NOT TO WAR

“Achish is here to see you.”

David stopped chewing his lunch. “Achish..he’s never come to see us at Ziklag. I wonder what’s up.”

He glanced at Abigail as he stood. She shrugged her shoulders. David walked out to see a stern Achish waiting for him.

Achish barely smiled as the two men greeted each other. “David, you and your men have been the best thing that’s happened to me. My wealth has increased as has my standing with the other Philistine kings. There’s a matter of urgency that’s come up.”

David motioned toward a bench next to his house. They sat down. “You’ve been so kind to take us in and give us this town for our families. You know I’ll do whatever my lord asks of me.”

Achish stared into David’s eyes. “We’re amassing our troops for war. I want you and your men to fight next to me.”

David smiled. “You know what we’re capable of.” He stood as Achish stood.

Achish hugged David. “I shall make you my general, David. Be in Aphek three days from now ready for battle.”

Joab walked next to David as they watched Achish leave. “What if they fight against Israel? Will you defend the LORD’s anointed in battle if he’s the enemy?”

David kept staring ahead. “I shall seek God’s will in all I do.”

****

David chose the fountain of Jezreel to camp near with his men. His beloved nation of Israel lay to his back.

Achish approached and greeted David. “We’ll be passing before the kings for them to review the troops. Fall in behind me and my other men.”

David bowed his head. “As my lord wishes.” He tried to swallowed the lump in his throat.

Abishai leaned next to David as they watched the Philistine armies from the distance. “That looks like at least twice as many men as Saul had last time we saw them. Do you think he stands a chance?”

David looked up. “If the LORD is with him these punks don’t stand a chance.” He turned around and waved his arm over his head. “Let’s fall in, men.”

When they finished David was close enough to hear the conversation between Achish and the other kings. “What are these Hebrews doing here? What’s to keep them from turning against us in battle? What are you thinking, Achish?”

Achish stepped up to the group. “David defected to me over a year ago. He’s raiding his people’s villages. I trust him with my life.”

One of the kings stood and motioned toward David. “Is this the same David they sang about killing ten thousand to Saul’s thousand? He most certainly won’t go into battle mixed in with our men. He set you up for just this purpose. Our decision stands. He’s not going with us to war.”

Achish’s shoulders slumped as he approached David. “They say you can’t fight with us.”

David tried to make eye contact. “When have I ever let you down? Your enemies are my enemies.”

Achish placed a hand on David’s shoulder. “I’m over-ruled here. Please, take your men back to Ziklag at first light.”

********

Do you ever wonder how that battle would have turned out if David had been in the mix with the Philistines? I’m curious, but I know why he wasn’t allowed to fight in this particular war with Israel. This was the battle where Saul and his sons all lost their lives. If David had been there a big question mark would have forever been over his involvement in Saul’s death.

David had no way of knowing Saul had just consulted a medium to get a word from God through Samuel. All he knew was his master, Achish, called him to fight so he prepared to fight. Then, he was told he couldn’t fight when the other Philistine kings saw him in the gathering.

There would come a day when David would decide who would fight and who would not, but now he had to follow rank and step out of the picture. I’m pretty sure he was relieved he couldn’t fight against his own people.

I often wonder if they never told him who they were planning on fighting until the last minute. Why else would he agree to go to war with his nation’s enemy against his nation?

[Tweet “God has three answers to our prayers: yes, no and wait. Waiting is often the hardest one to accept. “]

We see what David faced all the time: open doors and closed doors are a way of life for everybody.

How often have you had a door open to you only to have it close as you stepped on the threshold your toe was on?

Yeah, those hurt the most.

How you handle those situations shows your character and maturity.

I see three main ways people deal with closed doors:

  1. They try to push against that door to get it to open anyway. If this has been a long-term dream it’s hard to accept it coming to an end so abruptly. Forcing your own agenda against God’s will is never wise.
  2. They turn around and go home never to follow another dream. The pain of having a dream die is too much for some to bear. Instead of going through that agony again they close their shell and remain safe inside.
  3. They step back, pray and see what God has in store for them elsewhere. The wise person takes stock of the circumstances, looks to God for further guidance and moves forward to another dream or waits for God’s timing for this one to come to fruition.

God has three answers to our prayers: yes, no and wait.

Waiting is often the hardest one to accept.

Patience is a virtue we love to see lived out in other people, but are too seldom willing to develop in our own life.

That’s why God gives us that reply so often. He knows we need to develop that trait and this is the best way to learn it.

This is a time to follow God’s rank, assess your options and carry on.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

UNEXPECTED LOSS

Abishai walked next to David and matched his pace. “Are you glad we aren’t fighting against our own people?”

David kept looking forward. “Of course, this whole time with the Philistines has been an experience I never imagined I’d ever have. Almost a year and a half of not looking over my shoulder wondering if Saul is coming for me was nice. But…”

“So, what’s next?”

“I don’t know. We all just need to rest for now. A soft bed will be good for everybody.”

David’s mouth dropped open when he saw Ziklag from the top of the hill. Nobody was there. Even the animals were missing. The stone walls of the houses were there, but their wood roofs were burnt.

He froze on that hill while the echoes from his men rose in his ears as they filed past.

He felt more hollow with each step closer to his home. What became of his wives? He stepped into the bedroom filled with sunlight. Abigail’s scarf was half-burnt. He lifted it to his nose and inhaled…nothing but wretched smoke.

“How can this be, LORD? I’m doing all I can to follow You. Why?”

The sound of footsteps outside became silence too quickly. David looked out a window. His men circled the house. Each one held a stone.

“‘Let’s live with the Philistines,’ he says. ‘Let’s fight against God’s chosen people,’ he agrees to. Now we’re paying for your stupid decisions, David. It’s time for a new leader. Come out and stand up for yourself.”

David rushed to the front door. He found the priest standing behind the men. “Abiathar, the ephod, bring it to me. Quickly!”

He looked at his men. “You’re right. I have made some foolish decisions. I thought they were best for all of us, at least some of them. I’ve learned my lesson. From now on I’ll inquire of the LORD for guidance.”

Abiathar pushed past the men and came up to David wearing the ephod.

David stared at the gems on it. “LORD, shall we pursue the men who took our stuff? Will we get our families back?”

The voice was clear. “Go, pursue, you will get them all back.”

David stood and faced his men. “Every man get his sword. Victory is assured.”

Everyone dropped his stone. Those who’d removed their sword went to retrieve it.

David led his men south of Ziklag.

********

The Day Ziklag Burned is what we could title this episode in David’s life. This place the Philistines had given them to reside. Their home for more than a year. They had roots here until they left to fight with their enemy.

Grief has a way of dulling the senses and making judgments twist in bizarre ways. The knee-jerk reaction of these saddened soldiers was to blame their leader. The fact God had chosen him to be their next king vanished from their minds.

They had pain wracking their bodies and they needed an outlet for that misery. Stoning David made perfect sense to them at that moment. The consequence for that option didn’t matter to them then.

Seeing that anguish in so many men’s eyes got David’s attention. We aren’t told he used the ephod for guidance as to whether to move in with the Philistines, or to fight with them against Israel. Survival and human reason seem to have been his watch words in those decisions.

Losing everything unexpectedly is one of God’s ways of getting His children’s attention.

It’s a severe test to prove where a person will lean when there’s nothing else to hold onto.

David quickly turned back to God for guidance. What about you?

[Tweet “Turn to Jesus for your source of hope in this life, and beyond.”]

It shouldn’t take literally loosing everything to see if you’ll pass this test.

You can take stock of your life right now to answer that question.

Look around you now. What, and who, do you see that would devastate you to lose? You can choose to give those to God this very moment.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be extreme grief when a loved one dies, or a fire or storm destroys your home.

But, there’s a deeper question you must ask yourself. Am I holding onto this world so tightly that I’m weighed down in living for God’s glory?

That doesn’t mean family heirlooms won’t be precious. I brought some home from my Mom’s funeral recently.

That doesn’t mean your love will grow cold for your spouse or children. Seeing how this impacts them as well should strengthen that bond.

It also doesn’t mean you should neglect caring for what you have. We still have a stewardship responsibility we’ll be held accountable for.

What this should do is make you evaluate your focus and priorities in your life.

Is what you have and what you do bringing glory to God, or is simply meeting your pleasure? Don’t get me wrong. You can glorify God and enjoy things at the same time.

We’re told to take a day each week to relax and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

What God is really attempting to do is getting our focus on the eternality of life.

What will last beyond this moment? Who will be in the kingdom with you?

As God’s child, chosen from many to be His one, your eternity with God doesn’t begin when you step past the pearly gates of heaven. No, your eternity with God begins at your conversion into God’s spiritual family.

Your relationship with God needs to grow every moment you’re alive here and now.

Loosen your grip on the stuff around you. It won’t last.

Lighten your hold on the lives you can’t control. They must answer for themselves.

Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. Jesus died for that purpose, don’t waste that opportunity for selfish motives.

Share your love of God through Jesus to as many people as you can. That’s what will make an impact that will echo throughout eternity.

Turn to Jesus for your source of hope in this life, and beyond.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

The Day Called Memorial

The last Monday in May is the Day called Memorial

We’re to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

Soldiers who stood in for us to guard our freedoms so real

Bravery so strong a life ended too young to pay that price

**

We’ll never know the children they would have reared

They’ll never see those who were born to them be wed

The next generation will depend on pictures as they appeared

There will always be those who remember and are sad

**

What we do with our freedom is up to us who still live

If we squander it on personal pleasure we’ll remain small

Speaking for those without a voice is the best way to give

Service to many others will bring true happiness to all

**

Jesus is our example to follow and imitate for our life

He healed, loved and taught the people of His day

His gift was so broad He didn’t search for a personal wife

In the end He, too, gave His very own life away

**

Today we have, tomorrow is never promised come

Will what you’ve done be remembered when your story is o’er

Is Jesus smiling broadly  by something you have done

What will your mark be on this Day called Memorial

ENEMY HIDEOUT

“You did what?!” Joab choked on his bagel.

“We walked right up to King Saul and took his spear and water jug. Nobody woke up. It was amazing.” Abashai tore off a chuck of his bagel and chewed.

Joab swallowed. “I know you know how to use a spear. You taught me. Tell me he’s dead.”

David grabbed Joab’s arm and stared in his eyes. “He is the LORD’s anointed. Even if you don’t respect the man respect God’s choosing as your king as long as he lives. It isn’t up to any of us to bring that time to an end.”

Joab nodded. “Okay, so, what do we do now?”

David paced. “We gotta get out of Israel. Saul will be back for me. I’m tired of running.”

Joab’s arms hung at his sides. “Where do you suggest we go? We’re kinda low on options.”

“Achish.”

Joab threw his bagel in the fire. “The Philistine…have you totally lost your mind? That’s a suicide mission.”

“That’s exactly why Saul won’t follow us there. Achish is a fair man. He’ll take us in. Do you want your wife and children sleeping under the stars every night? Wouldn’t you rather they knew the security of living in a house?”

“Yeah, but why Gath? You still have Goliath’s sword. Don’t you think somebody will want revenge?”

David patted the sword. “All of our swords came from the Philistines. Feel free to set a guard around us at night. We have Achish’s respect and that of his people. It’s the only hope I have right now.”

Abashai stood next to Joab. “What are we going to do become their slaves?”

David shook his head. “No, we’ll raid some nearby towns and bring the spoil to Achish. I’ll lead him to believe we’re attacking Hebrew villages. He’s loyal, but not too bright. I think we’ll gain his respect and devotion that way.”

Joab grabbed David’s sleeve. “What if a survivor from one of the towns informs Achish about what we’re doing?”

David stared in his eyes. “That’s why we can’t leave any survivors. We’re to begin to finish the task God told Joshua to perform. This land is promised to God’s people. All of the inhabitants are to be removed so we don’t intermarry and follow their gods. I don’t like the killing any more than you do, but it’s the LORD’s will for us. We’re the generation that will bring peace and security to God’s people in the land promised to Abraham.”

Joab stuck his hand straight out in front of him. “Then let’s do this.”

Abishai placed his hand on top of Joab’s.

David set his hand on their’s. The three men shouted. “To the glory of God!”

********

No, I don’t like the thought of genocide being God’s will any more than you do, but it was. I’m so glad I was born on the grace side of the cross. Aren’t you?

David and his men didn’t have that luxury. They were the ones to rid the land of Gentiles so the Jews didn’t co-mingle and follow foreign gods.

Under David’s leadership the task given to Joshua was revived and performed. The extermination of anyone who didn’t wish to join the Hebrew nation’s worship of the One true God was carried out. It began in earnest during this time of exile in Philistia.

This was David’s major accomplishment while he ruled God’s chosen people. Not the Psalms he composed, as wonderful as they are; not the gathering of material to build the temple in Jerusalem, as important as that was; nor the establishing of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as strategic as that was. The annihilation of Gentiles from this God-ordained piece of land brought a peace that Israel has yet to experience since David’s and Solomon’s reigns.

This, ironically, is the reason David wasn’t allowed to build the temple during his lifetime. This shedding of blood made him too impure to claim that building as his accomplishment.

[Tweet “I’m so glad I was born on the grace side of the cross. Aren’t you? “]

Sometimes carrying out God’s will brings limitations with it. The people who are standing up to Islamic militants by refusing to deny Jesus as their Savior are freely giving up their right to further God’s kingdom by dying rather than living longer to tell of His love and grace.

Actually, by doing what they’re doing they are spreading the gospel far and wide. When others see the fortitude they have to give up their right to life by dying for God it sends a message of truth no sword can finish off.

Where do you stand on this life and death issue?

Are you willing to die for Jesus if it came to it?

Are you willing to stand out at work by being the only person who doesn’t go along with the crowd and do those dishonest acts or immoral behaviors?

You see, there is more than one way to die for Christ. A physical death is one thing. A professional death is another animal all together.

Jesus gave up both of those on the cross at the same time. Yeah, He could have saved Himself and began His earthly reign then. If He had I wouldn’t be capitalizing the pronouns I’m using for Him.

In order for us to be able to carry out God’s will completely we need to have an eternal view of life.

This world and all we see will be destroyed quicker than you can sneeze. The new Heaven and new Earth will last forever. Those who focus on that reality will reign with Jesus in His eternal kingdom.

The only death God commands His followers today is dying to self. Yeah, like Jesus did.

One phrase I hear in my head frequently is: “It’s not about me.”

When have you reminded yourself of that fact?

So many problems in this world would disappear if more people would catch that simple truth.

Too many folks buy into the lie that this life is all about their happiness.

Don’t be one of those people.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

The Color of…

The color of cardinals is as red as can be

They chirp as they fly and enjoy a great seed

The color of bluebirds as their name would imply

Is blue as blue gets even bluer than the sky

The color of zebras is quite a contrast of hues

They’re black and they’re white yet they don’t seem confused

The color of tigers is orange and black stripes

Keep watching him though or he’ll eat you in two bites

The color of polar bears is all white all over

He likes the white snow to hide in its cover

The color of penguins is a tux black and white

They waddle on sort legs and underwater they do fly

The color of Jesus is more varied than a rainbow

He came to us from God and is purer than snow

The color of love is a red extremely dark

From the blood that flowed from Jesus’ broken heart

The color of grace He displayed as He died

When He told the thief “You’ll be with me in Paradise”

The color of forgiveness He showed when He said

“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they did”

The color of sin filled the air oh so quick

When the light disappeared and it was totally black

The color of doubt filled His followers that day

They didn’t understand and didn’t know what to say

The color of hope chased the shadows from the room

When Mary told them Jesus was no longer in the tomb

The color of peace came to the room like a wish

When Jesus showed up and asked for broiled fish

The color of faith filled Thomas like never before

When he touched Jesus wounds and declared Him “my Lord”

The color of purpose filled His disciples when Jesus left

“Become fishers of men and don’t go back to your nets”

The color of power changed those men so much higher

When the Holy Spirit came to them like small tongues of fire

The color of progress declared itself on that day

When each person knew exactly what those men had to say

The color of God’s kingdom is ours to press among

All people on earth so their heart sings His song

The color of love, peace and joy will fill God’s children

As we spend our eternity with Father God in Heaven

The color of choice is given freely from our Heavenly Creator

For those who choose Jesus I’ll say “I’ll see you later”

SECOND GRACE

The footsteps stopped outside David’s tent. Heavy breathing interrupted the conversation.

Joab wasn’t as quiet as David had wished for more sleep. “You can’t go in there. I’m under strict orders. Nobody is to awaken David.”

A young man’s voice said. “But, he sent me to spy out King Saul to see if he’s coming. David needs to know they’re almost here.”

Joab: “Where are they and what were they doing when you last saw them?”

The young man: “They’re setting up camp along the road near Jeshimon. There’s thousands of them. We don’t stand a chance. How can David sleep at a time like this?”

David stepped out of his tent. “So, the men of Ziph can’t be trusted. I’ll keep that in mind. Good work Benjamin. You’ll share the evening meal with me. You can fill me in on all you know. I’m sure you’ll sleep well tonight. Find some water and shade. You look exhausted.”

Benjamin nodded. “Yes, Sir. Thank you David.” He walked off to his tent.

David turned to Joab. “What’s your brother up to?”

“He’s taking a nap, too, along with Ahimelech. Must be nice. What are you planning?”

“Can’t tell you. You’ll try to stop me.”

****

David scanned the camp from the top of the ridge. The full moon helped a great deal. “Which of you guys wants to go with me to retrieve a souvenir from the king?”

Abishai spoke up. “Sounds like fun. I’ll go.”

The two men stepped between sleeping soldiers all the way to King Saul.

Abishai grasped the spear stuck in the ground next to Saul’s head and whispered. “God has given your enemy into your hand. One stab with this and this madness will be over.”

David stared at Saul. “No. He’s the LORD’s anointed, too. I will not have that guilt on my head. It’s up to God to take his life, perhaps in battle or another cause.” He bent down and picked up Saul’s water jug. “Take that spear and let’s go.”

They retraced their steps back to the ridge.

Dawn was breaking to the East when David turned around and took the spear from Abishai. “Do you not answer me, Abner?”

The stirring in the camp was over-shadowed by Abner’s voice. “Who dares address the king at night?”

David made sure his voice was heard. “If you’re the best Israel has for a soldier I think you have some work to do. Your king was very vulnerable last night. Dereliction of Duty is the charge. Whose spear and jug do I have?”

King Saul stood. “Is that you, David?”

“It is, my lord. What injustice have I done to deserve death by the king? If it’s against God surely an offering will suffice. If it’s by men may they be cursed for their stance. Why do you hunt me as a partridge in the mountains? I hold nothing against you.”

Saul’s voice cracked. “No. It’s me. I’m in the wrong here. You’ve spared my life again. You’ll be a great king, David.”

David leaned the spear against a rock. “Here’s your spear. Let one of your young men come and get it. As I have valued your life today may the LORD value my life to rule after you, my lord.”

David set the jug down and returned to camp with his men.

********

Have you ever wondered what possessed David to perform such a bold move as this? Have you ever really thought about it?

When you remember the Holy Spirit indwelled David since his anointing you get a bit of a hint as to why he was so courageous.

But, still…think about the odds of pulling this off. David and Abishai walk up to King Saul through 3,000 soldiers. Even though they marched all day to get there somebody’s bound to wake up. Right?

Not when God is on your side.

Forget about the how, think about why for a moment. Why did David feel compelled to be so stupid?

His experience living with God’s Spirit inside him made him bold.

  • Lions and bears fell by the hand of this possessed teenager. David knew that was more than him completing that accomplishment.
  • One stone fell the gigantic fighting machine named Goliath. David was good with a slingshot, but not that good.
  • David saw what happened the first time he spared Saul’s life. By not only proving his loyalty, but also exposing a weakness in the army, David was sure to get Saul to see the error of his ways.

[Tweet “Your moment of salvation is meant to be more than fire insurance against the ravages of hell”]

What steps have you taken to strengthen your faith and boldness for God?

Have you spoken up and prayed in public when the opportunity has been made available in a small group setting?

Have you told what happened to get you to see your need for Jesus as your Savior to an individual or group?

Have you given financially past your comfort zone when a need arises that breaks your heart?

Your moment of salvation is meant to be more than fire insurance against the ravages of hell. Your new relationship with God began at that moment. It’s up to you to grow that relationship to build you into a person who resembles Jesus more each day.

We’re destined to rule with Jesus when we get to heaven. This life is our preparation for that time in eternity. Don’t kick back and coast, then expect a place of importance in the kingdom to come.

Grow your boldness one step at a time like David did. Don’t be surprised if one day you’re doing something stupid for God as well.

Yes, there’s a fine line between boldness and stupidity.

God uses our foolishness to confound the wise of this world.

Remember whose kingdom will be standing for all eternity when you choose what side you’ll be on.

God doesn’t expect you to go all out at the beginning.

Take this journey one step at a time and see what surprises await you.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

This woman you call Mother

You began as an egg until dad added sperm

You moved up a tube and implanted in her womb

For most of a year you grew in her belly

Although some say you’re no more than some jelly

She fed you in there and loved you for sure

Your kicking and moving made her talk to you more

When she saw you she thought you had a beauty of no other

This is the woman you call your dear mother

****

If you stayed with this woman you’d continue to bond

If another one reared you she’s the one you called Mom

Either way the love grew as she changed every diaper

And when snot did appear she became your nose wiper

You couldn’t pay her enough to continue this job

She simply helped you transform because of her love

The nights you did wake her she understood best

Her love was more important than any more rest

****

Your questions she answered the best that she could

When she laid down the law she hoped you understood

To squash all your dreams that wasn’t her goal

She longed to release a fine person to the world

Far too many times the two of you would fight

You’ll never know how long she prayed into the night

She asked for God’s help when she came to her end

She would often fall asleep before she said Amen

****

If you are now grown I sure hope you remember

How often her discipline was still slightly tender

As a mere mortal she definitely had her limits

Forgive her for faults she never came to admit

Her task was not easy and you didn’t help much

When you demanded your way and wanted more stuff

This person gave her all that she had for another

Please thank her today this woman you call Mother

BEAUTIFUL ADVICE

Joab walked next to David. “You’ve been silent this entire trip home. What are you thinking about?”

David glanced up. “Can’t help but relive that scene when I first met Samuel. I smelled of sheep and sweat. His face lit up when he stared at me. He pulled the flask out from under his robe. The oil was warm. It saturated my scalp and beard. My life’s never been the same.”

The men stopped when they crested the hill and viewed an empty meadow. Joab grabbed David’s sleeve. “Where are the sheep?”

David smiled. “This could be a good sign.”

They strode across the field to the men enjoying lunch.

David cleared his throat. “What happened to the flock?”

A young man spun around so fast he toppled sideways. “Oh, David, I didn’t see you coming. Um…the sheep are being sheered. They’ll be back.”

David raised both hands in the air. “‘The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.’ Finally, some good news. It’s payday, boys.”

David slapped the young man on the back. “I want you to take nine of your friends to Carmel. Find Nabal and tell him we’ve been guarding his men and animals. See how much he gives you to bring back.”

****

David felt his face cool  as he stood. “Were you robbed? Don’t tell me…”

The young man in charge looked at David’s feet. “Nabal said he never told you to watch his sheep so he doesn’t owe you anything.”

Heat returned to David’s cheeks. “Every man grab a sword!”

****

The troupe split up into twin valleys halfway to Carmel.

David rested a hand on his sword. “Doesn’t Nabal know how important protection is for his flocks? May God deal with me severely if we leave even one male child alive by the end of today.”

A woman stopped her donkey in front of David and fell at his feet. “I’m sorry, my lord. Let the blame fall on me. I wasn’t there when your young men came to Nabal. I didn’t find out until they left.”

A young man came over the hill carrying some food. “We have figs, and raisins, wine, mutton and bread. Looks like he changed his mind.”

Abigail stood. Her gaze never strayed from David’s eyes. “You are anointed by God to lead His people in battle. Even those who come to kill you can’t succeed. They’ll be slung out as a stone by God. Don’t do something you’ll only regret during your reign as king. Accept this token of my gratitude for all your men have done for us.”

David stepped toward Abigail and smiled. “God surely sent you today to keep me from doing something stupid. I accept your gift. Go home in peace. I won’t forget this.”

********

I see two things we should focus on. What set David off in a rage and what changed his course of action?

It’s recorded that David had just been to the funeral of Samuel. I’m sure the contact he had with the prophet reminded David of his appointed destiny with Israel’s throne.

Between the grief of the loss of a mentor and the added weight of the anointing oil I can understand his short fuse here. Six hundred fighting men with some families would also carry a burden for David.

In an effort to feed these people David comes across a large herd of sheep and goats. Being a former shepherd he knows how vulnerable these animals are to predators and raiding parties. Taking advantage of a win-win situation David has his men protect Nabal’s flocks.

Sheering time would be celebration time. So David finds out how grateful Nabal is for his service.

Nabal is celebrating alright, but at David’s expense. Since there’s no way of proving just how much protection David provided Nabal decides not to pay David anything. Why share his wealth with someone he never met?

So stressed-out David becomes irrational to the extreme. He doesn’t even want to try to talk some sense into Nabal.

Oh, I forgot to mention David tends toward an artistic bent which carries some strange emotional swings all its own.

So, as David’s world comes crashing down around him he becomes rash and irrational.

How in the world is God going to get his attention to stop him from making a huge mistake? A beautiful woman is a sure-fire way to get an artistic man’s attention.

Abigail knows she has a fool for a husband, especially since that’s what his parents named him. Nabal means fool in Hebrew. So, she wastes no time in springing into action. She gathers enough food to feed an army, since that’s what David has, and sends it on ahead of her into hurricane David.

She also doesn’t waste time in explaining to David how stupid he’s being and that he’ll only regret what he’s planning on doing. Yeah, this story had more than one fool in it.

[Tweet “David’s men would follow him anywhere. Choose your battles wisely.”]

So, what are our take-aways here? I see a series of don’ts and do’s.

  • Don’t make any important decisions during a time of grief. David wasn’t thinking straight in this stressful time and neither will you. Step back and assess your situation with the distance of time as much as you can.
  • Don’t get others to follow you into making your rash decision. David’s men would follow him anywhere. That would be crucial in battle, but choose your battles wisely.
  • Do listen to counsel from others involved. Abigail took a chance on approaching David. Women weren’t often listened to in that culture. David showed wisdom in heeding her advice.
  • Do step in to fix other’s blunders. Abigail could have let David take Nabal’s life and ended up as David’s wife anyway. By doing what her husband should have done she avoided much unnecessary bloodshed.

David would put up with a lot of ridicule later in his life. I think the lesson he learned here stuck with him.

Let’s learn his lesson from him.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

 

 

The Story of Joan and Marvin Webster

To mark the occasion of my Mom’s coffin being laid to rest next to my Dad’s coffin I put together this video tribute. It was harder to do than I thought it would be.

I hope you’re able to see it. YouTube has been quirky lately when they upload my videos. You may get a safety notice. Come back in a day or two, it usually clears up by then.

I miss my parents deeply.

I’ll see them later.   Wade

A LEGEND PASSES

David stopped when he crested the hill. His view of Ramah blurred from the tears.

The men behind him stopped.

Joab waited a minute before he came alongside David. “You two shared something the rest of us can only dream about. What’s it like to have the LORD’s Spirit alive in you?”

David wiped his eyes with his sleeve. “It’s the most blessed curse anyone can ever bear.” He continued walking to their destination.

The crowds had gathered to pay their respects to Samuel. People moved out of David’s path when they saw him.

David saw King Saul before he saw his sons. He scanned for the eldest son, but couldn’t see him. His heart sank.

A voice caught his attention by its intensity. “Make way for the prince. Make way.”

The crowd parted and Jonathan gave David a tight hug. The men stepped back and kissed each other on the cheek.

David fell onto Jonathan’s shoulder. His tears soaked the prince’s robe. “I wanted more time with him. He had so much more to teach me.”

Jonathan pushed David back and held him by his shoulders. “You had time with him. Most of us would have killed for as much as you had.”

David smiled and nodded. “I suppose.”

Jonathan put an arm around David and walked toward the coffin. “Our generation is perhaps the greatest of all Israel. We knew the last Judge and our best king.”

David stopped. “Your father is no great king.”

Jonathan looked into David’s eyes. “I’m speaking of you, my brother. You shall lead our army to finish the task Joshua started. Our land will be rid of the Canaanites at last. You’ll lead us to a time of peace and prosperity that will be unmatched in our history to come.”

David tilted his head. “But, I don’t even know if I’ll be alive to see tomorrow.”

“That’s what is making you so great. You know suffering and persecution first-hand. Mercy shall be your guide. God is building you for greatness and I shall serve beside you.”

David looked beyond Jonathan and saw the coffin. He walked past his friend and cautiously approached the box. He was grateful his people had learned Egyptian embalming. Still, the stench of death hung in the air.

Saul cleared his throat. “We’ve been waiting for you. The grave is dug and prepared. Shall we commence?”

David stepped back. “Yes, by all means. Samuel lived a good, long life. Lay him to rest now.”

He stood numb as the nails were hammered home. Saul held a half-smirk when David looked up to the sky. “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil, for Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”

Samuel’s disciples lifted the coffin and carried it to the grave. When it was in the ground most of the crowd dispersed.

David watched as the dirt was filled in. He longed for a liar to play, instead he simply sang what would become the 23rd Psalm.

When the men were done David picked up a stone and placed it on the mound of dirt. He turned away and led his men back to their wilderness stronghold.

********

The scenario that just played out is compacted into one Bible verse, 1 Samuel 25:1.

As I meditated on this chapter I recognized that one verse holds too much importance to just skip over it in a quick reading.

Samuel was a legend, even during his lifetime. Devoted to God before his conception, reared by a priest who longed for a second chance to father someone to lead people to God, and the man God led to anoint both Saul and David as the young nation’s first two kings.

When David began to run for his life from the madness of Saul Samuel was the first person he turned to. The death of someone important to you will make you take stock of your own life.

This verse is a pivotal point for the nation of Israel, too. The season of God randomly picking a judge to lead for a time was over. A king had been established to rule with a line of succession to follow.

Samuel’s greatness was unquestioned. Nobody knew what the future held. Loyalties were divided based on the tribe one was born into.

David had just proven his loyalty to Saul in a cave event that could have ended Saul’s life. The temporary peace gave everyone a chance to grieve.

[Tweet “The death of someone important to you will make you take stock of your own life.”]

Have you grieved recently?

It doesn’t take just a death to put you into a state of grief, at least it shouldn’t.

When was the last time you cried over something you saw on the news? What was it…a natural disaster when they showed a child crying by a crumpled building? …a scene of vandals smashing windows with the police too outnumbered to step in?…was it a decision by the highest court in the land that pulls our nation away from our godly heritage?

What was the last prayer request that spilled a tear down your cheek?

Has someone close to you made a life decision you know breaks God’s heart?

Grieve.

Go ahead and let the tears flow. Jesus did at Lazarus’s tomb, and He knew the outcome before it happened.

David didn’t know what was going to happen in his life. All he knew was he didn’t have Samuel to turn to anymore.

That was one less crutch for him to lean on and one more reason for him to lean on God for strength.

I’m not suggesting you get rid of all your friends. I know better than anybody how important it is have another soul traveling this life alongside you.

I do want you to open up to God more. Cry your pain out loud in prayer. Yell at him when you feel things are unfair. Tell Him you want the pain to stop.

His heart is breaking, too. And He’s still in control.

I’ll see you later.   Wade