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November 2005 Archives

November 1, 2005

Weakness?

After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together - but David wept the most. 1 Samuel 20:41

David was the chosen one - the man who would be king. Interestingly, if he were to face a trial of human opinion today, he would probably be seen as weak, a man who cannot control his emotions.

How is it that tears became a sign of weakness? How is it that affection between men is now looked upon with scorn? The truth is: the strongest of men are unafraid to love, unafraid to cry, unafraid of popular opinion. Have you ever seen soldiers after a battle? There is little as authentic and strong as the love of men who have fought beside one another.

Father, thank You for the brothers You have placed beside me in this battle. Without them, the enemy would have taken my life a long time ago. Help me to be unafraid of emotion. Help me to be a real man, one who can unashamedly display anger, fear, and sadness. Help me to share the joy of knowing and being known.

November 3, 2005

The Enemy's Weapons

The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is now sword here but that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me." 1 Samuel 21:19

With one stone, David knocked the giant to the ground. Yet the weapon that sealed Goliath's fate wasn't David's. It was Goliath's own sword that was used against him.

Isn't it interesting that the very sword the enemy uses to try and kill us can sometimes become a source of protection - a means of success? There are so many weapons the enemy has used over the years. Yet so much good can come if a weapon is placed in the right hands - in the hands of the Healer. By taking a weapon from the enemy, we gain understanding of it. We can use what we learn to heal, not harm.

A man who has struggled with honesty can oftentimes easily identify what isn't true. A man once trapped by lust can see the sadness in another man's eyes that comes from feeding them for hours on end. A man who has lost his loved ones over his rage can usually sense the deep anger another man tries to hide. The very things that once threatened us can be used to save those who are in the clutches of the enemy. And strengthening a brother gives us someone else to watch our backs.

We are in a battle, and too many men are afraid to reveal their greatest wounds. Yet banding together with those who understand the pain can keep us on the battlefield.

Lord, I know there are many good things that can result from the wounds I carry - if only I would let You use them. Help me to pick up the enemy's weapons then to use them against him. Give me eyes to see others who carry the same wounds. Thank You for sending men into my life who are not afraid to defend me.

November 5, 2005

Act When You Feel the Nudge

Then David said to Abiathar: "That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your father's whole family." 1 Samuel 22:22

David was filled with the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit in Him is the Spirit who lives in those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation. Sometimes, the Spirit gives insight into what will happen. The question is: What will we do with this information?

David knew that Doeg the Edomite saw him at Nob. He also knew that Doeg was allied with Saul. My guess is that the Spirit probably tried to warn David about what could happen to Ahimelech the priest and his family. Yet like we sometimes do, he might have brushed the thought aside. Surely, Saul wouldn't consider harming the priests of the Lord, would he?

The momentary concern David felt eventually became reality. Just as he might have feared, Doeg told Saul of Ahimelech's aid to David, and Saul ordered the death of Ahimelech and his father's entire family. What might have happened if David had followed his instinct? Ahimelech and his family could have fled with David. Unfortunately, David carried the blame. In truth, the guilt was Saul's. David was not responsible.

There are times that I feel a nudge from the Spirit and I need to act upon it. Not long ago, a friend introduced me to his pastor. When I met him, I sensed an uneasiness behind his smile. I felt the loneliness that he was expertly hiding. As I had done so many times before, I disregarded these instincts. If no one else could sense these things, maybe they weren't real.

In a matter of months, the truth was revealed. This man had developed an inappropriate emotional connection with a woman he counseled, and now his wife has given up on trying to make the marriage work. Five children are living in the rubble of a broken home.

Was it my responsibility? Could I have changed the outcome? This home was already crumbling; I couldn't have stopped it. But could I have sounded an alarm?

Lord, help me to clearly understand Your leadings. Give me the wisdom and the courage to address them. Too many times I have asked myself, "Did I really feel that?" Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.

November 6, 2005

He Always Knows Where to Find Me

And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 1 Samuel 23:16

Saul was out of control. His greatest desire was to find David and to kill him. No matter what God had said, Saul did not want the kingdom to pass to this worthless shepherd from a tiny town in Judah. Everywhere he looked was a dead end; Saul couldn't find David anywhere.

David was on the run. Six hundred men were with him, but still he felt alone. Finding a place to hide for the day was the norm. How could he continue to elude Saul and his army? Again and again he questioned God's will. This wasn't what David expected.

Out of the blue in the middle of this story with David hiding and Saul seeking, Jonathan appears on the scene. I find it interesting that Saul cannot find David anywhere, but Jonathan when straight to him. David needed encouragement, and God knew it. Although He had hidden David from Saul, the Lord showed Jonathan exactly where to find him.

Isn't that just like God? When we are walking in His will, there will be enemies who would seek to harm us. But if we are truly walking with Him, those would harm us will not find us. And those who will encourage us know exactly where we are.

Lord, no matter how alone I feel, there is nowhere I can go where You and Your encouragers will not find me. Thank You for keeping me hidden from the enemy. Thank You for showing those who love me exactly where I am. I am never alone when I walk in Your will. Help me to walk on Your path today.

November 7, 2005

Respect for Authority

He said to his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord." 1 Samuel 24:16

The day finally came. David could have taken Saul's life and assumed his rightful place as king of Israel. Instead, David cut off a corner of Saul's robe in the darkness of the cave. This simple act brought great conviction to David. How could he show such disrespect to God's anointed?

Wait! David was God's anointed! HE was God's chosen king! Saul had blown it. The kingdom was no longer his to pass to his sons. Yet David chose to respect Saul, not for the man he had become, but for the man God had intended him to be.

For most of my life, people have compared me to David. He was a sensitive, creative, deep-thinking musician. No matter how much I want to appear humble, I really like the comparison. Who wouldn't want to be likened to "a man after God's own heart." But the truth is: I am not as much like David as I would like to be. If I had been given the opportunity to rise above those who had been trying to harm me, could I have exhibited such self-control? Do I display respect for others, not for who they have become but for the people God intended them to be?

The humility I oftentimes wear is a false one. One of my greatest struggles in life has been respect for authority. I don't do well when I am mistreated - or perceive myself to be. The man underneath is prideful and arrogant. Sometimes I feel God has given me many gifts, and others need to simply recognize it. Are these the thoughts of a humble man?

Lord, I know how You sometimes work. You have taught me patience by making me wait. (If only I could remember that lesson more often.) I fear that You will teach me humility by humiliating me. Should I be humiliated? Probably so. I have done little to earn respect in life - especially when I consider the things committed in my heart. So I am afraid to ask. Make me a humble man, but please don't humiliate me. I've done enough of that to myself. Make me a man after Your own heart.

November 10, 2005

Letting God Take Care of It

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal's wrong-doing on his own head." 1 Samuel 25:39

David was ticked! Nabal had treated him with contempt. David's efforts to protect the belongings of a complete stranger were met with insults. In truth, Nabal was greedy; he didn't want to give anything away to anyone. But David is not blameless in this instance. David was prideful. His intentions were for revenge. All of Nabal's servants, men who spoke highly of David, would have been killed had it not been for the quick thinking of Abigail.

So, this man after God's own heart struggled with pride! He had little patience for the contempt of others. Maybe I'm not so unlike David after all.

Lord, thank You for sharing the truth about David in Your Word. He was just as human as I, and You still loved him. Keep me from foolish actions. Help me to express my anger in appropriate ways, so You might be glorified. Give me the wisdom to let You fight the battles for me.

November 11, 2005

A Core Belief

So David took the spear and water jug near Saul's head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep. 1 Samuel 26:12

Saul was delivered into David's hand, not once but twice. Both times, David could have used the opportunity for his own advantage. He could have taken the kingdom. He could have captured the throne that was rightfully his.

But David interpreted every circumstance in the light of his core belief that no one should lay hands on the Lord's anointed. If he didn't possess this core belief, David could have easily taken charge of his own destiny rather than allowing God to guide it.

Lord, I seem to be working in a place that has either forgotten or has never identified its core belief. We go from day to day making decisions based on circumstance. Without a core value, we will never succeed. Give me the courage and the opportunity to speak the truth. Show us what should be at the center, and help us to never act contrary to our heart.

November 12, 2005

More Alike than I Care to Admit

Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. 1 Samuel 27:9

Somehow, I have always pictured David as a wonderfully pleasant man. He wrote songs and poetry. He played the harp. He was known as a man after God's own heart.

In reality, he was far from pleasant. Just ask the Geshurites, the Girizites, and the Amalekites in the areas near Gath... Oh. You can't - because they are dead.

David killed them all!

Lord, for most of my life I have strived to be like David, a man after Your heart. In my mind, I have put him on such a high pedestal, and when I fall short of the impossible standard I have set, I tend to punish myself. How wrong I have been! I am more like David because of my failures - not in spite of them. Jesus is the only perfect man to walk the earth. Forgive me for wallowing in the pain of failure. No matter how deserved I think it may be, punishing myself for forgiven sin shows great disregard for Your sacrifice. Your grace is sufficient - even for the likes of David - even for the likes of me.

November 14, 2005

To Become What You Despise

He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." 1 Samuel 28:6-7

Left to our own devices, we can easily become like the very ones we despise.

Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. This was a good thing. A nation committed to the One True God would trust in Him, not the words of the dead. But when the going got tough - when God was silent - to whom did Saul turn? The very ones he had expelled became his source of hope.

It is interesting that Saul's men, men who obviously knew about Saul's expulsion of the mediums and spiritists, could so easily take him to one. If they had truly been committed to Saul, wouldn't they have ensured she was run out a long time ago?

It is also interesting to me that Saul called up the spirit of Samuel. Did he seriously think Samuel would say something he wanted to hear? The last time they had seen each other, Samuel's words were quite harsh. Did Saul think Samuel would be so excited to see him that he would joyfully proclaim, "It's wonderful to see you! Don't worry. The battle will end just like you want!"

Regardless of how Saul and Samuel had parted, Samuel had always been a source of strength when Saul was troubled. We always seem to be drawn to what once brought us hope long after we have lost it. What Saul needed was a word from the living God, yet he sought out the words of the dead. Saul had become like what he despised.

Lord, sometimes turning to the old ways of dealing with life is the simplest path to take. Somehow it seems comfortable - even if we know in our hearts that we will not like the end result. Help me too seek only You, for we become like what we seek. I want to be strong rather than weak, courageous rather than frightened, pure rather than impure. I want to be like You.

May You be glorified today. Help me to turn from the old ways.

November 15, 2005

Trust Him with the Choice

So Achish called David and said to him, "As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until now, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don't approve of you. Turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers." 1 Samuel 29:6-7

David could be pretty sly.

When threatened by Saul, he struck a deal with Achish, one of his enemies; essentially he hid in plain sight, for Saul would not chase David while he was living among the Philistines. Then keeping up a charade, he and his men raided other enemies nearby claiming they were attacking Israelite cities. This helped David maintain an image - that he could be trusted.

All along, David's allegiance had not changed. Despite Saul's contempt, David loved him and honored him as God's anointed king. The very people he claimed to have been raiding were his people. Someday they would be citizens of David's kingdom, living under his protection. How could he do anything to cause them harm? What could he do if Achish asked him to fight alongside him against the Israelites? He would be forced to make a choice - to keep up the charade or to fight against his own people.

Although Scripture doesn't record the conversation, I'm sure David asked the Lord for help when that day came. Achish expected David to fight with him when the Philistines gathered for battle. Now, what could David do? Obviously, he did what he should have done. He trusted, and God took care of it. The other Philistine rulers would have nothing to do with David, and they refused to let him join the battle. David didn't have to choose. The Lord had chosen for him.

Lord, there are times that I should merely trust You. Could I be as strong as David - to suit up for battle, not knowing if I will be forced to choose between good and bad? Help me to trust that You know what You are doing every single day.

November 27, 2005

Which King Did You Follow?

So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day. 1 Samuel 31:6

The day had come for the end of Saul's reign. On that day, every hope that his men had placed in him was dashed. There would be no future kingdom for his sons; they were dead. There would be no place for those who fought so valiantly for so long.

I wonder what it was like to get to the end of their lives only to realize they had been following the wrong king. God had chosen another. Yet, either out of loyalty or greed, they stayed. His men chose to fight for a kingdom that was disappearing before their very eyes.

Lord, I am so grateful that I won't get to the end only to realize I followed the wrong Leader. Your Son's reign will not end in some fierce battle. The archers cannot overtake Him. The enemy has already lost. Help me to remember that. He can never press in so hard that my eternal future will not be realized.

Come, Lord Jesus. Save us from the arrows of the enemy.

November 28, 2005

Masculine Love

"I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women." 2 Samuel 1:26

We live in a country that has forgotten the power of masculine love. How many men today would willingly admit that the love of another man was more wonderful than the love of women? Somehow along the way, love has become equated with sex, and most men fear what others might think if the truth were known: Inside every man is a little boy, and every boy has a God-given need for the love of men. There probably isn't a man alive who doesn't desire the love of another man - specifically the love of the first man in his life...

Interestingly, King David loved another man more than any woman, and he was not afraid to say it. In fact, he required that every man in Judah learn a lament that proclaimed it. There wasn't a man who didn't know what Jonathan meant to him. Obviously, David was completely unafraid of what others might think. He was God's anointed king. He knew that the approval of men is fleeting, and only God's opinion matters.

Lord, for so long I have been afraid of myself. There is nothing like the love of a brother. This is especially true for a man who so desperately longed for his father's love and never perceived it. You have placed so many brothers in my path. I am not afraid to say the words, "I love you." Help every man in America come to understand the importance of masculine love. Make us unafraid to be real men.

November 29, 2005

Knowing When to Quit

Abner called out to Joab, "Must the sword devour forever? Don't you realize that this will end in bitterness? How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?" 2 Samuel 2:26

There comes a point in every battle when the questions are raised: "Is it worth it to continue? Will this only end in bitterness?" If continuing a pursuit will end in bitterness, why would we choose it? But if continuing will result in unity and strength, quitting isn't an option.

Some of the best advice a parent can hear is to pick your battles. However, just as important is to understand when it is time to say, "Okay! This has gone on long enough, and neither will benefit if it continues."

Lord, there are battles in life that I'm tired of fighting. Yet I know they must be continued. If the enemy is allowed to occupy certain places within me, there is no hope for seeing Your kingdom established. But if I am seeking to win for my own prideful gain, help me to put a stop to the pursuit. Help me to know the difference.

About November 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in November 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

December 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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