Old Testament In a Year: May 16 – 2 Samuel 16, 17, 18

2 Samuel 16, 17, 18
Focus Verse: And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” – 2 Samuel 18:33

When Saul, who was an archenemy of David, died, there was no rejoicing from David. He mourned. And now when Absalom, his son turned conspirator who tried to steal the kingdom from him, died, there was no rejoicing. Only grief and weeping. David often pleaded in prayer for God to deliver him from his enemies, and God always did, but David never rejoiced over their destruction.

Trust God to save you from those who seek to hurt you, but do as David did, and show concern for their souls. Your hate for an enemy should never be so great that you rejoice when they fall.

Old Testament In a Year: May 15 – 2 Samuel 15; Psalms 3, 69

2 Samuel 15; Psalms 3, 69
Focus Verse: But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. – Psalm 69:13

When David fled from his son, Absalom, and felt as if he were drowning in deep waters and mire, he kept his focus on God. He directed his prayer to the One he knew could hear, answer, and save Him.

David’s request for God to answer him “at an acceptable time,” shows that he was willing to wait – for however long – on God to save him from the conspiracy of his own son. He did not try to foil Absalom’s conspiracy on his own. Just as he had waited for many long years to be delivered from Saul by God, he now waited on God to deliver him from Absalom. At every moment of crisis in his life, David turned to God and trusted in His steadfast love and saving faithfulness to deliver him.

Whatever deep mire of misery or deep waters of trouble you find yourself in, direct your prayer to God. Look to Him alone. Trust in His love and faithfulness to save you. Do not limit God’s answer to your time; but in His acceptable time, He will hear you, answer you, and help you.

Old Testament In a Year: May 14 – 2 Samuel 13, 14

2 Samuel 13, 14
Focus Verse: We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast. – 2 Samuel 14:14

The woman of Tekoa asks for David to show mercy to Absalom, who killed his brother Amnon for raping their sister, Tamar. She reminds him that all people must die. Because of this uncertainty of life, she appeals for David to forgive Absalom and make things right between them before either Absalom dies in banishment or David dies without being reconciled to his son.

She uses God as an example. Even though sinners are in a state of estrangement from Him, He works in such a way so that the outcast does not remain an outcast by Him. In wrath, God remembers mercy. He does not desire the death of prodigal sons and daughters or banished sinners, but that they will return to Him and live.

And if you ever wander away from God or find yourself estranged from Him because of something you’ve done wrong, be assured that God will show you mercy. He will want you back and devise means to get you back so that you will not remain an outcast forever.

Old Testament In a Year: May 13 – Psalms 32, 51

Psalms 32, 51
Focus Verse: I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. – Psalm 32:5

It is not easy to admit when you are wrong, to acknowledge that you have sinned, but full confession is necessary if you desire to be forgiven by God, receive His mercy, and experience peace of conscience. When your heart is oppressed and your mind is burdened by guilt; when you can bear the crushing pressure of unconfessed sin no longer; when anguish over what you have done wrong runs deep; when your strength begins to fail, then go to God and pour out your soul before Him.

Let Him know all that you have done and all that you are feeling. Do not hide anything. Confess fully. Don’t attempt to excuse it, explain it, or justify it. It is the only way you will find relief. God will at once forgive you and give you peace; He will fill you with mercy and grace.

Then your trust in the Lord will be renewed and you will be surrounded with His steadfast love.

Old Testament In a Year: May 12 – 2 Samuel 10, 11, 12

2 Samuel 10, 11, 12
Focus Verse: 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.” – 2 Samuel 12:13

David knew he was wrong for having Uriah killed and for taking Bathsheba as his own wife. And when he was confronted about his wrongdoing, he readily admitted that he had sinned. He did not try to excuse, explain, justify, or minimize his sin. His full admittance of it showed that he was truly repentant of the wrong he had done.

Because he did not lie or try to further hide his wrongdoing, God forgave Him. Instead of holding his sin against him, God put away his sin. Although he was still punished for it, God did not remember it anymore.

David didn’t say he sinned against Uriah or Bathsheba, but against the Lord because when one sins against his or her self or against others, they are also sinning against God. When one hurts his or her self or hurts others, they are also hurting God. What do you do when you do wrong? Do you cover it up or admit it? Do you truly repent for it or do you just not care? Are you concerned about how your sin affects God?

God understands your faults. He knows you aren’t perfect. He does not seek to hold your sin against you, but seeks to put it away and forgive you.

Old Testament In a Year: May 11 – 2 Samuel 8, 9; Psalm 60

2 Samuel 8, 9; Psalm 60
Focus Verse: And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” – 2 Samuel 9:7

When Jonathan was alive, David promised that he would not stop showing kindness to him or to his family. Long after Jonathan was dead, David kept his promise. He showed kindness to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, and Jonathan’s grandson, Mica. All the days that he was alive, David made sure that Jonathan’s family was taken care of.

When you keep promises that you make, you are reflecting the character of God. God keeps His word. He cannot lie. What He says He will do, He does. What He promises, He fulfills.

When you keep promises that you make, you are also showing that you care for others. Regardless of how inconvenient it may be to you, others will know that you value and respect them when you keep your word to them.

Old Testament In a Year: May 10 – 2 Samuel 6, 7; Psalm 30

2 Samuel 6, 7; Psalm 30
Focus Verse: And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. – 2 Samuel 6:8

When David and some thirty thousand people were bringing the ark of God to Jerusalem, they were all in a good mood. Everyone was making music and celebrating before the Lord. When they came to a certain place, the oxen who were carrying the ark stumbled, and a man named Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark. Uzzah didn’t intentionally disobey or disrespect God with his action. He was just trying to keep the ark from falling. David knew this, and he was angry that God killed Uzzah because of his well-meaning error.

After feeling angry, David also felt afraid. Would God strike him too if he made a wrong move regarding the ark?

Anger. Fear. Sadness. Joy. Defeat. Victory. Regret. Hurt. Lonely. Love. There was no emotion that David could not express to God. His willingness to share exactly how he felt at different moments throughout his life reveals the depth and intimacy of his friendship with God. He was completely honestly about his faults and feelings with the one who made him. And so it should be with you.

Rick Warren said, “Genuine friendship is built on disclosure. What may appear as audacity God views as authenticity. God listens to the passionate words of his friends; He is bored with predictable, pious clichés. To be God’s friend, you must be honest to God, sharing your true feeling, not what you think you ought to feel or say.” Do not hide your faults, feelings, and failures from God. Do not tell Him what you think He wants to hear. Tell Him what you actually want to say. Tell Him how you truly feel. Tell Him what you don’t understand about His will or His ways. Complain. Accuse. Question. Argue. Challenge. Pester. Negotiate. Vent.

God made you and God loves you. Is there any better person to be honest with?

Old Testament In a Year: May 9 – 2 Samuel 3, 4, 5

2 Samuel 3, 4, 5
Focus Verse: And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. – 2 Samuel 5:10

The life of David, from the time he was a boy watching his father’s sheep to the time he became king over Judah and Israel, is one amazing story. It is not just testament to a man’s great life, but also testament to a man’s great and faithful God.

Whether David was facing a lion, a bear, or a giant; whether he was running and hiding from Saul; whether he was fighting the Philistines; whether he was mourning the death of his best friend or the loss of his wife’s love, God never left David. God was always with him. Because of the presence of the Lord in his life, David became greater and greater despite people constantly opposing him. In moments of weakness, despair, and disappointment, God was with him. And in moments of triumph, gladness, and success, God was with him. When he was a boy shepherd, God was with him. And when he was a powerful king, God was with him.

And David was always with God. He was not perfectly faithful as God was, but he did strive to please God in everything he did. When he was running for his life and hiding in caves and mountains, he constantly inquired of the Lord as to what he should or should not do. And he did not stop inquiring of the Lord once he became king (2 Samuel 5:17-25). He continued to seek the Lord, follow His will, and obey His way.

If you are going through a difficult time or a relatively pleasant time, do not forget to seek the Lord. Regularly inquire of Him as to what He wants you to do and where He wants you to go. Ask Him to be with you and He will – through good and bad, failure and success, forever and always.