Friday, May 17, 2013
# 179 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 14:8-10, “Then Jonathan said, "Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 "If they say thus to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 "But if they say thus, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us." (1 Sam 14:8-10) Jonathan is strengthened by the pledge of unity from his armor-bearer, and now the Philistines will have to deal with two men who have the heart of God. Two men fiercely loyal to and totally trusting of their commander in chief, and each other. This was the secret of the success of the early church in the Book of Acts. Loyalty and trust of God and each other. Imagine what the church could do with such a Holy Spirit generated attitude today! Jonathan was strengthened, but he still wanted to make sure he had the green light from the commander in chief and so he asks for a sign. Now be careful in this area of sign asking. Signs must be asked for under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit and not our flesh. Here's a simple test. When the Holy Spirit asks for a sign, it will be given. It is granted because the Lord knows the one asking needs it and will act on it. The flesh is more inclined to go for two out of three. The flesh is more inclined to act according to it's desires rather than God's. The flesh is working under the wrong commander and chief. It is better to rely on God's word for your guide. The sure sign that Jesus has given us is the sign of Jonah which refers to His death and resurrection. It is His death and resurrection that ought to affirm the trustworthiness of His Word. It is as Peter wrote in 2Pe 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place,” Do you want signs? Pray for that Jonathan, armor-bearer, kind of loyalty and trust. The signs will follow in His Word as the commander in chief sees they are needed.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
# 178 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 14:7, “So his armorbearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart." ( 1 Sam 14:7) What a beautiful statement from Jonathan's armor bearer. It is a pledge of brotherhood. He proclaims that his heart is one with Jonathan's. God loves unity among the brethren. Ps 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” This kind of unity can only come from the indwelling Holy Spirit. God grants this gift as we read in Jer 32:39 'then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. Did you catch that? This unity is for our good and the good of our children! Jesus prayed for this kind of unity in His church in Jn 17:21 "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Wow, this kind of unity is an asset to evangelism! Paul encouraged this kind of unity often, Eph 4:3 says, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. And Peter did the same in 1Pe 3:8, “ Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;” God loves unity and I think it's important to note that Jonathan and his armor bearer were unified in a very specific area. The action they were about to undertake in confronting the Philistines was a picture of confronting sin. We could learn from that. We can and should unite on that front. Spirit-led confrontation of sin in our own lives and within our own congregations, followed by confession of those sins, repenting of them, and then receiving God's forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
# 177 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 14:6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few." (1 Sam 14:6) If I were building a basketball team, Jonathan would be one of my first recruits, because in basketball, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. He is not intimidated by the enemy, and tells his armor bearer, “Hey, let's take a shot at these uncircumcised Philistines. “ Why was he willing to do this? Because he knew who his God was and he knew who he was in God. He knew God was with him because he was under contract with God (circumcised) and the Philistines were not. Based on those facts, he felt confident in saying, “who knows, maybe God will create a shot opportunity for me.” The word “work” here is the idea of creating something. Jonathan knew the Creation story. He knew that God “worked” created for six days. God spoke and things happened just as He spoke them. He said, “ let there be light” and there was light. For six days God kept saying “let” and for six days things came into existence because He said so. Jonathan was willing to see if God would be willing to “let” him have victory over the Philistines. He knew that no amount of superior numbers displayed by the Philistines could stand against God's simple command of “let.” May I encourage you today to “let” God “let” in your life. The Holy Spirit may prompt you just as I believe he prompted Jonathan to take a shot today. It may be to witness to someone. It may be to step out of your comfort zone to help someone. It may be to take a stand for righteousness. Whatever the prompting is from the Holy Spirit, seek to follow through on it because as every basketball coach knows, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. Take the shot who knows, God may “let” it go in, and score one for His kingdom.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
# 176 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 14:4,5, “Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah. ( 1 Sam 14:4,5) I've always been fascinated by these obscure verses found in Scripture. Why did the Holy Spirit feel it was necessary to include the name of some big rocks in the telling of this story? It could be that they are included just to provide some backdrop, or perhaps it would help the readers of biblical times to identify where this event took place. They could actually point out this place to their children and tell them of Jonathon's exploit, thereby strengthening their faith. But why name the rocks? In naming them, the people would have no problem locating the exact area of Jonathan's crossing. One rock was named Bozez which means something that has been bleached white. The other rock, “Seneh” means thorn. One rock was set apart by it's sheer whiteness and the other by some thorns on it's peak. Does that make you think of anyone in particular? Do you know of Someone who was absolutely spotless and who was crowned with thorns? I am likely reading more into this than I should, but I can't help but to think of Jesus. And you know what? Anytime I can think of Jesus, it's a good thing. Jonathan had to go through the rocks of Bozez and Seneh in order to engage the enemy and experience victory. A good thing for us to remember as well as we live out our faith. All must be done through the spotless and thornedChrist. It is as Jesus said in Joh 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. O Lord, help me to abide in You today.
Monday, May 13, 2013
# 175 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 14:1-3 Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the Philistines' garrison that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. 3 Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD'S priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. ( 1 Sam 14:1-3) Did anyone ever say something to you like, “Well don't just sit there, Do something!” As I read this, I feel like it's something that needs to be said to King Saul. “Your majesty, the Philistines are getting ready to attack, you only have 600 men with pitchforks and hoes, and a priest, and your plan is to sit under a pomegranate tree?” Jonathon on the other hand tells his armor bearer, “let's make some contact with the enemy.” Instead of waiting for the enemy to make a move, he decides to push against them. The key to this seemingly rash decision on Jonathon's part is he knew and understood that God was with him. He was circumcised, the Philistines were not. He was in a covenant relationship with God, they were not. That's why in verse 6 he calls the Philistines, “uncircumcised.” It's the same term David used when he encountered Goliath, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” No wonder David and Jonathon were such good friends, they both had the heart of God. They were what we could call “circumcised believers,” whereas King Saul and the other Israelites were circumcised, but lacked faith. Simply being circumcised is not enough. Explicit trust (faith) must enter the picture. The kind of trust evidenced by Jonathon and David.... It is as we read in Mr 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. Trust or belief is evidenced by Christian works of action....not by sitting under the pomegranate tree. Faith without works is dead.
Friday, May 10, 2013
# 174 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 14:1a, “Now it happened one day,” 1 Sam 14:1a) “Now it happened,” the King James reads, “and it came to pass.” Whenever you see that phrase in Scripture it sets the scene for an important event in the Providence of God. Think about the phrase and break it down. “It came,” the meaning being that something was going down in God's timeline. Why did the event come? It came to pass. It came to happen in accordance with God's will at the “just right” time. He was up in heaven orchestrating the whole thing. It is directly related to God's Providence. Nothing escapes His attention as His Story, (history) unfolds. In the Book of Revelation there is mention of a “sea of glass.” This glassy sea has nothing to do with calmness, but everything to do with clarity. As the biblical commentator Lenski notes, “in heaven, “one can see clear to it's bottom.” This connection between transparency and providence shouldn't surprise us when we read of the times that Jesus told the disciples where to find fish. All seas are perfectly transparent to God. This sea of glass is ever before God's throne and it is in this portion of Revelation that we are introduced to the four living creatures “full of eyes in front and back.” They are full of eyes because nothing escapes them as God dispenses His providential care through them. There are also 24 elders mentioned here who have ring side seats by the sea of glass. The number 24 symbolic of the old and new testament church. Think about it, in heaven, the saints of all time are given a view of God's providence that is mind blowing. And they “fall down before Him who sits on the throne,” cast their crowns before Him and worship Him. They say, “You are worthy, O Lord....For You created all things,” From their vantage point they see that the Lord makes all things happen. They see those “all things that work to good” that we read about in Rom 8:28! And when we get to heaven and see all that God orchestrates in His Providence, we too will join this worshipful throng.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
# 173 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 13:19-23, “Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, "Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears." 20 But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle; 21 and the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads. 22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash. ( 1 Sam 13:19-23) One of the first things a conquering country seeks to do is remove the weapons from the people they have conquered, and so the Philistines placed all the blacksmiths under their control. There would be no sword-making in Israel. The only thing the Israelites were allowed to have were agricultural tools, and even these tools had to be sharpened by the state blacksmith at a ridiculous fee. So here you have the mighty army of Israel. Saul and his son Jonathon are the only ones with swords, every one else is armed with pitchforks and hoes. This is what they have to fight with on the day of the forthcoming battle. God has placed His people right where He wants them.....dependent upon Him to fight their battles. As we read in Zec 4:6b, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.” And in Ho 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.. And as David said just before he took down Goliath, “the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands. And in 2Ch 20:15, we read, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.” Understand this in your spiritual battles today. Empty yourself of all self-reliance, surrender totally to Jesus and allow the Lord to fight for you today.