God Delights In Me

It’s been said that the bookends of success are starting well and finishing well. I believe that! 

David started well when he lifted up a prayer of thankfulness to God when he became king over the united nation of Israel. Prayer at the the beginning puts us on a path toward success. 

Have you ever begun to assemble a child’s toy or a piece of furniture, gotten completely stumped, and only then read the instruction manual? We’ve all been there! There are many things in life that we start on our own and then hit our knees in prayer only after we’ve exhausted all of our human resources. Fortunately, after we pray and God answers, we often end up finishing well with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. The question is: what do we do when we again get ready to start something else? Do we pause to start well with prayer, or do we dive in on our own again? 

I think one of the biggest reasons we don’t go to prayer quickly is because we feel unworthy to go into the presence of a holy, righteous God. 

One commentator said about Psalm 18 that David probably prayed this “before he committed his terrible sin” with Bathsheba and Uriah. That may be, but with very few minor changes, David prayed this exact same prayer (2 Samuel 22) at the very end of his reign. His reign as king was bookended with the same prayer. 

Between the bookend prayers of Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22, David prayed another prayer—this one was after he had sinned against God, Bathsheba, and Uriah. David truly believed that God forgave that sin and wiped the slate clean, so much so that he noted this great blessing on his life: “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. 

He rescued me because He delighted in me?! Yes! 

David knew that God had told us that He delights in those who obey Him. The example of God’s delight was seen in Jesus. Because Jesus paid the price for the forgiveness of my sins, I can be completely cleansed. Then Jesus comes in me, and takes me into Him, and takes both of us into the Father. So now when our Heavenly Father looks at a forgiven sinner, He sees only the righteousness of Jesus—something He utterly delights to see! (Check out all of the biblical passages I’m referencing by clicking here.)  

David said his sin had been washed “whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7), So now look at what he could claim—

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All His laws are before me; I have not turned away from His decrees. I have been blameless before Him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His sight” (2 Samuel 22:21-25). 

…according to my cleanness in His sight. 

In GOD’S sight! The devil wants to accuse me. He wants my sight to dominate. The devil doesn’t want me to see myself as God sees me. But I declare it out loud: I am clean IN HIS SIGHT! 

This cleanness allows me full, bold, confident access to Almighty God! I can take everything to God in prayer because I am clean in His sight! 

If you would like to read more of the posts in our prayer series called Be A First Responder, please click here. 

The Blessing Of Quiet Humility

“When you’re full of yourself, God can’t fill you. But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel. Your Bible overflows with examples of those who did.

“In his gospel, Matthew mentions his own name only twice. Both times he calls himself a tax collector. In his list of apostles, he assigns himself the eighth spot.

John doesn’t even mention his name in his gospel. The twenty appearances of ‘John’ all refer to the Baptist. John the apostle simply calls himself ‘the other disciple’ or the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved.’

Luke wrote two of the most important books in the Bible but never once penned his own name.

Paul, the Bible’s most prolific author, referred to himself as ‘a fool’ (2 Corinthians 12:11).

King David wrote no psalm celebrating his victory over Goliath. But he wrote a public poem of penitence confessing his sin with Bathsheba (see Psalm 51).

“And then there is Joseph. The quiet father of Jesus. Rather than make a name for himself, he made a home for Christ. And because he did, a great reward came his way. ‘He called His name Jesus’ (Matthew 1:25).” —Max Lucado, in You!

Check out my book review of You! by clicking here, and you can read some other quotes from this book here.

The Wonder Of God’s Forgiveness

King David was intimately confident that God would hear his prayers. No matter what—even if David had sinned.

The prophet Nathan confronted David after David had committed adultery with another man’s wife, gotten her pregnant, and then had her husband killed to try to cover up their affair. David assumed he had gotten away with it, but God sent Nathan to tell David that He knew all about it.

David immediately went to prayer.

His prayer is instructive for us when we sin too. David’s appeal to God for forgiveness is based solely on God’s ability and willingness to forgive, not on any merits David brings.

In this prayer, David presents a tally sheet. On his side of the ledger, he lists my transgressions, my iniquity, my sin, my bloodguilt. He sums it up with, “Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.

David also tallies up God’s side of the ledger: You are right, You are just, You are righteous.

We might be tricked into thinking that a Perfect Being like this wants nothing to do with a sinful creature like you and me. But this is completely wrong! David appeals to God’s unfailing love, and Your great compassion. He lists God’s desire to cleanse, wash, blot out sins, restore, and release from blood-guiltiness.

David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And immediately Nathan responded, “The Lord has taken away your sin.”

Sin is all on me! Restoration is all on God!

With this in mind, we learn that the mark of a maturing Christian is not one who never sins, but one who…

  1. …feels a broken heart because of their sin (see Psalm 51:10)
  2. …confesses my sin
  3. …confidently asks for His forgiveness
  4. …helps others who have sinned (v. 13)
  5. …continues to abide in Jesus (vv. 10-12)

God is quick to forgive. Are we equally as quick to ask for His forgiveness?

You can study more of the lessons from the prayers of David:

Five Women; One Amazing Story!

For some of you, it’s hard to put the word “happy” in front of Mother’s Day.

One definition of happy is “favored by fortune; lucky.” In other words, we’re happy IF things happen to be going our way. But we don’t know how things are going to turn out?

In the last Super Bowl, the New England Patriots were down by 25 points early in the 3rd quarter. It didn’t appear that things were going the Patriots’ way … except they won!

So don’t judge “happy” or “not happy” by how things are going in the middle of the story! 

To God, all of History is His Story. He knows every move, every hurt, every fumble, every betrayal, every noble deed, every evil deed … nothing escapes His notice. And it all fits into His Story—We are assured and know that God being a partner in their labor ALL THINGS work together and are fitting into a plan for good… (Romans 8:28).

Check out the stories of these five women—

Tamar had to pretend to be a prostitute in order to get her father-in-law to followthrough on his commitment. As a result, she became pregnant by him and was almost burned at the stake.

Rahab didn’t pretend to be a prostitute; she was a prostitute. She lived in an important city that was about to be defeated by the Israelites. Instead of trying to make things easier on herself, she trusted God and put herself in a very dangerous position.

Ruth was a non-Israelite married to an Israelite man. But when her husband, her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law all died, she took a huge risk in staying with her mother-in-law. She could have moved in with her family in a country she knew, but she went where she was an alien, a widow, and dirt poor.

Bathsheba was married to Uriah, who was a member of the king’s inner circle. But the king took advantage of her when Uriah was away at war, impregnated her, killed her husband, and then married her. Their son from that union died shortly after being born, but Bathsheba trusted God to make something good of her tragedy.

Mary was engaged to be married when she was found to be pregnant. Society could have shunned her, her fiancé could have had her killed for her unfaithfulness, but she trusted God to keep His word.

These five mothers are the ONLY women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-6, 16)

God used all of these women. Despite the way they were treated or mistreated; despite their own mistakes; despite the injustices committed against them. God used all of them as irreplaceable parts of His Story.

To God, all of History is His Story! He’s doing things through your life that you can’t possibly imagine. Trust Him—if you do, your name will also be recorded in the best “His Story” ever recorded! 

Whenever you don’t know what’s going on, lean into Him, cry out to Him. But then say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” And what does God say? “I am working ALL THINGS together to tell My Story through your life!”

Loyalty

How would you define loyalty? All of the dictionary definitions have to do with faithfulness. It’s almost implied that there is a blindness (at worst), or a dogged persistence (at best), to remain loyal to a person or to an idea. The thinking goes, “If I’m loyal to someone, like it or not, I become their Yes-man.”

But I think…

Loyalty is not telling people what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.

For an example, take the prophet Nathan in the Bible. We don’t know how old he is when he steps on the scene, or even where he came from. There isn’t a clue as to his tribal ancestry or even his father’s name.

King David wanted to build a temple for the ark of the covenant, and he asked Nathan about this. Nathan immediately said, “Yes!” (kinda reinforces that idea of loyalty = Yes-man, doesn’t it?) But wait! That night, God speaks to Nathan and says, “Tell David he’s not the one to build the temple for Me.” So Nathan returns to David and loyally tells him no.

Later on, David steals another man’s wife and contrives a plan to have that man murdered on the battlefield. David thinks he’s gotten away with it until Nathan, the loyal friend, shows up to confront David with his sin. Nathan didn’t want to see David fail, but he wanted to give him a chance to confess and repent.

Near the end of David’s life, one of David’s sons, Adonijah, wanted to take the throne for himself. Many of the officials in David’s palace jumped on the bandwagon, but loyal Nathan did not. In fact, Nathan even got word to the King about Adonijah’s plans. As a result, David asked Nathan to anoint Solomon as king.

During David’s life, Nathan wrote David’s biography. If Nathan was just a mindless Yes-man, he could have easily left out the messy parts of David’s life. But the loyal friend wanted to show future readers that we all mess up, but God forgives and restores us when we repent.

Nathan’s name means the gift God gave or a giver. Both meanings fit this loyal man.

David was so blessed by Nathan’s loyalty that he named one of his sons after the prophet.

Loyal friends give their friends the gift of life. They don’t let friends go down a destructive path. They don’t join with others when they attack. They remain constant, always-there, friends.

What a blessing to be called a loyal friend! And what an even greater blessing to have “Nathans” in our own lives!

Success Is Going

King David is one of the most well-known characters in the Old Testament. Such incredible stories are told about him that his life can be summed up in one phrase that occurs four times in Scripture—The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went (2 Samuel 8:6, 14; 1 Chronicles 18:6, 13).

When David was faced with a challenge or an enemy, he threw himself fully into meeting the enemy head-on, and he was always successful. There is no record of David ever being defeated in battle. If he went out, he won.

Aha, keyword alert—The Lord gave David victory everywhere he WENT.

The only times David was defeated was when he stood still:

• When his son Absalom killed another of David’s sons, Amnon, David didn’t do anything. Even when Absalom returned from exile, David stayed home and didn’t reconcile with his son (2 Samuel 13-15).

• David’s son Adonijah behaved inappropriately and eventually rebelled against David, too. But David “never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” (1 Kings 1:6).

• David lusted after and then committed adultery with Bathsheba when, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, Joab led out the armed forces. … But David remained in Jerusalem” (1 Chronicles 20:1).

• David angered God by ordering that a census be taken of all of the men eligible for military service in Israel. “So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, ‘Go and count…” (1 Chronicles 21:2). In other words, David stayed while others went.

Solomon correctly noted, “The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave” (Proverbs 15:24). There are only two directions: forward (or up) OR backward (or down). There is no standing still.

The Lord gave David victory everywhere he WENT, not everywhere he stood still. To stand still is to begin to go backward.

Is there a battle you need to fight? Is there a challenge you’ve been avoiding? Is there something you need to complete? Are you waiting for something to happen? Are you content just to stand still?

Stop standing still and start going! If you are following God, He will give you victory everywhere you go.

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