Key Verses: 2 Samuel 21:1, 14b
Now there was famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.”…So they performed all that the king had commanded. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.
As the above photo illustrates, not much has changed in the human condition. Yes, there were no battle tanks mentioned in today’s reading, just swords and spears, but people are people… except for the night and day change that happens in the human heart when Jesus comes in to dwell. We may well have been discouraged after today’s reading. Just in case that is the case, our key verses point out to us that God answered prayer for people 3,000 years ago. He still answers prayer today. Samuel was dead. Nathan the prophet did not show up with a Word from God. It appears that the political and military leaders did their own thing. It’s important that we don’t blame God for the mess Israel was in. Even so today, it’s our fault that the world is so badly messed up. It’s the story of fallen humanity. A humanity given free will by God needs to turn around, repent, and find God’s will.
The words found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 tell us that if we humble ourselves and pray, God will forgive our sins and heal our land. For encouragement we may want to read 2 Chronicles 7:12-18.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I humble myself in Your presence. I seek Your face as You told David’s son, Solomon, to do. I turn away from all wickedness, repenting with deep sorrow. I claim Your promise of forgiveness and healing. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Please forgive me, but I can’t possibly cover what is in my heart and mind in just 100 words — here goes!
I recently read a book called, Rome’s Last Citizen, the life and legacy of Cato, who is called by the authors the “mortal enemy of Caesar.” The years covered in the book are in the decades prior to the coming of Jesus. It describes a history of even greater evil than that of Israel in King David’s time. For four years I studied Latin, the language of Rome, doing translations on examination papers and learning about the longest lasting empire ever. Before the Caesar dynasty, Rome had, for some time, operated in a hit-and-miss fashion under a constitution. It sounded good on paper, but the reality was that the leaders manipulated the constitution and the people for their own self-centred purposes. In 1968 I made my first visit to the Soviet Union. I read carefully their constitution. It was filled with high ideals which would appear to be the fulfillment of the Words of the Bible, like “Love your neighbour as yourself.” I was well aware that under that constitution Lenin and Stalin murdered millions of people. What evil there is in human hearts. My consistent longing, whether reading the history of Rome or the Soviet constitution, or today’s reading about Israel, is “O Jesus, only You can change the human heart. Only Your indwelling presence can enable me to live up to God’s standards of moral behaviour, truly loving my neighbour as myself.” In modern Rome, “Vivere al Cento Per Cento,” our Italian television productions, were released in the 1980’s. The way of salvation, by faith in Jesus alone, was clearly presented. This was a first, to my knowledge. In the Soviet Union, the Crossroads Creation series and our children’s series, Kingdom Adventure, were released on state television across all 15 republics (translated into Russian). This was another first for the message of Jesus in an officially atheistic state. In Israel, my son-in-law, Nizar Shaheen, who is ordained in the Nazareth Baptist Church, shared the Gospel of Jesus on Channel One in both of his first languages, Arabic and Hebrew. This was state television, and for several years prior for Christmas and Easter, Nizar was asked to explain how Christians understood the Hebrew prophecies concerning the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. I’m more convinced than ever that “Jesus changes everything” when He lives in the hearts of people.
Yours with an expression of Joy as I heard a new believer say, “Three cheers for Jesus!”