Monthly Archives: October 2020

109. Be the vessel God wants you to be

Thank you for walking this journey of the life of David with me. I wrote this series from beginning to end in 2019. So each week when I posted a devotion, I didn't even know what I was going to post. It was a surprise to me as well. And week after week the devotion spoke to my heart and I learned so much. It just shows you, that it was His Spirit who wrote these devotions, not me. He sees the future and knows exactly what we need to hear at that time.

In 2019 I didn't know that something like coronaviruses even existed. I never suspected that we will ever have a total lockdown and that we will be tested in so many ways. But unexpectantly it did. Our finances was tested, our relationships, our true goals in life, our dreams, our academics, everything. On the right and on the left, tests came our way. In the process I know I have learned a lot about myself, weaknesses in my life was laid bare and areas where I needed to work on was revealed. It is a process that I would much rather have avoided, but if I wanted to grow and be all that I can be I had to go through it. And I am sure I am not alone in this.

I saw a video clip the other day of a preacher doing pottery on stage whilst preaching. He showed the audience that getting the clay ready to be made into pottery was a very painful process for the clay. It certainly wasn't comfortable, but the clay needed to be rolled and squashed and pounded in order to be ready for the potter's wheel, ready to be all it could be.

He then places this pounded clay on the potter's wheel to make a beautiful pot. But he took a small pebble and placed it in the clay, and lo and behold, the whole piece of clay couldn't be made into a beautiful pot, it actually literally fell apart. The pebble needed to be taken out, otherwise the clay could be rendered useless. And the preacher said, it is the same for us. The pebble represents scars from our past that comes back to haunt us. It can be anything, from rejection, to abandonment, to alcoholism, to divorce, to abuse, you name it. It is scars not dealt with, and if we do not deal with them, then we can never be the vessel God intended us to be. We need to allow the Potter to help us to take out the pebble, we need to heal. He will help us every step of the way, as He desires for each one of us to become who He destined us to become. And we can only do that if we heal from past hurts, forgive where we need to and let go of bitterness. Then He will form us into the most beautiful vessel useable for His Kingdom.

The process doesn't end there though, we need to be placed in fire, in order for our vessel to become strong. Once again, it is not the most comfortable process, but one that needs to be done so that we can be the best we can be. For instance how do you develop patience? By going through frustratingly slow situations. How do you exercise and develop peace? By going through difficult times. We are strengthened by circumstances coming against us. But even when we are going through the fire, remember that God is with us, just like He was with the three friends of Daniel thrown into the fiery furnace.

I truly believe that God didn't bring this COVID-19 crises upon us, but I do believe that He is using it to strengthen us, to show us areas where we need to develop as well as past hurts that we need to deal with once and for all. He wants us to be the best that we can be. And if He needs to use a crises like this to develop it, then so be it. May we all come out of this COVID-19 pandemic, stronger than ever before. May we become the vessel that God wants us to be, so that we can live for His glory and exalt Him on high wherever we go. At the end of the day, being the best we can be is not just the best for His Kingdom, but for us as well. He has good plans for us afterall, plans to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants us to prosper in all things, but first we need to work on our soul (3 John 1:2).We need to become the vessel He destined us to become. So do not give up hope, when rough waves come and threaten to engulf you, stand strong. God is with you and will never allow you to drown. Just hold on to Him and allow Him to form you into the best YOU you can be.

Father thank you that You dream big about us. Thank you that You see the bigger picture and that you are filled with love and compassion for us. Take us and form us into the vessel You want us to be. And then use us for Your purposes. Give us the strength and the patience to continue no matter what. We love You. Amen


50. Stay close to God

Last week Solomon was crowned as king by David. And David, on his dying bed gave Solomon some advice. And the most important piece of advice was that Solomon must walk in the ways of God. And we know today that that piece of advice is still just as applicable to us today. We must be the super heroes today who will walk after God and in His ways. Therein lies true eternal and everlasting life.

After this piece of advice David died peaceably in his bed. He had a long and full life.

This has been an amazing journey for me and I hope for you too. This is the 50th devotion on David and I truly hope that it has blessed you as much as it has blessed me. So today I would just like us to have a look at David's life in summary.

David trusted in God since the days of his youth. As he was looking after the sheep he conquered lions and bears in the Name of the Lord. God loved him and noticed his faith. God sent Samuel to anoint David as king. His brothers and father didn't think much of him and were surprised that he was crowned king. But as we know, he didn't become king immediately. This was the start of a long journey for David. His experience with the sheep, led to David conquering Goliath. He trusted God inexplicitly. This act exalted him to a different level and into the house of the king, Saul. There he learned a lot of all the intricacies of being king. But Saul became jealous of David and tried to kill him. David had to flee.

David fled to the wilderness and God sent men who were down and out to him. God turned those men into mighty men and He used them to help David. It was more or less thirteen years since David was anointed king, until he finally became king. But in that time of waiting God had to teach him to trust in Him and His perfect timing, He taught him how to lead people, He taught him about war, He taught him about survival and following Him no matter what the circumstances. It wasn't all that easy for David to learn all these things. In fact David was at his lowest point in his life, right before he became king. The Amalekites conquered and burned down Ziklag where David and his men lived. They took everything David and his men owned, including their wives and children. When David and his men returned from the battle where they were, they discovered they had nothing. These mighty men broke down and started crying bitterly. They even plotted to kill David. So David at this point had literally nothing; no money, no possessions, no family and no friends. He only had God. And instead of being angry towards God, David turned towards God for help and comfort and God exalted David. Within a couple of days David and his men had retrieved all that they had lost and even more. And David was crowned king over Judah. He had to wait another seven years before he was crowned king over all of Israel, but he waited patiently and trusted God without wavering. He was indeed an amazing man.

Later on in his life a few deeds were recorded where he didn't walk in God's ways. But the amazing thing was that he was quick to repent and to follow God wholeheartedly again.

David was a man after God's heart. Why? Because he always trusted God and followed Him, no matter what the circumstances tried to convey. And this is what we must do as well. God simply want us to trust in Him and follow Him. We can throw away the list of do's and don'ts and just abide in His presence, just be in His presence. That is all that God desires. He wants us close to Him, in love with Him, filled with Him to the brim, consumed by Him. He wants us to never leave His side. That is what David did and God used him in a mighty way. Today He also wants to use you. Allow Him to; stay close so that you can hear His whisper. Then you can know that all that He has planned for your life will come to pass. Rejoice in that and all the good plans that He has for you:

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Father thank you that You taught us so many things this past year using Your servant David as an example to us all. We have learned so much from him. We also want to be children after Your own heart. We want to spend time in Your presence and just be with You. With You lie all the answers to this life, as well as Shalom peace. Thank you for that and that it is freely available to us all. We love You. Amen

49. Be a superhero for God

Last week we learned that David sinned in taking a census of the fighting men. He wanted to do that in order to glory in his own power. God then punished Israel with three days of a plague that He sent. Seventy thousand people died in the process. David repented immediately and offered sacrifices to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah. The plague stopped. David was always quick to repent, to turn to God and to do whatever it takes to rectify his mistake. We can also learn from him and should always turn to God and listen to His voice instructing us on the way forward.

David was getting older and the time had come for him to have a successor. He had promised Bathsheba that Solomon will be king in his place, but he never formally decreed it. Then Adonijah decided that he must be king instead. He proclaimed himself king and had many of David's trusted advisors follow him. But this was not God's plan. While Adonijah was partying as the self-proclaimed king, David organized that Solomon be crowned king and all the people of the land followed him. All that followed Adonijah fled and Solomon became king. Adonijah himself feared for his life, but Solomon declared that if he proves himself to be a worthy man, he will live, but if wickedness is found in him he will die. Unfortunately this happened later on and Adonijah was executed.

So Solomon became the next king of Israel, but before David died he gave Solomon some last piece of advice. And the first and best advice that he gave Solomon was:

"And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn." 1 Kings 2:3

David gave the secret to an abundant life to Solomon. This was the most important advice ever given to Solomon. Unfortunately Solomon didn't do that. He was a wise man and God was mightily with him, but he took many foreign wives. And he built temples to their gods to appease them. And this in the end led him to worship these false gods with them. God wasn't pleased, but He didn't punish Solomon due to His love for David. He split the Kingdom in two with Solomon's son Rehoboam. But that is a story of another day.

The message for us today is that we must walk in God's ways as David did. God's ways are loud and clear in the Bible for us. In those days they were not as fortunate as we are today. They didn't have all the technology at hand to always have a Bible close by. They had to trust what others told them and read to them. But we don't have to. We are so privileged; I don't think we always appreciate it as we should. We can delve into God's Word and learn His ways. We can learn more about Him and spend time with Him on a very intimate level. We are truly so fortunate. But unfortunately when something is easy, it doesn't attract us as humans that much. Think of all the extreme sports doing the rounds these days, the harder and more extreme the better. We then give those guys a badge of honor and revere them as if they are super heroes. When in fact the super heroes are those that really dig into God's Word and take the diamonds for their daily walk with God. Super heroes are those that defy this world and walk on the narrow pathway leading to life everlasting. They are the ones sold out to God, those who will stand up in this evil world of ours and proclaim His majesty no matter what the cost.

Are you a super hero in the world's eyes or in God's eyes? For if you are one in God's eyes your super hero status will continue past this world unto heaven. There you will be honored and revered and given the crown of salvation. And that life will continue way past this present one.

Come, the time has come to get dressed in the armor of God and fly as the super hero that you are. God wants to take you higher and higher. Get ready for action.

Father, thank you that You are always there for us, supporting us and leading us unto Your ways everlasting. We never want to deviate from Your plan for us. Help us to walk on the correct pathways for our lives. Amen

48. Listen to God's voice

Last week we had a look at the mighty men that helped David to reach his goal of becoming king. They weren't valiant, mighty men to start off with, but they became mighty through the power of God helping them to make David king. Today God also supplies mighty men and women in our lives to help us to reach our goals. They might not seem 'mighty' in the eyes of the world at first, but with His strength and power they become mighty to help us on our journey. Do not shun the help that God brings over your path, but be grateful for the people that He sends to help you. You cannot succeed alone.

David was safely on his throne and they had peace on all sides. God helped them to achieve that. Then the Bible tells us that Satan tempted David to sin. David decided to take a census of all the fighting men that he had in all of Israel. He wanted to know the might of his army, without looking to God as the mighty Power behind his army. The sin was therefore that David wanted to glory in his own power and not God's. Joab tried to talk David out of it:

"Now may the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?" 2 Samuel 24:3

But David wouldn't listen and sent Joab out to count. This took nine months and twenty days. They counted eight hundred thousand valiant men in Israel and five hundred thousand valiant men in Judah. And the Bible tells us that David regretted that he had ordered this census:

"And David's heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly." 2 Samuel 24:10

This is just like David. He quickly repents from sin and turns to God. I love that. He never turns away from God, but always towards Him. No wonder he was a man after God's heart!

Now God had to punish this act of David as Jesus hadn't died yet for their sins. But God in His grace gave David a choice. Either 3 years of famine, 3 months of running from their enemies or 3 days of plague sent by God. David chose the three days of plague. As he said it was better to fall into the hands of God than into the hands of his enemies. Seventy thousand people died in the process. It was a very sad day! David fell before the Lord and asked God to leave the innocent alone and to rather punish him. God then gave instructions through Gad, the prophet that David should offer to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David immediately listened and did just that. And there the plague stopped.

"And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel." 2 Samuel 24:25

And on this spot Solomon built the Temple of the Lord. It was there that God withdrew His threat from the nation. And it was there that David humbled himself and offered prayers for the people. This place became a symbol of offerings and prayers offered in humble obedience.

David always listened when the prophets spoke to him. He was always ready to repent and to do whatever God said through the prophets to rectify things. David had to hear God's Voice through the prophets, because he didn't have His Spirit within him as we do today.

Today we can hear God's voice through His Spirit. But do we listen as David did? Do we act as quickly as he did when God speaks to us? We all have the ability to hear God's voice, but mostly we don't make the time to listen. We rush around, we are kept busy on a daily basis, and we are swamped with so many things cluttering our lives and the sounds around us keep on increasing and the demand on our time keep on screaming at us. And in the process we don't hear God's voice whispering to us. He wants us to calm down, to make time for Him, to hear Him loud and clear. We can if we make the effort. God wants to speak to us, He wants us all to hear His voice, but are we willing to make the time? Are we willing to give up certain things in our lives in order to listen. And when we do hear, do we act and obey as David did? Do we put all things aside and do what the Lord has placed on our hearts? I think we seldom do. We should rather follow David's example and leave everything to follow God and to do what He has told us to do. I can promise you that it will be worth your while.

Father thank you that we can know that You are always talking to us, always whispering Your truths. We simply need to pause and listen. Thank you Father for all Your goodness. We want to slow down and hear Your voice loud and clear. Please help us to do so. Amen

47. God always sends us help

Last week we saw how David thanked and exalted God for saving them from the Philistines. David wrote God the most beautiful song of praise. And we learned that we need to thank God too for all that He is doing in our lives. We should never neglect that. We shouldn't just ask, but we should also thank Him for making all things work out for our good. He is our good Shepherd, always good in all His ways leading us unto pathways of everlasting life.

The Bible then tells us more of the mighty men of David. David had thirty mighty men and he had three who were even more superior than they. The Bible tells us of Josheb-Basshebeth who in one battle killed eight hundred men. Then there was Eleazer, he and David alone stood and fought against the Philistines even though the men of Israel had retreated. He fought until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord honored him and David and brought about a great victory that day. Then there was Shammah, one time he alone stood and fought against the Philistines and the Lord brought a great victory. These were the three mighty men of David.

There were also other mighty men who was not part of the three, but were very brave. Like Abishai, he killed 300 men in one battle. There was also Benaiah:

"He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so he went down to him with a staff, wrestled the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with his own spear." 2 Samuel 23:20, 21

Wow, David indeed had mighty men on his side. I cannot even begin to imagine how one man could kill 800 men without a gun or any of today's technology in one battle! Or how a man wrestled with a lion on a snowy day! My goodness, these men were valiant fighters and God used them mightily. God sent them to David to help him to secure the throne. God surrounded David with men strong and brave enough to protect Israel from their enemies and to bring peace to them. God made sure that David had all the help that he needed.

God will most certainly send the same help to you. He will make sure that you have all the resources that you need to succeed in His God-ordained plan for you. He will send people to you to help you flourish in His plans for you. God will never leave you to fend for yourself. You simply need to be open to receive the people that God sends to you. Imagine if David sulked in the caves where he hid away from Saul and chased all who came to him away because they were not good enough or because he was so swamped in self-pity. Where would he have been? Certainly not the mighty king that he became. You see the men that God sent to David weren't exactly the cream of the crop. He sent men who were outcasts, who were running from their debt, who were exiled etc. And yet, they became mighty with God's power, because He wanted them to help David.

This made me think of the disciples too. Jesus didn't choose the cream of the crop for His closest friends either. They were lowly people in the community. They were not the 'who's who'. No, they were doing lowly despised jobs and yet Jesus chose them. And they became mighty when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. They stood in front of mobs proclaiming their faith, never fearing what could be done to them. Their main aim was spreading the Gospel and telling everyone how amazing Christ is and they did that with all their might. They were mighty with the power of God.

And today God is mightily with you too. He lives within you and wants to show you all that you can be for Him. Allow Him to move with all His might within you. And do not despise the people He sends to help you. They might not be the cream of the crop in this world's eyes, but they are mighty in Jesus to help you! Allow them to. Do not be too proud to ask for help. David would never have become king on his own, he needed help and God supplied it for him. So take the help offered from Above and walk in your destiny with your head held high.

Thank you Father that You never leave us without help. Thank you so much that we can know that. Please show us the people that You have ordained to help us. We want to take hands with them and walk this road that You have planned for us. Thank you so much for all Your good plans for our lives. We love You. Amen

46. Give thanks to God in all things

In the past couple of weeks we saw that David had a lot of opposition. First from within his own family and then from without. But he was God's ordained leader and God honored him because of it. He fought for David to keep him on the throne. We learned that the same is true of us today. If God is for us, who can be against us? He walks as a mighty Warrior by our side. We simply need to stay by His side and follow His voice for our lives.

After Absalom's rebellion, David was firmly on the throne once again, but the Philistines came to attack them once more. After a couple of brutal fights they defeated the Philistines and Israel had rest from their enemies. Then David wrote a song to God honoring Him for delivering them. I just want to quote a couple of verses from this song of David:

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust. For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness. He is a shield to all who trust in Him. God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places." 2 Samuel 22:2, 3, 29, 31, 33, 34

Isn't it beautiful? David gave honor and glory to God. He attributes his strength to God and acknowledges that God has placed him on his high places. He thanked God openly and publicly for all that He did for him. This sums up David for me, a man who really honored God in all that he did. And if he made mistakes, he was sorry and immediately made right with the Lord again and drew near to Him.

How many times have you thanked God for being with you? For giving you what you have? I have a journal and many times I write down things that I am trusting God for. And now and again I page back a year or two, to remember again what I have prayed about and what my mindset were back then. And it is amazing to see how things turned out, not necessarily as I had dreamed or envisioned, but everything worked out as it should. And it is then that I am reminded to thank God for all that He has done. Sometimes I notice that I never thanked Him. That is very sad indeed and I think it happens more often than we think. We should thank God for all that He has done for us. We should exalt Him and testify of His goodness and grace. Our testimonies should be like sweet incense, not only to Him but to other people as well, drawing them closer to God.

This song of David is beautiful to me. I can visualize God as our Rock and Fortress, our Deliverer. That is who He is and I want to exalt Him as that today. He is up high, seeing everything and acting upon all that is going on in our lives. He is around us, protecting us from all sides. He is our Deliverer, giving us access into the Holy of Holies. He is our shield, protecting us from all attacks. He is our lamp, lighting the way, so that we can clearly see where we need to go. He is our strength and power, giving us all the vitamins and minerals that we need. And He sets us on high places, allowing us to walk there with the swift feet of deer. He is our everything; without Him we are nothing.

We glorify Your Name o Lord and we thank you for all that You have done for us in our lives. We exalt Your Name on high and glorify Your mighty Name. Without You we do not want to take one step. Thank you for being with us! We are eternally grateful to You Jesus for opening the way for us. Hallelujah! Amen

45. God is for you

Last time we saw how Absalom was killed in his revolt against David. We saw how David bitterly wept for his son. David knew that this whole debacle was his fault. If he had disciplined his sons and if the adultery with Bathsheba didn't happen, none of this would have happened. But David was reprimanded by his commander, Joab to appreciate those who risked their lives for him. David had to snap out of it, forgive himself and move on. We also learned that. And that we should appreciate those in our lives who do so much for us. We should treat them the best and love them for their support.

So David went back to Jerusalem to reign as king once again. God reinstated him. The tribe of Judah came to welcome him and helped him and all his belongings to cross over the Jordan river. The Israelites were angry that Judah stole away and brought David back alone, without their help. They claimed their rights to David. But Judah claimed theirs. They had a verbal fight and one man from Israel, Sheba, yelled:

"We have no share in David, nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O Israel!" 2 Samuel 20:1

So Israel followed him. David knew that Sheba was going to do him a lot of harm. He then sent Amasa and Joab after him. Joab knew that David was planning to make Amasa his new commander, so he killed him by deceiving him. Then Joab and his men went after Sheba. He found him hiding in a city, Abel. They wanted to besiege the city, when a wise old woman called Joab closer. She wanted peace. So Joab told her they would have peace if they killed Sheba themselves. They did that and Joab went back to David.

David had a lot of opposition, first from within his family and then from without. But God had ordained him as king and no one could do anything against him. Even though Joab, his commander, didn't always act honorably, David did, and God honored that.

We might also experience opposition when we are on the path that God ordained for us. We might have 'Absalom's and 'Sheba's come against us. We might have people inside our family discouraging us as well as outsiders. We might feel as if we are facing brick walls sometimes. But God is with us in a mighty, awesome way. This reminds me of Romans 8:31-33

"If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies."

We are God's elect, His children, dear and precious to Him. And even though some may bring false charges against us, He will justify us in front of everyone. Even though some may plot our downfall, He is for us and will not allow it to happen. Even if people try to discourage us from God's ordained path, God will open the way. Isn't that wonderful news? God is walking with us as the strong and mighty One. While we are on earth we can expect opposition, but we should do as David did, we should give it to the Lord. We should do what we can from our side and then sit back and enjoy His victory. God will never leave us nor forsake us. We simply need to follow our Shepherd. We as sheep shouldn't overanalyze everything. Sheep are not very intelligent. We should rather be like them and follow Him regardless of circumstances and voices shouting at us. We should trust Him explicitly, totally and without wavering. Then He will lead us to green pastures, far from dangerous cliffs, and bless us with a long life in His sanctuary.

Father, thank you that we can trust You. Victory is Yours, hallelujah! And if You are for us, who can be against us? Thank you for that assurance! We love You. Amen

108. Easter 2021

Last year Easter was really unique due to the hard lockdown we were under here in South Africa. We had to stay home and we were not allowed to go to church or to visit family and friends. Now this year the uniqueness still continues as we are still under a lockdown, even though we are under level 1. We can visit family and friends and sort of go to church if you are fortunate to be within the capacity limit of the church, but we still do not have the freedom that we had before this virus came our way. Now I for one didn't think last year Easter time that we would still be sitting with this pandemic at next Easter. I honestly thought that if we are under a hard lockdown for 5 weeks, we can somehow keep the wave down and be free from the virus in no time. And yet, here we are, a year later and we still do not know when the end of the lockdown and the detrimental effects on our lives will be. But fortunately we know the One who does.

God knows the future, He knows what He is planning for us, and He is a good Father looking out for His children. If we just read the Bible we see time and again how God came to the rescue of His people, how He saved the day when they turned towards Him. There are numerous examples. He saved the Israelites every single time that they turned to Him, when they sought refuge from Him. Every single time. It was only when they followed their own heads and did what seemed right in their own eyes that things turned south. It was when they turned their backs on God that they were surrounded by enemies, losing all the battles. But with Him by their side, no enemy was too great and no multitude too overwhelming. God fought for them. In one swoop He took care of their enemies when the Israelites sought refuge under His wings.

The same is true of us today and even more so, because Jesus died and took our sins upon Himself. He paved the way for us so that we can enter into the presence of the Almighty God all on our own, without any sacrifices. He did it all for us, to provide a way for us out of the situations we might find ourselves in.

One thing that I learned during this pandemic time is that God never leaves us nor forsakes us. He does allow things, but the way has been paved for us to come to Him and find our refuge there. He uses every opportunity this world presents, to help us grow spiritually, so that we can be the glorious people He intended us to be. His mission is to have sons and daughters on earth representing Him. For when we represent Him as the spiritual beings that we are, we would be happy and we would be spreading His Kingdom at the same time.

The growth process might be painful, it might be uncomfortable, it might be something you wish you can skip, but it is all worth it in the end. Getting rid of the sinful flesh that we are born with is not a pleasant experience. The flesh doesn't want to be inconvenienced and worse yet, doesn't want to be cut out. It will kick and scream and throw a tantrum, but that is exactly what God wants. He wants us free from it, so that we can be who He really created us to be. Therein lies true joy and peace everlasting. Therein lies true fulfillment. Walking on earth as the true son or daughter of God that you were created to be is the most rewarding and fulfilling life. Nothing can come close to it. And if COVID-19 caused us to take a better look at our lives and if it caused our sinful flesh to be uncomfortable and slowly die, then I can see the bigger picture. Then I can see how God is working in all of this.

He wants the work that His Son did for us on the cross to continue even further. Because when we are examples of what Jesus did for us to a world desperately seeking for good news and freedom from bondage, then God is so pleased. And if a pandemic forces our sinful flesh to lash out and then slowly die, then it is worth it.

Now is the time to shine. Now is the time to show the world that despite a pandemic suffocating us, we can still be joyful. Now is the time to give people hope, hope that there is so much more than this life and what the world can offer us. Now is the time to spread the Easter message of love, hope and joy. God is with us, He is a good good Father, who offered His only Son, so that we all can have life and life in abundance. Hallelujah!

Father thank you that we can celebrate Your Son's death, His salvation that He made available to all of us. We thank you for life and life in abundance that we can find through Your Son. Please help us to spread Your Good News to all and to be the example that You want us to be. We love You and exalt You on high. Amen

44. Appreciate those closest to you

Last week we saw how Shimei, a descendant of Saul, came in the 'Name of the Lord' and slandered David. He threw him with stones and cursed him using lies of the devil. The Lord never spoke through Shimei. David didn't do anything, but left it in the Lord's hands. We learned that we shouldn't listen to negative prophetic word coming from one person towards us. God's prophetic word will always be confirmed by more than one witness and it will be uplifting towards you as we saw last week. We should only take what is confirmed and then leave the false prophet in God's hands to deal with.

In the meantime Absalom is in Jerusalem strengthening his case to become king himself. His advisor told him to immediately go after David and kill him. He said that all the people will then turn to Absalom. This advice pleased Absalom and the elders of Israel. This was the best plan, but God frustrated their plans by sending David's friend, Hushai, to pretend that he was on Absalom's side. Hushai said they should rather wait and gather the whole army of Israel and go to war. As David was a fierce warrior, therefore it will be better to have more men gathered. This advice bought David time and God ordained that Absalom rather follow this advice, which was actually beneficial to David.

So the next day Absalom gathered the forces of Israel and went to war against David and his men in the woods of Ephraim. It was a bitter slaughter. The men of Israel fell before David's men, plus the Bible tells us that the woods devoured more people that day than the sword did.

David asked his leaders to be gentle with Absalom. Even though Absalom tried to kill him, he still loved his son. So it happened that as Absalom was riding on a mule, his hair got stuck in a great tree. The mule kept on riding and Absalom was left hanging. Joab, David's commander heard of it and killed Absalom, against the wishes of David. Then Joab blew the trumpet and the people returned from pursuing Israel. When Israel heard that Absalom was dead, they fled.

Joab sent news to David that the battle was over and that Absalom was killed. David was so sad that Absalom was dead and cried for him bitterly. David's whole army was saddened when they saw this. The victory of the day turned into mourning. Then Joab came and confronted David:

"Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well. Now therefore, arise, go out and speak comfort to your servants. For I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now." 2 Samuel 19:5-7

David listened and went out. He spoke to his men and sent messages to all of Israel. And they all agreed to reinstate him as king again.

I think the reason that David was so sad about Absalom is that he knew it was actually his own fault. He didn't act and punish Amnon for raping Absalom's sister. This resulted in Absalom taking revenge himself. And then Absalom fled and David took five years before he allowed Absalom back into his sight. He should have forgiven him much quicker, as this time allowed hatred and revenge to brew in Absalom's mind. All and all David should have punished Amnon and then nothing of this would have happened. David knew this and that is why he was so sad. He loved Absalom and his own inability to discipline Amnon and to forgive caused Absalom and Amnon to be killed in the end. But David had to snap out of it and move on. He had to forgive himself too and appreciate those that he had in his life. He had to go out and tell them that.

We also need to forgive ourselves for things that had happened in the past. We need to let go. We hurt ourselves and those around us in the process. We need to snap out of it, forgive ourselves and move on. We have to. We also need to appreciate those that we have in our lives. Unfortunately we lash out against those closest to us when we are stressed and tired. We tend to speak kindly to others and be tired of kind words when we get home. That is not right. We need to treat those closest to us with the utmost respect and treat them the best. They are our support and those that carry us through dark times. Love them and appreciate them anew in your life. Tell them that. They need to hear it.

Father, thank you for those that You have placed in our lives. Thank you that they are so close to us. We appreciate them and love them. We also forgive ourselves for things that we have done in the past. We let go and we give it into Your capable hands. Amen

43. Beware of false prophets

Last week we saw how David had to flee from his own son, Absalom, who wanted to overthrow him as king over Israel. David had to flee Jerusalem, he and many of his friends and allies. David was barefoot, walking with his head covered. It was indeed a low point in his life. But despite all this, he still honored God, he still gave himself into His capable hands to do with him as He deems fit. It is truly wonderful to see and a lesson for all of us to learn.

Poor David was on the run from his son, Absalom. And in the process he was slandered too. Shimei came while David was fleeing Jerusalem. He was family from the house of Saul. He cursed David and threw stones at David and his men. He said the following, whilst cursing and throwing stones:

"The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom, your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!" 2 Samuel 16:8

Shimei really slandered poor David, and at a time where he was truly down and out. And to make matters worse, he used the Name of the Lord. He spoke as if God gave him this revelation to give to David. Now because we know David's life, we know that what he is saying is not true. First of all God gave Saul's kingdom to David, David didn't forcefully take it. Secondly, David didn't kill Saul and his family, the Philistines and criminals did. And thirdly, God never chose Absalom to be king, he exalted himself.

David's men wanted to kill Shimei for doing this, but David didn't allow them. He once again left it in the hands of the Lord to deal with Shimei.

"It may be that the Lord will look upon my affliction and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day." 2 Samuel 16:12

And indeed the Lord did. At the end of the day, David told Solomon to act according to his wisdom to deal with Shimei when he was king. So Solomon called Shimei and told him to live in Jerusalem, but if he ever left the walls of the city, he would be killed. Sure enough three years later, he left the sanctuary of Jerusalem in search of two of his slaves that ran away. Solomon heard of it and had Shimei executed. God vindicated David for all Shimei did to him.

Today we may also encounter people coming to us in the Name of the Lord. They may share things with us that they say is from the Lord. But be careful, they could be a Shimei, especially if it is negative words coming out of their mouths towards you. God will always confirm His Word to you, always. He will speak with you personally, and He will send people to you, and He will speak through His Word. It will most certainly come from various places. His words towards you will be confirmed, it always is. So if you hear the same message from various people, then you should maybe listen, but if one person comes in the Name of the Lord, it might be a Shimei.

Secondly prophecy in the New Testament is always there to build you up and not to break you down:

"But he who prophecies speaks edification and comfort to men. He who speaks in tongues edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church." 1 Corinthians 14:3,4

Prophecy is there to build one up, to bring comfort to you and not to break you down. I have given prophetic word to many many people over the past couple of years and it has always, without exception been uplifting. God sees us as who we are in His Son, He sees who we can become in the natural. He sees our potential and wants to build us up to reach our fullest potential and be the best that we can be. God will never break you down and give negative prophetic word to you, never. In the Old Testament He had to warn Israel of upcoming judgment because they didn't follow Him. But today, due to Jesus' death, judgment is not coming our way anymore. God wants to build His church and lift us higher. Yes, if you are doing things that are contrary to His will, like adultery for example, the church might come to reprimand you for your wrong doing, but that is not prophetic word, that is straightforward discipline. Prophetic word is always uplifting, inspiring us to be better and to be lifted higher.

Father, thank you for speaking to us through various sources. It is so wonderful to know that You speak to us today, loud and clear. You are so amazing, so special and we love You dearly. Help us to hear only Your voice and not the voice of false prophets dragging us down. Amen