God’s Redemptive Love Part VI: David

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

1 Samuel 8:4-5 (NIV)

But now your (Saul) kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man (David) after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

1 Samuel 13:14 (NIV) [my emphasis]

As we open up to the book of Psalms and read through the prayers of David we can see what it is like to have a true heart after God. He was the man that God would use to unify and strengthen the nation of Israel. David was by no means a perfect man but his heart was often in the right place. He was humble and repentant before God. Two of the most important characteristics required of a child of God.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me, or I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.

Psalm 86:1-6 (NIV)

Towards the end of the time of the Judges, the people had longed for a king and no longer wanted a judge over them. They wanted to be like the nations around them, even though God had called them to be separate. However, the Lord gave them what they wanted. He rose up and anointed Saul. But Saul had a problem with following through completely with what God asked of him. In ways, he served the people before he served God. So God raised up another in his place.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Acts 13:22 (NIV)

David was chosen to be the seed of the Messiah of God’s children. The Lord brought the nation together and empowered them over their enemies. God gave them a leader, ultimately, in order to bring the nation back to Himself. God wanted them to recognize Him as their King and Judge. But the people lost sight. Even so, God used people, like the Judges, prophets, and certain kings, as part of His plan of redeeming a wayward people.

It’s incredible to see how God will redirect our lives after we make demands of Him. We, at times, will take a path that we think is best for us. Only an awesome God would allow us free will, knowing full well He can restore us and He can make us new. Just as He did for Israel, God has brought people into all of our lives to help guide us on the right path. Maybe we’ve embraced it, maybe we haven’t. But as the Good Shepherd, the Lord is constantly trying to reach us and lead us in the path of life. He doesn’t abandon us to our own despair. He doesn’t walk away from us even when we walk away from Him. Just as the father of the prodigal son God is waiting with open arms to embrace His wayward children. That is redemptive love.

Celebrate your redemption brothers and sisters. There is no greater gift.

Advertisement

God’s Redemptive Love Part VI: The Judges

Courtesy https://bibleproject.com/

But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them…

Judges 3:9 (ESV)

This verse from chapter three appears several times throughout the book of Judges and contains the main idea of the entire book. God’s people rebel, they are given over to what holds them captive, they are in misery and cry out for God’s help, and God is faithful and true to deliver them…again and again. It became very predictable and quite frankly sad. However, it serves as a mirror for our own stories. We have all refused to lay things down, whether it’s a vice or a character flaw. Anyone who has followed Jesus for a long time knows all too well, what it is like to repent for the same thing time and time again. God’s patience endured then, just as it does now.

In the previous book, Joshua had successfully led the people of Israel in capturing the promised land, divided the land, and called them to serve the Lord as he and His family were resolved to do (Joshua 24:15). In Joshua’s last days and especially after his passing, the people of Israel walked away from God. They walked in such a way that the world around them said was good and ended up in misery. They compromised their faith and pursuit of God and traded it in for the corruption of the world.

Throughout the book, God raises up 12 judges to guide the people back to His love, yet they fall away each time one of the judges is gone. God’s loving kindness is so amazing. His patience in our lives is unmistakable and undeserved, yet He remains true to us. It breaks my heart to know the times I have acted like the Israelites in the book of Judges, yet I press forward attempting to surrender my whole heart completely to Him.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:5-9 NIV

While Jesus is the full embodiment of God’s redemptive love, the book of Judges tells a story of a patient God who forgives and who saves, regardless of whether we deserve it or not. In that, we can have peace. In the next post for this series, we’ll be looking at the life and experiences of King David and how that reflects God’s redemptive plan. If you want to look at the first five posts on this topic click on the following links: God’s Redemptive Love Part V: Moses, God’s Redemptive Love Part IV: Joseph, God’s Redeeming Love Part III: Abraham, God’s Redemptive Love Part II: Noah, and God’s Redemptive Love Part I: Adam and Eve.

God bless you brothers and sisters.

Sacrifice and Peace

“Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm‬ ‭4‬:‭5‬-‭8‬ ‭ESV

Peace is one of those universally sought-after things. But there is a multitude of ways people try to achieve it. One thing is true, peace is not connected to our circumstances. If it is, then peace will always be elusive.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

John‬ ‭14‬:‭27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When Jesus spoke these words, it was on the brink of sending His followers out into a hostile world. Trials and hardships would be a nearly constant companion for them. But in spite of that, Jesus still says they can have peace. He can make that promise because He is the source of that peace. Notice He said that it was His peace that He gave to us. Any reading of the four gospel accounts reveals a life full of circumstances that would not give many of us peace. Jesus was born into poverty, hunted when He was a child, relocated multiple times, lost His father at some point as a child, lived as a wanted man for three years, mocked and ridiculed, abandoned by friends and family, persecuted, beaten, and executed. Even in light of all of that, Jesus (being the Prince of Peace) lived a life at peace and promised that we can have the same.

Our peace is based on Who He is. It’s based on the fact that our life has meaning and purpose. That we are loved and have immense value. We are pursued and fought for. We have grace even though we make mistakes every day. We are accepted in Christ and based on His perfection, not our brokenness. We have peace knowing our trials are temporary and our pain and loss will end one day in the happiest of happily ever afters.

Psalm 4 also says that it is the Lord who puts joy and peace in our hearts. It is in Him, through Him, and because of Him. But sacrifice is required on our part. Romans 12 talks about being a daily living sacrifice. We must lay down our plans for His, our desires for His, our pride for humility, our materialism for a life of service, and our self-centered love for selfless love. There is always sacrifice on the way to peace. He paid the ultimate price, now it’s our turn to surrender selfish ambition for a life spent in bringing joy, life, encouragement, and hope to others. At the end of ourselves, we find peace.

Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.