April 18

Luke 16:19-31

In these verses we find a story about Sheol, a holding place for the dead. For more on Hades and the afterlife, you can find an article called “What Does the Bible Say About Hell?” in the Bible Answers section of Faith Downloads on growchurches.com.

In verse 31, the Bible says that even if someone were to come back from the dead and appear to the living, it won’t change their hearts. What causes heart change are not the miraculous and supernatural events. Faith is a surrender. Miracles can’t make a heart rely on God; it’s a personal choice, the choice to either humble his or her life or to resist from a position of self-sufficiency.

God is able to take a heart and prepare it for His love. For whomever you are praying, be confident that God has a way of revealing Himself, so keep praying! God is at work as we intercede for others. The Holy Spirit is an “inside man,” drawing people to God. God has laborers He sends across the path of those we pray over. Trust God and be persistent in prayer. God is moving!

1 Samuel 25-26

Samuel died, the last of the judges. David also lost a mentor. When generations die, the baton must be passed to the next generation. David was anointed by Samuel to be the next king. David continues warring for Israel.

In chapter 25, we read about David’s encounter with Nabal, a rich and powerful man who seemed to be very full of himself and very much an authoritarian. He plans to kill David and his men, but Nabal’s wife, Abigail, intervenes and warns David. She states that the Lord has appointed David as ruler over Israel. She had insight from God, a woman who feared God and had discernment for David’s life.

In verse 35, David says to Abigail, “I have heeded your voice and respected your person.” He allows her to return, and David puts his trust in God to care after him and his company. After her return, about ten days later, the Lord Himself strikes Nabal and he dies. David states that the Lord pleaded the cause of his reproach, keeping him from evil. What can we learn from this? We can put our trust in the Lord, act with honor towards one another, and wait on God to move or to tell us what to do. We can choose to respond in the spirit instead of react in the flesh.

David takes Abigail as his wife. He also takes another, Ahinoam. His first wife, Saul’s daughter, was given to another man by her father out of his resentment of David. Throughout his life, David will have many wives, many concubines, and many children.

In chapter 26, David spares Saul’s life a second time. In verse 12, the Bible says that the Lord caused Saul and all his men to go into a deep sleep. David took items that belonged to the king, a water jug and a spear, which were proof to the king and his soldiers that God was with David, as well as showing them that David did not want to take the life of the king.

In verse 11, David says, “The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” David had killed many men by this time, but there was a respect to honor the anointed leader of Israel. It wasn’t because Saul was holy; because he wasn’t. His honor wasn’t based on Saul’s love for him; because Saul hated David. David’s honor for Saul was reflective of his honor for the Lord’s authority and anointing – an authority and anointing that he would one day carry with the weight of responsibility of a nation.

We also should respect God’s anointed. God put them in their position, and it should be God who removes them from their position. David never wanted to be responsible for removing his leader and taking the throne by his own strength. David feared the Lord. We should also be careful in the way we treat our authority, not because he or she is perfect or sinless, but because we honor God. It doesn’t mean we are to turn a blind eye to someone in sin, but we are to act honorably. It doesn’t mean we are to put up with abuse or allow others to be abused, but we are to act discreetly and with love.

In verse 24, we see David’s heart of faith in Jehovah. He mentions the value he had for Saul. David knows Saul does not value David’s life, so he says, “let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.” Even as Saul was one in authority, David didn’t focus on Saul to be his hope. David looked up to the Lord for favor. Perhaps in your relationships, career, or ministry, you want favor. Look up to the highest authority, and seek Him.

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