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Devotional - Seeking God In Our Daily Lives

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. But after a while the Philistines returned and again spread out across the valley of Rephaim. And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” So David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. - 2Samuel 5: 22-25 (NLT)

    It can sure seem sometimes in our Christian walk that God is right there alongside of us and others, not so much. Sometimes it seems as if God marches out before us into battle and others we wonder what happened to Him. The truth is that if God ever feels further away from us it is us that has moved. The sad truth is that we often live lives of quiet desperation. The desperation comes from the fallen world in which we live but the quiet comes from us. The Bible says that God is ever at our right hand. Apparently, we are looking at our left hand too often. We have not because we ask not. Frankly speaking, we falter in seeking God in everything we do.

    So we come to the story of David right after his ascension to the throne of Israel. After conquering Jerusalem, the Bible tells of two separate battles with the Philistines. In the first battle, David asks God if he should attack the Philistines and God says yes. David attacks them straight on and is victorious. Here was his response:

    So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). The Philistines had abandoned their idols there, so David and his men confiscated them. - 2Samuel 5: 20-21 (NLT)

    The Lord did it! The key for future success is to give the proper glory to God for current success. Too often we can start to believe our own press. We can start to over-emphasize ourselves and thus minimize God. The king prior to David was Saul and he started out very humbly before the Lord. God prospered him and made him victorious in battle. He would have a different reaction to success than David. After being instructed by God to destroy the Amalekites, Saul would disobey and spare the choicest plunder and their king. The Prophet Samuel would try and find Saul the next day but where had he gone?

    Early the next morning Samuel went to find Saul. Someone told him, “Saul went to the town of Carmel to set up a monument to himself; then he went on to Gilgal.” - 1Samuel 15: 12 (NLT)

    Sometimes we are so busy setting up monuments to ourselves it is no wonder we stop seeking God. Self-idolatry is still idolatry. Getting back to David we come to the key verses we find the very next time David is facing the prospects of fighting the Philistines, David again inquires of the Lord before going into battle. Within these three verses are several lessons for us today. The first is that past success does not guarantee future success. David is riding a wave of success here. He has been swept into the palace finally after waiting years for the deliverance of the promises of God. He is renowned for his prowess in battle. But he does not confuse his position in relation to God. He does not forget where his victories come from. The danger of success is that we start to forget who gives it to us. We start to think we are self made men. The problem with self made men is that they will have to be self-maintained. Without God, that is a recipe for disaster. I can remember some of the greatest defeats I have encountered and every time it was because I went into the battle without even asking God. Remember, His strength in our lives is only made perfect through our weakness. When Jesus starting baptizing people the followers of John the Baptist became jealous because more people started going to Him. The response from John the Baptist reminds us of our position:

    John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. - John 3: 27-30 (NLT)

    Beloved, the only way to continue to see the successes of God over the Philistines in our lives is to become less and less so that He can become more and more. The second lesson from the key verses is that sometimes the recipe for success is different. The one who has the answers is God and God alone. If David had not inquired of the Lord the second time he probably would have attacked straight on, which is what worked in the first battle. But what was successful the first time is not always successful the second time. The enemy learns his lessons too beloved. Sometimes we need to march straight on into the battle but other times the Lord has more precise planning involved. Sometimes we have to circle around behind the enemy and wait for the signal from the Lord. Sometimes the Lord needs to remove some things from our camp before the victory can ensue. In the early days of Joshua's leadership he experienced the thrill of victory over Jericho followed quickly by the humiliating defeat at the hands of the smaller Ai. After the defeat Joshua then goes to the Lord to whine about the defeat. How often do we do the same? Complain to God about something we never sought His input in to begin with? Here was the response from the Lord:

    But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction. - Joshua 7: 10-12 (NLT)

    What was set apart for destruction in our lives beloved? What is the one thing that continually separates us from God? Sin. In the case of Joshua, unbeknownst to him a man named Achan had coveted and taken some of the items set apart for destruction and buried them under his tent. Joshua didn't know but he never inquired of the Lord. He assumes Ai would be an easy victory after taking down the walls of Jericho! But he did not know there was sin in the camp. We too can turn a blind eye to the sin in our own camp. We too have some things buried under our tent that should not be there. We start to think that we had something to do with Jericho when all along it was all the Lord. We march head long into battle and expect the same results only to be soundly defeated. Then we go to inquire of God. The answer is the same for us today. Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? Remove the things in your life that God has set apart for destruction and follow the plan God has for the battle.

    The final lesson is simple in theory - we must then go and do what the Lord commands! Sounds easy enough but just look at the previously mentioned story of King Saul and the Amalekites. When the Prophet Samuel finally does find Saul they have this interesting exchange:

    When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!” “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded. “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.” Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Listen to what the Lord told me last night!” “What did he tell you?” Saul asked. And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” - 1Samuel 15: 13-23 (NLT)

    We too try and put a cheerful face on our sins. We too try and convince ourselves, if not God, that we have indeed followed His commands. When we are faced with the bleating of sheep however, we too can try to religionize our disobedience. Saul knew that the sacrificial system was set up by God so he blamed that for his disobedience. We can go Scripture hunting to defend our sins as well. God is not interested in our religion. He only cares about our relationship with Him. How serious is this? He compares our disobedience with witchcraft! He compares our stubbornness with idolatry! We see this playing out on the church level today as well. Compromises are being constantly made with this world. We see churches sparing the King Agag of the world and defending it by saying they are just trying to "reach as many for Christ" as possible. We see churches replete with the best plunder of this world and using religious rationales to dismiss it all away. Beloved, obedience is always better than whatever religious systems we have set up.

    On the micro level, the same principles apply to our lives. God is not impressed with our religiosity. He cares about our obedience to His Word. If we want to strike down all the Philistines in our lives from Gibeon to Gezer, we too must inquire of the Lord. We must not just read about these lessons but we must actually learn from them. Not every battle is the same. Not every victory will be the same. God once used an army of 300 people to defeat an army of 120,000. He once used a shepherd boy to defeat a giant. He once used 12 ordinary men to turn the world upside down.

    It always starts with giving proper glory to God and God alone. He will not share His glory. We need to tear down the monuments to ourselves which we have erected in our own minds. The greater the victories God gives us the greater the danger to start thinking that we had something to do with it. There is a reason why God says that if we humble ourselves before the Lord He will lift us up in honor. The spirit of the God who spoke the universe into existence dwells with in us and He already has seen all time. He has already seen the end result of the battle that lays before us. He sees what will happen if we attack head on and He sees what will happen if we circle around back. The only way to find out what is best is to ask Him. Assume nothing. We also have to recognize that what may have worked in the past does not mean it will work in our present situation. We might have to weed out some things in our lives. We need to be vigilant about what we are hiding under our tents and give up the very things God has set apart for destruction in our lives.

    Finally, we must actually listen to God after seeking Him. Too often we pay religious lip service to God. We dress the part, we play the part, we act the part. We say all the right things but we do not do them. There is still the bleating of sheep in our lives and God can hear it. Beloved, God is always with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. But we have a responsibility as believers. We are supposed to seek Him in everything we do, lest we find ourselves more distant from Him, building monuments to dust.


    Reverend Anthony Wade - July 12, 2013
     
    christianvolume likes this.
  2. Good stuff!

    I studied a good deal about an idea about making God my plan maker, burden bearer and problem-solver...It meshes well with the above!
     
    anthony wade likes this.

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