Friday, May 23, 2014

We Are Not Alone: Loved and Protected

       So recently I have felt somewhat distant from God. My personal devos were not deep, and I felt like I was only going through the motions. As David experiences in Psalm 63:1, I was in a dry land with no water. This morning I went to breakfast with a good friend, and we talked about God's goodness in our lives, the summer ministries God has called us too (Christian Youth Camps) and personal lessons God was showing us. I felt much encouraged after that; as Proverbs 27:17 says, I had been sharpened. Rejuvenated spiritually, I went home and spent an hour in prayer and Bible reading. It's interesting that God always shows me in his Word exactly what I need to hear. I opened to II Samuel 17-18. Now If I were to name a book of the Bible I would go to for encouragement, I would have turned to Philippians, Galatians or Romans not II Samuel. The truth is though, the entire Bible is meant to teach, rebuke, comfort and encourage us.In this Old Testament passage I find not only what my current problem is but also the solution.
        In this passage Absalom, David's son, is bent on destroying his father. In this case David is a righteous man being persecuted by an evil person, his own son. The first verse to catch my eye is 17:2, where Absalom is given counsel to "come upon (David) when he is weary and discouraged." This is exactly what Satan does. According to I Peter 5:8, "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." It doesn't take an expert in Zoology to know that the weaker prey is, the easier the prey is to overcome. I am the devil's "prey" and he seeks for weak moments to attack - he's been doing exactly that in recent days. I am weary and tired, and I try to defend myself. A slow moving person being stalked by a lion - on my own I haven't got a chance. So I read further on in the passage.

       Fast forward to chapter 18. David has been warned by a friend that he has that has been working as somewhat of a spy - befriending Absalom so that he could tell David exactly what his son was up too. He's been warned that his son is coming after David to destroy him so that he will have no competition for the throne of Israel. David musters himself and his army for battle. David has been on the run, he is tired, weary and should not be going out to battle. Fortunately, his military leaders know this. This is the counsel his men give:  “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city. (II Samuel 18:3).” So David has someone coming after him, but fortunately he doesn't have to fight this battle. His army will do it for him. I take encouragement in this. When I'm down and weary I don't have to fight my own battles. How do I know this? For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11). I have an army of angels protecting me. The best illustration is Daniel 6:21-22. Daniel is facing the hungry faces of ravenous lions and what happens? "My God sent His angel and shut the lion' mouths and they have not harmed me." Yea the angels shut the mouth of the lions. Lions < angels. Angels > Devil. Christ has power over the Devil. I am not alone. Four words that are extremely comforting. But there was a second lesson in this passage God wanted me to know.

       Absalom is eventually killed. God defeated David's enemy. Now you would think David would be overjoyed at his enemies death, but no matter what Absalom had done, he was still David's son and David still loved and cherished him. David's response to his son's death is found in II Samuel 18:33 - “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” David said that he would have rather have died in his son's place - That's how deeply he loved his son. God is the same way; no matter what we have done to offend him, no matter how bad we sin, no matter how disobedient we are and how far we stray he still loves us deeply. He actually did die for us. Jesus died so that I could live. My heavenly Father has an immeasurable love for his precious children.

      It's quite an amazing thought really. That we have an army that fights our battles, a God that loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us. A God that sends angels to shut the mouths of lions, and a God who protects us from the devil when we are weary and discouraged. My friends, we must remember that while life may get hard, we may fall into the valley and experience desert - like droughts, and we may feel like we are too tired to go on but we are not alone and we never will be. We are loved and protected by an Almighty Father.

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