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 "HERE AS IN HEAVEN" from the Sacred Whispers Playlist.
WHAT DO THE BIRDS KNOW?
By Marlin D. Harris
“Look at the birds of the air...”
My wife has a very peaceful pastime activity. If the weather is right, she loves to sit out on our back patio and look out into the trees in the backyard and watch the birds melodically singing while perched on one of the tender branches. They come in red, orange, dusty brown, and ever so often, blue.
I have often wondered when I would sit with her, what do these birds know that we don’t?
They seem to be so at peace nestled on a tiny branch or nipping at a leaf or berry for food. Gently they come, and haplessly land on some tree and softly belt out their melodic tunes as they call out to one another in a ritual that they never tire of repeating. This they faithfully do each morning as soon as the sun rises over the eastern hemisphere. They sing, even after the fiercest storms. They sing, even when the clouds hang low and the morning sky is smeared with a gloomy grey. They sing, even when the trees have lost their leaves and the berries have all fallen away; yet still, they sing.
Perhaps this is why Jesus instructed us to “Look at the birds…” We have not learned faith and trust in God until we have learned how to be at peace. Peace is that one emotional quality that when possessed, has the power to master all of our other emotions. Peace has been called the great stabilizer. Real peace locks anxiety away in its cell and refuses to allow worry a voice in the meeting chambers of our hearts. Peace transforms the darkness from being a paralyzing presence that haunts us in the night, into a comforting blanket that lulls us to sleep.
Peace is that rare treasure that few people have been able to find. But we need not lose heart; God has laid bare in His Word how we can find it.
Isaiah 26:3 tells us clearly how to find peace. It says, “God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed in Him, because he trusts in You.” Without using any ambiguity, the Bible teaches that the man who would be at peace keeps his mind on God and trusts in Him.
Perhaps the birds know this. They have learned how to trust God. It is as if God has established a covenant with them whereby He has promised to provide for their food, and their shelter and they simply fly about trusting that.
It seems too simple to be profound – but it is. Trusting in God is the only way to peace. Trust in God happens when you are absolutely convinced of His trustworthiness.
When you are convinced that God is faithful and will always honor His promises, then you will trust Him. When you are convinced that God is wise and navigates the circumstances of life in such a way as to bring about the greatest possibilities for personal growth, then you will trust Him. When you are convinced that God loves you and will walk with you through every season of your life’s journey, then you will trust Him.
Be assured that trust is not a casual matter. You only learn to trust over significant periods of time. Trust is not a confidence that is easily achieved, but it has to be nurtured through the intimacy of relationship. The more you know someone, the more you trust them. The more you do life with God, the more you learn to trust Him. Peace can’t be found without trust, and trust can’t be found without relationship.
Secondly, the birds know how to sing. I am not proposing that you learn how to physically sing, but rather I am suggesting that you and I learn how to adopt the ‘spirit of singing’. We must learn how to sing even when the deepest sorrows are knocking at our door. You see, your song is your victory, and you can only sing it when you have found peace.
No matter what happens to you, don’t ever lose your song. In that beautiful hymnbook of the Old Testament, the book of Psalms, we are admonished and instructed to sing a song unto the Lord over 55 different times.
We are told to sing unto the Lord a new song (Psalm 96:1), to sing of His wondrous works (Psalm 105:2), to come before His presence with singing (Psalm 100:2), to sing of His mercy and judgment (Psalm 101:1). On and on, verse after verse, the Psalms instruct us to sing.
Could it be that the psalmists understood that when we sing, somehow we defy the sadness and sorrows that seek to silence our voice and rob us of our joy? Your song – your worship of God – that is your power. And if you can push past the sorrow and sing your song, you will soon see peace welling up in your soul like springs of water overflowing the banks of the river.
I truly believe that this is what the birds know. This is why they sing, even when the wind is contrary and the storm clouds loom above. They sing because, like Job, they know that their Redeemer lives (Job 19:25). They sing because they know that weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). So the next time you see a bird singing sweetly in the trees, don’t let him sing alone. Wipe the tears from your eyes, and muster up the spiritual strength to sing your own song. And when God hears your song, surely He will dispatch His angels to come to your aid and strengthen you with His peace.
Be our Peace-Giver, O God. Let not our hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
You are our hiding place and in You, we find our peace. O Lord, be our refuge from the noise, and our shelter from the storm. We look to You to calm our hearts from its fears, and grant us, Your children, peace. In Jesus’ Strong Name we pray, Amen.
DAILY SPIRITUAL EXERCISE
Take a few minutes every day this week to listen to your favorite worship song. Perhaps when you are driving in your car, or just as you rise from bed to prepare for your day. Press the pause button to your life for just a moment, and take time out to worship. You will find that it is very difficult to worship and worry at the same time. You have a song. Find it, and sing it with all of your might.
LIFE IS DIFFICULT
By Frank Luke
“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”
I was reading the book, The Road Less Traveled, written by M. Scott Peck, M.D. The very first sentence of the book’s introduction was short, simple, to the point, but oh so profound. The sentence simply read, “Life is difficult”.
Now, I can’t recall the date this book was written, but I am certain it was written before the COVID era, yet the opening sentence resonated with me as if it had been written in just this past year. I am sure it resonates with a plethora of others trying to figure out how to survive these challenging times. David, the writer of Psalm 18, could also relate to life and its difficulties, for he endured many challenges. David’s life was marked by a host of challenges: fighting a lion with his bare hands; being overlooked by his father in consideration for the throne; fighting a giant with only a slingshot and a stone. In addition to all of this, he spent years of life running from a king he once looked up to. In this passage we see the perils of life overwhelming David to the point where he called on God in distress, and in tears. This would easily be considered today as depression, even if for only a moment.
The ‘fact’ of the matter is, “Life is difficult”, but the ‘truth’ of the matter is, God is the healer of all mental, emotional, and spiritual pains. David, in one of his most overwhelming moments, leaned in and rested on his truth, which was God. David chose to trust in God, and not his facts, which were his current realities.
Depression is caused by the overwhelming weight of the negative facts of the past. It is the emotional state that is experienced when we are overcome with yesterday’s trauma, disappointments, personal injuries, or guilt. Not only is it the weight of some negative fact of the past, but it is also the burden of carrying some negative fact in the present. Even the fresh wounds of our current reality can bring a depression that weighs heavily upon us mentally and emotionally. The instruction given to us in 1 Peter 5:7 says to “give your cares to God”. God, who is the truth, and “a very present help in the time of trouble” is able to carry all the cares and heavyweights that you were never designed to carry.
If you would only give those cares to Him, then the very things that once depressed you, you will find that the Lord will use it to bless you.
Father, there is no way around life and its difficulties. So I pray your Holy Spirit will guide us toward peace, and cause us to grow from every challenge that comes our way. I pray for Your strength, courage, and wisdom to stand in the midst of it all. Thank you for Your truth, in which I stand. In Jesus' name, Amen.
PRACTICAL ACTION TODAY
• Don’t dwell in the past; IT’S OVER.
• Rejoice in the present. Life is the first blessing of every day.
• Continue to give your cares to God, until he gives you peace. BELIEVE that He will.
• Replace all painful thoughts with a positive action (exercise, going back to school, counseling, volunteer services, etc.).
Published on Jan 08 @ 12:48 AM EDT