May 16 – Defining Moments – Nathan and David

Read Psalm 51:1-19 and 2 Samuel 12:1-14

Until Nathan confronted him, David was stuck in his own secret prison of shame from the darkness of what he’d done. “For I know my transgression, and my sin is always before me,” he’d written in Psalm 51. Not only had he taken the wife of another man, he’d secretly had that man murdered. So, I have to wonder if the exposing of David’s secret sins released a high-pressure valve in his heart as Nathan spoke on behalf of God.

All the shame and the guilt David had been carrying alone was found out.

Murder, adultery, lying, deceit.

He’d been trying to hide it in his heart, but God had seen it all. As soon as David heard that God knew his secrets, he was undone. So, he quickly confessed. And David’s broken confession became wholehearted repentance, a turning point for him.

“I have sinned against the LORD.”

2 Sam. 12:13a

We know from what he wrote in Psalm 51 that he missed the intimacy he had enjoyed with the Lord for so long. And so, spirit-crushed and utterly broken, David affirmed his wrongdoing and was forgiven just as soon as it was said.

“Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin.’”

2 Sam. 12:13b

David was a broken man who had fallen hard into sin and guilt and shame. I imagine it was among the darkest times of his life. But his brokenness was all that God required.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

Ps. 51:17

David needed to turn from his pride and stop trying to keep his shameful secrets from the only One who could save him from them.

Perhaps you can relate to the darkness of secret shame and the isolated prison of guilt. Maybe you need a turning point, too. Maybe you’re tired of trying to hide it from the God who already sees it. If so, this good news is for you! Come clean with God. Just agree with Him about the shame, let Him know that you know. Tell Him that you’re broken and seek forgiveness. He is ready to restore you, to walk you to the turning point just like He did with David. It’s time to turn to Him and let Him rebuild you.

It’s time for God to make you new.

Bria Wasson

May 15 – Defining Moments – David and Bathsheba

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27

It all started out so innocently. 

There was no intention of sin when King David walked up on his roof one spring evening.  As he glanced out upon his kingdom, something caught his eye.  From the roof top of his palace in Jerusalem, he looked down and saw a beautiful woman bathing.  We all know better than to stick around and take a closer look.  And King David was no different.  In I Samuel 13:14, it says that David was “a man after God’s own heart”.  He was one who historically was obedient to the Lord, even in the craziest circumstances.

This time, David let his guard down.  The warning signs were flashing in his head.  STOP!  Do not take a second look!  She is not yours! However, David ignored the warning signs and. what started out as something innocent, ended up as adultery and murder.

It’s easy for us to read this and be judgmental about David.  He had to know better.  He was a married man; she was a married woman.  His mistake ends up in a plot to cover up his sinful act and, when that plan fails, he takes it a step further and has Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, put in the most dangerous place on the battlefield so that Uriah would end up being killed.

2 Samuel 11 is a section of scripture that should scare each one of us to death.  If King David, a man after God’s own heart, can fail, then we can all fail.

How can we make sure that we do not fall into this same pit that David did?

We must be proactive!

The first thing we all must do is to put up a wall. Keep the enemy out. Make it difficult to fall into temptation. The beginning of 2 Samuel 11 says “in the spring when kings march out to war”.  David sat this one out. He stayed at home and was not where he should have been.  How about you?  Are you visiting websites you shouldn’t?  Taking a second glance?  Reaching out to people of the opposite sex on a social media platform?  Communicating/flirting with someone who is not your spouse?  Staying up late when your spouse is in bed?

Another important part of the construction of your wall is accountability. We need to have people who are willing to ask us the difficult questions and challenge us when needed. These are people who are in the battle with you.  These are individuals who you want in your foxhole during a battle – people who encourage us, not by telling us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.  The type of people who can peel you back like an onion and see how you are doing inside.  This takes openness and honesty on your part but is oh so vital.

Work on constructing your wall daily by studying the Word of God and spending time in daily prayer.  Make reading the Bible a priority.   Memorize the Word so that, when you are tempted, you have something to encourage you.  Spend time in prayer communicating with God.  Lean on God in times of trouble.

When you are tempted, do not fight alone.  Tell God about it in prayer.  Contact your accountability partners, your battle buddies, and let them fight with you.

If David could fall, we can too.  But if we have the proper boundaries in place, it will be more difficult to fail. 

Be proactive and build your wall!

Nate Mills

May 29 – Secret Sin – Shame: Why we hide our sin

Read 2 Samuel 12:1-23 and Psalm 51:1-17

Many of us have been there: the exhausted parent after a long, hot summer day’s work, looking forward to spending some time at home away from the stresses of the day. We walk around the corner, only to find marker drawings on the wall of the dining room as a priceless art display from our toddler. The toddler has been told many times NEVER to color the walls and today, of all days, is the day where the toddler decides to create this masterpiece. 

“Shame on you!”, the words of choice for a moment like this to grab the attention of the child and expose the action of wrongdoing. Or consider a different phase in life, when the child is a teenager and the issue is much more serious.  The parent comes home from a long day of work and the phone rings.  It happens to be the parent of the teenager’s boyfriend or girlfriend on the other line and there is a story that they wish to share that strikes pain in the heart of every parent who has sought to raise their family in God’s way. The story of discovering this sin in their lives. 

“Shame on you!” 

Will those words still be used?  

This is where we look at the actions of Nathan for guidance. In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan (a prophet of the Lord in King David’s time) brings conviction to the King with the exposure of the King’s sin. On a scale of human understanding, this “secret sin” really wasn’t that much of a secret anymore; David’s actions created a ripple effect into other’s lives that were far past that.  The way in which his new life with Bathsheba had come about was one that he thought he had kept as a secret from those who he didn’t want to know. However, David couldn’t control that.

Instead he found himself in a reality that all people who try to hide sin do: trying to manage it and not be exposed. His words in Psalm 51 describe the conviction that Nathan’s confrontation brought about in him. They also show us that his repentance was not brought about because Nathan said “Shame on you!”.  In fact, Nathan never uses that phrase. David discovered shame by stepping outside of himself and looking into another’s life (2 Sam 12:4-9). David’s conviction was now discovered, not manufactured. 

God allows us to feel shame when we are convicted because it can spawn in us the need to have it healed by Him. When our sin is exposed, our personal feelings of shame serve as a painful reminder to us of the many reasons why God didn’t want us engaged in sin to begin with. 

Praying points for today:

  1. I pray that God will use all of us who seek to follow Him, raise our families for Him and love as He has loved to live in this way – suppressing the shaming of ourselves so that we may be confident in the work He is doing in us (Philippians 1:6).
  2. I pray that God will use this foundation to search me of any wrongdoing that needs to be brought to light, free from fear. This way of living can be a beautiful foundational piece to keep ourselves from sinning in secret.
  3.  I pray that I can treat others with compassion leading to conviction, regardless of their sin.  I recognize that it is not my job to shame, but God’s job to heal it in all people’s lives.

Joe Rubino

October 5 – Attributes of God – Kindness

Read 2 Samuel 22:51

Kindness is an attribute of God. It is a fruit of the Spirit of God that Christians can choose to possess. David appreciated the kindness of God so much that he sang an entire chapter in 2 Samuel to God. Chapter 22 is a song that David sang to the Lord when God’s kindness delivered him from his enemies. Written around 930 BC, people have taken some of these verses and turned them into music. Here are some songs I listen to and sing that are based on 2 Samuel 22:

THE LORD LIVETH, by Petra, based on v.1

“The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock

And let the God of my salvation be exalted…”

I WILL CALL UPON THE LORD, by Elevation Worship, based on v. 4

“I will call upon the Lord

Who is worthy to be praised.”

CONSUMING FIRE, by Third Day based on v.9

“And yes our God, he is a consuming fire

…He reaches inside and he melts down this cold heart of stone.”

LOVE CAME DOWN, Kari Jobe. v.10

“I could sing about His forgiveness

I could praise Him till the sun goes down.”

HE RESCUED ME, by Lids S. Leech (1909 hymn), based on v.18

“He rescued me, His own to be,

A brand from the burning, He set me free.”

FLAWLESS, by Mercy Me, based on v.31

“No matter the bumps, No matter the bruises

No matter the scars, Still the truth is

The cross has made you flawless.”

David writes and actually sings about kindness in the final verse 51. He speaks here in the third person about unfailing kindness that God has given to he and his descendants forever.

Solomon wrote about kindness:

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” 

Proverbs 12:25 NIV

“Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Proverbs 14:31 NIV

Paul wrote about the nature of kindness and then the kindness of God:

“Love is patient, love is kind.

1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

“…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 2:7 NIV

Kindness is selfless, compassionate, and forgiving. For a perfect example of biblical kindness, look no further than Jesus. We all have opportunities to share God’s kindness. Let’s seize that opportunity!

Tom Weckesser

October 4 – Attributes of God – Mercy

Read 2 Samuel 24:14

I can remember it like it was yesterday.  It was my senior year of high school.  At the beginning of my accounting course, we were warned that, if we were caught cheating in class, we would receive an “F” for the nine weeks and we would fail the course.  So, with only a few weeks to go until graduation and senioritis kicking in, I, along with four friends, thought it would be wise to copy one of our friend’s ledgers for the final assignment.  AND it was wrong.  All five copies with identical mistakes.

One by one we were questioned by our teacher at different times so we did not have the opportunity to discuss our “interrogation.”  We were busted and the teacher knew it.  The punishment for cheating was failing the class and we knew it.  When questioned by the teacher what I had done, I confessed (without naming my accomplices) that I had cheated and that it was wrong.  I felt awful!

The following day my teacher called me into her empty room before class where I feared that I would receive my sentence of failure.  To my surprise, I received something else – her mercy.  She did not fail me for the course.  She said I was the only one who had admitted and confessed what I had done so she did not fail me, even though I deserved it.

Mercy is one of the great attributes of God revealed to us in Scripture.  It is often confused with the grace of God.  However, there are differences between God’s mercy and His grace.  While the two are indeed similar, there is a difference between them.  Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness that is extended to someone where another has the power to punish or harm them.  It is when punishment is deserved, but it is withheld to the benefit of the object of the mercy.

Grace is a gift that we do not deserve.  It is God blessing us, despite the fact that we have not deserved it. Simply put, grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do deserve.

From the fall of humanity, the sin of Adam, we have deserved nothing but the wrath and punishment of God.  Romans 3:23 says, “. . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  We are all guilty.  We have all sinned against our perfect and Holy God.  We are also told that, because of our sin, our punishment is death.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  We deserved death and eternal separation from God.  But thankfully that is not what we received!

God has shown us his mercy!  Over and over again, He is merciful to us who daily fall short of His perfection.  Each and every day we live is an act of mercy from God.   Rather than receiving the punishment of eternal death, those who follow Jesus receive the free gift of eternal life.

The greatest example of mercy is shown by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paying our debt on the cross.  Jesus paid the debt for our sin.  The punishment He received was for all of my sin (past, present and future). We do not need to look any further than the cross for the perfect example of mercy.

Nate Mills

April 9 – Jesse Tree – A Shepherd King?

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-1317:1-512 Samuel 5:1-57:8-11

“For the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

David was a small shepherd boy who played a harp and composed music. He was the youngest and smallest in his family. By all appearances he would be the least likely to lead his people into battle and to defeat the enemies of Israel. But he had one thing that most people of his day didn’t have… God’s own heart.

He might have been a little shepherd boy, but while he was watching his flock, he spent many hours getting to know God, marveling at His handiwork he saw all around him, talking to God, and singing his praises. He was quick to recognize God’s hand on his life. Scripture tells us that when he was anointed by Samuel, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.”

All these gave him the courage to volunteer against all odds to face Goliath alone and to lead his nation at a relatively young age.

It wasn’t how old or how strong or good-looking he was. It wasn’t even how smart he was that made David a great leader. No, it was how close he was to God. How dependent he was on His leading him down the right paths of life that made the difference.

Do you take time each day to get to know God? Do you wait on His guidance in your life? Are you willing to face the “giants” in your life knowing God is there beside you?

July 18 – His story : Man’s rescue – Rescued by a King

Read 1 Samuel 8:1-22 and 2 Samuel 7:1-29

HIS story of man’s rescue involves a king.

Israel’s desire for their first king does not seem to be a high point in their history. Perhaps you picked up on the two details that made their royal request anything but a moment that made God proud. And yet, be careful with your criticisms because you too are subject to these same weaknesses!

1. They desired a king because they wanted to be like the other nations (1 Sam. 8:5, 20). They liked what they observed in other nations…perhaps the pomp and circumstance…maybe a valiant, debonair man on a horse as the commander and chief of their armed forces. So, they decided they wanted one too. Be careful! Peer pressure can be a dangerous thing. Rather than being conformed to the world’s patterns, Christ followers are to be transformed into His likeness (Rom. 8:28, 29; 12:1, 2).

2. Their desire for a king indicated their rejection of God as king. Understandably, Samuel, as the national leader at that time interpreted their royal request as personal rejection. But God made it clear that the people had instead rejected Him. Be careful! An unsubmissive spirit towards God is rebellious and dangerous.

In spite of the driving forces behind their request of a king, God granted their wish. He can bring great things out of bad choices. First came Saul…who had his issues. Then came David. Somehow, in spite of some unwise choices, David is described as a man after the heart of God (1 Samuel 13:14). And God not only had a plan for David but also for one of his descendants who would reign eternally on David’s throne.

Several centuries later, a birth announcement went out from an angel named Gabriel to an expectant mother named Mary. In describing the son that would be born to her, the angel said, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Of course, Mary’s son was named Jesus. The Father sent a King to rescue rebellious people like us!

Steve Kern

April 26 – Songs of Praise – “Why not?” or “Who am I?”

Read 2 Samuel 7:1-28

“Why not?”  That could have been the response that David had given after the Lord turned down his offer to build the temple.  After all, temple building seemed obvious to David.  To him, it seemed unfair that he should live in a spacious palace while the Ark of the Covenant, representing the presence of God, had only ever been in a makeshift, portable tent.  As a result, David began to dream of a glorious temple that would reflect the greatness of God.

God had other plans.  As God spoke through David’s trusted servant Nathan, He revealed to the king that David would not be the one to build the temple.  Solomon, his son, would.  But that wasn’t the entire message.  God reminded David of his humble roots.  He pointed to the peace that Israel enjoyed at that time.  And He spoke of the future greatness that would one day be associated with David’s name.  From his offspring would come One (Jesus), whose kingdom would endure forever!

So, rather than the “why not?” of disappointment, David’s response is marked by the “who am I?” (v. 18) of privilege.  It was beyond his capacity to understand God’s selection of him and the many blessings that he had been permitted to experience.  David was so taken back by the wonder of God’s work that he even asked in amazement, “Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?” (v. 19)

Which of those phrases most marks your attitude during this Thanksgiving season?  Do you find yourself expressing the “why not?” of disappointment over things that you had hoped for but never realized, prayed about but never experienced, dreamed of but never saw fulfilled?  If so, your joy tank is likely being filled with bitterness.  That is dangerous!

Or is the phrase that defines your attitude the “who am I?” of privilege?  Your focus is on a long list of undeserved blessings.  And you can hardly contain the sense of gratitude that you feel.  That is life-giving!

Years ago, a band called “Casting Crowns” released a song by the title “Who Am I.”  The lyrics help us to capture the privileged position that we have in Him.  Catch the song by clicking the link here.

Steve Kern

March 28 – Mountaintops – Mount Gilboa

Read 1 Samuel 31:1-13 and 2 Samuel 1:1-27

David is widely known for his songs of worship and thanksgiving to the Lord.  The Psalms are filled with such expressions.  Similarly, several Psalms reflect pleading anguish written in desperation as Saul pursued David seeking to kill him.

In light of those realities, we would expect David’s song of 2 Samuel 1 to read differently.  What do I mean by that?  Let’s review some of what had happened.

  1. As king, Saul had repeatedly disobeyed the Lord and demonstrated his own willful rebellion against clear instructions God had given.
  2. God had clearly expressed his disappointment with Saul, even giving Samuel instruction to anoint another king.
  3. God had selected David as king.  In fact, His selection was made clear while Saul was still in office.  It was not to be realized until Saul’s death.
  4. Saul’s opposition to David was obvious.  He repeatedly attempted to murder the incumbent king.

So as the news trickled down to David from Mount Gilboa, one would expect David to Gilboa
rejoice.  After all, he would finally be able to assume the office for which he had been selected.  He would no longer have to be a man on the move, looking over his shoulder in fear of Saul’s next attempt to take his life.  It would seem to be the news that David had longed to hear.

But it wasn’t.

The man who expected to endear himself to David with a fabricated story of taking Saul’s life on Gilboa must have been surprised too.  Instead of being heralded as a hero, David had the man killed for taking the life of God’s anointed.  Instead of writing a song of praise, David wrote a song of mourning.  Instead of listing off all of his bad experiences with the man, David chose to honor him.

Rather than harboring anger and wishing ill on an enemy, David extended forgiveness and chose to see Saul as a person deserving of respect because of the position he held.

Friends, that example has broad application from how you respond to an enemy to how you speak of elected officials!

Steve Kern

December 1 – David and a Savior

Read 2 Samuel 7:1-29

Our consideration of the covenants of the Bible has already afforded us the opportunity to witness the unfolding plan of God.

  1. Through the Eternal Covenant, we saw that God, before the creation of the world, had already planned His provision for the redemption of man in the sacrifice of Christ.
  2. In the Edenic Covenant, man was given privileges, responsibility, and warnings within the Garden of Eden. Violation was punishable by death.
  3. The Noahic Covenant included a promise from God that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood.
  4. With Abraham, God established a covenant guaranteeing land, descendants, and blessing.
  5. To Moses, God gave the commandments of the Law that were designed to point out mankind’s need for a Savior.
  6. Before entering the Promised Land, God outlined obedience as a condition for blessing.

In every one of these covenants, we see God setting the stage for the revelation of His Son.  And, now, we recognize that the Davidic Covenant is no different.

Recognizing the wonderful blessings he had received from his Heavenly Father, David purposed to build a temple that would serve as a more ornate and permanent dwelling place for God.  For centuries, “God’s house” had been a portable, makeshift tent.  In David’s mind, it was somehow inequitable that he, as the king, should enjoy a beautiful palace while the King of the Universe should “inhabit” such a dwelling.

But God had other plans.  David would not build a house for Him.  No, his son, Solomon, would construct it.

And then there was the house that God would build for David (vv. 11b-13).  The David Covenant, you see, is all about this house.  This “house” would not be built by Solomon.  No, it was to be established by one of David’s future descendants.  This covenant was confirmed with an oath (Ps. 89:30-37) and ultimately realized through Jesus, the offspring of Mary (Lk. 1:30-33).

From eternity past, you see, God the Father has been leaving a trail pointing us to our need for and His provision of His Son.  Today, we are blessed to live at a time on the other side of the Savior’s first coming but in anticipation of His second coming in which that eternal kingdom will be established.