Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Seasons of Life

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1

 A friend started a conversation with a group of us about the seasons of life. It got me to reflect on those seasons in my life. Like in nature, seasons of life are cyclical:

  • A season of growth and beauty, and what growth comes without battles? Like the storms of spring where winter and summer battle for control.
  • A season of warm contentment following the battle.
  • A season of closure and peace and preparation, like fall.
  • A season of dormancy, as though nothing is happening, when God seems silent in a period of waiting that can at times be stormy and cold. But also a time of rest from growth.
All of those seasons reveal God's handiwork in our lives, if we are willing to believe and to look and see.

Even as I look at my battle with cancer, I see this truth.

My fervent prayer in the fall of 2020 was to know God, was to have God reveal Himself to me in a mighty and powerful way. I wanted more than anything to know the deep, deep love of God.

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

The 'spring' of this 'year in Christ'. When God made clear His presence, I wondered what He would have in store for me.

In the dead of the winter of 2020 and 2021, I walked in the warmth of contentment found in the summer of this 'year in Christ' pattern. I assumed a trial would be coming that would bring a harvest of knowledge of God, but at the time rested in the confidence that God would be there.

Then, with one 'hurricane of life' announcing the entrance of fall like those hurricanes coming off the Gulf of Mexico that so often frequent late August and September, I found the lump of cancer and thought I knew what God had been preparing me for. 

Probably seems odd to think of that discovery as the 'fall'. But there it was. It would be a long fall. A time of preparation for the winter of life. The trials that come with chemo and then surgery and then another round of chemo (I chose not to do radiation). Yet, in those trials the constant presence of God, comforting, speaking, revealing Himself.

And then the sharp decline of health that had me thinking of my mother's last months and what she suffered and was this also mine? I can't deny that I thought that. Never had I known such fatigue and loss of desire to do the things I love. Winter must be coming in with a blizzard.

For the past few months, I kept saying to myself, one more month and it will be all done. But that 'one more month, had stretched into three more months of tests and appointments. And yet, I find myself again saying...

One more month of doctor's appointments and tests, and Lord willing, I'm through for awhile. I'll be able to enter into that period of dormancy, of rest that comes with hibernation...well, perhaps I won't really be hibernating, but there does come a peace and rest when trials are passed that I'm sure is like an animal's winter hibernation. And, from past life experiences, a time when God may seem quiet...maybe like the stillness of a cold, yet bright winter morning--beautiful in its own way.

It's just a picture. Just a way of looking at God's workings in our lives. Just a way of reminding ourselves that when we trust God, we know that in His perfect timing, 'this too shall pass'.

"Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am....O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more." Psalm 39:3-4,13

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Leviathan and the Age Old Question

 "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?..." Job 41:1

"...the LORD...shall punish leviathan..." Isaiah 57:1
Portrayed in the Bible to reveal the sovereign power of God the Creator, the description of Leviathan
takes the entire chapter of Job 41. In Psalm 74:14, Psalm 106:26, and Isaiah 27:1, this same creature appears to reveal God's ultimate power over all of creation, man, and evil.

And evil has raised its ugly head this week in Uvalde, Texas. Which brings us to the age old question of why do bad things happen to good people?

A question impossible to fully answer, because we are limited in our understanding of good and evil.

This morning the creature, leviathan, captured my thoughts while reading Job 41-42.

Its description caused me to think of this creature as a representation of Satan, and the embodiment of all evil. In Job 41 God makes it clear only He has control over this fierce creature. And such control is revealed in Isaiah 27:1:

"In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

On the other hand, it seems leviathan is a creature man of which man does not have dominion. God is the victor, the conqueror, the ruler, the One with complete dominance over this creature even to the point of feeding it to His people. Though man was given dominion over all creatures, and the fear and dread of man would be on all beasts (Genesis 1:26; 9:2), this particular creature does not seem to have been delivered into our hand. 

And isn't that how it is with evil?

We are powerless against evil. Even over sin of our own lives.

Yet God has power over it. 

So why does He not stop such horrendous events like what happened in Uvalde?

I honestly cannot give you an answer acceptable to each person.

And that's the point, isn't it? We have to be willing to accept an answer (or lack of an answer) when things like this happen...but sometimes it takes time.

Job lost everything. His children killed. Things were horrible. So what does God do? Go on a tangent about how He knows everything, is all powerful, is the Creator of all, greater than Job, beyond Job in every way. 

Doesn't exactly seem comforting, does it?

God closes His monologue describing the one creature that man absolutely has no control over. A whole chapter is spent on it. Why? To bring home the fact that we absolutely do not understand nor have dominion over evil.

We look at the world in the context of time. God looks at the world from the context of eternity.

We'll never be able to see things as God does, because we are limited, and He is not.

In anger we ask, "Why does God allow evil?"

And that anger seems to be a part of the grieving process, necessary for us to walk through before we can reach a place of peace....and not peace with the horrendous situation or event, but peace with God.

No matter what anyone says, evil is evil. Abhorred by both God and man. 

And yet, God uses evil; He does allow it. From His eternal perspective, evil happens unconstrained by the framework of time, EVEN as good happens outside the constrains of time. Given from the perspective of eternity, a moment of evil and a moment of good today are less than a blip on the radar. 

We want to mourn. We want to weep. We want justice. We want revenge--in our time and sometimes even in our way.

Humanly speaking, we need time to process the evil and the hurt it created.

And if we allow ourselves to, we learn to forgive and to heal and even to see the good that came from a wretched and horrible thing. Not everyone will get to that point...and I think that is sad. Some will hang on to that anger (often lashing out at anyone that dares to have a different solution than theirs) and will hang on to that unforgiveness and turn it into bitterness, 

    and that is letting evil win.

In submission and humility, we can accept evil as an opportunity and instrument used by God to draw us to Him, if we are willing to be drawn.

But we may never fully understand.

I have heard so often the importance of needing to pay to the details of our lives. I confess to feeling that those details, while they may affect eternity and may reflect our character, are limited to a point or period of time. Our lives are not limited to this moment in time. Life does move beyond it.

God sees all of time in a moment because He is not limited by time. What we deem horrific (and is horrific), He sees with the clarity of eternity and the clarity of His all-powerful nature.

The acts of man today, while yes, they can affect eternity, they are not overwhelming to God, who sees all of eternity in a moment.

This God is in control. Evil does not overwhelm The Sovereign Creator.

The evil we experience today (because of man's free will, because the sin nature of humanity) may seem to rule this moment, but it cannot and will not conquer our Eternal God. 

This is what the description of leviathan represents--God's incredible power and rule and justice--eternal and perfect justice--over evil.

Job's pain ended with him realizing his own lack of knowledge and understanding.

And then God does something beautiful. He gives us a picture, through Job who suffered without provocation, of Christ's acceptable personage, suffering and sacrificing. Job takes on the role of a priest, of an intercessor between God and his friends, even as Christ became an intercessor on our behalf. 

Then, God gives Job a future. He restores double all that Job lost. Again, a picture of the bounty of the Christ's eternal kingdom and the abundant life He offers.

So, as part of our healing, after a period of mourning, after choosing to humbly accept God's sovereignty in every situation, after looking for Him and His hand in the workings through and around the situation, we need to begin to look for the future. Hope. Something that will cause us to leave behind the pains and the sorrows and bring joy and purpose once more.

I am praying for the people of Uvalde, Texas. Praying for healing, which cannot fully come without acceptance of God's sovereignty and power. It cannot come without allowing for and receiving God's timing of justice and grace and forgiveness. And it cannot come without a desire to trust God for a future. I am praying that good will come from what was intended for evil, and that this community would not let evil take hold of them and drag them into a lifetime of bitterness. Rather, that they'll surrender to the God who desires for them an eternity of peace, joy, and comfort.

"That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. 

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Isaiah 65:16-17 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Conversation with My Heavenly Father

I have imagined my Heavenly Father coming to my room each morning to have a conversation with me. 

Over a week ago, He was trying to get something across to me, something about seeing His hand in tough situations, having joy in bad times, and the like. And of course, I nodded and grinned and said that I understood and agreed wholeheartedly. Then He sighed (I’m sure) and allowed me to proceed with my day.

This conversation was held over the course of a week where I anticipated having a successful discussion with my oncologist which would lead to the end of my chemo treatments and all such medication. I was quite optimistic that I’d get my way, and I’d be able to breathe easily at the end of the appointment, ready to live a happy life free of side effects, treatments, and doctor appointments. Hmmm.


Things, as you may guess, did not go as planned. No, I shouldn’t go off the chemo or meds. There’s too high a risk of the cancer returning. No, my life was not my own…well, okay, that was what I was hearing, not necessarily what the doctor was saying, but you know how that goes.


Suffice it to say, we came to an understanding. I would go off the chemo for three, maybe six and no more than nine weeks. And during that time, I would go to all sorts of other doctors' appointments eating up all the precious free time I was looking forward to having, and all the world was going to come to an end…. well, again, what I was hearing—not necessarily what the doctor was saying…the world coming to an end, that is.


When the appointment was all over, I wanted nothing more than to cry my woes on someone’s shoulders. So, I hopped into my truck (cattle needed to be attended to irregardless of my emotional situation) and headed for the ranch. 


I figured I would call my dad. He’s always good for a conversation on the woes of my life. Hmm. Either he wasn’t home, or he’d determined not to answer the phone when my number flashed (I mean, really, who wants to listen to a whiner when you’ve got better things to do?) (Love you, Dad…you’re amazing).


So, there was my eldest daughter. She should be home. But an unanswered call was quickly followed by a text stating that she was in class and would catch up with me later (later, of course didn’t come for a couple of days…sigh).


Not wanting to burden anyone else, I turned on my playlist and was struck with the concept of my God right there where I was at, waiting for me to turn to Him, to do just what He’d been trying to tell me all week long, preparing me for the disappointment I’d just faced.


And so, I wept. I cried both for the joy of knowing that my Heavenly Father cared, for the forgiveness He gave me, the smile He sent my way, and for (when it started to click in my brain) what He’d been trying to get me to see: look for His hand in all things.


But He wasn’t quite done.


After doing what I do with cows and calves, then coming home and doing what I do at my computer and my house and my yard, I took some time to watch a video and was thunked on the head by God.


Yup. I’d been looking for someone all day who would listen to my complaint (even though I’d shared it with God in the truck on the way up). I wanted someone to say I was justified in my complaint; I was righteous in my perception of things….and clearly, I was not behaving as God had been instructing me to do. Sigh.


Forgive me, Lord. I’m thick headed and know nothing. I can say, as Job: 


“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.” Job 42:3


I’d like to say I’m a little wiser now…and perhaps I am only in that I’ve been humbled, but….ummm…I know myself too well. Nonetheless, I’m so very thankful for my Heavenly Father Who is quick to teach, quick to correct, and quick to forgive. Who is both merciful and righteous, both gracious and just. Got to love a God like that. Got to love my wonderful Heavenly Father.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

In the Absence of God Is Evil

 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”  Isaiah 45:7


I am not intelligent enough to debate theology…well, to debate anything really. And even with the things I do know, the ability to speak with confidence and proper assertion and well laid out thoughts…that type of thing alludes me the moment I’m faced with an opponent, no matter how nice and sweet and kind that person of opposition might be. Expressing myself verbally just isn’t my forte.

In recent conversations, I joked about this lack of intellect and knowledge in the context of debate, stating that the discourse would be nothing other than me trying to debate physical science with Einstein. 


But then I realized that every human, no matter the vastness of his intellect or knowledge are limited by just that, their knowledge. They can’t know what they haven’t read or studied or experienced. And therefore, they cannot compete or debate with God, Who knows all things. And, since God is my God, when I rely on Him for knowledge and understanding and wisdom, I’m better than those super geniuses.


After all, didn’t David say the same thing in Psalm 119:99:


“I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”


So what does this have to do with evil?


Well, it’s a subject I’ve been pondering because of my limited life…or rather because I want to live today, I mean really live. Not just exist with the hope of things being better than tomorrow…which seems to be the purpose of enduring the wretched side effects of chemotherapy. 


How do I know that within six months, a year, three years, or five years I won’t die of something other than cancer? How do I know that tomorrow I won’t be struck by a car and killed? 


I don’t.


So, I ponder Matthew 6:34:


“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”


When I am in excruciating pain such that no pain killer can even knock the edge off it, I’m thinking this moment is pretty dog gone evil. When nausea and weakness is so great that I can’t even sit in the bathroom but lie in my bed until I have relief from vomiting, I’m thinking the day is pretty evil.


Maybe to some, I should endure, because I might extend my life another fifteen, twenty years. And I get that. My mom was given another fifteen years…BY THE LORD!!!!!!!!!


And if, should I choose to endure another round of chemo, will those days of illness be wasted in bed vomiting? Especially when I do have a choice? Okay, some may argue whether I have a choice, but really, all I need to do is cancel the appointment and walk away.


But even in my darkest hour, the Lord my God, King of Kings, my Savior, my Heavenly Father—He was present. Hard to find when I was moaning and thinking how evil life can be, but still…He was there.


I can’t imagine how much more “evil the day” would have been had I not had Him. Had I not had the hope of eternity with Him. Had I not believed He was ultimately in control and that there is nothing…even cancer…that isn’t ultimately for my good because He loves me and knows not only what is best for me, but what I need to experience in order to know Him better--to draw closer to Him, to experience His wonderful, gracious touch, to see His glory.


There can be a million reasons why He has chosen this particular suffering for me. Some of it, I’m sure, has nothing to do with me and everything to do with those who see me, hear me, face me. And all of it to do with bringing Him glory.


Which again, in my small way of thinking, comes back to my choice…at least looking through my eyes--from my small and feeble perspective. Choice to realize that the absence of God is evil, because if I didn’t have faith, if I didn’t know He was with me, all of this I’m going through would be absolute hell.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

No Shortcuts to God

 "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Psalm 24:1

This post begins something new for me. I am trying my hand at 'vlogging' i.e. video blogging. Admittedly, I have a lot to learn about videography (things like the shading a hat will cause 😏) but I hope you can see past my mistakes and are blessed.

https://www.dropbox.com/t/BJpf32zoSJVIFb2W
Hope you watch the video. I have to say that God's hand was in this when the cows ended up on the wrong side of the electric fence....don't worry, they did eventually get to their hay.

https://www.dropbox.com/t/BJpf32zoSJVIFb2W

If you don't have time to watch the video, or prefer to read, I've included my thoughts below.

If you've been around me at all in the last year or so, you've probably heard me talk a lot about knowing God. Some people just look at me like I'm daft. I imagine them thinking, "Ya I know God, so what of it?"

Well, maybe that's uncharitable of me, but it's kinda like when you fall in love and you just can't help talking about how wonderful it is. That's how I feel about knowing God. And so, I am looking through most of what I read with those glasses on...the idea that God wants me to know Him, not just about Him, but really know Him.

"This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah." Psalm 24:6

When I read this verse, I couldn't help myself. I am a part of that generation that seek God. Just because I have received salvation decades ago, just because I go to church each week and read my Bible daily, does not mean that I automatically become of the generation of them that seek Him. 

Seeking Him requires an earnestness. It's demanding. It requires a deeper investigation than a quick read of Scripture before running into the day. It requires putting to practice what is learned not for outward appearance but for the sake of discovering God in those practices, discovering God through those practices, discovering God because of those practices.

But the last part of that verse really stuck out to me: "that seek thy face, O Jacob."

Why Jacob's face? Well, Jacob is the human side of Israel. When the Old Testament, especially the prophets, talk of Jacob, it is usually referring to the humanness of Israel, their fallen state.

When we dig into the Bible, looking at the stories, God reveals Himself. He shows us His character, His nature, how He longs for us to know Him, really know Him. To seek Jacob's face is to seek to find God in the situations the people of the Old Testament found themselves in. To seek Jacob's face is to search out God's interactions with man and discover how He is revealing Himself to us in these sacred stories that tell of how He worked within the lives of Biblical characters.

To know God, you need to know His chosen people, Israel. It's through them and His working in them, that He reveals His character and His desires and His love.

So, routinely reading the Bible to just check it off your list of duties for the day isn't going to cut it. Attending church because people expect you to or because you want to see your friends, isn't seeking God and isn't likely to bring you into that beautiful love relationship you can have with Him.

Like any relationship, your relationship with God takes work. It takes desire and devotion to the occupation of seeking God in all things.

But when you do it, He will be found. It's what He desires, and He rushes to the person who truly desires to know Him more.

"He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation." Psalm 24:5

Monday, October 11, 2021

Forgiveness

Years ago, one of my daughters got caught doing something bad. We had a conversation and she said, "I'm sorry, will you please forgive me." 

I replied, "Of course." I hugged her and kissed her then I returned to my work singing a song to myself. 

A few minutes later, I hear her feet coming down the hall. "Mommy, where did you learn to forgive?" 

I turned around, called her to my knee and said, "From my Heavenly Father. He has forgiven me of so much, how could I not forgive? He says He'll not call to memory again what He has forgiven. How can I do any less?" 

Satisfied, my daughter went on to play, and I sat in my chair in awe. I wasn't angry with my daughter. I didn't hold a grudge for what she had done. The fellowship had been broken between her and I, and it was restored by a simple act of confession on her part and forgiveness on mine. The act did not change her status. She was still my daughter and would always be my daughter. I love her, but I know she'll likely commit the same wrong again, and yet I am greatly pleased when she comes to me truly repentant, which usually happens in a flood of tears. She is so much like me. 

My Heavenly Father is the same way with me. He forgives each time I ask even though He knows I'll fall again. And He will always love me. I'll always remain His child. 

But He is pleased when I work to restore my fellowship with Him by confessing and repenting, keeping my heart right before Him. He'll always forgive because He promised to and because He loves me. 

I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

The Apostle John just finished saying that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from ALL sin. Still, he writes in I John 2:1, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous". 

We are cleansed from all our sin. We still sin, but Jesus' blood covers our sin debt...it is on the altar before God forever. Death has no more hold on us. 

 

For one of our trips to Disneyland, I set up a journaling app on the iPad for each of the girls to record their vacation. The app would allow them to put pictures and music to each day along with whatever notes or 'stickers' they'd like. 

I drove (I always do) and coming from the back of the van I heard the song, "The Blood Is Still There." I'd heard it several times already on the trip, so I asked, "Who is playing that song?" 

It was my youngest. She was adding it to her journal (I think she must have added it for each day we were there). She said that it was her favorite song. When I asked her why, she just shrugged her shoulders and said that it was comforting. I'll never forget that. 

Friday, October 8, 2021

After God's Heart

"...I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will." Acts 13:22b

Have you ever wondered what really made Saul different from David? Have you ever wondered what really made Saul different from David?

Saul was chosen by God to be king. So was David.

Saul was anointed by Samuel. So was David.

The Spirit of God came upon Saul. The Spirit of God moved David to write the psalms.

Saul sinned to save himself. So did David.

But God rejected Saul and called David a man after His own heart. God had given Saul another heart (I Samuel 10:9). So what was the difference?

The elders of Israel saw that Samuel was old and that his sons did not walk in his ways. They looked around at the other nations and saw that those nations were ruled by kings. The time was coming when Samuel would die and Israel would need another ruler.

Samuel was the last judge that led Israel through many difficulties. Each time a judge died, the Israelites fell away from God and did what was right in their own eyes. They would then be led into captivity, God would give them another judge, and they'd be saved. I'm sure the elders looked at their history and decided they didn't want this to happen again, so they'd forgo waiting for God to raise someone up after they'd gotten themselves into trouble. They would start a royal line.

But they were not looking to God. They saw the judges, mere men, instead of God. They assessed the situation and came up with a solution that still left God out of the equation.

God told Samuel to hearken to them and make them a king. He told Samuel the man would be Saul.

Saul was a man of Benjamin, the son of a mighty man of power. Saul was a 'choice young man', in Hebrew bakhur, which refers to a young man of mature age and often implies beauty of form. Saul was a goodly man, which means he was pleasant, agreeable. He might even have been considered upright. We get the picture that he was a cheery person, easy to get along with and kind. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Saul was his height. He stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

In fact, from the outward appearance and surface personality, Saul seemed the perfect pick for a king.

The Israelites wanted leadership. They wanted to show the nations around them that they were not a people to be trampled upon or to be taken advantage of. Saul, from appearances would do nicely. And God gave to them what they wanted.

But Saul had issues. Saul belittled himself:
"Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou to me?" I Samuel 9:21

We might think of this answer reflecting his humility, but humility isn't about thinking of yourself lower than you are. Humility is seeing who you really are, even as God sees you.

I'd venture to say that even at this point, Saul was fearful. Certainly we see his fear through the rest of his life.

To confirm that Saul would be king, God turned him into another man (I Samuel 10:6). He gave Saul another heart (note that I Samuel 10:9 doesn't say a new heart). God gave Saul another will, another understanding, another inner man with a different set of emotions, passions, appetites. Saul's first heart, his original inner man, was not after God's heart, and this would cause him problems.

And the Spirit of God came upon Saul at times then Saul would prophesy.

But Saul had a lacking that made him distinctly different than David. Saul did not trust God. Like the Israelites, Saul put his trust in Samuel, the judge. When Samuel didn't come on time in I Samuel 11, Saul turned to the ritual of sacrifice to draw the people back to him.

Later, Saul again disobeys God and trusts his own wisdom.
"...It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments...." I Samuel 15:11

When Samuel confronted him, Saul admitted his sin, but he didn't ask God to forgive his sin. He asked Samuel to and asked Samuel to join him so that he could worship God. Saul was not interested in a personal relationship with God. He looked to Samuel instead. Saul grew to love his power as king and began to see God as someone to get him out of trouble.


David, on the other hand, loved God. He sought an intimate relationship with Him. His heart was after God's. David gave God the glory for his victories. He was confident in what God could do and that gave him self confidence. He wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he sinned, but he sought God for forgiveness, not seeking the forgiveness of some spiritual leader. And David accepted the consequences of his sin with a humble heart, seeking God's mercy and passionately desiring God's intimacy once more.

Through my life I've come across many people. Some of them great, some of them small. So with plenty of self-confidence. And some pridefully ashamed of themselves. In studying these two men in the Bible I've asked myself who do I most closely resemble? I suppose I have a bit of both in me.

One thing I do know, I burn inside to know God more. Like Saul, I live in this flesh, but praise be to God, through Jesus Christ, I live by His faith, and I am a new creature.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17.

I now have a heart after God. My passions, my affections, the essence of my understanding of life, my determinations and resolutions, all these parts of my inner person are after God, desiring to please Him. That is the new creature. That was David's heart.Saul was chosen by God to be king. So was David.Have you ever wondered what really made Saul different from David?

Saul was chosen by God to be king. So was David.

Saul was anointed by Samuel. So was David.

The Spirit of God came upon Saul. The Spirit of God moved David to write the psalms.

Saul sinned to save himself. So did David.

But God rejected Saul and called David a man after His own heart. God had given Saul another heart (I Samuel 10:9). So what was the difference?

The elders of Israel saw that Samuel was old and that his sons did not walk in his ways. They looked around at the other nations and saw that those nations were ruled by kings. The time was coming when Samuel would die and Israel would need another ruler.

Samuel was the last judge that led Israel through many difficulties. Each time a judge died, the Israelites fell away from God and did what was right in their own eyes. They would then be led into captivity, God would give them another judge, and they'd be saved. I'm sure the elders looked at their history and decided they didn't want this to happen again, so they'd forgo waiting for God to raise someone up after they'd gotten themselves into trouble. They would start a royal line.

But they were not looking to God. They saw the judges, mere men, instead of God. They assessed the situation and came up with a solution that still left God out of the equation.

God told Samuel to hearken to them and make them a king. He told Samuel the man would be Saul.

Saul was a man of Benjamin, the son of a mighty man of power. Saul was a 'choice young man', in Hebrew bakhur, which refers to a young man of mature age and often implies beauty of form. Saul was a goodly man, which means he was pleasant, agreeable. He might even have been considered upright. We get the picture that he was a cheery person, easy to get along with and kind. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Saul was his height. He stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

In fact, from the outward appearance and surface personality, Saul seemed the perfect pick for a king.

The Israelites wanted leadership. They wanted to show the nations around them that they were not a people to be trampled upon or to be taken advantage of. Saul, from appearances would do nicely. And God gave to them what they wanted.

But Saul had issues. Saul belittled himself:
"Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou to me?" I Samuel 9:21

We might think of this answer reflecting his humility, but humility isn't about thinking of yourself lower than you are. Humility is seeing who you really are, even as God sees you.

I'd venture to say that even at this point, Saul was fearful. Certainly we see his fear through the rest of his life.

To confirm that Saul would be king, God turned him into another man (I Samuel 10:6). He gave Saul another heart (note that I Samuel 10:9 doesn't say a new heart). God gave Saul another will, another understanding, another inner man with a different set of emotions, passions, appetites. Saul's first heart, his original inner man, was not after God's heart, and this would cause him problems.

And the Spirit of God came upon Saul at times then Saul would prophesy.

But Saul had a lacking that made him distinctly different than David. Saul did not trust God. Like the Israelites, Saul put his trust in Samuel, the judge. When Samuel didn't come on time in I Samuel 11, Saul turned to the ritual of sacrifice to draw the people back to him.

Later, Saul again disobeys God and trusts his own wisdom.
"...It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments...." I Samuel 15:11

When Samuel confronted him, Saul admitted his sin, but he didn't ask God to forgive his sin. He asked Samuel to and asked Samuel to join him so that he could worship God. Saul was not interested in a personal relationship with God. He looked to Samuel instead. Saul grew to love his power as king and began to see God as someone to get him out of trouble.

David, on the other hand, loved God. He sought an intimate relationship with Him. His heart was after God's. David gave God the glory for his victories. He was confident in what God could do and that gave him self confidence. He wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he sinned, but he sought God for forgiveness, not seeking the forgiveness of some spiritual leader. And David accepted the consequences of his sin with a humble heart, seeking God's mercy and passionately desiring God's intimacy once more.

Through my life I've come across many people. Some of them great, some of them small. So with plenty of self-confidence. And some pridefully ashamed of themselves. In studying these two men in the Bible I've asked myself who do I most closely resemble? I suppose I have a bit of both in me.

One thing I do know, I burn inside to know God more. Like Saul, I live in this flesh, but praise be to God, through Jesus Christ, I live by His faith, and I am a new creature.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17.

I now have a heart after God. My passions, my affections, the essence of my understanding of life, my determinations and resolutions, all these parts of my inner person are after God, desiring to please Him. That is the new creature. That was David's heart.

Saul was anointed by Samuel. So was David.

The Spirit of God came upon Saul. The Spirit of God moved David to write the psalms.

Saul sinned to save himself. So did David.

But God rejected Saul and called David a man after His own heart. God had given Saul another heart (I Samuel 10:9). So what was the difference?

The elders of Israel saw that Samuel was old and that his sons did not walk in his ways. They looked around at the other nations and saw that those nations were ruled by kings. The time was coming when Samuel would die and Israel would need another ruler.

Samuel was the last judge that led Israel through many difficulties. Each time a judge died, the Israelites fell away from God and did what was right in their own eyes. They would then be led into captivity, God would give them another judge, and they'd be saved. I'm sure the elders looked at their history and decided they didn't want this to happen again, so they'd forgo waiting for God to raise someone up after they'd gotten themselves into trouble. They would start a royal line.

But they were not looking to God. They saw the judges, mere men, instead of God. They assessed the situation and came up with a solution that still left God out of the equation.

God told Samuel to hearken to them and make them a king. He told Samuel the man would be Saul.

Saul was a man of Benjamin, the son of a mighty man of power. Saul was a 'choice young man', in Hebrew bakhur, which refers to a young man of mature age and often implies beauty of form. Saul was a goodly man, which means he was pleasant, agreeable. He might even have been considered upright. We get the picture that he was a cheery person, easy to get along with and kind. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Saul was his height. He stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

In fact, from the outward appearance and surface personality, Saul seemed the perfect pick for a king.

The Israelites wanted leadership. They wanted to show the nations around them that they were not a people to be trampled upon or to be taken advantage of. Saul, from appearances would do nicely. And God gave to them what they wanted.

But Saul had issues. Saul belittled himself:
"Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou to me?" I Samuel 9:21

We might think of this answer reflecting his humility, but humility isn't about thinking of yourself lower than you are. Humility is seeing who you really are, even as God sees you.

I'd venture to say that even at this point, Saul was fearful. Certainly we see his fear through the rest of his life.

To confirm that Saul would be king, God turned him into another man (I Samuel 10:6). He gave Saul another heart (note that I Samuel 10:9 doesn't say a new heart). God gave Saul another will, another understanding, another inner man with a different set of emotions, passions, appetites. Saul's first heart, his original inner man, was not after God's heart, and this would cause him problems.

And the Spirit of God came upon Saul at times then Saul would prophesy.

But Saul had a lacking that made him distinctly different than David. Saul did not trust God. Like the Israelites, Saul put his trust in Samuel, the judge. When Samuel didn't come on time in I Samuel 11, Saul turned to the ritual of sacrifice to draw the people back to him.

Later, Saul again disobeys God and trusts his own wisdom.

"...It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments...." I Samuel 15:11

When Samuel confronted him, Saul admitted his sin, but he didn't ask God to forgive his sin. He asked Samuel to and asked Samuel to join him so that he could worship God. Saul was not interested in a personal relationship with God. He looked to Samuel instead. Saul grew to love his power as king and began to see God as someone to get him out of trouble.

David, on the other hand, loved God. He sought an intimate relationship with Him. He desired the things that God desired. David gave God the glory for his victories. He was confident in what God could do and that gave him self confidence. He wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he sinned, but he sought God for forgiveness, not seeking the forgiveness of some spiritual leader. And David accepted the consequences of his sin with a humble heart, seeking God's mercy and passionately desiring God's intimacy once more.

The main difference between truly godly people and people who are religious, is their relationship with God. A godly person is one who worships God while enjoying the presence of God. A religious person worships God while enjoying the presence of other men. 

Godly people put their intimate relationship with God ahead of other people. Religious people are concerned with the outward appearance of their faith.

Godly people enjoy fellowshipping with God and prefer to maintain that fellowship over following the crowd. Religious people desire to have the appearance of a relationship with God, will worship to appease or to appeal to God, but fellowship is not attained because the adoration they owe God is placed on the act of worship or on an object of worship other than God. God will not give His glory to another.

"Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me." Psalm 63:3-8


Seasons of Life

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" Ecclesiastes 3:1  A friend started a conversatio...