Daily Devotion for September 21, 2023
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The Gaithers remind us that the measureless love of God will endure forever, in this pretty old hymn.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Music and Lyrics by Frederick Lehman
To Remember God During the Day
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.
I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above.
Prayer for Holiness
Oh Christ, who brings back the wandering sheep, turn me from my evil ways to good ones and imprint upon my soul the recollection of the dreadful day of death, the fear of hell and the love of Your Kingdom, that I may repent of my sins and do righteousness. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner.
The power of God in our lives comes from suffering, because it strips us down to humility and dependency.
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace, this day and always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
“It is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you—you, the individual reader, Thomas Lee or Thando Jefferson. You shall see Him, you yourself. Christ came to earth to save you specifically, not people in general. He knows your name. Let Him in and one day soon, He will lead you to Heaven by the hand.”
2 Samuel 2 (NLT) (abridged)
David Anointed King Over Judah
fter this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah.
When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.”
But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, proclaimed [Saul’s son] Ishbosheth king over all the rest of Israel. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years.
One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool.
A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David. . . . Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” . . . So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel. All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley.They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning.
Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin.
Notes on the Scripture
Did Samuel not warn the people of Israel against having a king? (1 Samuel 8:4-22) Was he not a prophet, warning them in the name of God?
Having been given a king, rejecting the Lord and replacing their reliance on Him with reliance upon a modern government, the Hebrews almost immediately become embroiled in civil war. This internecine strife will not end until the Temple is finally destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. and the Jews have been repeatedly conquered and dispersed. The only respite they will have is the brief moment of unity and material prosperity under David and Solomon, around 1000 B.C. But Solomon, unable to reconcile great wealth, power, and human wisdom with obedience to God, will aggrieve Him and seal the fate of Israel. Only Christ will be able to rescue them—and us.
Note how similar this is to the history of “Christian” kings and governments.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. David did not take over all of Saul's kingdom at the time covered in today’s lesson. He became king only over his own tribe, the tribe of Judah. Saul still had a son alive, and the other eleven tribes were generally still loyal to Saul's lineage. So as of today's lesson, “Judah,” the remnant of Israel that still enjoyed God’s favor, comprised only the one tribe (and the land it held).
Joab is an odd figure. He appears practically out of nowhere; the only previous mention of him was in 1 Sam. 26:6. We glean from 2 Samuel and 1 Kings that he was the premier general of his time, leading first David’s and then Solomon’s armies in the conquest of Canaan and unification of Israel. Yet, we are told almost nothing about him as a person.