Ps 17, 35, 54, 63 “Finding Quiet and Peace in the Storm”
Has your day been one of quiet, or are you finding unrest due to the events of recent days? If you can answer with words of peace, you have found the secret place where you find the peace of God, but if you are wringing your hands, do as Jesus said, “come apart and rest awhile.” [Mark 6:31] It is at the feet of Jesus that we find peace in the storms of life. As we choose to sit at his feet, it is here that we can find that peace that passes all understanding.
That peace that so many are seeking comes when we sit and reflect and then ask these questions:
Are my lips free from guile? Have I allowed God to prove my heart in the middle of the night when all is quiet? Have I chosen that my mouth might not transgress God’s Law and His precepts? Do I ask God to hide me under the shadow of His wings of protection? Do I seek His face early? Do I trust that the angel of the Lord will surround me because I fear Him more than man, remembering that “the fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be set on high?” [Ps 34/Prov 29:25]
Praying today you will find that peace that passes all understanding.
These past few weeks, we have seen a spate of mass shootings by people who seek revenge for unknown reasons followed by their suicide. Our hearts ache for these because they have no truth that God alone is responsible for life and death. David’s nephew had the mindset of those who take matters into their own hands. Abishai saw the opportunity to kill King Saul and sought David’s permission to kill him. “Now let me drive the spear right through him into the ground with one swift jab.” [1Sam 26:8] Yes, the opportunity was available, but David was a man of God and understood three things:
No one can kill the Lord’s anointed one and remain guiltless.
The Lord Himself will strike him down, meaning God knows the day he will die.
Or the Lord will allow him to die in battle or for some other circumstance.
That is a lesson we need to remember, and Job knew that as well. “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” [Job 1:21] To take a life is nothing more than murder, and whoever murders shall be accountable before God for that life.
The Hebrews author wrote: “it is appointed unto men once to die..” [Heb 9:27], but only God knows that date. “The Lord both kills and gives life; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” [1Sam 2:6]
How dare we play God is the lesson the world needs now and we have the answer in Jesus Christ.
Jesus conquered death and the sting of death, [1Cor 15:55-57]yet we still mourn when the death of a loved one occurs. God’s Word records just one verse about the death of Samuel. “Samuel died, and all Israel gathered together and mourned for him and buried him in his house in Ramah.” [Ps 25:1] In our recent news, Prince Philip has died, and all of England has mourned over him, yet his wife, Queen Elizabeth must sit alone at his funeral because of man-made rules in the time of a pandemic. The rules of men take away the one thing needed a family needs at this time: comfort. Thus we turn to the Psalms in our time of mourning and we are comforted:
Ps 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” and
Ps 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Samuel was a man birthed from a mother’s prayer, and he lived as a man of prayer all of his life: “far be far from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.” [1Sam 12:23]
His deeds, his walk with God, and his epitaph is the record so we may know the kind of man he was. What will be on your tombstone?
Satan is a master fear mongerer. The dictionary defines that as someone who intentionally tries to make people afraid of something that seems on the surface seems unreasonable, yet you fear it is true. A mongerer seeks to curtail our freedom by putting us under surveillance. David faced Satan’s talons especially when King Saul set about to destroy him. He was in a precarious position, and he needed a plan to be rescued from King Saul. Throughout these times, David turned to God, his Deliverer and Protector because he knew the power of God’s talons to rescue.
Although David did lie, God was gracious to protect him. Now, as he sat alone in the stronghold, he called out to God. Read through these psalms carefully and note the words you too can pray when it seems like Satan’s arrows never stop coming. “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.” [Ps 27:5] “In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge.” [Ps 31:1] “But as for me, I trust in You, Lord.” [Ps 31:14]
If you are facing the enemy’s tactics, call upon His name and his mighty army. Put on your spiritual armor and stand fast!
David lies to save his skin, and an evil man takes that lie and compounds the sin to a greater extent. No lie is acceptable in God’s eyes. David even said, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he would certainly tell Saul! I am guilty of all the deaths in your father’s (speaking to Abiathar) house.” That was the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Why did David not seek the provision of the Lord in a time of need? Why do we not seek the provision of the Lord when we, too, are in a time of need? What a tangled web we weave when we first seek to deceive is a true adage. Later, David would write: “Remove from me the way of lying and grant me Your law graciously.” (Ps 119:29) As the priest questions David, fear became the guiding factor. Like David we too are guilty before God when we fear for our very life, but God’s grace is greater than our sin.
Why is that we do not trust God in every situation? Why are we so careless? How many lives are lost because of a little white lie or a bald-faced lie as in David’s case? Oh Lord, convict us this day; hold us accountable for the words we echo forth. Father, keep our tongue from lying; may only truth come forth from our lips—no matter what lay ahead. That is why we need to pray this often!
David as the newly appointed servant of the king finds himself in a quandary. Life was so simple in the field with the sheep that trusted him implicitly, yet now he is commander over men. David penned the words of Ps 23: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” That was before but now after a victory lap over the enemy Goliath, David’s life has been turned upside down. He no longer has the quiet and solitude of the pastures and the hills of Israel. Instead, David finds himself in a palace and then to a war zone. He no longer hears only the bleating of sheep but the cacophony of palace sounds and city noises. Sheep trusted him, but men are fickle, and that includes the king who is fraught with a distressing spirit from the Lord. If this sounds like you and what you are facing, and you are wondering how to respond, take notes from David’s journal.
Do as David did. Run to God, for He loves you and will help you. He is your ‘source of strength; He is your refuge.’ [Ps 59:17] In Him you can take shelter because while the winds blow hither and thither, God ‘is in his holy temple, his throne is in heaven.’ [Ps 11:4] The world may change, but God remains steadfastly secure.
1Samuel 17 “Satan’s Word Games.”
Satan is a master at word games as he seeks to destroy us. When he can’t get at us using physical means, he comes at us emotionally. “From their vantage point, the Philistines and their champion, Goliath, engaged in a bit of psychological warfare, taunting Israel and boasting of their military superiority.” [Ligonier Ministries]
In this scene, David, the anointed but not yet king, of Israel arrives to hear the defiant words of Goliath. Although Saul is head and shoulders above the men of Israel, he cringes at the terms of Goliath. David stood up to face this giant even though His brothers sought to shame him for coming to the battlefield.
David squares off with Goliath, and in the end, he is victorious, and Goliath is dead. What was David’s success? It was that David did not allow the word games of Goliath to destroy his confidence. David proved that some trusted in horses and chariots, but he trusted in the Lord his God. [Ps 20:7] He told Goliath that when this happens, the “assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will deliver you into our hand.”[1Sam 17:47]
Where are you facing a Goliath? Remember that the Lord is for you, and He will fight this battle.
Child-rearing comes with ups and downs. The old saying: sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me is so false. Samuel’s heart takes a nosedive when the elders come to him and say they are not pleased with his sons. Their excuse is that they do not follow Samuel’s ways. In reality, like spoiled children, they wanted a king so they could be like every other nation because “they are all doing it.” Today we call it kindergarten politics.
In his quiet time, God spoke to Samuel’s heart.
We all have times when others speak ill of us, and our heart is breaking, especially when it speaks to our parenting skills. When that happens, return to these chapters in Samuel to hear God’s reassurance; they are not rejecting you but God because men are fickle.
When you experience something like this, you must remain strong and continue the path of godliness. There will always be people who will respond like this no matter what you do, how prayerful you are. They march to their own drumbeat. These are the hard lessons of life. Men choose men rather than God.
1Sam 4 to 7 What do you trust in for salvation? Works? Prayers? Something else? The author of Cripplegate writes:
“Most world religions are a form of what Christians call works righteousness. That expression—works righteousness—is used to describe the world view that believes God is real, heaven is real, and you have to be good to get there. Good is then defined as something along the lines of “trying hard to lead a good life.”
That is how the Israelites and the Philistines lived life. They confused the Ark of the Covenant to save them in a precarious battle only to be defeated. The Philistines captured the Ark and knew the proof of the Egyptian plagues but felt their idol god Dagon was greater. God turned that idea on his head when he defaced Dagon not once but twice.
Satan is a master deceiver. He “blinds the minds…so [we] would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.”[2Cor 4:4] Salvation only comes when we accept the provision He has provided: Jesus Christ the righteous! Remember there is none righteous no, not one. [Rom 3:10] Trust in Jesus not works: For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; [Eph 2:8]
For more from Cripplegate: https://thecripplegate.com/
1Samuel 1-3 Trials and storms either drive us closer to God or far away. God has recorded the story of Hannah as an example of true faith. Her example of facing a trial and drawing close to God is one we want to follow. Hannah made an unusual vow that if God opened her womb, she would dedicate the child back to God. Ecclesiastes reminds us that “When you make a vow to God, do not delay in paying it”…and don’t tell the priest “it was a mistake.” [Eccl 5:4]
Even though God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman, Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, like some others in scripture, failed to keep that rule. Hannah’s rival was jealous and lacked compassion for Hannah. Enter God’s ways that man cannot understand but remind us to see how He works to receive glory for Himself.
God heard the cry of Hannah. Some months later, Hannah would give birth to a little boy she would name Samuel, meaning “asked of God.” Beloved, whatever you are facing today you can glean words of comfort from Hannah. Take time to pour over Hannah’s prayer and pray her words back to God. Hannah learned the truth of Paul’s words: bring all your requests to God, and His peace will guard your heart. [Phil 4:7]