David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle.
How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
2 Samuel 1:27
David had not yet been crowned king when he heard the news that both King Saul and his dearly beloved friend Jonathan had been killed in battle. This news caught David totally by surprise and literally broke his heart. David had great respect and devotion for King Saul and was hoping that one day they would move past their difference and come together and serve the Lord in the spirit of unity. And his heart longed for the rich, godly fellowship he had experienced with Jonathan as iron sharpening iron. It’s no doubt that David loved Jonathan like a brother, and hearing of his death brought a very real and deeply felt grief to David’s heart. His friend was truly gone too soon.
My hope and prayers are that you are not experiencing the deep sorrow and pain that comes from the loss of a love one, but if you are hurting due to the loss of someone you love, please know that you are not alone in your sorrow. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus, our Savior and Lord “….was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” If we take a close look at 2 Samuel 1:22-26, we will see how David handled his grief, and in turn, learn a few things about how we should handle ours. The text says:
From the blood of the slain, From the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
And the sword of Saul did not return empty. 23 “Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions. 24 “O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury; who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. 25 “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan was slain in your high places. II Samuel 1: 22-26
David did four things to help put his broken heart back together again:
- He cried. In 2 Samuel 1:11 we are simply told that David mourned and wept. David’s eyes became a faucet for him to release soul-cleansing tears. Tears ran down his checks, dropped off his chin and fell to the earth. The same earth that Saul and Jonathan have now returned.
- He honored them. In verse 17, we find that David poured out his heart before the people with a song of lament that spoke about their beauty and their courage. Find ways that uniquely celebrate the memory of your love one and write it down as a memorial to them.
- He trusted in the Will of God. Three times in this passage (verses 19,25, and 27) David calls Saul and Jonathan ‘mighty’. David recognized that, though both men were uniquely flawed, they were loved and anointed by God. David turned his thoughts to the truth that God saw something wonderful in both these men and offered to them the leadership over His people.
- He took comfort that they were finally at rest. In verse 27, we can almost feel a sigh of relief that Saul and Jonathan’s days of battle are now over. David rested in the knowledge that God had called them off the battlefield, never to study war again.
Our loved ones may have gone on before us, but let us remember that we, too, are soldiers in the army of the Lord. Let us keep marching on toward victory until the day we hear our Commander in Chief say, “Come up here, servant of God, well done!”
Published on Jan 31 @ 3:17 AM EDT
As you read today's devotional, play "SHALL NOT WANT" from the Sacred Whispers Playlist.
By Marlin D. Harris
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained… O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”
Psalm 8:3, 9
Helicopter pilot, Ray Asgar, flew over Gilcrest, Texas, and took a photo of a single little yellow house belonging to Warren and Pam Adams. What is remarkable about this house is that it is the only house left standing after Hurricane Ike completely demolished nearly every home and business in this small, once-thriving community. Ike blew through Gilcrest, and in the fury of its wake, it leveled every raised structure that stood in its path.
Complete buildings were torn to pieces and now scattered across a half-mile stretch of land. Nothing escaped the stormy blast of Ike’s ferocious winds. The Post Office in Gilcrest was gone, the local grocery store was gone, small eateries and restaurants were gone, dozens of houses were reduced to unrecognizable debris, and even every house of worship was completely destroyed, but – almost in defiance of the storm – this little yellow house was still standing amid the rubble, all by itself!
When Warren and Pam Adams returned to their town, they were spellbound by the wreckage. They said all they could do as they stood in front of their little house, miraculously standing alone, was to say, “Wow”. What other word could they say? No word could express their disbelief and utter amazement at that moment better than ‘Wow’.
‘Wow’ is sometimes the only appropriate response that the mind can conjure up when it has just witnessed the impossible, or seen the magnificent, or experienced – what Webster’s Dictionary calls – the ‘sublime’; something that inspires awe and wonder. Who among us can pass by a majestic snowcapped mountain range, or look at the mesmerizing beauty of a cascading waterfall, or peer up in the sky on a dark summer’s night and see an innumerable host of twinkling stars, each one competing to outshine the other, and not literally have our breath taken away in awe and wonder?
There are some things so wonderful, so beautiful and so awe-inspiring that the only response our hearts can give when our eyes behold them is – “wow”.
How tremendously sad it is when we lose our sense of wonder; when nothing sparks that childlike feeling of awe. Somewhere along the way, we as a human race lost our ability to be amazed. I actually think that it’s a dismal combination of many of the disheartening realities of life. Disappointments assail us daily; we are heartbroken by a love that we thought would last forever; the dream that we spent a significant portion of our life waiting for, never arrived; or that one success that we thought would deliver for us the ultimate satisfaction has unceremoniously let us down; and just like that, our ability to be amazed is gone. Nothing is left except a cold, doubtful, cynical shell waiting for something wonderful to come along and give it life. I believe that this loss of wonder is at the very root of depression, which makes it so easy for some to lose hope.
The majestic things in life that leave us awe-struck is God’s way of broadcasting His presence without even having to say a word. It’s God’s way of spotlighting His power and showing forth His handiwork. In the courtroom of our individual consciences, God has called an infinite number of witnesses to stand and testify of His greatness and His power. Day and night take the witness stand and testify that they are products of the power of God. One has been commissioned to give light in the darkness, and the other has been commissioned to make it so that all of nature can quietly sleep. Both day and night operate at the wish and command of our Great God. The wind testifies that it is an extension of the breath of God, and the rain testifies that it has been commanded to refresh the earth at the wish and whims of God.
All of this is from the genius and masterful hand of God. What more could be said of the colorful radiance of the flowers that bloom in the field, or the masterful creatures that swim in the depths of the sea, or the graceful birds that fly effortlessly in the heights of the sky? Like the psalmist, when we consider these things, we should break forth into singing, O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! This is the scripture's way of saying, “Wow.”
But you don’t have to go swimming in the depths of the ocean to be wowed by God, nor do you have to roam the open fields or climb a high mountain to be wowed.
You merely need to look within your own heart, and deep within your own soul. There – yes, there – is where the real ‘wow’ resides. Just like that little yellow house in Gilcrest, Texas, you are still standing. You have endured the agony of a hundred heartbreaks, and yet you are still standing. You have endured evening sorrows and midnight tears, and yet you are still standing. You have been disappointed by tomorrows that never came, and yesterdays that never seem to leave, but yet you are still standing. You have walked along some lonely roads and carried some heavy loads, yet you are still standing. The weights that you carried didn’t destroy you, and the giants that you faced were not enough to make you quit. The sins of your youth didn’t destroy your future, and the grace that you were extended was more than you ever imagined. Beloved, the very fact that you survived should be enough to make you place your hand over your mouth, and in amazement, breathe out – “wow”.
So, how did we miss it? How did we miss the magnificent thing that God was doing in us? How did we not see that it was His hand softly guiding us through every challenging season of our life? How did we not recognize that it was his strength that carried us when we were too weak to continue walking? I don’t know how, but I know we missed it. I know this because we all have spent more time complaining about life than we have thanking God for it. Many of us rarely take the time to adequately say thank you. We never stopped long enough to embrace with joy the Hand that has been holding us up. We have never rested fully in His never-ending love or reclined completely in His all-consuming mercy. Simply put, we are the last house standing in a sea of wreckage and debris all around us, and somehow we failed to say, “wow”.
In essence, this is what praise is! Praise is the soul expressing saying ‘wow’ when it considers the mighty works of God.
This is what Psalm 139:14 means when it says, ‘wonderful are Your works, and that my soul knows right well’.
Here the psalmist is saying, “Wow”.
In 1 Kings 19:13, when Elijah went up to Mount Horeb and heard the still small voice, the Biblical record tells us that he came out of his cave and wrapped his face in his mantle and stood up to hear what God would say. That’s Elijah saying, “Wow”. In Job 1:20,21, when Job lost everything that he physically owned, including the death of his children and the loss of his health, the Bible says that he fell down to the ground, worshipped and said, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” This was Job’s way of simply saying, “Wow”. There is passage after passage of great men and women in the scriptures, who never lost their ability to be awed by God. In times of great victory, and in times of great defeat, they were always able to say, ‘Wow’.
How about you and I? Can we look back over our lives and see the hand of God in every detail and in every circumstance? Have you taken the time to truly study your own life? You would be amazed if you did. There would be no room for complaining, or arguing with God about what you feel hasn’t been fair in your life. When you truly stop to think about all that God has done in your life, and most importantly in your heart, how can you say anything else but “Wow”.
Gracious God, may we forever be struck with awe and wonder at the mighty works You have done in our lives. When you forgave us of our sins, You did the impossible, and You saved us from the unthinkable. You have kept us, blessed us, redeemed us, and delivered us. When we think about it, all we can say as we stand before You is – “Wow”. In Your Awesome Name, we pray. Amen.
DAILY SPIRITUAL EXERCISE
Take a few days to sit down and write out all of the many blessings in your life. Start from your childhood, and go up through high school, college, your first job, your family, and every season of your life. When you think of difficult or hard days, only think of them in light of the fact that God brought you through them. Write it all down. Stop and think about each one. And at the end of this exercise, you will find yourself saying, “Wow”.
CARING FOR OUR BODIES
By Dale Fletcher
(Content Taken From the Faith and Health Connection Website)
We are marvelously designed by God. He made us in a way that all our body systems work together in unimaginable and intricate ways. Our soul, spirit, mind, and body are all connected and work together perfectly according to His design. Because we are designed by God, when we live according to His principles as outlined in the Bible, our life will be more full and we are more likely to experience a life of peace, joy, and hope. This will create an environment that favors good health.
We each have a body given to us by God. Isn’t it our responsibility to take care of it? That’s what Paul tells us to do in Romans 12:1 when he writes – “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” New Living Translation
Caring for our physical body certainly makes sense because each of us would want to be as healthy as possible but it’s also a commandment by God. Our physical health is affected by our emotional health and our emotional health is affected by our spiritual health.
Paul tells us to give our body to God and that it(our body) should be a form of sacrifice to Him. In fact, I believe Paul is telling us that caring for our bodies is a form of worship. Caring for our bodies is a way to demonstrate to God that we love Him. If you believe that God sent His only son Jesus to die for our sins, isn’t it only reasonable that we should care for the physical body that He gave us?
It is by our body that we function. It’s comprised of organs and cells which consist of protein carbohydrates and fats. Our body contains our nervous system with nerves and the brain. It’s through our bodies that we connect to the physical world with our five senses. Psalm 139:14 says that “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Caring for our body means taking care of our physical health. Being physically active, eating well, getting adequate sleep and rest, being free from addictions, and managing our stress are a few key aspects of attending to our physical health. The beautiful thing is that the Bible spells out so many guidelines on how we are to go about doing this.
If you are a believer you have an extra incentive to care for your body. Once you accept Jesus as your savior the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your physical body. God actually lives in you. If you love God, and He lives in you in the form of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t it make sense to care for our body in the best way possible? I believe it does and I must admit sometimes I am too relaxed at some of my health-related behaviors, especially my eating behaviors. Coffee with its caffeine and sugar added, candy bars, and I could name many other items that are not healthy to be putting into my body where God lives. The wonderful thing is that God is a God of grace and forgiveness. In my case, he knows that I am slowly surrendering that area of my life to Him and asking for His help in changing that part of my behavior.
If you’re not taking really good care of the body God has given you, He can help you change that. If you make a decision… a conscious choice to change and ask God to help you, then He will. He will honor your intentions. If you’re not a Christian and you are struggling with an aspect of your behavior that affects your health, then God wants to be a part of helping you do that. You can make a choice to ask Jesus to come into your heart – and He will help transform the areas of your life that you ask Him to. It’s a matter of believing, asking, and surrendering.
Our physical bodies really do belong to God, and He wants us to take great care of them! So, with God’s help, we will make healthy choices.
Dear God, help me to realize that my body is meant to honor You. You have made it wonderfully, and all Your works are great. Help me to care for it, and nourish it with the good, healthy things that You have provided. I offer it up to You every day as a sacrifice of worship unto Your name. In Jesus Name, Amen.
PRACTICAL ACTION TODAY
In addition to your normal exercise regimen this week, add what I call ‘accidental exercise’. This is when you intentionally park your car at the furthest parking space available so that you can add extra steps to your day. Or when you choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or apartment complex. Or when you make it a point to walk to the local eatery for lunch instead of driving there, or riding with coworkers. All of these and things like them, make for great ‘accidental exercise’. Be attentive to when these little opportunities to move your body exist and make it a point to do it every day this week.
Published on Jan 18 @ 12:04 AM EDT