Sunday Scriptures — The King’s Table

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

After David became king of the united tribes of Israel, he wondered if any of Saul’s family remained he could show kindness. That in itself was a shock to those who understood how the succession to a throne usually went.

No new king looked for his rival’s family members to show them kindness. They looked for family members to eliminate.

You see, David made a promise to one of Saul’s sons, Jonathan. He and David were best buds. Jonathan knew God choose David over him to become king when Saul died. He didn’t try to get in the way of God’s plan. In fact, Jonathan risked his life at the hands of his father’s wrath to protect David. Because of that, David was determined to keep his promise to protect Jonathan’s family.

As it turned out, there was a son of Jonathan’s, Mephibosheth, still alive. David sent for Mephibosheth. Understandably, when he arrived at the palace in front of the king, Mephibosheth expected the worse. As he had every right to expect.

But David told him not to be afraid. He wanted to show kindness to Mephibosheth because of his friendship with Jonathan. He restored everything that belonged to Mephibosheth’s grandfather, Saul, and told Mephibosheth from that day forward, he would live in David’s palace and eat at the king’s table as if he were one of David’s sons.

Amazing.

When I think of this story, which I absolutely love, I connect the image of Mephibosheth eating at the king’s table, with The King’s table which is prepared for us by our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Our Shepherd prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.

I imagine sitting at the king’s table, and eating with David’s sons, made Mephibosheth believe he sat in the presence of his enemies. I doubt David’s sons, especially Absolom and Amnon, were pleased to have Saul’s grandson treated like one of them.

What others thought didn’t matter. David was king. He invited Mephibosheth to eat at his table, and Mephibosheth would eat at the king’s table.

We have a place at the table Jesus prepares for us. He is King. He’s the one in charge. If he believes us worthy enough to eat in his presence, no enemy can keep us from pulling up a seat.

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“Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!” 2 Samuel 9:7 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Listen to God’s Truth

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Thinking about David again this morning …

Many of us are familiar with his encounter with the Philistine giant, Goliath. We remember the Israelite army quaking and shaking; fleeing from battle as Goliath mocked the Living Sovereign God. We remember David stepping up and stepping out to face the nine-foot, nine-inch man the others ran from.

We remember the Israelites allowed their fear to shut their eyes and ears to God’s truth of who HE is, while David allowed his faith to open his eyes and ears to God’s truth of who HE is.

As I re-read this story I saw the Israelites looked at the giant and found their strength lacking. David looked at God and found more than enough strength to conquer the one who towered over him.

The Israelite army heard Goliath’s voice thunder across the valley, were afraid, and shrunk back from the battle before them. David heard God’s voice in reply and courageously ran to meet the challenge.

Our battles may not be of gigantic proportions like David’s, but then again, they might be.

We know Satan is alive and well, taunting God’s people day and night. Just like Goliath. He mocks the Living God. Inflicting pain and hurt wherever he can. Sometimes we see the nine-foot, nine-inch giant and head for the hills. Sometimes we see God’s hand in ours and head into the fight in his power and strength.

Sometimes we listen to the devil’s convincing voice and doubt God’s presence. Or his love. Sometimes we turn our ears to the Lord and his peace fills us in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us.

As with David and the Israelites, the choice is ours. We can believe the devil’s lies and half-truths, or we can believe God’s truth that he is with us, empowering us to fight every battle we face large and small.

We trust in the name of the Lord our God. Amen?

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David answered, “You are coming against me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the Israelite armies, which you have defied. This very day the Lord will put you in my power; I will defeat you and cut off your head. And I will give the bodies of the Philistine soldiers to the birds and animals to eat. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a God,  and everyone here will see that the Lord does not need swords or spears to save his people. He is victorious in battle, and he will put all of you in our power.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Step Aside

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Watching the Winter Olympic Games got me thinking about how the Olympic Torch is handed off. After each person does their job, they step aside, much like runners in a relay race.

That thought took me to look at Moses and David. Near the end of both their lives, one thing they pursued was not theirs to complete. God chose another to fulfill what these two dreamed would be there’s.

For forty years Moses led the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, which the Lord promised his people. But as Moses stood at the entrance to the land, God told Moses he would not lead the people in. Joshua would.

From the time David was king, maybe even before, he dreamed of building a temple for the Lord his God. He had magnificent plans for a building that would surpass all others. One fit for the presence of Jehovah God.

But God had other plans.

God did not let David build the temple. Instead, God chose David’s son, Solomon, to build it.

I imagine both of these men were crushed at the outcome of their service and work for God. We see no grumbling or complaining to the fact, however. What we do see is these two men of God accepted his decision, and stepped aside for the one who came after them.

They didn’t selfishly insist on fulfilling the own ambitions. They didn’t get in the way of the one God chose to complete the task. They simple handed off the baton, and stepped aside so someone else, a person of God’s choosing, would complete the race they began.

Maybe we’ve come right to the gate of our long-held dreams, only to have God hand the baton to someone else to complete the race.

How do we respond when that happens? Do we, like Moses and David, step aside, or do we cling to what we believe is our right and refuse to yield the project to someone else when it’s their turn?

Finishing well does not always mean seeing a project through to completion. Sometimes it means we step aside so others can share in the glory of the task God called us to begin.

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I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Come and Help Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Do you have difficulty admitting you need help? Do you reluctantly accept help, fearful you may appear weak? Or are you comfortable admitting you need help and gladly accept it when offered?

During David’s time as king, an Ammonite king died and David sent ambassadors to the king’s son to express his regrets concerning the king’s death. But the son’s officers told him the ambassadors were sent as spies. Believing the lies, the son took the men, shaved off half their beards, cut their robes off exposing their buttocks and sent them home in shame.

This did not sit well with David.

Realizing they had a fight on their hands, the Ammonites hired thirty-one thousand Syrian mercenaries and sent them to fight the Israelites. Some guarded the city gates. Others went to the fields to fight.

When David heard about this, he sent Joab and the entire Israeli army to attack them. Realizing he would have to fight on two fronts, Joab split his army. He took the best fighters under his command to fight in the fields, and left the rest with his brother, Abishai, to attack the Ammonite’s city. Before they split up, Joab told Abishai to come to him if Abishai needed help. Likewise, Joab would help Abishai should he need it.

Theirs was a mutual agreement. If you need help, I’m there. If I need help, you’re there.

In our humanness we often falsely believe we don’t need any help from anyone. Including God. How wrong that belief is.

We were created to be in community with others. God said it was not good for man to be alone. Solomon said a cord of three strands is better than a cord of one strand. For if one should fall, the others can pick him up.

We need each other. We need to be willing to admit when we need help. We need to be willing to help as we can, and accept help when it is offered.

Do you find it easy or difficult to admit you need help?

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Joab saw that the enemy troops would attack him in front and from the rear, so he chose the best of Israel’s soldiers and put them in position facing the Syrians. He placed the rest of his troops under the command of his brother Abishai, who put them in position facing the Ammonites. Joab said to him, “If you see that the Syrians are defeating me, come and help me, and if the Ammonites are defeating you, I will go and help you. Be strong and courageous! Let’s fight hard for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord‘s will be done!” 2 Samuel 10:9-12 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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P.S.

If you want to know what happened, you’ll have to read the rest of the story in 2 Samuel 10. 🙂

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Sunday Scriptures — Unsin Me

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While preparing to lead a lesson on David’s penitential Psalm 51 this month, I read a commentator who said “purify” was the same as “unsin”. Isn’t that interesting?

Psalm 51 is David’s petition to God for forgiveness after the prophet Nathan confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, Uriah. In this psalm David admits his guilt, and asks for God’s forgiveness. He pleads for the restoration of his relationship with God.

David pleads with God based on knowledge of who God is.

God is gracious, loving and compassionate. David understood God is our only hope. He understood we can go before God and confess our sins, knowing God will not hurt us despite our sin.

In this psalm David didn’t rationalize his sins as we might. He did not blame others for his actions. He made no excuses. He owned his sin and bowed before God in humility, begging for God’s forgiveness.

When David asked God to purify, or unsin him, he asked for God to take David’s sin away. Cleanse him through the sacrificial blood. Blot out his guilt as if no sin occurred. David asked God to return him to fellowship with God, and change his heart and life.

Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and shed blood paid the debt we owe for our sins. Still, God wants to see evidence of sorrow and brokenness over our sins from those who claim him as Lord. It is only through repentance of our sins we can have a restored relationship with God, and that restoration allows us to be useful to him once more.

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God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. Psalm 51:1-2 (NCV)
 I wish you well.

Sandy

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