Reaching Our Potential

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 5:1-2 (NIV)
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

2 Samuel 5:1-2 (MSG)
Before long all the tribes of Israel approached David in Hebron and said, “Look at us—your own flesh and blood! In time past when Saul was our king, you were the one who really ran the country. Even then God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel and you’ll be the prince.’”
“Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel out [to war] and brought Israel in [from battle]. And the Lord told you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel and be ruler over them.’” -AMPLIFIED

After the death of Ish-bosheth we find the whole of Israel approaching David. David had been king of Judah at Hebron for more than seven years at this point in time. Now all the tribes of Israel have decided to recognize him as king. (God makes all things beautiful in His time. A reminder to us all that we need to “Be Still” and patiently wait on God.)

The writer of Lamentations reminds us of the need to patiently wait on God. “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times.” -Lamentations 3:25-27 (MSG)

Finally the people of Israel have come to an agreement; David would be their king. They approach him and come to an understanding with him. “We are all related: we are flesh of your flesh, bone of your bones. When Saul was king, you always led the army of Israel out and then brought it back safely. The Eternal said to you, “You will be the shepherd of My people Israel, the ruler over all of them.” -(VOICE)

David made this agreement with them; a covenant, if you will. At that point he is once again anointed; this time as king over all of Israel. “David was 30 years old when he first became king, and he was king for 40 years; he reigned in Hebron over Judah alone for 7½ years, and then he reigned over the united kingdom of Judah and Israel for 33 years.” -2 Samuel 5:4-5 (VOICE)

Something of importance needs to be addressed at this point in time. In verse 2 we must notice what the people asked of David, “You will be the shepherd of My people Israel, the ruler over all of them.” How interesting it is that the shepherd boy is asked to be the shepherd king of this nation. (We need to remember that this was God’s plan all along. No coincidences with Him.)

This Shepherd-King had his job cut out for him. He would be responsible for:
1.) Protecting his sheep/people; from predators of all kinds.
2.) Providing for his sheep/people; not only food and water, but everything they needed.
3.) Caring for the sheep/people’s wounds; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
4.) Building up moral and driving out fear among the sheep/people. (Sheep are very fearful creatures.)

David had a big job, but God had personally chosen him. Remember, he was a man after God’s own heart. Also, every experience that he had while a shepherd among the sheep had helped prepare him for the job of king. He was ready because of all those situations and experiences he had learned from as a young boy wandering around with his flock.

* “I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].” Philippians 1:6 (AMP)

* “He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11 (AMP)

* For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.
God has a purpose and a plan for everyone of our lives.” -Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

God has plans for all of us. Every experience that we go through is created and allowed for us to learn from. Question we need to ask ourselves is; are we learning? Are we growing? Are we becoming what God has intended for us to be?

Are you reaching your full potential?

My Prayer:
Lord, I know you have great plans for my life. You have a purpose for me within the scheme of things. Help me to submit to your perfect will in my life. Help me to trust you in every aspect. Work in my life and help me to reach my full potential for your glory; not mine.

Beware of the Troublemakers

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 4:5-7(NIV)
Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away.
They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they traveled all night by way of the Arabah.

2 Samuel 4:5-7 (MSG)
One day Baanah and Recab, the two sons of Rimmon, headed out for the house of Ish-Bosheth. They arrived at the hottest time of the day, just as he was taking his afternoon nap. They entered the house on a ruse, pretending official business. The maid guarding the bedroom had fallen asleep, so Recab and Baanah slipped by her and entered the room where Ish-Bosheth was asleep on his bed. They killed him and then cut off his head, carrying it off as a trophy. They traveled all night long, taking the route through the Arabah Valley.
“So the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, left and came to the house of Ish-bosheth in the heat of the day while he was taking his midday rest. They came into the interior of the house as if to get wheat [for the soldiers], and they struck him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped [unnoticed]. Now when they entered the house he was lying on his bed in his bedroom. They [not only] struck and killed him, [but] they also beheaded him. Then they took his head and traveled all night by way of the Arabah.” -AMPLIFIED

Things have not been going well for Ish-bosheth and they are about to get even worse. Remember, Abner, his general and right-hand-man has been killed. He has fallen into a state of depression and lost all courage because he knows that he is nothing without the backing of Abner; that was how dependent he was on Abner.

Civil strife threatened to erupt at any time within the kingdom. In fact, it would begin within Ish-boseth’s own ranks. “Ish-Bosheth had two men who were captains of raiding bands—one was named Baanah, the other Recab. They were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, a Benjaminite. (The people of Beeroth had been assigned to Benjamin ever since they escaped to Gittaim. They still live there as resident aliens.)” -2 Samuel 4:2-3 (MSG)

These two men were major trouble-makers and they would be Ish-bosheth’s demise. “Baanah and Rechab, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, hatched a plan. They set out, and they came to Ish-bosheth’s residence during the noonday heat as he was taking a nap. They crept inside the house as if to get some wheat. There they stabbed Ish-bosheth in the abdomen while he lay asleep on his bed, killing him. Then Rechab and his brother Baanah cut off Ish-bosheth’s head and escaped. They carried his head away and traveled all night across the desert plains.” -2 Samuel 4:5-7 (VOICE)

Baanah and Rechab thought that they were “HELPING” David. They thought that they would be greatly rewarded for what they had done. They were sadly misguided. They took Ish-bosheth’s head and presented it to David in Hebron with a very cocky attitude. “Here is the head of your enemy, Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, who tried to kill you. Today the Eternal One has avenged my lord, the king, against Saul and his clan.” -2 Samuel 4:8 (VOICE)

David’s response to their gift was not at all what they expected. “As the Eternal One lives, the One who has redeemed my life from every danger, when the messenger brought me the word, “Saul is dead”—as though that would be some reason for me to rejoice, that would get him a reward—I seized him and had him killed at Ziklag. That was his reward for bringing me such news. How much more do you deserve to be punished, you wicked men who kill a righteous man in his own bedroom? Don’t you imagine that now I’ll make you answer for his blood with your own and wipe you from the face of the earth?” -2 Samuel 4:9-11 (VOICE)

David commanded his men to kill Baanah and Rechab. He then had their hand and feet cut off and their bodies hung out in public as a warning to anyone else who thought it would be a good idea to go after Saul’s family. Then Ish-bosheth’s head was taken and respectfully honored and then buried in Abner’s tomb.

Beware of the trouble-makers! In fact, Solomon warns us of this:
“Someone who struts around taking advantage of unsuspecting souls
and deceiving others is to be avoided.
With a wink of his eye, a quick shuffle of his feet,
and a slight gesture with his hand, he signals his roguish treachery.
With a warped mind and twisted heart, he constantly looks for his own gain at others’ expense,
causing friction everywhere he goes.
But you watch: his actions will bring sudden disaster!
In an instant, his life will be shattered,
and there will be nothing to save him.
Take note, there are six things the Eternal hates;
no, make it seven He abhors:
Eyes that look down on others, a tongue that can’t be trusted,
hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that conceives evil plans,
feet that sprint toward evil,
A false witness who breathes out lies,
and anyone who stirs up trouble among the faithful.” -Proverbs 6:12-19 (VOICE)

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to not be a stirrer up of trouble, but a peace-maker. Help me also to steer clear of those who stir up trouble. I desire to be pleasing to you. I want to bring harmony and support to the family of God, not dissension and problems. Work in my life Lord Jesus and make me more like you, I pray.

Lost Courage

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 4:1 (NIV)
When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed.

2 Samuel 4:1(MSG)
Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, heard that Abner had died in Hebron. His heart sank. The whole country was shaken.
“When Saul’s son Ish-bosheth [king of Israel], heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel was horrified.”

News of the death of Abner finally reaches Ish-Bosheth, the son of Saul. When he heard the news of the downfall of his general, his right hand man, he panicked. Scripture tells us that he lost all courage. The Amplified footnote uses the term that his hands hung slack. In other words, he was so over-come with fear that he did not even know what to do. Abner had been his support and go-to-guy; he depended on him. Now he was just a feeble, inefficient prince who had few of those qualities required for a sovereign to reign over a kingdom. (He felt doomed.)

The interesting thing is that once Ish-Bosheth fell into this mentality, once he let this fear overcome him, all of Israel was affected and felt that same fear. They did not know what the end of all of this might be; nor did they had any confidence in Ish-Bosheth. No one knew who to turn to or what the outcome of this fiasco was going to be.

The totally horrifying, strange thing is that no one even mentioned the need for all of Israel to seek God in this turbulent, upsetting time; no one. Instead of turning to and focusing on the One, True God, the Great “I AM” they all panicked. Fear is a sure sign that one is not trusting in God; for it is the opposite of trust.

It was King Solomon who penned these words that we all need to make our life motto:
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” -Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

God’s message to all is this, “Fear not!” He tells us in the book of Isaiah, “Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’” -Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)

Jesus told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]” -John 14:27 (AMP)

Take courage my friend and trust in God!

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to always put my trust in you and not be afraid. Too often my eyes wander to the circumstances and my focus goes off of you. At that instance, when my eyes leave you, I always wind up in a heap of trouble. Forgive me for not trusting, Lord. Fill me with your peace and help me to find my courage in you.

The Need for a Humble Attitude

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 3:38-39 (NIV)
Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

2 Samuel 3:38-39 (MSG)
The king spoke to his servants: “You realize, don’t you, that today a prince and hero fell victim of foul play in Israel? And I, though anointed king, was helpless to do anything about it. These sons of Zeruiah are too much for me. God, requite the criminal for his crime!
“Then the king said to his servants, “Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel? Today I am weak, though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too difficult for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer [Joab] in accordance with his wickedness!” -Amplified

Joab has gone behind David’s back and murdered Abner. David’s reaction and response to this news could make or break him and his future as king. Knowing this he carefully took the time to acknowledge and remember Abner’s life and now his death. If he had tried to sweep this whole scandal under the carpet (as some people so often try to do) eventually there would have been a public scandal and David would have had to deal with something extremely worse.

Scripture tells us that when David found out about the death of Abner he informed everyone that there would be a time of mourning for this great man. David himself stepped up and took a very public part in observing and remembering Abner’s contribution to Israel; even weeping before all the people for the loss of Abner. “Then David said to Joab and to all the people with him, “Tear your clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourn before Abner.” And King David walked behind the bier. They buried Abner in Hebron; and the king raised his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept.” -2 Samuel 3:31-32 (AMP)

David sang this song, a song of lament, over Abner in front of all the people:
“Should Abner [the great warrior] die as a fool dies?
Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters;
As a man falls before the wicked, so you have fallen.” –2 Samuel 3:33-34 (AMP)
Once again the people wept over the loss of Abner. (This included the perpetrator; for David compelled Joab to participate in this ceremony of mourning.)

The Voice Translation has this footnote that gives us some insight about David:
“This song reminds us that David may be the writer of many psalms, and that David is a great warrior, musician, poet, and soon, a great king. David is also a person of great contradiction—not perfect, by any means—but a man of oversized loves and passions who must generally have his heart in the right place, since we’re reminded again and again that God loves him. He is powerful, and people in his way do tend to have horrible things happen to them. But he respects the dead, and sometimes, as with Saul, grieves in ways that feel—all these centuries later—authentic.”

It was Jewish tradition to fast until the sun went down when mourning. David insisted on participating with the mourning fast along with the rest of the people; despite the fact that they tried to convince him otherwise. When they tried to persuade him to eat his response was, “May the True God punish me severely if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets.”

Now let us take notice of the people’s response to David’s humble attitude in mourning. “The people noticed that he honored Abner by fasting, and they approved—as they approved of everything their king did. So everyone believed it was not David’s intention, nor did he have any part in the murder of Abner, the son of Ner.” -2 Samuel 3:26-27 (VOICE)

The thing is, David could have ignored the death of Abner; Abner was a trouble-maker and a power hungry fool. But, as stated earlier, if David had done so the news would have come out sooner-or-later that it was his commander-in-chief that had murdered him and it would have caused major problems. Instead, David chose to humbly step forward and acknowledge the death of a great man; mourning right along with the people. This caused the people to realize that it was NOT David who had called for the death of Abner.

David realized that without the backing of the people he was no king at all. Abner’s death had the potential to destroy any chances of his reign ever happening or the unification of the nation of Israel coming together. He had to set aside any pride and humbly accept the responsibility that someone in his administration had done wrong.

God’s Word has much to say about the need for us to have a humble attitude:

* “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” -Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

* “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” -Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

* “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” -Zephaniah 2:3 (NIV)

* “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” -Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)

* “Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.” -Proverbs 15:33 (NIV)

* “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” -Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)

“What we want is to be real. Let us not appear to be more than we are. Don’t let us put on any cant, any assumed humility, but let us be real; that is the delight of God. God wants us to be real men and women, and if we profess to be what we are not, God knows all about us. God hates sham.” -D. L, Moody

“The beginning of greatness is to be little; the increase of greatness is to be less; the perfection of greatness is to be nothing.” -D. L. Moody

My Prayer:
Lord, give me a humble spirit, I pray. Too often my pride gets in the way and causes bigger problems. If I would just learn to have a humble attitude and spirit so many of life’s problems would be lessened. Please, Lord, crush the root of pride that insists on growing in my life.

God Will Avenge

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 3:24-25 (NIV)
So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”

2 Samuel 3:24-25 (MSG)
Joab went straight to the king: “What’s this you’ve done? Abner shows up, and you let him walk away scot-free? You know Abner son of Ner better than that. This was no friendly visit. He was here to spy on you, figure out your comings and goings, find out what you’re up to.”
“Then Joab came to the king and said, “What have you done? Behold, Abner came to you; why did you send him away, so that he is already gone? You know Abner the son of Ner, that he [only] came to deceive you [with flattering words] and to learn of your going out and coming in, and to find out what you are doing.” -AMPLIFIED

Abner was contemplating defecting to David’s side. Ultimately he was looking to climb the proverbial ladder of power. And he will do whatever it takes to gain more of it.

Abner had come with 20 of his men. David gives audience to Abner and listened to what he has to say. “Let me go now and enlist all of Israel behind you my lord, the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and you will be ruler over all your heart desires.” -2 Samuel 3:21 (VOICE)

We then find David dismissing Abner and allowing him to leave in peace. This is when things get a bit complicated. Remember, it was Abner who had killed Joab’s brother Asahel. Joab, the commander of David’s army, and his men came back from a raid. The first thing that Joab heard about was the visit from Abner.

Now, Joab was still angry over the death of his brother. He considered it his personal responsibility to collect on that blood debt. The Law of Moses said, “A life for a life.”

Joab came storming into David’s presence filled with animosity. “What have you done? You had Abner in your hands! Why did you let him get away? He’s gone. Don’t you know that Abner, the son of Ner, came here only to deceive you, to find out your strength and what you are up to?” -2 Samuel 3:24 (VOICE)

Joab decided to take matters into his own hands. Scripture tells us, “When Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David knew nothing [about Joab’s action].” -2 Samuel 3:26 (AMP)(Remember the fact that David knew nothing about what Joab was up to.)

This is when things got a bit messy. Joab’s anger and bitterness drove him to do something horrendous; he murdered Abner. “So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside to the middle of the gate to speak to him privately, and there he struck Abner in the abdomen so that he died, to avenge the blood of Asahel, Joab’s brother. Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord of the blood of Abner the son of Ner. Let the guilt fall on the head of Joab and on all his father’s house (family); and may there never disappear from the house of Joab one who suffers with a discharge or one who is a leper or one who walks with a crutch [being unfit for war], or one who falls by the sword, or one who lacks food.” So Joab and Abishai his brother murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.” -2 Samuel 3:27-30 (AMP)

Vengeance is very harsh; done in anger, when we have lost control of ourselves, it causes us to do things that we may not have done otherwise if we had a level head at the time. God told the Israelites, “Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, in due time their foot will slip; for the day of their disaster is at hand, and their doom hurries to meet them.” -Deuteronomy 32:34(AMP)

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Romans to teach them HOW they were to treat those who had hurt them. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.” -Romans 12:18-20 (AMP)

God will avenge. He will take care of those who have hurt us. We need to remember that pay-back is not part of our job description, but it is part of God’s, and He does not need our help in accomplishing it either. Trust Him to take care of those who have spitefully used you. When His vengeance is carried out there will be no repercussions to you; as there was for Joab as we will see soon.

“And will not [our just] God defend and avenge His elect [His chosen ones] who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay [in providing justice] on their behalf? 8 I tell you that He will defend and avenge them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?” -Luke 18:7-8 (AMP)

My Prayer:
Lord, help me to trust in every area of my life; including taking care of those who have spitefully used me or hurt me. My job is to love my enemies and do good to those who hurt me. Your job is to help them realize that what they did was wrong. Sometimes that urge to get-back is overwhelming. Remind me to let go of my anger and let you take care of things. Forgive me for that anger. Forgive me for my judgmental spirit too; for I know that I am not without sin either. Thank you that your mercy and grace has been extended to me. Help me to extend that same mercy and grace to others.

Dealing with Underhanded People

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 3:6 (NIV)
During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul.

2 Samuel 3:6 (MSG)
Abner took advantage of the continuing war between the house of Saul and the house of David to gain power for himself.
“Now while war continued between the houses of Saul and David, Abner was proving himself strong in the house of Saul.” -AMPLIFIED

They are called “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. Those underhanded, manipulative, devious, subversive people who do whatever they need to in order to climb the proverbial ladder of success. They “strengthen” themselves to the detriment of others. We will find from our text today that Abner was that sort of person.

Abner had been the commander of Saul’s army, but with the death of Saul his desire was to strengthen himself in order to gain more power. In order to do this he did something perverse; he slept with Saul’s concubine, Rizpah. (Basically sleeping with the boss’s wife.) Abner’s desire was to gain power, possibly even wrenching the kingship from Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth.

“Many, like Abner, are not above committing base crimes, who are too proud to bear reproof, or even the suspicion of being guilty. While men go on in sin, and apparently without concern, they are often conscious that they are fighting against God. Many mean to serve their own purposes; and will betray those who trust them, when they can get any advantage. Yet the Lord serves his own designs, even by those who are thus actuated by revenge, ambition, or lust; but as they intend not to honor him, in the end they will be thrown aside with contempt.” -Matthew Henry Commentary

Ish-bosheth was outraged with Abner, because sleeping with a king’s wife or concubine was the equivalent to basically claiming the throne. Ish-bosheth confronted Abner with the evidence and said, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?” -2 Samuel 3:7 (AMP)

Ish-bosheth accusation made Abner very angry. (Notice: it was the truth, but Abner was so arrogant, he thought no one knew what he was up to.) Abner’s response to Ish-bosheth charge against him was this: “Am I no better than a dog, whose head is turned by any female? Do I serve Judah? I have done nothing but give my loyalty to your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends; and I have not betrayed you to David. How can you come to me and accuse me of a crime concerning this woman? Now I will see you are overthrown. May the True God punish me severely if I don’t do for David what the Eternal One has promised him: to take away the throne from Saul and set up David’s throne, who will be king over both Israel and Judah, from Dan in the far north to Beersheba in the southern desert.” -2 Samuel 3:8-10 (VOICE)

Denial and threats were the weapons that Abner used against Ish-bosheth. We find Abner, with the utmost of arrogance and insolence, letting Ish-bosheth know that he had basically raised him up to his position as king and he could very well put him down. In fact, Abner told Ish-bosheth that he would indeed rip aways the throne of Saul from him. And he sealed that statement with a curse to show how serious he was about the whole situation. “May God help me if I don’t join David! I will make sure that what the Lord promised does happen! I will take the kingdom from the family of Saul and make David king of Israel and Judah, from Dan to Beersheba!” -2 Samuel 3:9-10(NCV)

Let us note something about Abner; he opposed God’s will with everything within him when it came to his ambition of power. But when he was found out for a fraud and confronted we find him changing his position (his mind); not because he wanted to do the right thing, but because he wanted revenge. It was all a pretense because he had been found out. He still had no desire to do God’s will; he was just trying to save his own skin.

We will find that God will deal with Abner’s sin. Abner will pay for his underhanded, aggressive ways eventually.

So what does the Bible say we should do when dealing with people that use unethical, underhanded, or use manipulative principles?

* “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” -James 1:5-8 (MSG)

* “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him].” –Matthew 5:43-45 (AMP)

* “But I say to you who hear [Me and pay attention to My words]: Love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, [make it a practice to] do good to those who hate you, bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever strikes you on the cheek, offer him the other one also [simply ignore insignificant insults or losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity]. Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.” -Luke 6:27-29 (AMP)

* “After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], well aware that such a person is twisted and is sinning; he is convicted and self-condemned [and is gratified by causing confusion among believers].” -Titus 3:10-11 (AMP)

Lest we judge others too quickly, let us remember these words from James, the brother of Jesus. “For we all stumble and sin in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says [never saying the wrong thing], he is a perfect man [fully developed in character, without serious flaws], able to bridle his whole body and rein in his entire nature [taming his human faults and weaknesses].” -James 3:2 (AMP)

My Prayer:
Lord, give me your wisdom when dealing with those who have an ulterior motive; those who do not care about whom they hurt as they climb the proverbial ladder to gain power. My desire is to exhibit you in my life and to handle those situations in a godly manner. Help me not to get angry or bitter. Instead, remind me to pray for those people, to turn the other cheek, and to allow you to deal with them as you see fit. Remind me always that I am responsible for my actions; not the other guys. Lord, help me keep my eyes firmly focused on you.

The Battle is the Lord’s/Waiting on God

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 3:1(NIV)
The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

2 Samuel 3:1 (MSG)
The war between the house of Saul and the house of David dragged on and on. The longer it went on the stronger David became, with the house of Saul getting weaker.
“There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; but David grew steadily stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker [to the point of being powerless].” -AMPLIFIED

The friction between David’s house and Saul’s house continued. We are told that there was a war between the two houses that dragged on and it was a time of great hostility.

“The delay in David becoming Israel’s king is not unusual, but it is typical of the way God brings about His promises and purposes. Stated concisely, God is not in a hurry. God has all the time in the world. In fact, God is bigger than time and certainly not limited by time.” -Bob Deffinbaugh

Waiting is easy for no one; I am sure the same held true for David. Too often we have an attitude of “hurry up and wait”. We will find there is always a purpose in waiting on God. In this period of time we find David’s reputation growing stronger, while Saul’s grew weaker. Remember, the battle is ultimately the Lord’s; not ours.

The time period which seemed so long to David was approximately two years. That does not seem so terribly long in the scope of things, but when you have been waiting and waiting so long for God’s promise to come to pass (David’s kingship) and you are dealing with skirmishes and battles indefinitely, things start to wear on you.

Something that David experienced and learned well was the art of “Waiting on the Lord”. It was he who penned words such as these which are key for us too.

* “I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” -Psalm 27:13-14 (AMP)

* “I pray to God—my life a prayer—and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.” –Psalm 130:5-6 (MSG)

* “Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him;
Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evil. For those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” -Psalm 37:7-9 (AMP)

We all need to learn that lesson about being still, quiet before the Lord, and waiting on His perfect will in our lives. Sometimes those promises that God has personally made to us take time. Remember, He tends to go about things a little differently than we would. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9 (AMP)

Just as David had to wait on the Lord to bring about His perfect will in his life we too need to patiently wait on God. Just remember this promise that the Apostle Paul shared, “If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!” -2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (MSG)

The battle is the Lord’s! Wait patiently for Him to work His perfect will in your life. He has good things planned for you; trust Him.

My Prayer:
Lord, you know how difficult I find waiting. Too often I rush into situations and make a total and complete mess. Forgive me, I pray. Help me to learn to wait on you, your direction and guidance. I know that ultimately the battle is yours; not mine. I want to trust you. Help my restless mind, feet and heart wait patiently on you.