Posted in Devotions, Lent

2020 Lent devotion #23 – Too much blood

 [David said,] “But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight.’” (1 Chronicles 22:8)

I wonder how David felt as he spoke these words to his son, Solomon? He had worked so hard to unify the kingdom of Israel, defeat their enemies and be a man after God’s own heart. His psalms still inspire our hymns and praise songs to this day. Yet, he never worshiped in a temple. He never even got to see the temple. And God wouldn’t let him build the temple. Too much blood. He was a shepherd, a warrior and a king. But he would not be a builder. At least not the builder of God’s temple. 

Before he was king, throngs of people would sing, ““Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” That’s what David was known for. He was a hero. But that is a lot of blood. Tens of thousands of enemies killed. And that was before he ascended to the throne. For better or worse, that is his legacy. 

It’s not like David had a choice. There were many battles he had to fight. Victories and defeats. It was a violent, bloody period of history. The enemy was ruthless. You either kill them or they kill you. Peaceful moments were few and far between. 

A thousand years later, the son of David, Jesus, would be hailed as king. He would not take a single life. In fact, he would heal and restore many lives. The only blood shed would be his own, on the cross. And he would build a temple. The temple he would build would be made of believers, built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, and he would be the cornerstone. 

Building projects often involve blood. I should know. Most of my projects mean cuts and blisters on my hands. Nothing as bloody as the wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet, though. Because he bled and died for me, I’ve been bought with a price and I not only belong to him, but my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. God dwells in me and in his people, the church!

Thank you, Lord, for coming to dwell in me and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen. 

Posted in Devotions, Lent

2020 Lent devotion #18 – The blood is on his head

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash

David said to the young man who told him [he had killed Saul], “Where do you come from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.” David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died.  And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’” (2 Samuel 1:13-16)

Since Saul had been hunting David, the Amalekite probably thought he’d be a hero in David’s eyes for killing the king. No so. David has him executed and declares that this young man got what he deserved, his blood is on his head, for he killed the Lord’s anointed. David felt he was justified in doing this. 

David had other opportunities to kill Saul, but never did it. He couldn’t. Saul was God’s anointed king, and one must honor the Lord, even if you didn’t like the person he chose.

I may not like every man or woman who holds an elected office or has a position of authority in my community or country. But I am to respect and be subject to those people since they have been appointed by God and are God’s servants for my good (Romans 13:1-4). I know that statement and that passage of scripture won’t sit well with some who read this. I also know that it wasn’t easy for David either, especially since Saul had often tried to run him through with a sword! But it is God’s instruction to us. 

Ultimately, each of us must testify against ourselves, admitting, “I have killed the Lord’s anointed.” Jesus, the Christ, didn’t do anything deserving death. He died because of my sin and my guilt. It’s my fault. Yet Jesus took all the blame. And that’s why I honor him, submit to him, and am subject to those he’s placed in authority over me. 

Thank you, Lord, for your servants in authority, who watch over me. Amen. 

Posted in Israel

En Gedi: these caves look like the real thing

On our way home from a day at the Dead Sea, we had the chance to stop at En Gedi, a place of springs and caves where David hid while running away from King Saul. Saul was so jealous of David’s popularity that he tried several time to kill him. David found refuge in this place where only ibex usually leapt up and down the cliffs.

After visiting so many places of Jesus’ ministry that had been built over with churches, shrines, traditions and souvenir shops, my wife and I found this place to be quite different. Looking up at the caves on the nearly vertical cliffs, she said, “This seems like the real thing.” There was nothing artificial or modern about this oasis. We could imagine just hard it would have been to look for and find David and his army in a place like this. Standing beneath the waterfall, I could imagine just how refreshing it must have been to find a place like this out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but the starkest wilderness.

Where would you go if you had to run for your life? Where would you hide if you didn’t want to be found? Would it even be possible in our time to be off the grid like David?