To obey is better than sacrifice. This simple statement contains the secret to pleasing God. Rebellion began with the devil’s asserting his own will and making his own decisions. Saul’s problems started when he no longer was small in his own eyes but, in pride, began to make decisions apart from God’s will.
Rebellion and arrogance tell us that we know more than God does and that our ways are above His ways. The Lord, however, doesn’t need us to think for Him, but only to carry out what He commands. He found this trait in David, a young shepherd boy who possessed a heart to obey Him fully (1 Samuel 16:7). Because of David’s pure heart, God took the kingdom from Saul and awarded it to David.
Jesus’ life was powerful because He never once asserted His own will. In the wilderness, during His ministry, at Gethsemane, and on the cross, Jesus perfectly obeyed. So, too, does our power with God rest in our obedience to Him. We must always remember this: The important thing is not that we have done something for God, but that we have done what God wanted us to do!
No greater work of the Lord is recorded in the Bible than David’s slaying of Goliath. More than nine feet tall, Goliath presented the most imposing stature of any human being in history. The image of a little stripling boy walking and then running toward such a giant stirs the courage of all who read the tale. Let’s note three of this story’s many lessons.
The first lesson deals with the boldness of a person who is anointed by God. Saul and all his men were scared to death of Goliath, but the young man who had been anointed by God had no sense of fear. He had no concern or worry because his trust was in the God who had always helped him. He boldly proclaimed, “The Lord who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:37).
The second lesson concerns the methods of God. David refused Saul’s bulky armor, saying only that he felt more comfortable without it. He was choosing God’s methods over the methods of the world. Trust in the things of this world rather than the things of God will never bring success when facing an overwhelming battle.
The third lesson illustrates the works of the Lord. God can take the smallest human weapons and warriors and demolish the mightiest foes. Who would have thought that five stones in the hand of a boy could bring down the mighty Goliath?
Psalm 111:2 reminds us, “How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.” Run boldly toward your “Goliath.” He must come down in the name of the Lord!
Jesus described the devil as a murderer from the beginning of time, and this description also serves to illustrate the life of King Saul. When an evil spirit came upon Saul to possess him, he was overwhelmed with thoughts of envy and murder toward David. Time after time he tried to destroy David, even attempting to pin him to the wall with a spear (1 Samuel 18:10-11).
Satan is envious of believers because they have replaced him as worshipers and sons of God. His hatred for humankind knows no bounds. He always seeks “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and He wants to destroy you!
Jesus said that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. Saul lied to David and told him he wanted to give his older daughter Merab in marriage to him. In fact, he wanted David killed by the Philistines (1 Samuel 18:17). David’s innocence, however, was his protection. The Lord sent the Holy Spirit to knock to the ground the soldiers who chased David. Even Saul himself was knocked to the ground (19:23-24).
Let us rejoice that even though Satan attacks with lies and murderous intents, the Holy Spirit can render our enemies harmless. We will fulfill our purposes in God!
Envy blinds us to the truth. Jonathan pleaded with his father to spare David’s life, reminding him that David had done him nothing but good. Totally persuaded that David stood in the way of his son’s ruling Israel, however, Saul cursed and insulted Jonathan.
The Pharisees also were blinded by envy to the reality of the blind man’s healing. They refused to believe that he had ever been blind and then refused to believe that Jesus had performed the miracle. They stubbornly refused to acknowledge that Jesus was anything but a sinner, even if He had performed the miracle (John 9:24). Jesus answered, saying, “I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind” (John 9:39).
You will never convince those who are envious of the work of God that your motives are genuine or that God has truly performed a miracle. They will reason it away, insult you, and may even throw you out (John 9:34). They may remain blind, but one thing you will know: “I was blind, and now I can see!” (v. 25).
Jesus taught us that the ultimate act of love is to lay down our lives for others. In fact, Jesus stated, “The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again” (John 10:17).
People who consider the needs of others ahead of their own are true shepherds in the spirit of Jesus. On the other hand, people with hireling spirits are concerned only for what relates to their own well-being.
Paul said, “I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare” (Philippians 2:20). The true love of Christ is defined in 1 John 3:16: “We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.”
Just as David abandoned his own safety and went to rescue Keilah (1 Samuel 23:2), we must abandon our own self-interests and begin to lay down our lives for others. We will not lose our lives; we will take them up again!
One of the hardest lessons you may face in life is learning not to avenge yourself. In two separate instances with two different enemies, David demonstrated the importance of not taking revenge. In the cave at En-gedi, David could have killed Saul and been finished with running from him day and night. Instead, David opted against avenging Saul’s evil attempts to destroy him and swore that his hand would never touch Saul.
In another instance in the Old Testament, Abigail intercepted David and persuaded him not to avenge himself upon Nabal. David thanked her for keeping him from shedding blood that day and preventing him from taking revenge with his own hands (1 Samuel 25:33).
How easy it is to take matters into your own hands, even though God has said, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV). The devil may have sent someone who is encouraging you to take matters into your own hands, but leave your vengeance in God’s hands. One day you will look up and the “Sauls” and “Nabals” in your life “will disappear like stones shot from a sling!” (1 Samuel 25:29).
The world is fascinated with life after death. People spend thousands of dollars consulting psychics, trying to get a message from someone who has died. In 1 Samuel 28 and John 11, two men came back from the dead and had a great impact on those around them. In the first passage, Samuel gave Saul a verdict of judgment and eternal death, reminding us of the reality of eternal punishment. In the second passage, Lazarus’s resurrection gave glory to Jesus, reminding us of the believer’s glorious future.
Every one of us will face the reality of death. We will hear either a final judgment of condemnation for our sin or a message of joy and resurrection life from the Author of Life. Although the world is fascinated with spiritism and contacting the dead, we know that the end of such pursuit is eternal death and judgment. As Christians, however, we understand that Jesus has conquered death, for John 11:25 says,
“Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”
Rest secure today in your future after the grave, for He who is the Resurrection and the Life will be waiting for you on the other side!
Just when things looked the darkest for David, God was actually giving him the breakthrough. At Ziklag, David faced the lowest point in his life, for he lost his entire family in one day. After this tragedy, even his best friends were ready to stone him. Because he found strength in the Lord, however, God turned the whole situation around. “David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back” (1 Samuel 30:18-19).
Someone has pointed out that at Ziklag David was only seventy-two hours away from a miracle. Unknown to him, all the years of his running from Saul were about to come to an end. The test was almost over, but the final part of the test was the hardest. But afterward, not only did David recover everything, but he also gained a tremendous amount of wealth. He used that wealth to spread goodwill throughout Judah, and this initiated the process of his becoming king of Judah. What a turnabout from the deep depression of Ziklag!
You may think you have waited forever, but you may be only sev-enty-two hours from your miracle. “When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before” (Job 42:10). Wait for God to turn your darkness into glorious light!
Satan may try to delay, hinder, sift, oppose, and confuse, but the moment of your breakthrough must come. Although the hands of a clock move almost imperceptibly, the moment inevitably arrives when the clock strikes the hour. The poet Friedrich von Logau expressed it this way: “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”
Jesus’ thirty-three years of preparation and ministry culminated in the glory of His death and resurrection. In that moment, the prince of this world was cast out (John 12:31). David also experienced tremendous pressure in his years of preparation, but suddenly his hour came, Saul died unexpectedly, and the path to the throne was opened (2 Samuel 2:4).
This is the payoff of years of faithful service to a vision: one day the hour will come. Never try to get ahead of your time, for God knows when the circumstances are ripe and you have been thoroughly prepared. All your trials and difficulties are only the stepping-stones to your glorious destiny: to reign forever with Jesus Christ!
Weekend Sermon Discussion
- Do you struggle with admitting when you have deep feelings, maybe painful ones?
- Do you hide or suppress it when you’re hurting?
- What prayer do you need God to answer? What is He asking you to do in pursuit of the solution?
Challenge: Always look at people through eyes of faith. Instead of measuring others by what they’re going through in life right now, find their potential and encourage them in it. People feed off the faith you have in them and how you see them.
Betrayal is one of the worst things that can happen to you. To take someone into your inner circle of confidence and then to have him turn upon you hurts worse than any enemy’s attack. Jesus knew intimately this pain of betrayal as He watched Judas walk out into the night to fulfill his wicked plan (John 13:30). David also faced betrayal when his commander-in-chief Joab secretly murdered Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).
When a trusted ally treats you with contempt, you may want to retaliate in anger. David refused to exact revenge upon Joab. He knew Joab would eventually reap the fruit of his betrayal and thus pronounced Joab cursed in all his generations. Jesus turned Judas over to Satan so that Judas would reap the terror of betraying the innocent. Instead of retaliating, Jesus even washed Judas’s feet before Judas left to betray Him! On the cross, Jesus epitomized the essence of true forgiveness when He said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Forgive and release your betrayer to God so that He may deal with him. If God is for you, who can ever be against you (Romans 8:31)?
Worship tests our hearts. Nothing is so sacred or special to God as worship, for it is the continual activity around God’s throne.
In 2 Samuel 6, we are confronted with two individuals who came under judgment for worshiping in the wrong way. The lesson of Uzzah
(v. 7) is to maintain reverence in our worship. Flippant, halfhearted, presumptuous worship can result in the judgment of God coming upon our lives. God is long-suffering, but He will not be mocked by open disregard for His honor during our worship.
The lesson of Michal (v. 20) is not to be prideful in our worship. Michal despised David’s true worship, and God’s judgment caused her to remain childless throughout her life. David, however, was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) in the way he expressed worship. He was serious and careful in bringing up the ark, yet childlike and undignified in his rejoicing.
Personal dignity is not an issue in heaven where all fall down before the throne in ceaseless praise and worship. One day we will join the angels in heaven in unashamed worship and praise to our God. As you worship Him now on the earth, remember His holiness and His happiness. Go ahead and worship in order and in ardor. God is watching your worship!
There is in the heart of all people a desire for a permanent relationship with God and a desire to dwell with Him forever. In this life, we are forever beset with a sense of impermanence, of being absent from the Lord.
Those who love God are running to Him, not from Him! They are looking for a way to dwell with Him. David’s desire to build a house for God reflected his wish to have a permanent home with God. David had such a love for God’s presence that he longed for God to have a permanent residence right next door to his palace. God responded to David’s yearning by saying that He would provide a place for His people and plant them so they could have a home of their own. He also told David that He would build a house for him.
To meet someone is a temporary experience, but to live together with that person implies a permanent relationship. Jesus told His disciples, “All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them” (John 14:23).
Settle in today in God’s presence. His desire is to dwell with you forever!
In this verse, we can see an example of the three main roots of sin that tempt all men: “the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions” (1 John 2:16).
Most sin begins with the eyes, just as the first sin entered the world when Eve saw the fruit. Genesis 3:6 says, “The fruit looked so fresh and delicious.” David’s eyes caused him to lust, starting a cycle of violence and anarchy in his kingdom. His lustful eyes brought forth sin, and it cost him many years and much heartache to extricate himself from that sin. David finally said, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar” (Psalm 101:3). Job, too, echoed this thought when he said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman” (Job 31:1).
Sinful living comes with a high price tag. A line from a famous sermon conveys it well: “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Be ruthless against lustful thoughts and imaginations. You may think the pleasure is great, but the payoff will only bring heartache.
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of guilt in regard to sin. Conviction arises from confrontation with evidence. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and He holds before your conscience the evidence of your sin, leaving you no room for escape.
The prophet Nathan confronted David with a parable that illustrated David’s guilt with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:7). The simple parable smote his conscience, and David truly repented from his heart. Although his sin was great, he received forgiveness because his repentance was genuine.
When God confronts you with the truth of your sin, He is showing mercy. As Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Never run from the evidence. The Holy Spirit will bring certain scriptures to you as a mirror to show you your true self. If you respond to His mercy and grace, you will be set free from whatever sin has plagued you.
Invite the Holy Spirit to shine the light on the truth of your life and actions. Then honestly accept and admit His evidence, and confess with David, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). Then, and only then, will you hear Him say, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you” (v. 13).
Satan is a master at dangling lustful sin in front of us and making it look incredibly enticing. Then, after we reach out and take it, the reality of that sin is a miserable disappointment. How quickly our eyes despise what we have attained through lust!
Satan tempts us with a picture of sin that looks like an oasis in the desert. He makes it seem as though a lust fulfilled will bring the ultimate happiness. Amnon fantasized for a long time about having relations with Tamar. However, the moment he acted upon his fantasy, the imagined sweet taste of it turned to bitterness. Amnon eventually despised what he had conquered (2 Samuel 13:15).
In any temptation, ask God to show you the reality of how disappointing the sin will be. Any move you make because of lust will turn to mock you and will lead you toward even more sin. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to break through any fantasy in your mind and to see its backside: anger, disrespect, and even death.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12). Don’t fall for Satan’s bait!
Meditation is not the process of clearing your mind, but of filling your mind with truth. It is like a rock displacing water in a vessel. Your mind is exposed continually to the doubt, atrocities, filth, and strife of the world around you. Trying to clear out those thoughts is very difficult, but there is a remedy: meditation upon God’s Word.
It takes a conscious effort to focus your mind and heart upon the truth of God’s Word. Once you do, however, you will reap the benefits. Joshua 1:8 says, “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.”
Reading the Bible is good, but meditation is life changing, for it involves thinking about a verse until it drops from your mind into your heart. The root word meditate means “to mutter,” or “to utter.” The more you speak the Word, the more it drops into your spirit. As you go about your daily business, speak the Word to yourself. Continually “mutter” it, mulling it over in your mind.
Whatever your area of need, select several promises that apply to your situation and memorize them. Then meditate on them all day long (Psalm 119:97). When doubt, fear, discouragement, and strife enter your mind, “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Your faith will grow, your mind will change, and your way will become successful!
The psalmist declares a holy revulsion that must dwell in your heart against anything that challenges the law of God. If you consistently struggle to conquer an area of sin in your life, it may be that you do not hate that sin.
One sin God hates is divorce (Malachi 2:16), not because He wants to be legalistic but because He knows the terrible consequences you will suffer from it. Satan’s deception concerning this sin and all sin is so devious and the consequences of disobedience so eternal that you must develop a passion against all sin, for it destroys people’s souls.
Double-minded or undecided people (Psalm 119:113) are those who mix God’s law with their own reasoning, listening to the voice of personal opinion rather than the voice of truth. Such compromisers lead the godly astray and are unstable in all their ways (James 1:8). If you are double-minded, rid yourself of lukewarmness, and purify your heart.
If you don’t hate sin, you will fall into it. Love God and hate sin, and you will always walk in the path of righteousness.
It seems that God in His foreknowledge was determined to leave Jesus with nothing as He finished the work on the cross. Jesus’ clothes were His last physical possessions upon the earth. As was customary, the soldiers received those for themselves.
Paul said, “You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus completely emptied Himself of all earthly riches and glory in order to pay the full price for our redemption. How opposite His attitude was from that of a world that struggles to amass wealth and fortune!
Let us live to give. In the short time we are on earth, let us use our worldly possessions as tools to reach the lost. At the moment of death, we will discard all earthly goods, like an animal shedding a worn-out skin. Let’s take a fresh look at our possessions and ask how they can serve to further the Gospel before God calls us home to glory!
When grown men run, something urgent has caused them to abandon their usual dignity. Ahimaaz’s zeal to run was inspired by his joy at being the one to report a victory to his king (2 Samuel 18:28). In the New Testament, Peter and John ran at the thought of the resurrection (John 20:4). When we have an important message to deliver, we, too, will run.
When news so wonderful grips the soul, the usual pace of life is interrupted, and a walk becomes a run. Those who do not know the Lord may not understand your zeal to run with the good news of the Gospel, but they do not hesitate to run for what they are excited about. You need to ask God to quicken your pace of testimony, to thrill your heart with His Word so that a walk just won’t do.
If you have lost your zeal, come back to the empty tomb today and look in. Then run to the waiting nations with your report. Remember what Jesus said when He appeared to His disciples following His resurrection: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21).
The return of the king was a sudden, unanticipated event that radically changed all perspectives. Those who had mocked David as he left Jerusalem now repented, falling prostrate and begging for mercy. Those who had blessed David in his exile were richly rewarded (2 Samuel 19:23) and invited to sit at his table for the rest of their lives. With his return, David held accountable those whose actions were questionable, and the truth was revealed (v. 25).
What a picture this story is of the return of the King of Kings! When Jesus returns, time will stop. One by one, we will each stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give a detailed account of how we have used our time, money, and gifts. We will answer for every wrong thought and attitude of the mind we have harbored.
How foolish it is to waste our lives or brazenly defy the Lordship of Christ as though He will never return! Why not ponder every day what it will be like the moment after the King returns and it is too late to change anything? One day our King will return. That is a sure fact. May you hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
We must take care of unfinished business. God is a God of justice and cannot overlook the horrible reality of sin. Saul killed people with whom Israel had pledged a covenant in the days of Joshua. Though Saul viewed the killings as justifiable, the victims’ innocent blood cried out before God, demanding justice. The heavens remained as brass for David and Israel until they dealt with and atoned for Saul’s actions.
Many things occur in societies because God is avenging past actions and atrocities that were leveled against innocent people. What generational curses have fallen upon our cities and nations because of the past sins of our fathers?
In 2 Samuel 24, we see that God was so serious about justice that seventy thousand people died to appease His wrath (v. 15). We must be serious enough about sins against others to cry out in repentance, approach the offended, and make reconciliation. These actions, as simple as they may seem, will release the blessing of God. As David did, we must help restore and heal the breaches of the past, because after he had made restitution, “the Lord answered his prayer” (v. 25).
What a picture of the conquering power of God we see as David rehearsed the exploits of his mighty men (2 Samuel 23)! One of them killed eight hundred men (v. 8), and others killed hundreds singlehandedly. Three of them broke through an entire army to bring David a drink of water (v. 16). One killed a lion in a pit and snatched a spear from a giant (vv. 20-21).
Oh, the mighty exploits of those who are filled with the holy power of God! After he was baptized in the Holy Spirit, Peter’s boldness in the face of hostile Jerusalem was just as awesome as the courage of David’s mighty men.
Away with weak, cowardly Christianity! Let us yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and prepare for triumphant battle with the enemy. We are the mighty men and women of the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant.
Our power is not intended for destruction, but for reconciliation. Our victory will not be a military victory, but a harvest of souls. “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church—about three thousand in all” (Acts 2:41).
Under the Holy Spirit’s influence, someone will lead thousands to the Lord. Why shouldn’t it be you?
David was in a mess. He had done a foolish thing when he tempted the Lord by counting his fighting men. God gave him three choices of judgment, and they all sounded bad! David wisely chose the option that involved God’s mercy, for he said, “But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands” (2 Samuel 24:14).
The man at the gate Beautiful looked at thousands of people every day as he begged for financial mercies. Peter addressed the man, saying, “Look at us!” (Acts 3:4). Peter wanted the lame man to look to the Lord for His mercy. The power of the name of Jesus healed the man, who joyfully jumped up, “walking, leaping, and praising God” (v. 8).
We may look to many men and various sources to help us through our problems, but eventually we must go to “the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Are you in trouble? Don’t take your eyes off God your Father, for “his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 118:1 KJV).
David knew what he was talking about, for he had faced one close call after another during his lifetime. Near the end of his life, he faced the ultimate snare: an insurrection in which one of his own rebellious sons attempted to usurp the throne from David’s chosen heir. But God always provides a way of escape! The plot drew the attention of Nathan, and in a swift series of events, the plan of the rebels was foiled and Solomon was installed as king.
The apostles also escaped from a snare set against them. The Sanhedrin rulers were furious with the apostles for healing the cripple. They purposed to beat them, jail them, or threaten them in some way. Instead, the Lord delivered them, restored them to their friends, and filled them with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:23-31).
Satan’s traps and snares are well hidden and powerful, but just when it seems his plot has succeeded, God provides a way of escape. Never fear—He’ll do it for you!
How well the characters in today’s readings bear out this scripture! Adonijah requested his father’s concubine, a move that would have brought him much political power. Solomon answered that request by having Adonijah and his cohort Joab put to death (1 Kings 2:13-34).
Shimei disobeyed the clear instructions of Solomon to remain in the physical vicinity of Jerusalem. Shimei thought his disobedience in taking a little side trip to Gath would go unnoticed, but Solomon also had him put to death (1 Kings 2:36-46).
Ananias and Sapphira thought that a little deception concerning the sale price of their land would go unnoticed. However, they discovered that God does not judge us by what we think is right, but by what He declares to be right. God’s judgment struck swiftly and left them both dead (Acts 5:1-10).
The devil is constantly filling our minds with little compromises that we must discern as evil. Our thoughts must line up with the measuring rod of God’s Word. If they don’t, we must run from them, because they will lead to certain death!
Wisdom is the most powerful force in the world—a force greater than riches, power, or long life. Solomon realized that without wisdom his youthfulness and lack of experience would quickly disqualify him from leading a nation of millions of people. He therefore asked God, “Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9).
God was pleased with Solomon’s request and granted him not only wisdom but also riches, honor, and long life. Because of his great wisdom, the kings and queens of the entire earth came before Solomon’s throne. His God-given wisdom enabled him to efficiently administrate the kingdom by using twelve district governors. Furthermore, he knew the solution to difficult problems of justice in civil disputes (v. 28).
Solomon’s wisdom extended into the natural world, too. “He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish” (1 Kings 4:32-33).
Peter and the apostles realized that if people were “well respected” and “full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3), they could be placed in positions of responsibility. Today, in faith, ask God for wisdom to enter your heart. Then watch as He promotes you to new responsibility and privilege in the eyes of both God and humanity!
Solomon had a vision to build the most magnificent temple in history, and his success resulted from the blessing of the Lord. First, the Lord gave Solomon wisdom to achieve his purpose (1 Kings 5:12). He showed him how to rotate his labor force in such a way that the men could be in Lebanon one month and at home for two months. Shared responsibility, as indicated by rotating the labor force, was a wise plan from God to cover responsibilities without burning out the laborers.
Second, Solomon achieved success because he followed the plan of the Lord (1 Kings 6:12). You cannot hope to succeed at any work for God if you deviate from the revelation in the Bible. All work must follow the exact plan of the Church as given in the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles.
Finally, Solomon succeeded because he persevered. He spent seven years building the temple (1 Kings 6:38), never wavering from his goal. Never give up when God is “building” with you. Though it may seem your work is moving at a crawl, keep doing what you know to do.
Purpose, plan, and persevere, and the Lord will build your house!
Solomon’s temple was indeed magnificent when one considers the brass, the silver, and the gold contained within it. For seven years men crafted the temple, with no budget considerations and an unlimited source of building materials. This house was the most magnificent edifice ever created by any human being, before or since.
For all the beauty and greatness of Solomon’s house, however, “the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands” (Acts 7:48). To think that God would be tied down to any building, temple, denomination, or culture is ridiculous! We are not building an earthly temple for God, but a spiritual temple. God has chosen to live in human hearts, and the temple we are constructing is made of living stones (1 Peter 2:5)— believers from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
Someone once told a story of three men who were working side-by-side laying brick. When asked, “What are you doing?” one answered, “Laying brick.” Another answered, “Raising a wall.” The last answered, “Building a great cathedral.”
Lord, give us spiritual vision to see that we are building the greatest temple in the universe: the Church of Jesus Christ!
Philip preached the Word, and God performed miracles. The manifested presence of God brought joy, and the miracles attested to the fact that God was in Samaria.
In 1 Kings 8:11, God’s presence so permeated the atmosphere in the magnificent temple that “the priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple.” After the celebration of the Festival of Shelters that followed the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the people of Jerusalem were “joyful and happy because the Lord had been good to his servant David and to his people Israel” (1 Kings 8:66).
When we, as believers, become dry and lethargic in our worship and evangelism, our real need is for more of the manifested presence of God. His presence refreshes, rejoices, renews, and makes us desire to tell everyone of His goodness. As Solomon did, let us fall to our knees and pray for His presence to fill our temples. Then all men will see and believe that “there is no God like [ours] in all heaven or earth” (1 Kings 8:23).
Money does not satisfy. Had it satisfied the queen of Sheba, she never would have traveled for hundreds of miles over ancient roads and deserts just to hear the words of God from Solomon. The human heart craves more than money. It craves answers to life’s purpose and longs to see the wisdom and power of God.
Simon was willing to pay money to obtain the power of laying hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18-19). The treasurer for Candace, the queen of Ethiopia, was more interested in knowing whom Isaiah was describing than he was in acquiring all the wealth of which he was steward (v. 34). Even Solomon with his hundreds of talents of gold per year was not satisfied with worldly wealth, and his wandering, searching heart thus delved into idolatry.
Don’t let the devil dangle riches before your eyes, telling you that money will fulfill you. Those who have handled vast sums of it will tell you otherwise. Use money as a tool to evangelize the world, and enjoy the free riches of the Kingdom of God!
How can we explain God’s choices? In John 15:16, Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you.” Saul was the last person we would have expected God to select as an instrument to tell the world about Jesus. But we know from 1 Corinthians 1:27 that God deliberately chooses “things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.” In choosing Saul as a divine instrument, God certainly knew that his testimony would totally confound the Jews.
Jeroboam, another of God’s unlikely choices, was equally surprised when the prophet Ahijah informed him of his future destiny as the king of Israel (1 Kings 11:29). In a moment, because of God’s sovereign selection, the entire course of his life was altered.
You may never figure out the ways of God in laying His hand on seemingly unworthy vessels in order to glorify Himself. Yet if you are a Christian, you are chosen. If you are chosen, you are ordained. If you are ordained, you will produce fruit (John 15:16).
Relax, and carry out your calling!