Today we are reading 2 Samuel 6. In this chapter we read about the Ark of the Covenant being brought to Jerusalem. “And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.” 2 Samuel‬ ‭6:14-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬ By moving the Ark to Jerusalem, David is giving Israel a unified and centralized government and religious practice. Now the people would come to Jerusalem to conduct legal/political matters and also to observe the mandated Jewish feasts. How is combining political and religious powers beneficial? How is it dangerous? We have a guiding comment not found in our constitution which talks about “separation of church and state”. The intent of this phrase was to prevent the government from interfering and restricting religious freedom. Today, however, it is often quoted to silence Christians from expressing their faith in the political realm. May God make you a bold witness to teach His truth everywhere you go. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Samuel 5. In this chapter David is anointed king, takes Jerusalem and defeats the Philistines. “When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭5:17-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Notice how David inquires of the Lord before going into battle. How do you inquire of God before you begin a task? How would checking with God first help you avoid trouble? May God put it in your heart and mind that He is eager to guide you and bless you. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Samuel 4. In this chapter we read about the murder of Saul’s son Ish-bosheth. “Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped.” 2 Samuel‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬ These two men committed murder to get rid of a competitor for David’s throne. God had already established David. There was no need for the two men to take matters into their own hands. When have you been tempted to take matters into your own hands? How did it work out? For me, I feel like I am forcing something to happen. When I simply put things in God’s hands He always handles it better than I could. May God bless you to trust Him with everything! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Samuel 3. In this chapter we read about hostilities between David and King Saul’s commander Abner. “So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it had not been the king’s will to put to death Abner the son of Ner. And the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? And I was gentle today, though anointed king. These men, the sons of Zeruiah, are more severe than I. The Lord repay the evildoer according to his wickedness!””
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭3:37-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬ David was becoming stronger and stronger and the house of Saul was fading away. Abner saw that he needed to join David before it was too late. He and David were working out the details but David’s men did not trust Abner so they killed him. Even in the death of his enemy David was honorable. How do you react when someone who has caused you trouble is defeated? How has God protected you from those who would harm you? How might your kindness impact your enemy? May God bless you and love others through you. Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Samuel 2. In this chapter we read about David being anointed king by the men of Judah. In opposition, Abner raised up Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, to be king over the rest of Israel. “And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” Joab returned from the pursuit of Abner. And when he had gathered all the people together, there were missing from David’s servants nineteen men besides Asahel. But the servants of David had struck down of Benjamin 360 of Abner’s men. And they took up Asahel and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was at Bethlehem. And Joab and his men marched all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭2:3-4, 30-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬ David reigned from Hebron in the south. This was before Jerusalem had been established as the capital of Israel. Ish-bosheth reigned in the north. Can you imagine a country having two kings? There was David, who was anointed king by God. And then there was Ish-bosheth, who was put in place by the military commander of the former king Saul. Who was the legitimate king? Who can you predict will have God’s blessing? The same is true for us today. God gives His blessings to those leaders that He establishes. Pray for our nation to be led by godly leaders! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 2 Samuel 1. In this chapter we read about David receiving the news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths. “And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and Jonathan his son, and he said it should be taught to the people of Judah; behold, it is written in the Book of Jashar. He said: “Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen!” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭1:17-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Even though Saul tried to kill David, David still grieved his death. It was both a time of national tragedy and personal loss. David fully expresses his grief. This is healthy—to a point. It is healthy to process the emotions we are feeling. It is not healthy to strike out violently in our grief. How do you express your grief? What have you done that would be considered healthy grieving? How have you wounded others in your grief? Make every effort to reconcile with those you have hurt! No excuses. Just apologize. Blessed are the peacemakers! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 1 Samuel 31. In this chapter we read about the death of King Saul. “Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together.” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭31:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬ This chapter records a very sad time in Israel’s history—the death of their first king. Even more, it was a complete defeat of the army of Israel. The people fled from their cities to find safety. Imagine our president is murdered and our armies are defeated. Where would you hide? How would you protect yourself? For Israel, God brought a new and greater king. The same is true for us. In this time of darkness and discouragement God will again bring the glorious light of His mercy. Our hope is in Jesus, our help is in the Lord! May God give you great hope in the King of Kings! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 1 Samuel 29. In this chapter we read about David being rejected by the Philistines with whom he had taken refuge. “Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the Lord lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you. So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.” 1 Samuel‬ ‭29:6-7, 11‬ ‭ESV‬‬ As David is rejected by the Philistines, God is preparing his circumstances to facilitate him becoming king. He will not be there to fight and protect Saul and so extend his reign. How has God used your circumstances to prepare you for His next plan? Looking back, can you see how God worked His purpose in your life? How did God use the difficult times? What did God do in the times you were searching? What is His purpose and plan for you right now? May God fill you with joy in His service! Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 1 Samuel 28. In this chapter we read about how Saul desperately sought information from a pagan medium. “Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.””
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭28:3-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬ In this chapter we see a desperate King Saul looking for some way to avoid destruction at the hands of the Philistines. God has apparently not answered his prayers so he steps outside of faith in the one true God. When have you been tempted to trust in something other than God? How did that work out for you? We will see that King Saul’s idolatrous actions brought him nothing but tragedy. In our case, we can return to the Lord through repentance. Remember, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Pastor Tim

Today we are reading 1 Samuel 26. In this chapter we read about how David again spares Saul’s life. “The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord ‘s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.” 1 Samuel‬ ‭26:23-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Have you ever been in a position to do harm to your adversary? Notice how when David chooses mercy it is pleasing to God and to Saul. Mercy can lead to reconciliation. How have you shown mercy to those who oppose you? May the mercy of God for you cause your words and actions to also be merciful. Pastor Tim