May 12 – 19
“O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12
As we approach six weeks from the halfway point of the year in our Bible readings, I find myself yearning to have met King David, a wise and loving king, one who certainly did his share of sin, but a man after God’s own heart. The favor he knew from the Lord was full of such mercy and compassion, direction and protection. Though his heart betrayed him, he continued to acknowledge with full understanding that everything came from the Lord. There was nothing he could bring to the table but a contrite heart and a heart filled with thanksgiving and song. His reign of forty years was not without fighting and bloodshed, but the Lord established David’s throne forever through Christ Jesus. This week, we say goodbye to beloved David and will enjoy a season of rest in the peace promised to Solomon. Several truths linger this week for me.
He Hears our Cry from the Deepest Pit, the Farthest Corner of the Earth
Psalm 61:2-3 “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”
The farther we get from His Will, the more our heart grows weary and faint. But no matter how far we stray, He remains our refuge and strength. We need only call upon Him.
Our Strong and Loving God
Psalm 62:11-12a “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.”
When God speaks, we not only hear His Words, but His Character. He reveals in His “I AM” that His compassion for us is so much greater than we can know. He lends His own strength to us in our weakness. He reveals Himself not only in speaking but in the dispensation of His love. Blessed is the man who knows His God.
A Prescription for Insomnia
Psalm 63:6 “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”
How familiar I am with the raw emotions of a 4 a.m. wakeup call that leads me to His Feet. The clarity of thought often tells me it is His nudge to speak with Him. The lack of worry tells me it is His peace He brings at such an hour. I have spent many nights sorting through the details of a day without the worry I felt before. Now I have known the other kind of insomnia also, where I dwell on things and blow them out of proportion. But when I remember my God, and think of Him, there is no weariness the next day, no waste of a moment spent with Him. He is our peace and His beauty enthralls my heart with sweet gifts as these in the watches of the night.
It is Never Too Late with God
2 Samuel 18:33 “The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
David grieves the loss of his son, though Absalom had turned against him. He had many opportunities to reconcile with his son before he became an enemy to the king. I wonder what a kind word of wisdom would have done instead of the silence he showed in him letting Amnon get away with raping Tamar. How much easier it is to cut out a root before it becomes a tree of bitterness in a heart! For David, it was too late to show Absalom he loved him dearly, but it was not too late to take his sorrow to the Lord as he wrote some of the most beautiful psalms in Scripture. The things we need to say to people we should say while it is still today. We may not have another chance with circumstances, but God will always give us another chance with Him. He gives beauty for ashes.
Walk in Him and Find Your Strength for the Journey
Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”
With every step of our path following His Ways, we find ourselves blessed with strength for the journey from glory to glory as we are transformed to His Likeness. Oh for the day that we know the full strength of Your Glory, Lord. Soon, face to Face. Set my heart, O Lord, on this sacred journey into You.
David’s Preparation and Provision to Equip His Son
1 Chronicles 22:5 “David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.”
David took great strides to help his son, Solomon , to accomplish the most magnificent task before Him of building a temple for the Lord. He prepared the way, gained the support of the people, and even gathered some of the materials and funds needed for such a huge endeavor. We should prepare our own children for success in ways that we can, without doing the job for them. David not only wanted this success for his son, but for His Lord, whom he had wanted to build the temple. He had the greater promise of knowing his son would enjoy this unspeakable privilege. Knowing God was preparing one of my children, I would want my own joy to be deferred with the assurance that they would reap the benefit of a God-ordained well-laid plan on their behalf. As I pray for my own children, I ask with assurance that God will bestow wondrous gifts toward my children because of His faithfulness to me.
1 Chronicles 22:11-13 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged” 1 Chronicles 28:9-10 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”
2 Kings 2:2-3 “”I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said.”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.”
These verses remind me of Moses giving instruction to Joshua. The love and concern for very specific obedience, for wisdom, and finally, the most oft repeated words, “Be strong and courageous.” Can you imagine leading God’s people and the amount of courage it required? To follow King David, to unite a country divided with war, to live peaceably with all men? David’s wisdom seems to be heavy hearted as his concern for his son’s ability to remain steadfast. He knew the trials he would face. He knew the desperation. He probably wished he could spare him some of the pain. As a parent, I can’t imagine knowing these were the final words I would get to leave with my child. When my daughter went to Italy for a semester of school abroad, her father and I went over to see her get settled. We constantly were nagging her about one more thing we thought she would need to know in a strange land to be safe, to be successful in her journey. To tell you the truth, we all were making each other miserable. Finally, one sleepless night, as my daughter and I stared at each other pillow to pillow, she said, “Mom, I want you to write it all down, and one hour before you leave, I want you to tell me everything you have to say. But until then, can we just spend some time together and have fun?” I honored her wishes but thought of a thousand more things I wished I had said on the long plane trip home. I wished I had known David’s wise words, “May the Lord give you discretion and understanding. Be strong and courageous. Be strong and do the work. Show yourself a man (woman.) so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you go” I will close with that prayer for each of you.