Was David Saved? Old Testament Benefits of Salvation

fadedmanuscriptThis may seem like a stupid question, as since Jesus died for our sins, we are saved by Grace and David lived under the Laws God set down through Moses. However, God is unchanging and His plan of salvation was set before the beginning of the world. Why would a loving God give us a better deal than He gave David? Jesus completed, or fulfilled the Law, but He didn’t replace it, so where did David stand?

Despite how harsh Old Testament judgements look and the use of animal sacrifice, Scripture shows us that David has the same spiritual benefits that we do because he sought and maintained an active relationship with God which centred on prayer, praise, obedience, studying Scripture, fasting (and acts of charity as set out in the Torah).

“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given Me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then He said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.” Hebrews 10:1-10

This shows me that God’s character really has never changed. Even if judgement used to be far harsher, His love and plan for mankind has always been there and the joy I have in my faith, was available to all who sought it. That’s a precious truth to discover.

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The Quick Overview:

1. FORGIVENESS
“For the honour of Your Name, O LORD,
forgive my many, many sins.” Psalm 25:11

“Finally, I confessed all my sins to You
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”
And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” Psalm 32:5

“You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that You have made me listen, I finally understand—
You don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing Your will, my God,
for Your instructions are written on my heart.” Psalm 40:6-8

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2. DELIVERANCE
“Victory comes from You, O LORD.
May You bless Your people.” Psalm 3:8

“The LORD gives His people strength.
He is a safe fortress for His anointed king.” Psalm 28:8

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3. HEALING
Psalm 30:
3: “You brought me up from the grave, O LORD.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death…”
11: “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,”
12: “that I might sing praises to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever!”
20: “LORD my God, I cried to You for help,
and You restored my health.”

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4. ETERNAL LIFE
“For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of Your Presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever.”  Psalm 16:10-11

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A More Detailed Look:

1. Justified by Faith
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1

David: “The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
He restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all His regulations;
I have never abandoned His decrees.
I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
The LORD rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence.”  Psalm 18:20-24

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stone-cross-14971862. Become Sons of God
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

David: “I will be his father, and he will be My son.
If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.” 2 Samuel 7 14

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3. Forgiven and Saved from the Penalty of Sin
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“For God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

David: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” Psalm 32:1

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4. Eternal Life
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12

David: “For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of Your Presence
and the pleasures of living with You forever.” Psalm 16:10-11

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5. Friends of God
New Testament Reference Scriptures:
“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.“ John 15:5

David: “My heart has heard You say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8

“He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me.” Psalm 18:19

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6. Indwelled and Led by the Holy Spirit
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” Romans 8:14

David: “The LORD’s Spirit came over David and stayed with him from that day on.” 1 Samuel 16:13

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7. Have Peace with God
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

David: “You give great victories to Your king;
You show unfailing love to Your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.” Psalm 18:50

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8. Servants of God
New Testament Reference Scripture:
“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” Romans 6:22

David was called “My Servant David,” by God in Jeremiah 33:21, Ezekiel 37:24, and 1 Kings 11:36.

 


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

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A Matter of Character and Trust: The Problem With Lies

42846561_sGoing through David’s life, there are some parts which bother me and one is his dance with the truth. David told three major lies to get out of trouble in his early life:

1. to the Priests at Nob; [Ref. 1 Samuel 21, Nob and point 2.]
2. when he first fled into Philistine territory and had to feign madness to escape, and
3. when he deceived the Philistine King Achish, whilst attempting to avoid Saul’s persistent persecution. [Ref. 1 Samuel chapters 27 and 29]

Despite the severity of the circumstances which led him to lie, they leave me with a really bad impression of his character. Was lying a nasty trait which followed him through life? As so much of David’s life was marked by outstanding faith and he was righteous, his lies stand out even more. They have had me questioning just how far he could be trusted, especially as some Middle Eastern cultures approve of habitual lying to “save face.” So I decided to delve into the matter further, to try and comprehend why he sinned that way.

Logically, I can understand why he lied those three times: *“if you can’t escape by fight or flight, you lie,” and any of us would be very hard pressed not to react the same way when backed into a corner with our life at stake. However, David is supposed to be a “type” of Jesus: a human who exhibits the character of God, teaching us what God is like and that we can trust Him. Repeated incidents of lying threaten to destroy that.

Looking at lying from a psychological angle, the size of the consequences of not telling the lie determine how serious the offence is. If a ‘protective lie’ saves you from death, it is easily forgivable, as it wasn’t casual deception which foretells deep moral character flaws. If David wasn’t lying for financial or power gains, or to bolster his ego, his lies can be considered as unwise without deeply tarnishing him. In 1 Samuel 24:5 we can see that David was well aware of what was right and wrong, and would self-correct, so I am led to continue to trust him.

But… whenever I read about David, I expect to see him react with faith, looking for God to help him as he did with Goliath, not legging it into enemy territory and lying to save his hide. He is to be the best David, flawless through and through to not disappoint me… but that expectation doesn’t take a key fact into account: this time in his life featured a hard growth curve on the path to spiritual maturity. He was growing up and messing up along the way, as he struggled to build his trusting, God-dependent spiritual nature. His later character traits which produced the Psalms were in the process of being forged ‘in the furnace of much affliction,’ and like all of us, he started out weak, then through hard lessons, became stronger.

I have no idea how bad he felt about his deceptions, though I am sure he must have deeply regretted the consequences of his flight to the priests at Nob, (Saul massacred them in revenge). Living in Philistine territory must have also been an arduous task that he gritted his teeth through and hated. No one chooses to live with the enemy unless they believe that this is the only option left. God hadn’t delivered him yet, and David had yet to learn to wait no matter what. The events of this long period, (from Nob to Gath was around seven years or so,) had to have awakened an awareness that he had to be totally dependent on the Lord for safety and deliverance; if not, he would only get himself, and others, into greater trouble. It would be an agonising experience to watch people die and suffer because of you, as you found your way through the maze of choices, striving to grow. I feel a deep compassion for him.

bestrong-trustgodinvertedblueThe bad parts of David’s story are as helpful to us as the good. This portion of Davids life reminds me that need I to be patient and encouraging with people while they are growing. They are going to make some big, serious mistakes; but blaming people and judging without understanding what they were feeling and where they were coming from is useless. Thinking about what David did, I can’t excuse his wrongs, but I can appreciate the stress he was under and where he was in his spiritual journey. I’m just glad that he came through safely to leave us with his testimony to the Lord’s great patience with us as we overcome our own failings, no matter how many times we fall apart as we’re learning.

“A psalm of David, the servant of the LORD. He sang this song to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang:
I love You, LORD;
You are my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
I called on the LORD, Who is worthy of praise,
and He saved me from my enemies.
The ropes of death entangled me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the LORD;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from His sanctuary…

He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the LORD supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me.
The LORD rewarded me for doing right;
He restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all His regulations;
I have never abandoned His decrees.
I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
The LORD rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence.
To the faithful You show Yourself faithful;
to those with integrity You show integrity.
To the pure You show Yourself pure,
but to the wicked You show Yourself hostile.
You rescue the humble,
but You humiliate the proud.
You light a lamp for me…
The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock!
May the God of my salvation be exalted!…

For this, O LORD, I will praise You among the nations;
I will sing praises to Your Name.
You give great victories to Your king;
You show unfailing love to Your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.” Psalm 18:1-6, 16-28 and 49-50

*Sorry, but I can’t remember where this quote comes from.


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

How to Control King-Sized Egos: The Examples of David and Moses

egosquashDespite his heroic feats, David is the opposite of a Hollywood action hero. He is more the anti-hero; the guy who doesn’t rely solely on his own power to be the victor, and walks away humble. If anything, the Lord was his stunt man, director, producer and all the credit went to Him.

David never made the mistake of many kings in that he didn’t turn arrogant or cocky for long. The simple truth is, God never allowed him to. Throughout his entire life, David went through life-threatening trial after trial after trial, and suffered in the face of poorly, if not completely undisguised opposition.

  • Saul wanting him dead out of jealousy, and because he realised David would be the next king. 1 Samuel 18:5-8
  • The guilt of the death of the priests of Nob being on his head, as he’d gone to them when on the run from Saul, then lied. 1 Samuel 22
  • Illness which hit him mid-life bought humiliation. 2 Samuel 21:15 (Probably diabetes.)
  • The challenge of others, such as his son, Absalom, sabotaging his authority and wanting his throne. 2 Samuel 15-18 and Psalms such as Psalm 38:12-15
  • Problems with Isra’el being weary of war and wanting a better deal economically. Psalm 4:6
  • Guilt over his sin with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah and resulting death of his baby son. 2 Samuel 12
  • Conflicts between his tribe, Judah, and the other northern tribes, who felt he’d favoured Judah, and thus attempted to overthrow him. 2 Samuel 20
  • Gut wrenching mistakes such as the Census, which cost many lives. 2 Samuel 24

That is enough to crush many people and it is guaranteed to produce deep humility. You can win many battles and take many wives to prove your status, but when your life is under threat and you’re dependent on God for deliverance, it’s really hard to get a big head. David never dug himself out of danger. He relied on God, not his ability as a warrior, then he gave the full glory to God.

“I will praise You, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvellous things You have done.
I will be filled with joy because of You.
I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High.
My enemies retreated;
they staggered and died when You appeared.” Psalm 9:1-3

David’s humility is also seen in repeated requests to have God judge him, in order that he would stay on the right path.
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14

Another point to consider is that kings are used to people obeying them. It is easy to become accustomed to bowing and obedience and make the mistake of treating God in the same way: “I ask for help, You give it when I want it.” It is possible that some of the “how long” times which David experienced, were God letting David know that He would not be at the beck and call of a king. God is sovereign and above the reign of mankind. Making David wait would reinforce the correct order and again, keep a royal ego under control.

Moses has a similar story. Despite the status he was given in order to lead Isra’el out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, he was very well grounded. Numbers 12:3 tells us: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Twice, God offered to wipe out Isra’el’s rebellious tribes, and give the covenant promise to Moses and his descendants. Twice Moses refused, to honour God’s reputation before the whole earth, and to save the nation he loved. [Ref. Exodus 32:9-10 and Numbers 14:11-12]

submissive-faithIn contrast to movies such as The Prince of Egypt, which portray his story, Moses life in Pharaoh’s court appears to me, not to have been easy. He knew he was a Hebrew and was so angered by the treatment of his people, he killed an Egyptian that was mistreating a Hebrew slave and had to flee. Pharaoh didn’t save his precious boy, Moses. He had nowhere to run for preferential treatment.

It is debatable as to whether Moses ever fit into the royal household, or whether he always felt like an outsider. Unless his speech impediment had a physical cause, that kind of insecurity and turmoil could have caused his stuttering; (which oddly, is never mentioned after the Israelites leave Egypt.) He was hesitant to approach Pharaoh to ask for the release of the Hebrew slaves, which also indicates that he knew he would not be treated like a long-lost adopted son. Tough lives develop character and few had it as abundantly as Moses did. Thank God both Moses and David did stay humble. Many millennia later, we are still benefitting from their achievements and example.

So next time life gets you down and appears to be falling apart, take heart. Maybe God is allowing your pain to keep you humble and gentle as well. Neither David or Moses were likely candidates to become the leader of a nation. You never know where the Lord will take you.

“My heart is confident in You, O God;
no wonder I can sing Your praises with all my heart!” Psalm 108:1


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

Bible Geek: Feeling Limited by “Technology?”

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As far as I was concerned, technology wasn’t really around to make us feel inadequate until the early 1950s, or whenever computers came into being. Some say that Konrad Zuse started building computers in the 1930s, others argue that it was Charles Babbage in 1838… others point out that ancient computers were made as early as 205 BC, such as the Antikythera Mechanism which was found in a sunken ship. But that all depends on your definition of computers.

fragments_of_the_antikythera_mechanism

Fragments of the antikythera mechanism.

The word ‘technology,’ has a wider breadth of meaning than things you plug in, or that which tortures you via binary. Working my way through Berkeley’s Near Eastern Studies video lectures on archaeology, I have been surprised at how often the word is mentioned. The simple definition of the word is “machinery and devices developed from scientific knowledge,” even if that knowledge is more practical wisdom than academic. In practical terms it means, anything your enemies have, that you don’t have, and fear will be used against you.

Around 1600 BC, (BCE is not a term I use) horses were first used in the Middle East as weapons of war, as the bridle and bit had been invented. Apparently, one of the new nation of Isra’el’s greatest concerns in settling in the Promised Land was these horses and the amazing abilities of the chariots they were hooked up to.

“But the mountain shall be yours, for it is a forest, and you shall cut it down. And the outer limits of it shall be yours. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have iron chariots and though they are strong.” Joshua 17:18

To us, this is ancient outdated technology in an age where we have drones, tanks and all manner of aircraft which would bomb a stone city to oblivion easily; but back then, such an innovation was a massive road block and a test of faith. When all you had was donkeys, time tested basic weapons and a lot of common sense, that could lead them to say, “we’ll never win this one.” But common sense can be the enemy of faith. All Isra’el had to do was look to the Lord for deliverance and chariots would not be a problem. God proved that with Jericho.

Joshua 6:2 “And Jehovah said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand, and its king, and the mighty men of war.” And He did, spectacularly when the walls came down under divine power.

Horse and chariot, painting on dishes from Mycenae, Late Bronze Age, 14 to 13 century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Horse and chariot, painting on dishes from Mycenae, Late Bronze Age, 14 to 13 century BC, National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Saul was also up against superior technology when he was battling against the Philistines. In 1 Samuel 13:19 then 32 we see that the latest and greatest new weapons, were not available to the Isra’elites. “And there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel. For the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.” “And it happened in the day of battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan. But with Saul and with his son Jonathan there was found sword and spear.”

Did that stop the Lord from delivering His people out of the hand of the Philistines? No. Even though the battle was considered lost and the people were deserting, God won through. “And Jehovah saved Israel that day, and the battle passed over to Beth-aven.” 2 Samuel 14:23

So regardless of what you do and don’t have in any area of your life, or how ill prepared and outclassed you feel, if you rely on the Lord, there is hope for deliverance and victory. He is the One who is supposed to be your provider and victor. Salvation will never come through a gadget.


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

What David Would Say to You on a Bad Day

David was no stranger to having a bad day:

“Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.” Psalm 69:1-3
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If you’re having a really bad time, try these words of encouragement:
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blessed“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honour come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8
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“The wicked has many sorrows, but mercy embraces him who trusts in Jehovah.
Be glad in Jehovah, and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” Psalm 32:10-11
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“The righteous cry, and Yahweh hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart,
and saves those who have a crushed spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but Yahweh delivers him out of them all.
He protects all of his bones.
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall kill the wicked.
Those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
Yahweh redeems the soul of his servants.
None of those who take refuge in him shall be condemned.” Psalm 34:17-22


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Creative Commons License
The King David Project by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cateartios.wixsite.com/kingdavidproject.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

Milk, Honey and Remembering How Much God Values YOU!

Wheat crop in Isra'el.

Wheat crop in Isra’el.

I don’t know if it’s because we have seen movies and illustrations of Biblical events which are set in the desert, but it’s easy to view Isra’el as a barren place. I have also heard it described as useless and insignificant in Bible Studies. We’re more familiar with the Judean desert than we are with the beautiful areas along the Mediterranean coastline, the snow covered Mount Hermon and the lush areas around Galilee and the Jordan River.

Isra’el hasn’t always been bordered by as much desert as exists now. God promised from the time of Abraham, that He would give His people a land flowing with milk and honey. Even now, with the use of hydroponics and smart water usage, the desert blooms and Isra’el has bountiful produce, as the Lord has always intended for His people. He bought them back to the land, as promised and it’s not completely desolate. In my local grocery store here in Australia, I can buy products such as couscous, which were made in Isra’el. Yet I can guarantee, the next Biblical movie will have a desert set. Why do we think God would ‘bless’ His children with an all but useless pile of sand?

“Milk and honey” obviously denotes a land which can sustain a growing population. Until recently, I didn’t realise just how much blessing the Lord had set up for the young nation of Isra’el once she left Egypt. Milk and honey is just the start. When you look into the commands that the Lord gave to Moses, concerning Isra’el, they are incredibly generous, and exalted God’s people to a status which was the complete opposite to that which they had, had as slaves. This was not a land of stale bread and dirty water.

Tekhelet“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:7-10

Firstly, in Numbers 15:38, the Isra’elites were told to add tassels to their garments which were died a specific blue, which is called tekhelet. This must have been an astonishing command, as these ex-slaves were being ordered by their God to adorn themselves with an incredibly expensive product which was so costly, it was only worn by royalty and the highest ranking noblemen. It comes from a sea creature called the Chillazon, and it takes many of these creatures to produce enough dye to make one thread blue.

This command of the Lord reinforced the value that God’s people had in His eyes. They were to be a royal priesthood, that served and thrived under Him. Instead of living the arduous, miserable life of a slave, they were valued, provided for and adored. [Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9]

So why would you give people, who you love, a desert? God didn’t. Isra’el in the time of Moses and then David, was in a fertile crescent which had excellent rainfall. This is why the land was fought over by so many nations: it had sea access, lucrative trade routes and was bountiful. God’s children were given the very best. Land that could sustain cattle (milk), obviously had good grazing and enough room for sheep, goats and all the animals which required good quality pasture.

That rich pasture would also provide the needs of the honey bees, another indulgent luxury which speaks of the good life. As milk provides health to the bones, honey helps feed a joyful spirit, plus it has antibacterial qualities and is brilliant for treating wounds and infections. This speaks of God not only giving His children an indulgent treat, but His meeting their medical needs in a practical manner.

Like the children of Isra’el, we too have been delivered from being slaves to sin. “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” Romans 6:18 Yet, it is too easy to think of our lives in the same way we see Isra’el: as a battle scarred, desolate land which is hard to live in. There is a modern Christian movement which has taken on wearing Old Testament tekhelet tassels as God commanded, and they do this to remind themselves to obey God, but for them, it is also a beautiful reminder that they too are God’s chosen people and have the status of princes and princesses within the Kingdom of the Lord.

It’s not necessary to wear a tassel to know how much you mean to the Lord, but an understanding of the Old Testament and what the nation of Isra’el meant to God helps us enormously to understand just how loved we are. We are all grafted into the same vine, so what applies to the Jewish people, applies to us equally.

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:2-5

IMG_0097“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs.” Romans 8:14-17a

So next time you feel miserable and inclined to believe that life is bleak and that God will never come through for you because you’re not important to Him, remember the land of milk and honey. We are all meant to know that we are loved, greatly valued and are going to be provided for. It may take some time for God’s provision to come through, but if you hold fast to Him, He’ll always be there for you.

“Your eternal Word, O LORD,
stands firm in heaven.
Your faithfulness extends to every generation,
as enduring as the earth You created.
Your regulations remain true to this day,
for everything serves Your plans.
If Your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy,
I would have died in my misery.
I will never forget Your commandments,
for by them You give me life.” Psalm 119:89-93


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The images of Isra’el in this post have come from Wikimedia Commons and are CC4.0.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.

When the Prayer of Jabez Hasn’t Worked for You

2016-01-14_13-59-30_01When I get to Heaven, I want to meet Jabez and see what he is like, because he sounds like an exceptionally special man, with a beautiful character.

“There was a man named Jabez who was more honourable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that You would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:9-10

Years ago, friends came to me and said, “you HAVE to read this book! This prayer of Jabez will change your life.” I had stopped reading Christian books earlier, as I found I was depending on them more than on the Word of God, but I did look up the prayer and thought, “wow. I can see why this book is popular.” To be kept from all trouble and pain, know God and be blessed materially, who wouldn’t want that? Then I noticed that a lot of posters and gift items with the prayer of Jabez were appearing in our local Christian book shop. I had to decide, was this prayer a fad, or a really good idea?

For Jabez, this prayer is the best idea he ever had and his prayer inspires me. However, I never prayed the prayer, as it’s not my prayer. It demonstrates a way of praying that could be beneficial… however, and this is where it all falls apart in our lives, as I don’t have the character of Jabez, God could not produce the same results in my life without me becoming a spoiled brat. I know I would lose touch much of my motivation to seek the Lord, because I was so blessed, I didn’t need Him as much. Plus how many critical lessons do we learn from pain, like it or not? An easy life didn’t sound wise to me.

God is a pro-level Father. He would never, ever, give a gift to any of His children that would harm them, or pull them away from Him to any degree. Neither will He do anything that stops us from making our own decisions and often, subsequent mistakes. I am a master of the art of getting myself into trouble and because of free will, there is a limit to what God can halt in my life. Even if God was answering my prayer in the same way He blessed Jabez, my own life choice bloopers could effectively erode away what God was trying to give me.

So what can we learn from Jabez? To be honourable. What does that mean? According to several dictionaries, it means to have high standards, be deserving, be consistently righteous so that you are worthy of praise and it won’t go to your head. It means being a person who is fair, courteous, respectful, lawful, unselfish, actively resisting corruption and sin, and to have integrity. Honour is built on submission to God, obeying the Word of God and showing the fruit of the Spirit to everyone, regardless of whether they are deserving or not. It’s a hard thing to achieve.

So be comforted. The Lord has heard your prayers and done what is best for you. He will be working in the background to bring about His perfect, loving will for your life and if you submit to Him, you’ll thrive. What comes may not look like what Jabez had, but it doesn’t have to. It will be specially, carefully, tailor made FOR YOU by the Father who knows you so well. That is a greater act of love than simply making your life easy.

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For more encouragement, have a look at these articles on the life of King David:

“How Long?” When Answers to Prayer Don’t Seem to Arrive
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33409

When You Can’t Be An Overcomer: Coping With Spiritual Failures
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33052

The Habits That Built King David’s Faith
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33033

The Power of Praying the Psalms
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32076

“But I Will Trust in You…” King David and the Art of Bouncing Back
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32732

Yesterday’s Hero: Ancient Politics or, How to Keep a King Humble (on suffering)
http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=33449

For all articles, please visit From Despair to Deliverance, the King David Project: http://cateartios.wix.com/kingdavidproject


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.