Petitioning our King

In 1 King 1, King David is not doing well. He is getting up in years, and his sickness had gotten him so lean that he couldn’t even keep himself warm. Because he was so sick, he was not able to pay close attention to what was going on in his Kingdom. His 4th son, Adonijah took advantage of this opportunity, and sought to become King. To gain credibility and support, he gathered a few of King David’s high power officials and convinced them he was next in line. Some of these men had fallen out of favor with King David anyway, so in their quest to retain their wealth and status they of course thought it would be a good idea to support this potential future young king. Adonijah, did as many ambitious people do, he started taking advantage of his position in the Kings family to help him in his climb to the top.

Though his father had not given him the title, Adonijah threw parties and started gathering high power officials around him, in essence he was acting like a king although he was not officially given the kingship. He was slowly dethroning King David without any opposition.

Fortunately, one of David’s loyal prophets Nathan saw what Adonijah was doing. He knew Adonijahs intent was not good and brought it to the attention of David’s wife Bathsheba. Bathsheba’s son Solomon was actually the chosen one of God to take over King David’s throne, and not Adonijah. Nathan, King David and God had some history. Nathan was the prophet who God used to rebuke David when he stole Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba), got her pregnant, and then to cover up his act had Uriah killed on the front lines. When Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba, God told Nathan he was Jedidiah (Beloved of the Lord).

I find it interesting, that to the world at the time, it probably looked like Adonijah would be the next king. He was rich, surrounded himself with power, and was taking control of the kingdom. King David, because he was so sick, was no where to be seen, so it would’ve been logical to believe that Adonijah’s ambitions were coming true. But his worldly ambitions were not going to get in the way of God’s sovereign plans.

Both Bathsheba and Nathan petitioned King David. They brought Adonijahs actions to the King’s attention and reminded him of his own words which were that Solomon would be King and reign after him. Honoring their petitions, King David, from his death bed, ordered that Solomon be brought down to Isreal and annointed King.

I find this turn of events interesting for a few reasons. One, it proves that even when someone powerful rises up against us that the Lord can make people and circumstances align for their defeat. Two, even when it seems that our God is nowhere to be seen when a powerful opposition seems to be rising up, that we should remain faithful and petition him with his own promises and he will take a stand against and defeat our opposition. Thirdly, often times we will see our friends and once loyal companions flee to the opposing side, in our loneliness and abandonment, God will send prophets to encourage us to continue to stand strong and believe in our King.

Keys to Trust

“Now God said to Abram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing………So Abram went,”. (Gen 12:1-4)

Would you trust God enough to leave your home, your friends and your family to go to a place unknown, to a place where God will lead you?

Abram was 75 years old, and was a rich and well established man when God called him to move. I’m fairly certain that he struggled with what God asked him to do. I’m sure he even wondered if the voice he heard was actually Gods. I can imagine the conversations he had with Sara, his father and his closest friends when he told them God wanted him to pack up and leave for some unknown destination. I’m fairly certain their response included these comments: “Really, aren’t you a little old to do this?”, “Are you sure that was God speaking?”, “Why would God have you leave us?”, “Your suppose to leave your land and family?”,”That seems a little crazy!” They were real people with the same thoughts and feelings we have, so I’m sure that they had the same human reactions we would’ve had in the same situation.

Courage. The decision to follow Gods order would’ve taken pure courage and over the top trust. First of all, its not like God spoke to him in this booming, clear voice, like he did for Moses in the the burning bush. Very rarely does God speak that way. It was most likely through a thought or a still, small voice. A voice that is often hard to discern and easily missed, unless one practices listening for it. Secondly, most people at 75 are not thinking about big change. They are instead settling down and enjoying the life they had created over the past 75 years. Thirdly, many people at 75 would find doing something like that physically impossible. Packing, lifting, shifting, hauling, loading, unloading isn’t easy work. Fourthly, convincing your aging wife to leave her family and friends to live like a nomad would be like facing fire. Then there is always the question, why? Why would God want this?

Have you ever asked God why he wants you to do something totally out of the ordinary? I have, and the answer I get is usually “you’ll see”. Which is not very helpful in a dramatic, life altering decision.

Knowing all of this, why did Abram go? Simply, because he trusted God. He had been practicing listening for and following Gods voice for a long time. It wasn’t like it was the first time he heard Gods voice. If it was, he likely wouldn’t have went. He knew that God was the reason for all that he was, all that he owned, and all that he was to become. He was very secure in who he was with God, so when God told him what he wanted him to do, he knew he could trust Gods way.

A life with God requires trust. The key to trust is obeying God. The key to obedience is learning to follow Gods voice. The key to following Gods voice is listening. The key to listening is getting quiet with God. The key to getting quiet with God is believing he exists. The key to believing he exists is reading his word. The key to believing his word is faith in his son Jesus, who IS the Word.

Breakthrough is yours, IF you don’t quit.

Young happy tourist on top of a mountain enjoying valley view

 

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”  Psalm 32:3-4

We are in the heat of summer here in Dallas.  Its 80 degrees at sunrise and it reaches 100 degrees by late afternoon.    The sun is bright and it beats down all day long, with rarely the cover of a cloud. This will happen day in and day out now until mid September.   Although, water, shade, fans and air-conditioning are common place and they help us to endure, we can’t really get away from the heat because the sun will not stop shining.  The heat doesn’t stop.  Day after day, from sun up until sun down,  we endure it.  Early in the day we manage to stay cool, but as we move through the day it will take its toll on our body and spirit and will sap us of our energy by night fall.   Its relentless.    By the time mid August comes we are wondering if we will have the strength to endure until the cooler days arrive in autumn.   But we don’t quit, we don’t give up, we keep pressing.  Why?  Because we know that this heat is just temporary.  Although it may seem like forever, cooler days WILL come.  How do we know this?  Because year after year the summer heat arrives, but it doesn’t stay forever, cooler days re-appear again come fall.

“Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you, while you may be found; surely when the high waters rise, they will not reach him.  You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:6-7

Although we have the comforts of air conditioning, water and shade in Texas, that does not guarantee we will be protected from the sun at all times, and when your not it is very dangerous.   Recently, while I was driving down a major freeway on the way to a business meeting in Fort Worth, and with traffic surrounding me going 70 miles an hour, my car started to sputter and lose power.  I have had this happen to me before, not recently, but as a teenager driving our well aged cars, so I was familiar with what was happening and knew that my car was likely going to quit running soon.   Not wanting to get stuck in a middle lane with high speed traffic pressing me in, I quickly started changing lanes and moving toward the shoulder to get safely out of traffic.   The nearest off ramp was 1/2 mile ahead, but my car lost power and stalled before I could get there.  So there I was, stuck on the shoulder of a major freeway, in the heat of the day, no water and no a/c.   It was a very dangerous situation.   It was hot inside the car, it was hot outside the car, and the traffic was heavy.  I managed to find a shade tree about 50 yards away where I used my cell phone to call for help.   The first call was to my husband, who was powerless to rescue me because he was 10 miles away and I had our car. My second call was to our auto insurance company asking them to activate their emergency tow service.  After 15 minutes discussing the situation, I was finally told by the insurance company that the tow truck was on its way, in the meantime, I must stay close to the car.  This left me with only one option and that was to remain in the heat, but at least I was under a shade tree.   Once the immediate crisis was handled, I used my phone to text out my situation to my prayer partners asking for prayer, I then put my phone away to preserve its battery.    Feeling Gods hand was heavy upon me, I proceeded to pray, asking God what he was trying to teach me and asking him to rescue me from this situation.  He told me he was preparing me and that this was a test.  I asked him what I should do, and he told me I needed to pray and worship, so I did. I paced back and forth under the tree singing and praying for 45 minutes, looking for the tow truck but it never appeared.  I contacted the insurance company again to find out the status of the tow truck and was told it would be another 30 minutes.  I continued to pray and worship.   It was hot, really hot and I was thirsty, but there was no relief available, so my only option was to endure.   I was in the heat for over three hours before the tow truck arrived.   During that time, I prayed and worshiped and stayed calm knowing that although the situation was dangerous, God was with me and in time he would send me help.  After over 2 hours, he finally sent a couple of wonderful gentlemen in an emergency vehicle to stay with and protect me while I waited the final 45 minutes for the tow truck to arrive.  Although it was a very long day in the heat and it could have been dire, God was there with me the whole time.  He protected me from trouble and surrounded me with my own songs of deliverance to comfort me while I waited, just as his Word promises.

“Many are the woe’s of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad you righteous; sing all you who are upright in heart!” Psalm 32: 10-11

These times are heating up in other ways to, as wickedness surrounds me.  In order for me to be confident in God within this wickedness, God set up this test to help me practice putting my trust in him.  I’m not quick to forget the police officers who lost their lives fighting evil just a couple weeks ago in downtown Dallas, I live less then 35 miles away from that area and go to downtown Dallas alot.    Although, I could’ve easily tried to reason away my car breaking down as pure chance, or been angry at God for allowing the whole situation, I see so clearly now how pressing through and seeking God within the circumstance has helped my trust in him grow stronger.   So strong, that when the next trial comes I will be singing songs of gladness because I have an upright heart.   A heart that is safely anchored in the love of my unfailing God.

I know that I am not alone in my trials.   Every day I speak to followers of Christ who are being tested.   Often times, they are in situations seemingly beyond their capacity to fix on their own and they wonder where God is and are asking why isn’t he helping?   God is there, and he IS helping, we just don’t always want to recognize him and sometimes we will even deny him.  It is within these trials that God gets an inside view of our heart to see how much work we need to do in order to be anchored in him.   God wants the very best for us.  He doesn’t want us to be anchored to our circumstances, he want us to be anchored in him. Because, in him, is the only place where we will find true freedom and peace.  Peace beyond all understanding.

So the next time you find yourself in a trial, don’t bail on God in the heat of the pressure.  The God who created you is right there with you, seek him.   Don’t let your mind convince you that your done, instead let your heart and your faith be anchored in Gods truth.   The truth is that He loves you and will never, ever, forsake you.  The truth is that He has great plans for you and loves you to heaven and back!  Keep pressing in and call upon the power of the Holy Spirit, and you will find that your breakthrough and your freedom will be just around the corner and you will soon be singing in praise.