When in Crisis…

How do you respond to a crisis?  David was a man used to life-threatening danger.  In Psalm 57 he is running again for his life from King Saul.  This is an amazing Psalm that gives insight into how David responded to such situations.

In verse one, David said,

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”

His very life is threatened and yet he chooses to let God fight his battles.  The grammar in this passage more literally says that “in the past, I have taken refuge in you God, and now I take refuge in you.”  David was presently taking refuge in God because of his experience of God’s faithful protection in the past.

It is also important to see that David does not ask for the problem to go away, nor does he ask why difficulty has come to him.  Instead, he confronted the danger by simply taking refuge in God until the storm of destruction was gone. He chose to trust God to protect him and live accordingly.  That meant he had to yield to the leadership of God even when he did not understand his circumstances.  

Why did David confidently take his refuge in God? I see at least two reasons. Notice the first reason is mentioned in verse two,

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”

I like what Gerald Wilson says about this statement. He said,

“The psalmist’s desire to seek refuge is based on an understanding of God that inspires confidence. God is one who ‘fulfills his purpose’ for the psalmist. The precise nature of that purpose is not clarified here, but it is certain that God’s divine plans will not be undermined by the plots and attacks of the enemies.”[1]

David was resolute in his trust of God. He was confident that God would fulfill his purpose for him even though he was currently in a life-threatening storm. His circumstances implied that God’s promise to install him as king may not happen. Even so, David chose to trust God. He knew his God was able to accomplish his purpose for his life regardless of his current circumstances.

Do you struggle with whether God will accomplish his purpose for you?  Sometimes I struggle to trust God to accomplish his purpose in my life especially when circumstances imply that he forgot me and my desires may never be fulfilled. David experienced these things too and yet was able to live in such a way that he was content with God’s will for his life whatever the outcome. His relationship with God was more important to him than how he served God. I too must choose to be content with God’s plan for me regardless of my circumstances.

The second reason for David’s choice to take refuge in God is found in verse three which says,

“He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

David was convinced that God would once again express his steadfast, loyal, unwavering love, and faithfulness in his life.  Why? Because David walked in a love relationship with God.  He had a friendship that allowed him to completely trust God and his love for him.

Wilson again notes,

Finding refuge in God does not mean the psalmist will escape any vestige of suffering. Rather, as verse four makes clear, refuge is in the midst of trouble and provides an enduring confidence even in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”[2]

Father, thank you for the model of David.  He responded to crisis by taking refuge in you.  He did that because he experienced your protection in the past, was convinced that you would fulfill your purpose for him regardless of his circumstances and he believed that you would continue to express your faithful love to him.  May I trust you as he did. May I be more concerned about my relationship with you than with how I serve you. You will fulfill your plans for me and I can rest in that.

Following Jesus with you,






[1] Gerald H. Wilson, Psalms, vol. 1, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 831.

[2] Ibid.


Ahithophel’s Revenge

Have you heard fo the saying, “Blood is thicker than water”? This truism reminds us that relationships within the family and their loyalties are generally stronger than those outside the family.

I could not help but think of that saying when I was contemplating an event in the life of David. The situation I am referring to is when his son Absalom tried to overthrow his kingdom with the help of Ahithophel. Notice what it says in 2 Sam. 15:31,

“And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

This coup attempt for David’s throne is compounded by the defection of Ahithophel. Ahithophel was the most esteemed advisor that David had. He is described as follows in 2 Sam. 16:23,

“Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.

Why would David’s most trusted advisor leave him for Absalom? Ahithophel had been David’s right-hand man for years! This just does not seem to make sense! In fact, Ahithophel appears to be more than a casual conspirator because he wants to personally kill David. Notice what it says in the following passage,

“Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, ‘Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband.’” (2 Sam. 17:1-3)

What is going on? What was driving Ahithophel to pursue this desperate course of action and counsel Absalom to violate the king’s concubines?

Notice the following insight,

“David had illicitly slept with a woman who was not his wife (cf. 11:4), and now his son is counseled to follow in his father’s footsteps.”[1]

It has been proposed by some scholars that Absalom violated the king’s concubines on the very roof that David violated Bathseba!  This is more than a coincidence! Ahithophel seems to have revenge on his mind. What motivated Ahithophel?

We do not know much about Ahithophel, but we do find a major clue for his possible conduct in 2 Sam. 23:34. There we learn that he had a son named Eliam.

This observation is very significant because of what we learn in 2 Sam. 11:3,

“He (David) sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, ‘She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’”

Do you see what I see? Ahithophel is the grandfather of Bathsheba! The daughter of his son had a tragic end to her marriage because of David. Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, was killed through the conniving plan of David in his desperate attempt to hide the fact that he was the father of the child that Bathsheba was carrying.

When David had learned that the woman he desired was married and the granddaughter of Ahithophel, his most trusted advisor, he should have come to his senses and abandoned his plans of taking advantage of her. Instead, he forced himself upon her in spite of this information. His decision to sin in this way had tragic consequences for him and many others.

As a result of these observations, it seems very possible that Ahithophel never got over this betrayal by David and he was waiting for his opportunity to get revenge because he had harmed his family. What a tragic story!

Father, thank you for helping us see that sin has disastrous consequences. David, controlled by passion, rationalized away obedience to pursue his selfish pleasure. You graciously let him know two facts 1) Bathsheba was married and 2) she was the granddaughter of his closest advisor.  This information should have stopped him cold in his tracks, but tragically it did not. Help me not to be deceived by sin and give me the ability to see my foolishness before I make mistakes like David.  Enable me to pursue simple obedience in following you.

Following Jesus with you,



[1] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), 2 Sa 16:15.


My Soul, My Soul, My Soul

It is amazing that when we read the Bible that different things can pop out to us because we have not noticed them before.  That happened to me today when I read Psalm 63.  After reading that passage a couple of times, I noticed a phrase that was repeated and then a progression that helped me in following Jesus. The phrase is “My soul.”

In verse one David says, “my soul thirsts for you.” In verse five he says, “my soul will be satisfied.” And then in verse eight, he says, “my soul clings.”

The first statement is that David “thirsts” for God. This craving is because he understands that God’s “steadfast love is better than life” (vs 3).  This description is “a longing so intense that he is weak with desire: literally, my flesh faints for thee.”[1] This strong passion is because of the reality that God’s loyal and faithful love is better than anything else life can offer. Is my soul aching for God because I believe knowing him has more value than anything in this world?

 In the second use of this phrase “my soul”, David says that his soul is “satisfied” with God because he says, “I remember you…and meditate upon you (vs 6).  David’s thirst is quenched when he dwells on God and his goodness to him! “The psalmist’s intense devotion to God is therefore shown by the fact that “all night long” (tev), as he lies in bed, he remembers what God has done for him and thinks about him.”[2] David’s intentional mediation on God and his past goodness has caused his soul to be satisfied. Is my soul satisfied with God because I drink in the memory of his abundant provision for me?

The result of this seeking and satisfaction through meditating on God and his provision in the past leads to David’s choice to remain “close” to God.  He chooses to “cling” to him. “My soul clings to thee may be rendered, for example, “I hold on to you with all my strength.”[3]  Nothing could break David’s grip upon God as his provider and protector. Am I hanging on to God and faithfulness to him no matter what my circumstances?

David has shown us that the wise person is the one who thirsts for God. He is satisfied with his proven provision, and as a result, clings to him no matter what his situation.

Father, what a beautiful description of a man after your own heart. I want to be like David. I thirst for you because I know your love is better than life itself. I want my soul to be satisfied with you as I think of all you have done for me in the past.  I want to cling to you so that nothing could pull me away from faithfulness to you.

Following Jesus with you,



[1] Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 548.

tev Today’s English Version

[2] Ibid, 550.

[3] Ibid.

Set Not Your Heart On. . .

As I was reading in Psalm 62, verse 10 stood out to me.  It says, “if riches increase, set not your heart on them” (ESV).  The NLT translates it this way, “if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.”

When I read that I asked myself if my heart had drifted to things so that they have become too important to me? The more I thought about this, the more I realized that the older I get, the more I view creature comforts as necessities.  I certainly appreciate all the Lord has given us, but I want to make sure those things have not become an inappropriate focus of my heart.

Jesus discusses this concept in Luke 12:15 when he was talking to a man who had lost perspective about the value of money. He had allowed riches to become the center of his life. To that person, he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (NLT).

It appears that this man had allowed the strong desire to acquire more and more stuff, to become the priority of his life.  Jesus shows him why this is wrong when he said, Life is not measured by how much you own.”  To better understand the meaning of that statement, it is helpful to notice that Jesus uses a special word for “life.” It is the Greek word zoe (ζωή).  Jesus uses this word in the Gospel of John to describe the eternal relationship with God that is possible for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and God (Jn 17:3; 20:30-31).

So, what is the point Jesus is making to this man? Possessions have no impact on my relationship with God and, therefore, should not be the focus of my heart. Lenski clarifies this well when he says,

“One striking reason for the futility of all covetousness is the simple fact that a man’s ζωή (“life,” relationship with God) . . . is not drawn from his earthly possessions. He will not have a bit more of actual life when he has much or a bit less of that life when he has little.[1]

My relationship with God is not based upon “stuff.”  Yet, how easy it is to focus on the temporal because we cannot see the spiritual.  Jesus is showing us that we must be careful not to pursue riches since they cannot add value to our relationship with him.

Father, thank you for this reminder that I must guard against allowing my heart to be drawn away toward things that promise a fulfillment they can’t provide.  You and you alone need to be the primary focus and allegiance of my heart.  Thank you for the abundance of riches you have given me, may they not become too important to me.  Help me to keep my heart focused on you and what truly makes my relationship with you flourish.

Following Jesus with you,




[1] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961), 685.