2 Samuel 21, 22; Psalm 18
Focus Verse: In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. – Psalm 18:6
When you are in deep distress – physically, mentally, or emotionally – call upon the Lord and cry to Him for what you need and desire. You will always find Him near and ready to help. He has the strength to save, the power to provide, and the might to work miracles.
By calling on God through prayer, you tap into what He is able to do. You show that you are not depending on your own strength or on any human help, but you are depending on Him alone. You may be in distress for a variety of reasons, but for all of those reasons, the solution is the same – go before the throne of God and find mercy and grace to help in your time of need.
God doesn’t look down at you in distress; He sympathizes with you. Because He is omniscient, He knows how you’re feeling. Because He is omnipresent, He is with you. Because He is omnipotent, He is able to help you, encourage you, and deliver you from your distress.
From His temple, which is Heaven, God hears your voice. Nothing can stop your cry from reaching Him. He will never shut His eyes or stop His ears or turn His face away from you. He is always willing to listen and answer.
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.
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?
1 Samuel 22; Psalm 56
Focus Verse: You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? – Psalm 56:8
How deeply does God care about you? So deeply that He keeps count of your tossings. “Tossings” in this Scripture is interpreted to mean “wandering” – both mental and physical. God keeps count of the places that sadness and sorrow drives you to, just as He kept count of the places David was driven as he sought to escape from Saul. In times of trouble, God knows your inmost thoughts, your mental restlessness, and your mind’s misery.
It is no hard thing for Him to keep count of your mental and physical tossings, because in each moment and at each place, He is there with you.
And when you cry, God sees your tears. He collects and treasures them as if they were a precious perfume. He keeps track of what each tear was shed for, when it was shed, and why. They are ever before Him. You are ever on His mind.
1 Samuel 20, 21; Psalm 34
Focus Verse: Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. – Psalm 34:5
If you look to God with faith that He will save you and confidence that He will hear you, your life will radiate with the light of His divine glory. You will not be disappointed because the Lord answers those who seek Him, He hears those who cry to Him, and He delivers those who fear Him.
When all is dark around you, look to God, and you will find light and comfort in Him. In your moment of trouble, you will find rest and relief in Him. Your face will be brightened. Your mind will be eased. Your heart will be at peace. You will know for certain that God will protect you. You will not be ashamed for having put your trust in God because He fulfills all expectations and hopes.
Psalm 90; Leviticus 1, 2
Focus Verse: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. – Psalm 90:2
When there was nothing, there was God.
God was God before He created the mountains. God was God before He brought the earth into existence. From beginning (past) to end (future), God is God. God was always God. God will always be God – the one, true God; the never-changing God. His existence does not depend on the existence of anyone or anything else. Changes that happen in His creation and among His creatures does not change Him. Heaven and earth may disappear, the grass may wither, and flowers may fade, but God will always remain.
Before you were born, God was God. And after you are gone, God will still be God. He is the only constant in an ever-changing world. Your only sure place of rest, safety, and love is found in Him.
You will perish. Everyone you love and care for will perish. Everything that brings you happiness and comfort will one day cease to exist. Only God will remain. Only He lives forever. And when you become one in Him, you also will become ever-living.
Focus Verse: Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe. (2)
If you are a redeemed child of God, then you have a story to tell. Tell of how God saved you from what you used to be. Tell of the mercy and love that He has poured into your life. Tell of how you have an eternal hope and future because of the work Christ did on the cross to save you from sin and death. Give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing goodness and for His love that endures forever.
Focus Verse: Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. (18)
In his prayer for God to destroy those who plot against His people, Asaph also prays for the world to recognize God’s power and glory. It is not his name that he wants to be known, it is the Lord’s. One of our most constant prayers should be for people to come to know that the Lord He is God.
Focus Verse: If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways. (13)
It has been said that “if only” must be the two saddest words in the world. Yet this is how God feels toward His people. If only my people would listen to me, then I would get rid of their enemies. If only my people would obey me, then I would bless them. God must feel this same way toward us sometimes. He desires to fill our lives with good things, but is unable to do so because we refuse to listen and submit to Him.