse 25 and onward) but his eldest brother has made an assumption or wrong judgement.  
David's brother Eliab responds to his youngest brother's enthusiasm with an accusation and suspicion, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness?  I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."

**Yet the events that follow and the life of David, or rather the hand of God on David's life would seem to refute his brother's harshness.** 

4) David must have had an ongoing rapport with the Lord, to be ready to respond with such bravery, courage, and confidence in such as impromptu situation as he found himself in before Goliath. Indeed in verse 37 David declares witness of the Lord in his life, "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of the Philistine." 

5) David and Goliath exchanged some smack talk (verse 43-47) between themselves, but Goliath did not have God on his side.  He knew not, the Lord.  David knew God, and he declared, to the giant Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head.....He will give all of you into our hands."

6) After David killed Goliath and stood over him, and cut his head off... verse 57 tells us that he, David was brought before King Saul.  As David stood there, young shepherd boy who did what no other Israelite man dared to do, he was still holding the Philistine's head!!! 

Thus at the close of chapter 17, David is no longer obscure.  He is known and respected, so much so, that it causes him troubles >> devotion for chapter 18 to be linked to here when published. I wanted to pray from chapter 17 first:

Dear Father in Heaven,
Wow.  I am sorry that we humans are so far off of your perfect will, for you to not be our only king and leader.  I thank you that even despite our flaws, failures, and weaknesses, you draw nigh to those that draw nigh unto you, and you favor those that seek to honor You.  I want to be one of those people Lord.

I want to honor You.  I want to be favored by You.  Holy Spirit please mold me and make me strong, wise, and courageous to go exactly as You will.

I KNOW that I have been like Eliab, and jumped to false conclusions and reacted harshly and in judgement.  That is not my place.  Only you are judge. Please forgive me.

By your Holy Spirit in me, Father, I want to be strong, LOVING and WISE, not harsh and judgmental and foolish.  Your will be done, in our lives, and in all the world as in Heaven.  In Jesus's name I pray, AMEN.

More coming, as we continue to blog through the Bible!  If you find value in our blogging through the Bible content, won't you share with a social media icon below?  Thank you for visiting.  Be blessed in the Sonshine!

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