Psalms 22-24; 47; 68

The Reliable God

“The Lord deserves praise! Day after day he carries our burden, the God who delivers us. Our God is a God who delivers; the Lord, the sovereign Lord, can rescue from death.” ­– Psalms 68:19-20 NET

In these five Psalms we see what appears to be a dramatic span of emotions and opinions from the writers. There are shouts of praise for God’s power and might. But then there are questions regarding God’s lack of activity and seeming indifference suffering. There are reminders of God’s powerful acts of deliverance in the past and cries for God’s help in the present. But the one consistent theme throughout is that God is reliable and trustworthy. The very reason the Psalmist is crying out in Psalm 22 is because He know that God has a reputation for answering the cries of His people. He has proven Himself reliable. So even though it appears as if God is far away and not listening, He cries out. He makes his request known to God, because he believes God is reliable and will answer Him. These Psalms all speak of the attributes of God that make Him reliable and trustworthy.

He is the King of all the earth. (Psalms 47:7

He reigns over all the nations from His holy throne. (Psalms 47:8)

Our fathers cried out to Him and were delivered. (Psalms 22:5)

He is my shepherd. (Psalms 23:1)

He restores my soul. (Psalms 23:3)

He is strong and mighty. (Psalms 24:8)

He is a father to the fatherless. (Psalms 68:5)

He is a judge for the widows. (Psalms 68:5)

He daily bears our burdens. (Psalms 68:19)

He is the God of our salvation. (Psalms 68:19)

He is the God of deliverances. (Psalms 68:20)

He gives strength and power to the people. (Psalms 68:35)

God is the one we should cry out to because God is the one who can make a difference. He can deliver. He can restore. He can provide a solution. Because He alone is God. He is worthy of our praise AND our cries for help. He is worthy of our pleas for assistance and our praises of thanksgiving. These Psalmists knew this about their God. Do we? Have we found Him to be reliable?

Father, You have never shown Yourself to be unreliable to me. You have always been there for me in every situation. Yet I still doubt. I sometimes refuse to call out to You. I try to solve my own problems and be my own savior. Yet You have always been faithful. You have proven it time and time again. May I continue to learn to cry out in times of need and shout out Your praises when times of deliverance come. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 1-2; 15

The Approachable God

“O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.” ­– Psalms 15:1-2 NASB

In Psalms 1, we read these familiar words, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalms 1:1-2 NASB). I don’t know about you, but when I read these words I get a little nervous. Why? Because there are days when I actually walk in the counsel of the wicked, I stand in the path of sinners, and I sit with the scoffers. There are days when I don’t delight in the law of the Lord. And as far as meditating on it day and night, well, I fail that test miserably. But when you read these Psalms, you could easily become defeated because it seems to paint a picture of God being in heaven and holding out some fairly unattainable goals for us as His children. The blessings seem so conditional, and I tend to fail to hold up my end of the bargain so often. The standards of God are high. And the ability of man to meet those standards has always been low. In fact, it is impossible for any of us to meet the righteous requirements of God.

But then I remember that it is because of Christ that I am able to approach the throne of God. It is because Christ has paid for my sins on the cross with His own life that I am reckoned as righteous before God. I have access to the Father not because I can keep His holy standards, but because Christ has done it for me. I am the recipient of Christ’s righteousness. These Psalms remind me that my God is holy and that He has high standards. He blesses the righteous and condemns the wicked. But I can rest in the knowledge that I AM righteous before God because of all that Christ has done. My sins have been forgiven. My debt has been paid. I stand before God uncondemned and clean. I do not have to EARN His favor, it has been freely extended to me. Now, any efforts at make at living a holy life are done out of love, not obligation, and they are made possible by the Holy Spirit living within me. I don’t have to muster up the strength to live a holy life. God makes it possible through His Spirit. Paul reminds me of this fact. “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 NLT). Even though I sometimes find myself still walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the path of sinners, and sitting in the seat of the scoffers, I have the ability to choose differently. And more often than not, I do. Why? Because God has made it possible for me to live a righteous life. He has given me the power to choose His way over mine.

Father, thank You for grace. I would have no hope if You had not sent Your Son to die in my place. There is no way I can keep Your standards. I can’t measure up to Your righteous requirements. But because of what Jesus did, I don’t have to. He did it for me. And now You have given me Your Spirit to make it possible for me to live a life that brings glory and honor to You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

1 Chronicles 15-16

The Lord Reigns

“Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!'” ­– 1 Chronicles 16:31 NLT

The Lord reigns. He rules. He sits on His throne ruling over all mankind and accomplishing His divine will as He sees fit. As David begins his long-awaited reign as the king of Israel, he reminds himself and his subjects that God is the ultimate king of their nation. David makes sure he sets up the Ark of God in the capital city of Jerusalem in order to assure himself and remind the people that this kingdom is a theocracy first, and a monarchy second. David reigns on God’s behalf and at His bequest. God put him on the throne, but God could just as easily remove him, as He did Saul.

David leads the people in a celebration of God’s goodness and grace. The arrival of the Ark in the city of Jerusalem is a reminder that God is intimately involved in their lives. And for that reason, He deserves their praise, worship, allegiance, and thanksgiving. David reminds them of all that God has done on their behalf. He recalls God’s faithfulness and redemptive work in their lives over the years. He is a good God who is worthy of much praise. It is only their relationship with God that sets the Israelites apart from all the other nations. He is the difference maker. It is He who makes them a unique people group among all the other people groups that populate the planet at that time. He is real, not an idol. He is powerful, and not just a figment of someone’s fertile imagination. And He is intimately involved in every aspect of their daily live. And for all that, He is to be worshiped, praised, and obeyed. What a timely reminder to those of us today who call ourselves His people. He is as amazing today as He was then. He deserves our praise as much as He did theirs. He is worthy of our thanks, praise, honor and attention. Because He alone is God.

Father, I do praise you enough. I do not acknowledge Your greatness enough. I do not sing of your worthiness enough. Yet You are as faithful, powerful, reliable, and gracious as You have ever been. Praise You!!! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

1 Chronicles 13-14

The Presence of God

“It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.” ­– 1 Chronicles 13:3 NLT

These two chapters record the same basic details as found in 2 Samuel 5-6. David attempts to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, the new capital of the nation. The significance of this event is that the Ark represented the presence and power of God. The people had actually tried to use the Ark as a good luck charm when fighting with the Philistines, sending for it in the hopes that it would give them victory over their enemies. But instead, the Ark was captured by the Philistines. With the loss of the Ark the people also lost the glory of God. “The glory of God has departed from Israel, for the ark of God was taken” (1 Samuel 4:22 NASB). The Ark symbolized the power and presence of God. With its loss, both had departed from Israel. After its return by the Philistines, the Ark had been left in Kiriath-Jearim for 100 years. During the entire reign of Saul, the Ark had been ignored and abandoned, and with it, the power and presence of God had also been overlooked.

David wanted to begin his kingdom in the right way and he knew the he would be dependent on both God’s power and presence. David knew the significance of the Ark and the role it had played in the history of Israel all during their years wandering in the wilderness. It had been a prominent fixture in the tabernacle where it sat in the holy of holies. In making the Ark a permanent fixture in his new capital, David was clearly indicating his desire to have the presence and power of God a part of his kingdom and reign. David wanted God involved in his kingdom. He inquired of God for direction and insight before acting. Having God intimately involved in his kingship was vital to David. And God confirmed His power and presence by answering David’s inquiries and fighting on his behalf. How much do we need the power and presence of God in our lives? It begins with acknowledging our need for Him. It involves including Him in the daily decisions of our lives. It means that we turn to His Word for wisdom, guidance, and direction. We listen for His voice. We don’t act until we have confidence that He has spoken. Saul had learned to operate independently from God. David was beginning his reign completely dependent on God. “So David’s fame spread everywhere, and the LORD caused all the nations to fear David” (1 Chronicles 14:17 NLT).

Father, I cannot survive without Your power and presence. I try, but the results are always the same. So help me grow in my dependence on You. I want to live my life with You, not without You. I want to seek You, not ignore You. Give me a heart like David had. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

2 Samuel 5:11-25; 6

The Kingdom of God

“And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” ­– 2 Samuel 5:12 NLT

A lot has been written and said about David over the centuries. He is held up as an icon of faithfulness and a man after God’s own heart, despite his many faults and flaws. He was the prolific composer of many, if not most, of the Psalms. He was a successful king, but also a less-than-successful father. He ruled and reigned well. He was a mighty warrior and a skilled musician – kind of a renaissance man. He was powerful, yet humble. His kingdom was expansive and yet he didn’t seem to have an ego to match.

But 2 Samuel 5-6 reminds us that this isn’t about David. He is NOT the star of the movie. He is just another bit player in God’s incredible play about the redemption of mankind. Even David recognized that God was the central character of this drama in which he found himself. It was God who had made David king over Israel. It was God who had blessed David – all for the sake of His people Israel. This was not about David. It was and is, as always, about God. We so easily lose sight of that fact. We become confused and begin to think that this event called “life” is all about us. We begin to believe that the universe revolves around our lives and our decisions, so we view everything from our very limited perspective, convincing ourselves that everyone and everything, including God, is here to make our lives more enjoyable and comfortable.

But God reminds us that we are walk-ons in His great drama of redemption. We will come and go, much like David did. He was a tool in the hand of God to accomplish His will and establish His kingdom on earth. God’s divine plan continues on long after David has been gone. No man, including David, is allowed to play fast and lose with God’s will and ways. Just because David was a man after God’s own heart did not mean he could interact with God however he wanted. He learned that lesson the hard way when he attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, but chose to do it without following the strict guidelines provided by God. Rather than transport the Ark on poles carried by the Levites, David decided to expedite matters and put it on a cart pulled by some oxen. He even made sure it was a NEW cart. But when the cart became unbalanced and Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark with his hand, he was immediately struck dead by God. He had violated God’s command. Disobedience had brought death. But wasn’t David just trying to do right? Wasn’t he simply attempting to return the Ark of God to the city of God? What’s the big deal? Why did Uzzah have to die? Because God is holy and His Word is law. He is to be feared and obeyed. David may have been king, but God was the sovereign ruler over Israel. His word was not to be violated or altered in any way. David’s clever plan for transporting the Ark could NOT replace God’s commands. Any attempt to do so would end in disaster – and did.

Chapter six ends with David celebrating the arrival of the Ark into Jerusalem. They eventually got it there when they did it God’s way. And David led the festivities as he danced before the Ark in joyful celebration of the goodness and greatness of His God. David knew that his position was completely dependent on God’s will. He was nothing without God. He would not survive without God’s protection, guidance, and presence. He would not succeed without the help of Almighty God. This was His kingdom, not David’s. These were His people, not David’s. This was His story, not David’s. And it is still His story today, not ours.

Father, it has been and always will be about You. Forgive me for trying to make it about me so much of the time. Give me the ability to see the world through Your eyes. Give me a greater and grander perspective. Help me get my eyes off of me and onto You. I would not be here without You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 107

Rejected. Returned. Restored.

“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.” ­– Psalms 107:2 NLT

In this Psalm, we have four word pictures of the people of God being returned by God from captivity. If you are reading along with us in The Quest, our daily reading through the Old Testament, we have been going back and forth from the Psalms to 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. In Chronicles, the author is addressing the people of Israel who have just recently returned to the land of Israel after having spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon. This Psalm addresses that same group. It emphasizes the lovingkindness of God expressed toward them even though they had rebelled against Him. He uses these four word pictures or visual metaphors to paint the dire nature of Israel’s fate. One is that of a person on a journey who has lost his way (Psalms 107:4-10). The second is person who finds themselves locked away in a prison (Psalms 107:11-16). The third is a person who suffering from illness (Psalms 107:17-22). And the final image is of a sailor lost in a storm (Psalms 107:23-32). In each case, their problem has been caused by rebellion against God. As a result, they find themselves in a predicament with no way of escape. This causes them to pray, crying out to God to spare them. In each scenario, the result is that God hears and provides a way of escape or deliverance. The response? Praise to God for His lovingkindness and mercy.

In four little stories, the Psalmist reminds his readers of just how bad things were when they were in captivity. They were lost with no way to get home. They were prisoners in a foreign land, as good as behind bars, with no way of escape. They were as good as dead, in need of healing, suffering because of their own sinfulness. And they were like sailors lost in a violent storm, at the mercy of the sea. Yet in every case, God responded in mercy and grace. He delivered them. He led them. He satisfied them. He filled them. He saved them. He brought them out. He broke their bonds apart. He shattered gates of bronze. He healed them. He guided them.

God delivers the needy. But we must reach the point of need. As long as we stubbornly hold onto our pride and independence, refusing to admit our problem and cry out to Him, we remain in our predicament. But as soon as we humble ourselves and pray for His deliverance, He hears and He delivers. “When they are diminished and bowed down through oppression, misery and sorrow … He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction, and makes his families like a flock” (Psalms 107:39-41 NASB).

So what’s in this for us? “Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord” (Psalms 107:43 NLT). We will learn from the lives of the Israelites. They rebelled and suffered the consequences. They refused to obey the Lord. They rejected His leadership in their lives and they reaped the results. But as soon as they realized the folly of their ways and recognized their need for God, humbly crying out to Him for His help, He responded. He loves to respond. He loves to deliver. He loves to redeem. He loves to save. He loves to show Himself strong on behalf of His children. But we must cry out before God will reach down. We must recognize our need for Him if we desire to be delivered by Him. We must come to an end of ourselves and our stubborn desire to solve all our own problems. God is in the restoration business.

Father, what a great reminder. You want to restore me. You desire to bless me. But I must reach an end of myself. I must humble myself before You and cry out. I must admit my need for Your help and my own inability to save myself. Forgive me for the many times I stubbornly remain in the middle of my problem just because I refuse to admit that I can’t fix it. And all the while You are patiently waiting for me to call out to You for help, to admit my neediness and helplessness. When I reach the end of me, I discover the beginning of Your grace and mercy all over again. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 106

A Primer On Praise.

“Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love.” ­– Psalms 106:44-45 NLT

In the book of Chronicles, we have been reading a recap of the history of Israel aimed at an audience that had just come back from 70 years in captivity. In the book of 2 Samuel we have been reading about David’s long-awaited ascent to the throne of Israel, after years of isolation in the wilderness running from Saul. In both cases, these are individuals who might have reason to question the goodness of God and His faithfulness to them. Why had He allowed them to go through all that they had gone through? How could a good and loving God allow His children to suffer for so long?

If you consider the context, this Psalm takes on a whole new light. In it, the Psalmist is calling on the people of God to praise God. He wants them to give God thanks for His goodness and lovingkindness. He wants them to remember all that God has done for them. And just in case their memory is spotty and they have a hard time recalling just what it is that God has done on their behalf – he tells them. In not-so-subtle fashion, he outlines the not-so-pretty history of the people of Israel and their interactions with God. He reminds them of their sin and rebellion, how all the way back to Egypt they had been questioning God and rebelling against His plan for them. Even after He had miraculously released them from captivity in Egypt, they rebelled against His leadership when they found themselves at the Red Sea with no way across and the enemy bearing down on them. They questioned His lovingkindness and doubted His power. Yet He still provided a way of escape. While they were in the wilderness, they repeatedly complained against His leadership, His ability to provide, and the integrity of His plan for their lives. At one point, the Psalmist reminds his readers that “In the wilderness, their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry land” (Psalms 106:14 NLT). Driven by their physical desires, and not just for food, the people continually rebelled against God. The list goes on and on. Their track record was not a good one. They worshiped idols, forgot God, and complained continually. They even rejected the idea of the Promised Land, demanding to be allowed to go back to where they had been in captivity for over 400 years. They had rather be slaves in Egypt than servants of the one true God in the land of promise.

God punished them repeatedly over the years for their rebellion. He sent nations against them, using these foreign lands to subjugate the people of God to slavery and oppression. Then He would miraculously deliver them. Only to see them fall back into the same sin and rebellion. Then the cycle would repeat itself. This is the story of the period of the Judges. “Again and again he delivered them, but they continued to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin” (Psalms 106:43 NLT).

Nevertheless. Even so, Yet. Still. Depending on the translation you use, we are reminded in a few words the key to this whole passage. In spite of all that they had done to alienate and rebel against God, He responded in love, kindness, mercy and grace. He looked down. He heard their cry. He remembered His covenant with them. He relented. Even when they found themselves in captivity in Babylon, God caused their captors to show them mercy – to the point that they allowed the people of God to return to their own land. God cared for them even though they had rejected Him. That is why He is worthy of our praise. He had saved them. He had gathered them from among the nations. So their response should be to glorify His name, to bless Him for who He is and all that He has done, and to thank Him for His undeserved grace and mercy. This message would have resonated with the people of God and with David. God had been good to them. They were now back home and David was now on the throne.

But what about us? Do we fully understand all that God has done for us through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son on our behalf? Do we comprehend the magnitude of our own sin and rebellion, our alienation of God just due to our inherited and inherent sin nature? We were at one time separated from God by a gulf that was too wide for us to cross. We were condemned by sin and worthy of God’s righteous and just punishment. We were dead in our sinfulness. And yet, nevertheless, even so, still – God sent His Son. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 NASB). We couldn’t save ourselves, so God did it for us. He sent His Son to die in our place. He showed us mercy when we deserved wrath. He extended grace that was unwarranted and undeserved. And now we stand before Him as forgiven, righteous, redeemed, restored, with full access to His throne as His own children. So why wouldn’t we praise Him? Why wouldn’t we constantly thank Him for all that He has done? Why would we waste a single second complaining about the petty little things we feel like He has dropped the ball on? Why would we even think about whining about our lot in life, when we He has saved us from captivity to sin and the penalty of eternal death? “And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the LORD!” (Psalms 106:48 NASB).

Father, I have so much to praise You for, but I need nothing more than the fact that You have saved me in spite of me. You took me when I was at my worst and provided a way of salvation I couldn’t have come up with on my own. I was dead and You made me alive. I was captive to a life of sin and You set me free. I was condemned to death and You pardoned me. You paid the price for my sin that I could never have afforded to pay. I stand before You restored, redeemed, and fully forgiven by You. So You are more than worthy of my praise! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

Psalms 133

The Beauty of Unity.

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!” ­– Psalms 133:1 MSG

This is a song of ascents. It would have been sung by pilgrims as they ascended the paths to Jerusalem each year to celebrate the feasts. What an appropriate song to sing in anticipation of meeting together with brothers and sisters from all over Israel as they gathered in the holy city to worship God together. Attributed to David, this Psalm celebrates the bond followers of Yahweh shared as His chosen people. Twelve tribes, but united under one banner – the banner of the Lord.

David uses two different visuals to help describe just how precious and beautiful this unity is. In one sense it is like the anointing oil that Moses poured over Aaron’s head when he anointed him as Israel’s first high priest (Leviticus 8:12). That oil would have been poured liberally over Aaron’s head and would have flowed down onto his robe covering the breastplate that held the 12 names of the Israelite tribes. Just as the oil would have soaked Aaron’s head, beard, robe, and the breastplate, flowing all the way to his feet, so unity “covers” the people of God – making them one and acceptable in His eyes.

The second visual David uses is the dew that descended onto the top of Mount Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel. In a land where drought was a common problem, dew was a welcome and refreshing sight. Dew has invigorating properties, bringing life to parched ground and plants. Unity among believers has a refreshing and restorative quality to it. It brings joy and invigorates all who experience it.

Unity is to be sought by God’s people. When we are unified, we can properly perform our duties as His priests. In 1 Peter 2:9 we read: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” We have a priestly role to play. But disunity disqualifies us from service. Jesus Himself prayed that we might be one. Over in His High Priestly Prayer recorded in John 17, Jesus asked His Father, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father––that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21 NLT). Unity among believers is testimony to the fact that we are in Christ. It is only possible because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. When the world sees us living together in unity, they are drawn to the reality of God and their own need for Christ. So why wouldn’t we pursue unity at all costs?

Father, I long that we may be one just as You and the Father are one. May our love for one another reflect Your love for us. Show us what real unity looks like. So that the world may know. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

1 Chronicles 12

Even On Our Worst Days, God Shows Up.

“The following men joined David at Ziklag while he was hiding from Saul son of Kish. They were among the warriors who fought beside David in battle.” ­– 1 Chronicles 12:1 NLT

The chronicler is still building a case for the validity of the reign of David. He is convincing the people returning from exile that David’s reign as king, even though long ended, was the work of God. And God’s promise of a future king to sit on the throne of David was going to happen. To satisfy the people of David’s legitimacy and unite them as one people, the chronicler recounts the story of David’s flight to the land of the Philistines to escape the wrath of Saul. This story is told in 1 Samuel 27. Things had gotten so bad for David that he decides the only thing for him to do is to hide among the enemy, so that Saul will think he has defected. Not exactly a great plan. It would cause David all kinds of problems in the long run, and there is no indication that it was a plan given to him by God. Yet, in the midst of one of David’s greatest moments of despondency and desperation, God shows up. This time He shows up in the form of the “mighty men of valor.”

In this chapter we are given a detailed accounting of the tens of thousands of Israelite warriors from every tribe who defected to David’s side even while he was living with the enemy. This says much about their respect for David and indicates that God was a part of this plan. Here was David, living in enemy territory, as far from the throne of Israel as he could possibly get, and yet God is building his army for him. And not just any army. He is surrounding David with the best and the brightest, the strongest and the bravest. Every day a new batch of battle-hardened soldiers showed up on David’s doorstep. Don’t you think the first group were a shock to David? As a matter of fact, when they showed up, David thought they had come to capture him. He senses betrayal, and for good reason. It had happened before. But these men pledge their allegiance to David and indicate that they knew that God was with David and not Saul. With each passing day, David’s army grew. “Hardly a day went by without men showing up to help–it wasn’t long before his band seemed as large as God’s own army!” (1 Chronicles 12:22 MSG).

Even in the midst of the Philistine camp, God was confirming David’s future and preparing him for his eventual ascension to the throne. God was working in ways that David never would have dreamed. His desperate attempt to hide among the Philistines could not hide him from the will of God. God was going to finish what He had begun, and in a spectacular fashion. With this many men defecting to David, it is no wonder that Saul was so easily defeated in battle against the Philistines and took his own life. God had removed the greatest warriors from Saul and given them to David. God’s hand was on David. He was God’s hand-picked successor to Saul and nothing was going to prevent His will from being done.

In your worst moments do you tend to see the hand of God or do you simply see darkness and despair? God is there working. He is bringing into your life “mighty men of valor.” It could be in the form of an encouraging word from a friend. It could be a surprising answer to prayer. It could be a passage that you have read a thousand time that suddenly speaks to you in a fresh and exciting way. It could be by giving you an insight into an area of your life that He wants to work on. God is always at work in the lives of those He has chosen and loves. Even in our darkest days.

Father, thank You for this encouraging word. I want to look for you in each and every circumstance, because I know You are there. You are working behind the scenes in ways that are unexpected and sometimes unseen. But You are there. Let me see You today. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

2 Samuel 5:1-10; 1 Chronicles 11

Is God With You?

“David became greater and greater, for the LORD of hosts was with him.” ­– 1 Chronicles 11:9 NASB

David had been through a lot over the years. But now he was seeing his circumstances take a decidedly positive turn. Rather than running for his life, he was being crowned king of Israel. Instead of living the life of a renegade and outlaw, he was being recognized as the legitimate ruler of the kingdom. All his past deeds on behalf of the nation were suddenly remembered and the people were glad to put him on the throne. Not only was he God’s choice, he was the people’s choice. They overwhelmingly supported David as their king. All thoughts of Saul had disappeared.

From this point forward, the chronicler is going to begin to focus his attention on the glory years of David’s reign. He is going to recount David’s rise to power and his establishment of Jerusalem as his capitol. The capture of Jerusalem was going to be critical to Israel’s future. It was there that the Temple would eventually be built and the sacrificial system that God required would be practiced. Jerusalem would play a significant role in the history of Israel from this time forward – and continues to do so today. The chronicler also recounts the rise of David’s Mighty Men. This group of valiant warriors had been attracted to David by his courage, military know-how, and his character. They recognized a good leader when they saw one. Most of these guys gave their allegiance to David while he was still running from Saul. These men would rather have risked their lives living on the run with David, than serving a less-than-godly leader like Saul. The bravery of these men is clearly outlined for us and it shows the kind of men that David attracted. His leadership and character were magnets attracting men of strength and integrity.

But the greatest point in these two passages is the reference to God’s presence. David was who he was, not because of his exploits, not because of his capture of Jerusalem, and not because of the kind of men with whom he associated. David was who he was because God was with him. And God was with David because David shared God’s heart. He loved the things God loved. He had a passion for the same things God did. David was a man after God”s own heart. Was he perfect? Obviously not. Would he make mistakes? Yes, he would make many. But he never lost his heart for the things of God. He loved God and all that God loved. So God was with Him, and God prospered Him. God blessed Him. And the same is true for us today. God longs to bless those who share His heart, who love what He loves, and pursue what He desires. David’s interests were the same as God’s. And God recognized that. As long as David put the things of God first, God put David first. He prospered and protected him. Is God with You today? Do you have a heart for the same things He does?

Father, give me a heart that longs for and loves the same things You do. I desire Your constant presence in my life. I want to be a man after Your own heart. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men