1 Samuel 18:17-22, 28-30

Jealousy, courage and love

David had become popular all over Israel and Saul was jealous of him. He thought, “I will get David to fight in the fiercest battles so that he gets killed by the Philistines—then I will not need to kill him myself.”

Michal, one of Saul’s daughters, fell in love with David. Saul was pleased when he found out about this and ordered his officers to tell David, “All Saul wants from you as payment to marry Michal is a hundred dead Philistines.”

David wasted no time in showing his love for Michal and came back with proof that he had killed two hundred Philistines. So Saul allowed Michal to marry David, but planned to use her to trap him.

What can I hold on to when life becomes hectic?

So much had happened in David’s life since he had left his peaceful life as a shepherd to join Saul’s army. Do you think David sometimes longed to be back with his sheep in the field?

Within a short time, David had become famous throughout the land. He had also become a commander in Saul’s army. As a shepherd he had only heard of the Philistines; now he faced them in battle day after day. Then there was Saul, the jealous king who kept on trying to get rid of him. And now David had married Saul’s daughter. It had all happened so fast. Imagine all the different feelings that tumbled around in David’s heart.

Life has peaceful moments when we have time to enjoy the little things, when we have time to look at flowers and watch the clouds changing shape. Suddenly things change and we feel unsafe, like a small boat being tossed about on a stormy sea.

For David, there was only one thing that would never change: the fact that God was in control of his life. God loved him and would always be there for him. Knowing that made all the difference!

Verse for today

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3



A great, a mighty man was this David, son of Jesse the Bethlehemite.

He had ten brothers, but almost nothing is heard of the ten; David alone arrests the pen of inspiration; only David is honored to write as he is moved by the Holy Spirit.

How important a figure he was may be inferred from his refusal to die. David has been gone from the earth about three thousand years; three thousand times the earth has circled around the sun since he left us; three thousand times have the wild geese flown honking toward the south and returned again to the north with the returning spring. Empires have come into being, run their course and disappeared; thrones have toppled; kings have strutted their little day upon the stage of history and lain down at last to be forgotten or almost forgotten by the world. How many noted men during the long years have come and gone and left no more trace behind them than an arrow leaves when it passes through the air.

Yet David will not die. He served his generation by the will of God and fell asleep, but asleep he has more power over men for good than a thousand religious doctors and bishops do awake. He will not allow oblivion to swallow him nor will he lie quiet with the ancients amid dust and mold. He was a simple shepherd but he stands to teach the learned; he lived an insular life among his own people, but his voice is heard today in almost every land and his pure songs are sung in half a thousand tongues. Scarcely will a church service be held next Sunday anywhere in the world but, unseen, David will direct the choir, and when the minister rises to preach God’s truth he will hardly sit down again until he has spoken of David or quoted from his inspired psalms.


And David enquired of the Lord. 2 Samuel 5:23

When David made this enquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great hosts, but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without enquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Wherefore should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so, David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He enquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given. Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to His sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry till providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go,” is God’s promise to His people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to Him, and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Leave not thy chamber this morning without enquiring of the Lord.


No Fear Factor

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

The reality TV show Fear Factor featured people who are willing to face their worst fears for notoriety and financial gain. I need to tell you that I rarely watched more than a fleeting moment of the show as I surfed with my remote. I find it tough to watch people eat cockroaches, immerse themselves in a tank full of creepy worms with legs, and stay under water far too long with slimy eels crowding around their heads. It’s just not my definition of high-value entertainment. But the program did remind me that fear is an emotion that we are all very familiar with. In fact, my discomfort with watching for any length of time probably has something to do with reminding me of things and events that I fear or at least find uncomfortable.

Yet thinking of the program does make me wonder: Would I be willing to conquer my fears to do what Jesus asks me to do, just as these contestants overcome their fears for a moment in the spotlight of national TV?

There is no doubt that fear is no friend of our effectiveness for Christ. We are often fearful about witnessing, giving our money away, saying no to our friends, forgiving a cruel offense, saying yes to a short-term missionary assignment, or risking being misunderstood if we speak up for biblical values at the water-cooler. If Satan can get us stymied by fear, he doesn’t have to do much else to shut down our spiritual progress and usefulness.

So, let’s talk about what it takes to succeed for Jesus in the face of fear.

First, let’s remind ourselves that fear primarily focuses on protecting and preserving “me.” Overcoming fear begins with deciding that some things in life are more important than ourselves. Things like the eternal destinies of others, the prosperity of the work of Christ in our world, the fact that the reputation of Jesus is more strategically important than my fleeting popularity, and that His integrity and righteousness showing up in my life is more important than cheating for some personal gain. Once you and I realize that a self-surpassing passion for others and Jesus trumps fear, we can understand why the apostle John wrote that love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

But loving can often feel like a risky, sometimes losing proposition, which is why we need another ingredient to release the power of the love that conquers fear. That ingredient is trust. Trusting that God will protect you when you are fearful, that God will reward you when you feel at risk, that God will give you guidance and courage when you feel lost and intimidated is what it takes to defeat the fear that holds you back. Are you afraid that when you love you will become vulnerable, misunderstood, taken advantage of, or misused? Trust God to watch over you, meet your needs, and give you His best, and those fears will become increasingly nonexistent.

When our lives are characterized by trust-filled love, fear ultimately will not be a factor. As President Roosevelt said in his inaugural speech, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”


  • What does God want you to do but you are afraid of doing?
  • List the advances you could make spiritually if fear were not a factor in your life. Be specific.
  • What would it take for you to be more passionate about others and Jesus than you are about yourself?
  • In Psalm 56:3, what did David say he would do in the face of fear? Are you ready to do the same?
  • What specifically can you trust God for when fear threatens your walk with Him?


How To Honor Your Parents

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And forsake not the teaching of your mother;
They shall be a crown of beauty for your head,
And a necklace about your neck.
Listen to your father who begat you,
And despise not your mother when she is old.
He who does what he is told is a wise son.
But he who makes friends of spendthrifts,
Brings disgrace on his father.

He who robs father or mother,
Saying, “There is no wrong in it,”
Is like him who is a destroyer.
He who curses his father or mother,
His lamp shall go out in the blackest of darkness.
A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son despises his mother.
A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And brings bitterness to her who bore him.

Be wise, my son, and make glad my heart,
That I may answer the one who reproaches me.
Let your father be filled with joy,
And let her who bore you rejoice.


Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof. Ecclesiastes 7:8

Look at David’s Lord and Master; see His beginning. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at His Father’s right hand, expecting until His enemies be made his footstool. “As He is, so are we also in this world.” You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then, poor Christian. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to be like Him, a worm and no man, that like Him you may be satisfied when you wake up in His likene ss. That rough-looking diamond is put upon the wheel of the lapidary. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much-much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowned; the diadem is put upon the monarch’s head with trumpet’s joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now so sorely vexed by the lapidary. You may venture to compare yourself to such a diamond, for you are one of God’s people; and this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be set upon the head of the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one ray of glory shall stream from you. “They shall be Mine,” saith the Lord, “in the day when I make up My jewels.” “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”


With God’s Help by Mark D. Roberts

Psalm 60:1-12

With God’s help we will do mighty things,     for he will trample down our foes.

Psalm 60 was written in a time when Israel had been reeling under God’s judgment. He had used Israel’s enemies to discipline the people for their faithlessness. In this context, David cried out for the Lord to help Israel overcome her foes. He recognized that human strength alone would not be enough (60:11). Yet he had confidence in the Lord’s power: “With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes” (60:12).

As we read this psalm today, few of us are preparing for literal battle against national enemies. Yet we all face opposition in our lives: fears that threaten to keep us from living for God each day, challenges that seem overwhelming, temptations that have tormented us for years. Our foes can also be external: a society that increasingly opposes the free expression of our faith, a culture that prizes sin, even religious leaders whose hearts and minds have turned away from God’s Word. Our enemies, though they do not wield swords and spears, can keep us from living boldly for God, serving him in every facet of life.

Thus we need the encouragement of Psalm 60:12 every bit as much as David and the Israelites needed it. With God’s help, we also will do mighty things. God will trample our foes so that we might prevail in the work of his kingdom. As Paul puts it in Philippians 4:13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” As we lean upon the Lord, as we walk in his ways, as we offer our lives to him in whole-life worship, the Triune God will empower us beyond our greatest expectations (Eph. 3:20).

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What are the “enemies” you’re facing right now? How do you need to experience God’s power in your life today?

PRAYER: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are filled with your glory!

You are, indeed, a God of power and might. With your help, Lord, I can do mighty things. You have the power to defeat the foes I face, those enemies that keep me from serving you with all that I am.

With this confidence, I ask you to be powerful in my life. Defeat my foes, so that I might live my whole life for you. Energize me by your Spirit to do mighty things. Give me boldness in faith and faithfulness in obedience.

All praise be to you, Almighty God, for your power at work in and through me. Amen.