Category Archives: II Samuel

I Am David

Like Leonard Cohen, I’ve been pretty curious about that secret chord that David played that pleased the Lord.  I wanted to know what it was that was so special about David.  What was it that made him a man after God’s own heart.

How could I be like David? How could I be…special?

David was special, right?  Killed a giant.  Wrote the Psalms.  War hero.  Legendary king.

He was a hero, but he was also a zero.  Think about it.  In one turn of events, he broke eight of the ten commandments.  Adultery.  Murder.  Pretty low if you ask me.

But, then I hear the words of the Psalms.  I heard a heart that is longing for God.  I heart a heart that is alive and on fire.  And, I know.  David is me.  David is you.

You see, David is the anointed.  He’s the chosen one.  In the New Testament, we read of how we can all be sons of God.  We can be like Jesus.  We can have a heart like his.   We can be anointed.

Read Romans 8.

How do we live the Christian life?  By the Spirit.  We have an anointing from God.  We are the chosen people.  We are the blessed people.  We are David.   I am David.   You are David.  You’re his seed.  You’re his promise.  Why?  Because you are the body of Christ.

So, what does that mean?  What are we to do?

Live with your heart on fire for God, alive in the Spirit, and always living in the reality that God is alive and he’s all we need.

That’s what David did.  He found God in the tough times and in the sad times and in the plentiful times and in the good times.  He found him on the mountain and he found him in the valley.

So, we can know that God is with us, and we can say with David, “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me.”  His rod and his staff guide us.  He prepares us a table in the presence of our enemies.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.




Absalom: Hair to Die For (II Samuel 13-19)

You remember Fabio, don’t you?  He donned the covers of romance novels for years.  You may remember him from the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” commercials.  He is the male model with the long flowing hair.

Turns out there’s an ancient Semitic Fabio.  He name is Absalom.

 Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. 26 He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds,” Samuel 14:26 NLT.

Locks of Love hit their jackpot every year with him.

Women fawned over him.

Men wanted to be him.

And, he didn’t get what he wanted.  Might have been the first time.   You see he wanted revenge and justice.  You see, he had a beautiful sister, Tamar.  In fact, she was so beautiful that her half-brother Amnon went crazy for her.  I think he may have been a little touched to start with.  Well, he forced himself on Tamar, and then he disgraced her by refusing to marry her.  Well, Mr. Male Model Prince Absalom wanted his father King David to handle this situation.  David did nothing.  A good looking young prince was used to getting what he wanted, so he took matters into his own hands and waited his time until he could kill Amnon.  He got what he wanted.

Pride.  It’s something we celebrate nowadays.  There’s all sorts of pride.  We even have pride parades.  It might surprise you to know that the Bible doesn’t speak of pride as good thing.

“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.,” I John 2:16.

Pride is saying that you’re more important than others.  That your will overrides God’s will.  Absalom had that kind of pride.  He took his brother’s life and it wasn’t Absalom’s place to do it.

After Mr. Jewish Fabio killed his brother, he left Jerusalem for a couple of years.  Finally, Joab helped him make his way back to town, and finally into the court of the King.

Then, Absalom set in play a four year plan to take over the kingdom.  The beautiful man started courting all Israel.  He stole their hearts with his appearance and words.  And, he rose against his father.

Through a turn of events that we could only describe as a “God thing,” Absalom spurned good military counsel and took the one that lead to his demise.  In fact, it lead to him being caught in a tree.  Guess what caught him.  Guess what lead to his death.  It was all those beautiful locks of hair.

His pride was his hair.  His pride was his death trap.

I wonder how many times the same can be said of us?

Well, what’s the secret to this?  How do we get out of this death trap?

Well, we accept the Word of God.  It tells us that we are beloved.  You see, the Son of God went to the tree so we don’t have to.

We can all be members of his royal family…but doing so involves humble service.  Like our humble King, we take up our crosses and even die for him, and we rise to glory in his kingdom.

Our baptism is a death.  It’s a burial.  It’s a resurrection.  You want to see the Christian life…look at the waters of baptism.  You submit to it.  You receive it.  And, God blesses you as you humble yourself in his sight.  He lifts you up to new life.

Like David, even when we sin, we turn to him in repentance and in mercy and grace he forgives.  We keep going and serving even through the heartbreak.  We will sing to him and serve him in humility.

And, you know what?

He raises us up.

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Are (I Samuel 7)

The alarm sounded.  I was up at 2:30 AM!  Wow!  My folks even gave me a phone call.  I was ready.  Showered, drove to the church.  Met the Nicaragua mission team at the Central Church of Christ, and off we went.  Got to Birmingham, and it happened.  We boarded the plane.  Seated and ready for takeoff, we hear this announcement, “We’re having some technical difficulties with the fire protection in the luggage compartment.  Let’s go ahead and deplane and we’ll call the mechanic.”  It turns out the mechanic was not found, and we didn’t get to fly to Managua, Nicaragua, that day.  So, we headed back to Tuscaloosa.  Never been to Sunday church in shorts before.

Next day.  The alarm sounds!  I am up at 2:30 AM!  My folks call me (again).  Showered and ready, I meet Bill Rayburn at the Central Church of Christ building and we head to Birmingham.  Turns out it’s the same flight, same time, with American.  And, it turns out that problem had not been fixed, and our flight was cancelled.


There was more than one honeymoon that was delayed.  One lady was bringing all the preparation for a beautiful wedding in Jamaica.  Another was just headed to her work.  We were missing important mission work.  We were all frustrated.

It had been quite the hassle.  Two days of waking up before the crack of dawn.  Two trips to Birmingham.  Hours of haggling with American Airlines agents.  Lines.  Did I mention lines.  I may or may not have lost my cool a time or two the first day.  I definitely got riled up the second.  I mean…why didn’t they fix the plane?

We rebooked through United and finally made our way down there that night.

Whew!  We got to where we wanted to be!  What a relief.  I had recently been told that I needed to work on my patience.   Got in some really good training there.

When we finally made it to the Managua Best Western and began our work with the churches here,  we were ecstatic.   We were where we wanted to be.  We were where we saw God as moving us in his mission.  We were going to minister to hundreds of children and carry out all the work we had done to give them a memorable and effective week of VBS.

Have you ever gotten where you want to be in life?

Somewhere you’ve worked for?  Maybe it was years in college.  Maybe it was years of courting that beautiful girl.  Maybe it was hours or practice.  Maybe it was hard work and dedication and perseverance that finally paid off.

Well, David could relate to that.

Think of all he went through.  He was anointed by Samuel as a young guy.  He was told he would be king.  But, he wasn’t yet.  He faced a giant.  He put up with the madness of a jealous king.  He wandered in the wilderness.  He hid in caves.  He fought in battles.  His family was taken from him (but he rescued them).  He saw the death of his best friend Jonathan.  And, through it all he persevered and kept standing in that line, waiting for God to do what he believe God has promised.  He waited to see the goodness of the Lord.  And, there it was.  He was crowned king.

He had gotten all he wanted.  All he had waited for.

Or, did he?

What did David really want?

Did he want to be in a particular place?  Did he really want the palace more than anything else?

Well, it turns out, not really.  He didn’t want a place for himself so much as he wanted a place for God.

In II Samuel 7, we read that the newly crowned King David wants something from God.  He wants to build him a palace.  He wants to build a temple in which to place the ark of the covenant.  He wants to make God great in the eyes of the people.  He wants a place for Him!

Think about that.  When you get to the place you want to be, is that really the place you want to be?

Yogi Berra wasn’t too far off when he say, “Wherever you are, there you’ll be!”

Here’s the thing.  David didn’t really want a geographic place for himself.  He didn’t really want a status nor a throne.  Do you know where David really wanted to be?

We don’t have to wonder.  He told us in Psalm 27:4,

“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.”

In the words of the song, David just wanted to be where God is.  He didn’t want a throne if God wasn’t there.  He didn’t want a pasture if God wasn’t there.  And, I can tell you this, David would have been happy to wait in line at the American Airlines counter if he knew God was there.

Now, I have to tell you, sometimes I get caught up in my location and status.  I want to be where I want to be when I want to be there.  How about you?  Do you admire those patient prayer warriors who seem to always be content with their situation?  I do.  I seem to have spiritual ADD.  I forget so many times and get distracted from this primary fact that I want to share with you.

God is here.

He’s here in Managua in the hearts of the servants serving children.  He’s here in the hotel.  He’s even at the airport at the counter.  Why?

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” I Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that at the airport, you are the presence of God there?

Do you not know that at the restaurant, God is with you?

Do you not know that late at night and early in the morning and all through your day, you have something that is so precious and so special that it made a king beg.  What is it?

God’s temple is here.  You are it.

Sometimes we get so frustrated with the world.  Well, that’s ok.  There are frustrating things.  But, we are God’s presence renovating it.  We are God’s hands touching it.  We are God’s feet going to help.  We are God’s mind thinking the thoughts that transform that world.  And, when we realize that, we can know that we have the very thing we’ve wanted all along.  The only thing that will satisfy.

David said that “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside,” Psalm 84:10.  I can say a day WITH GOD even if it’s haggling with airlines is better than a thousand WITHOUT him.


“In his presence is fullness of joy”, Psalm 16:11.

Let’s be the temple.  Let’s be the presence of God in the world.

A Time To Dance (I Samuel 6)

“Hello, this is Mr. Pavarotti.”

I didn’t believe him.  I thought it was a prank on that October day in 1996.  So, I said,

“John, this isn’t funny.”  John was a childhood friend and a prankster.

“No, this is Mr. Pavarotti.  I called many times.  You are a busy guy.”

Once I figured out exactly what was going on (after quizzing him hard), I just started screaming, “Thank you.”

I literally ran down the street to my friend’s house on that Wednesday night, and nearly broke down their door, and walked in and breathlessly exclaimed, “I just got a call from Luciano Pavarotti!”

I had written many letters to Luciano Pavarotti, because he was my hero when it came to singing.  He had received my letters, and decided to reach out.

When your hero calls, you get excited.  I ran.  I think I may have danced a little.  I shouted.

When was the last time you shouted for joy?

What about when your team won their last big game?  Maybe it was when you got that job.  Or, when she say, “yes.”

Now, what if the most important person in the world to you, said, “Yes”?

  • Maybe it’s your spouse.  Maybe you just long to hear them say, “Yes – I’m with you.”
  • Maybe it’s your child.  You just want to know they their answer to you is, “Yes – I love you, and I’m with you.”
  • Maybe it’s your customers.  Maybe what you long for more than anything is to hear them say, “Yes, I’m with you all the way.”

If the right one says “Yes,” then you will feel it.  Your foot will feel like tapping.  Your legs will feel like moving.  Your mouth will feel like shouting.  You just might dance.

When David Danced

When King David was crowned king, we don’t read about him dancing a jig.  When he defeated a giant, there is no record of cutting a rug .  When he escaped Saul, there is no note about skipping nor leaping.  But, when God said, “Yes,” David danced with all his might.

You see, the ark of the covenant represented the presence of God.  When you had the ark, you had God with you.  David had made some mistakes and he was questioning whether he’d be able to bring the ark to his city.  He wanted God’s presence more than anything. He wanted God himself.  And, when he thought he couldn’t have the ark with him, it broke his heart.  But, when he found out that he could bring the ark to his town, he literally threw off his kingly robes and danced like a little child.

Have you seen these videos of children’s reactions when their fathers come home from a long military deployment?  Well, that was David.  The ark had been away from him for so long.  He wanted to bring it home.  And, when he was convinced that he could, he just went wild.  He leaped and danced and sang and praised.  He had childlike ecstasy.

Do You Hear the Music?

David danced because he could hear the music.

Do you?

There is a symphony of grace that you need to experience.  It will sweep you away with it’s cadence.  You’ll feel the magic of its drama and the power of its melody.  You’ll dance to the orchestra of God’s grace.

And, where does it start?

Like David, you have to hear a simple word.  You have to experience the reality that God wants to be where you are.  Just think about it.  That’s why Jesus came.  He came to tell us, “Yes!”

I Corinthians 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”

  • If you’re doubting if God really wants to touch your life, then look at the hands that touched a leper.  The answer is “Yes!” (Matthew 8:3).
  • If you’re wondering if God would come to your house, the house of a sinner, then ask Matthew, the tax collector.  The answer is , “Yes!” (Mark 2:13-17).
  • If you’re concerned that God will be with you in your trials, then look at Jesus on the stormy sea, and hear him say, “Peace, be still.”  The answer is “Yes!”
  • If you’re wondering if Jesus would clean out the grime and filth in your life, then see him watching the disciples feet, John 13.
  • When you look at the old rugged cross, we see the answer to the question, “Does God really love me enough to die for me?”  The answer is “Yes.”
  • The empty tomb proclaims the answer to the question, “Can God conquer death in order to be with me?”  The answer is “Yes!”

He would go to any lengths to be with you.  He can conquer any foe to be with you.

The answer in Christ is always. “Yes!”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.   For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

Now, I think I’ll go listen to some praise songs.   And, I hope no one notices, but I’ll probably be dancing in my seat.

A Time To Mourn (II Samuel 1-4)

John Wayne didn’t cry.  My father didn’t cry.  My grandfathers didn’t cry.  Neither did I.

But, then I got to know about how real men and women can cry.   I’m talking about war heroes who come home from Iraq and shed tears over the death of children.  I’m talking about people who mourn the loss of their loved ones.

And, I’m talking about one of the baddest men who ever lived.   A man who defeated the Philistine hordes.  As a young man he killed a bear and a lion.  To top it all off, he killed a giant.  Then, to add to that, he led one of the greatest armies in the world and stood up to a king.  I’m talking about David.

After King Saul tried to kill him, David prevailed.   Then, Saul was killed in battle.

What did David do when the man who sought his life was killed?

Some might party.  Others might quietly gloat.  Some might have a parade through the streets.

Not David. Here’s what the Bible says he did:

 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

Later, Saul’s son Ishbosheth fought David over the throne.   Two things happened.

  • Abner, the greatest opposing general, was killed.
  • Ishbosheth, the opposing King,  was murdered at home on his bed.

Now, this sounds like great news for David!  The opposing presumptive king is dead.  His big, bad general was no more a threat!

What did David do?  Did he dance?  Did he sing?  Did he play a  happy tune on the lyre?  Nope.  Not at all.

Quite the opposite.

He mourned.  He wept.

The baddest king of Israel cried when he heard of his enemies’ deaths.

Now, if David cried over the death of his enemies, how much more should we mourn the loss of our fellow Americans?

As Solomon said, there is a time to mourn.  This is it.  Let’s mourn the passing of our fellow image bearers (Genesis 1:26).  Then, let’s honor the image of God in all our brothers and sisters.  Let’s honor the image of God in our policemen and women.  Let’s honor the image of our Father in the black, white, Latino, Asian, old, young, rich, and poor.

Why did David mourn?  He saw someone made in the image of God being taken.

Now, what was it they said about David?  “He was a man after God’s own heart.”

If David mourned, then I wonder if God did, too.

I wonder if he does now.