Living for Christ

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February 2010
Daily Devotions Reference List:
(Click here to view the daily devotions)

(2/1) Genesis 2:24
(2/2) 1 Samuel 5:4
(2/3) Amos 3:3
(2/4) Luke 1:6-7, 15
(2/5) Galatians 2:6b
(2/6) Proverbs 2:10-20
(2/7) Psalm 6:1-3, 8-10
(2/8) Genesis 3:3-5
(2/9) 1 Samuel 6:9
(2/10) Amos 7:1-3
(2/11) Luke 1:46-48
(2/12) Galatians 2:14
(2/13) Proverbs 3:1-4
(2/14) Psalm 7:11-17
(2/15) Genesis 3:8
(2/16) 1 Samuel 7:3-4
(2/17) Amos 9:13-15
(2/18) Luke 2:1-3
(2/19) Galatians 2:20
(2/20) Proverbs 3:5-8
(2/21) Psalm 8:1-5, 9
(2/22) Genesis 4:3-5
(2/23) 1 Samuel 7:12
(2/24) Jonah 1:2-3
(2/25) Luke 2:7
(2/26) Galatians 2:21
(2/27) Proverbs 3:9-10
(2/28) Psalm 9:1-2, 9-12

Note: This is subject to change.

Daily Devotion Topic Schedule:
Sun - Psalms
Mon - Early History
Tue - Later History
Wed - Prophecy
Thu - Gospels
Fri - Paul's Letters
Sat - Proverbs
Life Lessons from David
"Lust and Love"

And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you." - 1 Samuel 13:13-14

When Samuel talks about "a man after [God's] own heart" he is referring to David. The love between God and David is perhaps the strongest love we see in the Bible. But what made David such a special person? He certainly wasn't perfect; in fact, he made some pretty big mistakes. This month we're going to take a closer look at the life and characteristics of David and I hope you will learn some things that will be an encouragement to you.

So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him!" But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." ... Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all the young men here?" Then he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep." - 1 Samuel 16:6-7, 10-11

Samuel had come to Bethlehem to anoint the next king of Israel. (As a side note, it is no coincidence that Jesus was born in the same town, since He came from the line of David--I am certain God had it planned that way all along.) First, take a close look at the first verse in the passage above. Isn't that a typical human response? The Bible doesn't say much about Eliab but I assume he was the oldest, tallest, and strongest of the brothers in this family. Everyone who had gathered around naturally assumed God had chosen him as the next king! The only problem was, they weren't even close to being right.

Verse 7 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and can be applied to so many things: "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Be very careful not to judge a person by their outer appearance, or other things such as their overall status in society. If I faced this choice, I'd honestly rather have a conversation with someone like a custodian or an isolated country farmer than the head of a major corporation or our current president, because I think I would learn more from those types of people. There is a lot of wisdom floating around the lower ranks of society, but so many people judge people by outward appearance that they just completely miss out on what those people may have to offer.

So, who did God choose? Not the oldest and strongest, and not even somebody in the middle. He chose the youngest and the smallest, who was keeping the sheep. (As another side note, given all the references in the Bible about us being sheep and Jesus being our Shepherd, I don't think this is a coincidence either.) Not only is this proof that God does indeed look at the heart instead of the outward appearance, but it supports the numerous times Jesus talks about how God uses the meek and the humble. Someone who is strong like Eliab is more likely to try to do things his own way because of that strength, but someone who is weaker like David is more likely to rely on God--and, of course, that's just what God wants us to do.

Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" - 2 Samuel 11:2-3

It all started with a perfectly harmless action--David decided to take a walk one evening. That's when Satan chose to attack him. It was such a subtle attack, just a woman bathing on a nearby roof--and all it took was one glance by David for the lust to begin. Never underestimate the power of lust. Especially if you are married but even if you are not, be very careful not to lust after someone that you see, either as you are out somewhere or just as you're watching something on TV. For David, it only took one glance to completely change his life.

If you're not familiar with the rest of the story, here is a quick synopsis: David committed adultery with Bathsheba, she became pregnant, and in an attempt to cover everything up, David brought her husband Uriah back home from war in the hopes that he would become convinced that it was his child. When that didn't work, David sent Uriah back into battle and to "the forefront of the hottest battle" (2 Samuel 11:15), virtually ensuring his death. When all was said and done, David had committed adultery which resulted in Bathsheba having a child out of wedlock, and although he didn't technically commit murder, he was responsible for her husband's death as he tried to cover up his sin. All sin is equal before God, but from a human point of view, could it get much worse than that?

So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die." Then Nathan departed to his house. - 2 Samuel 12:13-15a

David only went through a brief period of denial before admitting his sin to the Lord. He didn't try to cover it up anymore or blame anyone else for his choices. He could have tried to claim that he had nothing to do with Uriah's death, but he didn't. He simply admitted to God that he had sinned. God forgave him immediately, just as He will do for us today. There were still consequences, though--in this case, the child of David and Bathsheba died. God forgives, but sin still has consequences that we have to deal with.

Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the Lord, "You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You." - Psalm 16:1-2 [a Psalm of David]

David was God's chosen leader. He wasn't the biggest or the strongest; He simply loved God like no one else. That doesn't mean he was free from sin, either; clearly he committed a big sin with Bathsheba. But in the end, David still held a special place in God's heart. To recap, what are some lessons for us? Don't judge people by their outer appearance; God can use anyone and can usually use the meek and humble more effectively than the strong; we don't have to be perfect for God to love us and do great things through us; and God always forgives. We should all try to be more like David, striving to be closer to God each day and, even though we will fall short from time to time, always trying to do what's right in His eyes. Perhaps the best way to do that, as the verse above demonstrates, is to recognize that we are nothing apart from God. As Paul frequently writes in the New Testament, we must die daily to ourselves and our own desires and give everything over to God. We must be people after God's own heart. That is the most important thing we can learn from the life of David.