Corrupt and Worthless

When David came to the 200 men who had been too exhausted to go with him and had been left at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet him and to meet the troops with him. When David approached the men, he greeted them, but all the corrupt and worthless men among those who had gone with David argued, “Because they didn’t go with us, we will not give any of the plunder we recovered to them except for each man’s wife and children. They may take them and go.” 1 Samuel 30:21-22 HCSB

I have had the privilege of working with many different people over my 40 years in full-time ministry. Most are wonderful people who work hard, get along well with others, and are always willing to do whatever is needed for the team. They work with integrity and display a good work ethic. Others are much like the corrupt and worthless mentioned in these Scriptures. They seem to hide and avoid hard work. Some do not volunteer to help when help is needed and merely watch others carry the load.

Samuel describes those men who did not want to share the plunder from the Amalekites with those who had stayed back as worthless and corrupt. This is not exactly how anyone would want to be described. No one would put that on his resume. They were corrupt and worthless because they were selfish and wanted to keep the plunder for themselves.

Challenge: How would God describe you? How would your fellow workers describe you? Always set a good example and do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Think of others as more important than yourself and be willing to share with others who are in need.

Following God’s Directions

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken; he also rescued his two wives. Nothing of theirs was missing from the youngest to the oldest, including the sons and daughters; of all the plunder the Amalekites had taken, David got everything back. 1 Samuel 30:18-19 HCSB

It is amazing what our cell phones can now do. With just the installation of an app I can easily get directions to any place I want to go. The app will tell me every turn to make and will even tell me where there is a hazard in the road. It can detect road blocks and construction that might hinder me from reaching my destination and will route me around accidents and traffic jams.

Would it not be wonderful if we had an app that told us what to do or not to do in life and gave us specific directions or warned us of impending trouble? God loves us, knows the future, and wants to provide direction for our lives. It may not be an app, but the Bible is God’s Word and gives us complete direction for life. We also can go to God in prayer and ask for direction. God does not play hide-and-go-seek. He is available 24/7 and wants to hear from every person.

David sought and followed God’s direction. In so doing, David was successful in recovering everything the Amalekites had taken. The Bible records that David got everything back. God is faithful to take care of those who faithfully serve Him and follow His direction. That does not mean we will not have a few potholes to avoid in our lives, but God will steer us around and through the difficulties we face each day.

Challenge: Pray for God’s direction in your life. When you know what God wants you to do, be faithful to do what He says. God loves and blesses those who faithfully follow His guidance and direction.

Following God’s Will

David said to Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought it to him, and David asked the Lord; “Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?” The Lord replied to him, “Pursue them, for you will certainly overtake them and rescue the people.” 1 Samuel 30:7-8 HCSB

Through the years as a minister, many times I have had to make decisions about relocating to another position of service or how to provide godly counsel. It would be reassuring if God would speak audibly or write on the wall what His will is, but it has never been that easy. I have persistently sought God’s direction and will in my life.

David needed to know God’s will. Should he pursue the Amalekites that had raided their town or not? Most of us would not have stopped to consult God if we came home and found our home burned down and our families taken. We would immediately pursue those who had done such terrible things to seek revenge with the hope of retrieving what had been taken. David was so intent on doing God’s will that he asked the priest to bring the ephod.

The ephod was the vest-like part of the priest’s robe that he wore to the temple each day. The chest-piece was usually attached to the vest and had two pockets that contained the Urim and Thummim, the flat stones that the high priest used to determine God’s will. The flat stones would be shaken from their pockets and the position in which they landed would determine God’s answer, much like drawing straws or casting lots. David got a definite “yes” from God to his question.

Challenge: Are you seeking God’s will and direction in every area of your life or are you trying to do it all on your own? Spend time in prayer and seek God’s will in all things. You do not have to rely on casting lots, Ouija boards, or a magic ball. God has promised to reveal His perfect will. Do not be afraid to ask. He will show you the way.

In a Difficult Position?

David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 HCSB

When have you found yourself in a difficult position? When did things look hopeless? You may have even been depressed as a result of your situation. I have been there many times. Once I was so discouraged that I seriously considered getting out of ministry. Thankfully my father, who was a minister, encouraged me to hang in there and keep going and admonished that God would let me know if I should quit the ministry and do something else.

David was faced with a difficult situation. He and his men had come home to find their town burned and that all of their wives, sons, and daughters (including David’s family) had been taken captive by the Amalekites. The men were angry with David and blamed him for their losses. They even considered stoning him to death. In a difficult position, David turned to God for help and direction.

Challenge: To whom do you turn when you are facing a tough problem? Is it a parent, a family member, or a close friend? How many times have you taken matters into your own hands and left God out of the decision? David turned to God first. He found strength in the Lord. As believers we should turn to God when facing difficulties, but too often God is our last resort instead of our first choice. Whatever the difficult situation you are facing – turn it over to God and seek His guidance for what you should do next. Seek God and His strength rather than trying to make it on your own.

How Much Are You Worth?

“Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the Lord consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble.” 1 Samuel 26:24 HCSB

One might say that Donald Trump is worth something because of his large amount of wealth. Aren’t you glad that God does not value a person based on his financial status? God loves you because you are you. He loves you very much and believes your life is valuable. He considers your life so valuable that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die a cruel death on the cross for your sins. Jesus paid the penalty for your sins. Your life is worth that much to God.

God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I kn0w the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Before your conception God knew you and valued your life. He had a plan for you. David asked the Lord to consider his life valuable and rescue him from danger.

Challenge: Always remember that God values your life and has a plan for your life – a plan to prosper you and not to harm you. This does not mean you will never encounter difficulties, but if you will seek God and His ways you will find peace and happiness.

I Have Sinned

Saul responded, “I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I’ve committed a grave error.”1 Samuel 26:21 HCSB

The Bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We are supposed to confess our sins and God is faithful to forgive our sins. (1 John 1:9) As a believer, I confessed my sins when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, but I am human and have continued to sin even though I strive to live my life in a way to please God. I must continually confess my sins and ask for forgiveness.

Saul confessed that he had sinned against David and promised not to harm him. Saul continued with his confession admitting he was a fool and that he had committed a grave error. We know that David did not return to Saul because he was not sure he could trust him or what he was saying. Confession must be more than just words; it must be genuine.

Challenge: Do you need to confess your sins to God or to someone else you have harmed in some way? Swallow your pride and be willing to admit you were wrong and ask for forgiveness from God and those whom you have harmed.

Pray For Your Pastor

“However, because of the Lord, I will never lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let’s go.” 1 Samuel 26:11 HCSB

When I started in ministry 40 years ago people seemed to respect the position of pastor. Very few ministers were found to be dishonest or immoral and consequently fired. Today the culture is very different. There are more ministers who are “caught” doing things that are directly against God’s laws and the laws of man. Ministers who have never done anything immoral, dishonest, or unethical are “fired” for a variety of reasons, including that church members no longer think the pastor is a good fit their church and want him to leave. I have observed several ministers who have abandoned their call to ministry because of the way Christians in the church have treated them. No longer does there seem to be respect for those whom God has called to serve as pastors.

David’s respect for God and His anointed one was far greater than his desire to kill King Saul and assume the position of king. He refused to even lift a hand against Saul. With God on his side, David was able to walk into the middle of the enemy’s camp and stand among the soldiers. David was unwilling to strike the anointed one of God.

Challenge: David respected the position of Saul and refused to lift a hand against him, the Lord’s anointed one. Your pastor and other ministers at your church are the anointed ones of God. Just like Saul many are not perfect, but they deserve your respect. Pray for your pastor and ministers of your church.

Respecting the Position

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 1 Samuel 26:9 HCSB

There are political leaders with whom I do not agree and do not support. Some have abused their positions and power; others have made very poor decisions that have hurt people more than they have helped. Some have been dishonest and even taken advantage of others. I do not respect their leadership abilities, but the Lord has allowed them to be in positions of power and authority, so I must respect the positions they hold.

Saul was king and the anointed one of the Lord. David respected the position he held and even though he had the opportunity, he would not lift a finger to harm him. He would leave Saul’s fate in God’s hands. David knew that he would someday be the king because Samuel had anointed him, but it would be God who would remove Saul and make David the king.

Challenge: Even if you do not agree with elected officials, respect the positions they hold. Pray for them and ask God to give them wisdom as they make decisions that impact many people. Believers are instructed to submit to authority (see Romans 13:1-5 and 1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Opportunity Knocks

That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 1 Samuel 26:7-8 HCSB

It was a cool fall night at a football game as a friend of mine and I walked behind the steel stands. He was smoking a cigarette that he had gotten from an older brother. As we walked along he asked me, “Could you hold my cigarette for a minute?” I took the cigarette. He then challenged me to give it a try. I refused so he then asked me, “Doesn’t that make you feel important and like an adult?” I responded, “No!” and gave him his cigarette back. I have never had a desire to smoke or even try it. That does not make me special; God has just blessed me with no desire for any type of tobacco.

Abishai tempted David to take advantage of the opportunity to kill Saul, even saying that it was obvious that God had delivered Saul into David’s hands – surely this was something God would want him to do. Sometimes our closest friends can cause us to sin. We need to be on our guard and remember to always follow God’s direction regardless of what friends say.

Beware of Satan’s temptations. He will often disguise the truth by telling you, “Everyone else is doing it” or “Surely God would want you to do this” or “Just a little bit will not hurt anything” or “If it feels good, it must be okay.” Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. The best moral decisions are made before temptation ever comes. Decide ahead of the temptation what you are going to do to follow God’s laws and principles.

Challenge: Every day you will encounter opportunities and decisions. Do not follow the crowd. Make your decisions based on what is right in God’s eyes rather than what seems right, what feels right, what is easiest, or what others are encouraging you to do. Ask God to give you wisdom as you seek to make wise decisions each day.

Timing is Everything

Then Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was in his house, holding a feast fit for a king. Nabal was in a good mood and very drunk, so she didn’t say anything to him until morning light. In the morning when Nabal sobered up, his wife told him about these events. Then he had a seizure and became paralyzed. About 10 days later, the Lord struck Nabal dead. 1 Samuel 25:36-37 HCSB

Occasionally I have become angry about a situation and quickly written an email expressing my feelings. I have learned from experience that it is wise to stop and wait until the next day before sending an emotion-filled email or making a phone call to someone in reaction to something the person has said or done. Many times the next day I have modified the email and periodically I have deleted the email altogether and not even sent it.

Abigail knew that because Nabal was drunk he was not in a condition to understand what she was saying and could have reacted in a unreasonable way. The Holman Christian Standard Bible says he had a seizure while the New International Version says his heart failed him. David left Nabal’s fate in God’s hand. God protected David from evil actions and protected Abigail and Nabal’s men, but He allowed an evil fate to come upon Nabal and he died.

Challenge: Pick the right time to discuss important issues. Be careful that you wait until the right time to express your thoughts and feelings to make sure you are not reacting out of anger and saying something that might cause more conflict rather than bringing peace. God protects those who love Him and punishes those who turn from Him and do evil.