The Right Stuff

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Influence—there is nothing better. Not for ourselves, but the divine enablement to make God famous in our world is the best blessing that we could ever hope for. Better than earthly fame or personal power or luxurious living—all of which are short-lived at best—is the influence that will be ours long after we are gone from this world and will follow us into the next. That kind of eternal influence only comes through a life dedicated to the glory of God alone.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 8:15

So David reigned over all Israel and did what was just and right for all his people.

If you are a David fan, as I am, this is a great chapter. Things are golden for David in this season. Literally, the unified kingdom under David begins what historians call the Golden Age of Israel—a time of economic prosperity, cultural advancement and military dominance that would last throughout David’s reign and clear to the end of Solomon’s. Times were good in Israel because in their king, they had a leader with the right stuff.

It wasn’t always that way for David; he has had more than his fair share of tough chapters. Most of the chapters in 1 Samuel that include David in the narrative paint a picture of a very difficult road from his anointing as Israel’s next king to his ascension to the throne of a nation solidly united behind his leadership. Life was not easy for David, and his path to the throne was a grind beyond anything we can imagine.

In 2 Samuel 8, however, David has arrived; he is in the sweet spot of God’s favor. Battle after battle is won, enemies are subjugated and the way to peace and prosperity for the nation has been paved. Though not perfect, which we will soon see in subsequent chapters, and while he maintained more that a few detractors (just read some of his complaints about them in the Psalms), David now has a clear path to become Israel’s greatest and most influential king ever.

What was the secret sauce to David’s great run as a leader? Well, obviously we cannot discount God’s sovereignty in the matter. Uncommon favor was upon him because the Lord had found in him a man after his own heart. The Almighty uniquely loved and took delight in David, and as a result, blessings that are not explainable for any other reason are lavished upon the new king. In fact, twice in this chapter we are told that God was the reason for David’s gains:

So the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.” (2 Samuel 8:6)

So David became even more famous when he returned from destroying 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He placed army garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. In fact, the LORD made David victorious wherever he went. (2 Samuel 8:13-14)

When the Lord is shouldering the load, success is sure to follow. Yet it wasn’t just God; it rarely is “just” the Lord. David’s had a part to play, too. And what David did to enhance what the Lord had already done for him and through him is critical to the success equation. In this chapter, we are given two specific attributes that contributed to the phenomenal reign of David:

First, David focused all of his victories back onto the Lord. David wasn’t pursing power, fame and fortune for himself, he was heaven-bent on making God look good. 2 Samuel 8:10-12 says,

Joram, the prince of Hamath, presented King David with many gifts of silver, gold, and bronze. David dedicated all these gifts to the Lord, as he did with the silver and gold from the other nations he had defeated—from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and Amalek—and from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

David didn’t personally profit from these gifts, although he could have. Rather, he made sure the Lord’s house was the beneficiary. David was concerned that people recognize that his many victories were all about God. And the more he did that, the more the Lord turned fame, power and fortune back to David.

Second, David leveraged all of his victories to benefit the people he served. The David narrative is very clear that he very wisely, skillfully and organically put his people ahead of his own interests. He was the consummate shepherd over God’s people. David knew Israel belonged to the Lord, not to himself, and for that reason, he was indefatigable in serving them.

David ruled over all of Israel and made sure that his people were always treated fairly and justly. (2 Samuel 8:15)

The Lord chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.” (Psalm 78:70-72)

With his head, his heart and his hands, David was both an authentic servant of the Lord and a true public servant. What wouldn’t you give to be led by a man or woman like that? Unfortunately, that kind of leader is rare. So I would suggest that when you find one—whether in your home, at work, in your church, or a political leader, celebrate them, encourage them, follow them and pray that God will increase their tribe.

Going Deeper With God: Does David remind you of a good and godly leader in your life—a true servant of the Lord who is also a servant of the people? If you are thinking of someone who fits that description, take some time today to lift them up to God in your prayers. And if you can, heap them with appropriate praise.

The Best of God’s Blessings

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Influence—there is nothing better. Not for ourselves, but the divine enablement to make God famous in our world is the best blessing that we could ever hope for. Better than earthly fame or personal power or luxurious living—all of which are short-lived at best—is the influence that will be ours long after we are gone from this world and will follow us into the next. That kind of eternal influence comes only through a life dedicated to the glory of God alone.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 7:11-14

“‘Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son.

Some time after David had settled in as king of Israel, he began to reflect on the immense blessings God had poured out upon him. God had given him victory over his enemies, he had established Jerusalem as the capital of the nation, times were good and David was now living in a lovely home—a palace of cedar. David remembered from whence he had come—he had been an unknown shepherd boy tending sheep on the backside of the Judean countryside as his warrior brothers served with significance in Saul’s army.

Then things turned for David. Due to no fault of his own, he lost favor with King Saul and became a fugitive on the lam for a decade or so. He lived in caves and in foreign lands. There were times that it looked like David was a goner—he was a man who had lost everything and had no prospects for a better tomorrow. Yet God was with him each step of the way, and David learned that even in the dark times, God was preparing him for a brighter future.

That future was now; David was the king of Israel—the dominant nation in the Middle East. And as David thought it over, he came to a very wise conclusion: God alone was the sole source of this many blessings; none of them were due to his own worthiness. The wealth, power and luxury were solely gifts of grace. As he pondered the goodness of God, David was grateful, and in his gratitude, he desired to now do something for God: he would build the most splendid temple imaginable, a house for God befitting the glory of the Great King.

God said no. For certain reasons, that was not God’s path for David. David’s son would get that honor; the father could help prepare his son for temple building, but it was not to be his assignment. However, God did declare that other divine blessings would come to David—some of them temporal blessings that would adorn his earthly reign as king, but one in particular that would last way longer and be far greater than even the blessing of having his name attached as the architect and builder of the temple that would house the presence of the Lord God: David would get eternal influence.

You see, while David wanted to give God a house, God would give David a house—a dynasty of kings. Going forward, God would establish David’s lineage as kings of Israel forever. And one of those sons would actually be the greatest and final king, a ruler in perpetuity, not just over Israel, but over all creation. Jesus, the Son of David, would be the King of kings and Lord of lords forever and ever.

Influence—there is nothing better. Not for ourselves, but the divine enablement to make God famous in our world is the best blessing that we could ever hope for. Better than earthly fame or personal power or luxurious living—all of which are short-lived at best—is the influence that will be ours long after we are gone from this world and will follow us into the next. That kind of eternal influence comes only through a life dedicated to the glory of God alone.

Unlike David, we are not earthly kings, but we are part of a royal family, the family of God. And like David, God desires to give us something far better and longer lasting than temporal blessings. He may very well give us those too, but he desires to bless us with influence. It doesn’t matter how big the opportunity is from our human perspective; from God’s perspective, whatever he gives is huge, since he will mold the outcome for his glorious purposes. David thought the temple would be the biggest impact he could have—and from a humanistic viewpoint, he was right—but God gave David a temple not made by human hands. God gave David something far bigger and longer lasting than an impressive temple that lasted several centuries; he gave him eternal influence.

When you dream and pray for things from God, ask for what God wants you to have. Ask for your needs—for sure. Go ahead and ask for your wants—that is okay, too. But mostly, ask for the influence he wants to give you to make his name famous. That is what will be celebrated long after you are gone and all the way through eternity.

Going Deeper With God: What do you desire from God? Whatever it is, add “making Jesus famous” to the top of your list.

A Tale of Three Worshipers

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Whenever we exchange recognition of God’s holiness, surrender to his will and the sheer delight of his presence for a more controlled, convenient and cool experience of worship, we risk the loss of the kind of passionate praise that truly pleases him. Surrender and wonder are the heart of authentic worship, so offer that to your magnificent God the next time you’re in a worship experience—then offer it again the next time, and the time after that, too.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 6:5-8, 14-16

David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God. David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah… [Sometime later, when the Ark was finally brought to Jerusalem] David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.

If you were to outline this unusual text, it neatly falls into a three-act play on passionate worship based on the three main characters of the story.

  • Act One, Uzzah Died. 2 Samuel 6:6 says, “The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.”
  • Act Two, David Danced. 2 Samuel 6:14: “David danced before the Lord with all his might.”
  • Act Three, Michal Despised. 2 Samuel 6:16, “When Michal saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.”

For sake of time and space, let’s focus on the least known of these characters, Uzzah. As you read this story, if you are like me, the question you have is, why did God kill this seemingly well-intentioned man for his momentary mistake?  Here is what we need to consider:

It is always fatal to take charge of God. Uzzah was a priest, consecrated to oversee the care of the Ark, which he’d done for thirty years. You could say, he had hung out with the holy for three decades. That meant he was very much aware of the law of God and the Levitical regulations about moving the Ark.

So Uzzah’s reflexive act wasn’t a mistake of the moment, it was a lifelong obsession with managing the Ark. During those thirty years, it is highly likely he began to cut corners in his worship and to be selective in his obedience to God. Slowly, perhaps imperceptibly, he learned to control the presence of God. So to him, the cart was a more efficient way to worship. Eugene Peterson, who wrote a brilliant book on David called, Leap Over A Wall, says of this incident,

A well-designed ox-cart is undeniably more efficient for moving the Ark about than plodding Levites. But it’s also impersonal—the replacement of consecrated persons by an efficient machine… Uzzah is the patron saint of those who uncritically embrace technology without regard to the nature of God.

Do you think we tend to do that in our day, that we tend to manage God into more convenient and cool forms of worship? Do we ever approach worship in terms of what’s preferable to us or trendy to our culture rather than what is pleasing to God? Whenever we move from obedience to God and recognition of his holiness to a more controlled, convenient and cool worship, we risk the loss of the kind of passionate praise that pleases him. As Peterson writes,

Uzzah should forever be posted around the church as a warning sign: Danger! Beware of the God

There is certainly a danger in our day of getting too casual and too convenient in our worship and forgetting that God is still holy. We need to remember: God will not be controlled. When we fall into a pattern of control, deliberately or not, sooner or later, like Uzzah, we will become spiritually dead in our worship. Now since we were created to worship God, this is a grave danger.

Thomas Carlyle rightly stated, “Wonder is the basis of worship.” Let Uzzah be a perpetual watchman who cries out from the walls of our church, “Don’t ever lose your wonder of God!”

Going Deeper With God: Next time you are in a worship service, make it about God, not you. Then try that again the next time, and the time after that, too.

How To Be A Success

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

If you are going to be a success before God, most importantly, and before man, what will be the key to that worthy achievement? Simply this: an attitude that is deeply and organically humble, a heart that is quickly and fully responsive, and a will that is entirely and lovingly submitted to God’s purposes.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 5:10 & 12

David became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him…And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

After some twenty years since he was first anointed by the prophet Samuel to be Israel’s king, David is finally sitting firmly on the throne with the entire nation united under his leadership. And the nation is about to enter its golden era. Interesting, and quite instructively, if you were to compare this chapter to the ascension of Saul as King over Israel in 1 Samuel, you would notice quite a different approach these two kings took—and with drastically different outcomes. Here are several significant contrasts between David and Saul:

  1. David covenanted before the Lord to be a shepherd of his people. 2 Samuel 5:3 says, “When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.” This stands in stark contrast to Saul, who often gave in to the pressures of the people, and at times, was led by them rather than the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:24 points out, “Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.”
  2. David inquired of the Lord for direction. 2 Samuel 5:19 says, “so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” On the other hand, Saul would sometimes go his own way first then ask the Lord what he thought after the fact, as is painfully pictured in 1 Samuel 13 and 15.
  3. David obeyed God’s direction. 2 Samuel 5: 25 tells us, “So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.” Saul’s leadership, on the other hand, was unfortunately characterized by disobedience: “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.” (1 Samuel 13:13)
  4. David gave God credit for his victories: “So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.” (2 Samuel 5:20) Sadly, Saul was addicted to his own glory: “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor.” (1 Samuel 15:12)

Not only were the leadership styles of these two kings diametrically different, so were the results of their respective reigns. David became greater because God was with him but Saul’s kingdom was taken away because God had left him. Both men started out their careers with a promise from God that he would be with them and bless their efforts. But one ended in success while the other ended in failure.

What was the difference? David approached his role as king with an attitude that was deeply humble, a heart that was fully responsive, and a will that was entirely submitted to God’s purposes. Saul, well he was sitting on his own throne, if you know what I mean.

That was the difference between success and failure—and what a difference that was.

Going Deeper With God: How are you doing in those vital areas: Humility of the spirit, responsiveness of the heart and submissiveness of the will? Maybe it’s time for a spiritual check up in those areas.

The Principle Driven Life

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

If you desire to be a man or a woman after God’s own heart, then like David, you too must embrace godly principles for living, putting them in the driver’s seat of your actions and reactions, even if where they take you means personal inconvenience. Whatever it takes, whatever it means, follow your principles.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 4:9-12

But David said to Recab and Baanah, “The Lord, who saves me from all my enemies, is my witness. Someone once told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ thinking he was bringing me good news. But I seized him and killed him at Ziklag. That’s the reward I gave him for his news! How much more should I reward evil men who have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed? Shouldn’t I hold you responsible for his blood and rid the earth of you?” So David ordered his young men to kill them, and they did.

Much of the ancient Old Testament world is raw and brutal to our modern sensibilities. This chapter is no exception. Intrigue and murder along with swift and brutal justice are at every turn as we learn how the kingdom of Israel transitions from Saul to David. As the household of Saul is growing weaker after his death while the popularity of David is soaring, a couple of opportunistic fellows pull a hit job to incur David’s favor and hopefully secure a place in his future administration.

What did they do? They murdered Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, the logical heir to the kingship. Their names were Baanah and Recab, and we are told they were captains of Ishbosheth’s raiding parties. (2 Samuel 4:2) They weren’t enemies of the man they killed; supposedly, there were friends—which makes what they did even more despicable. They snuck into Ishbosheth’s bedroom while he was napping, killed him, cut off his head as proof, and took it to David, thinking they would get a big thank you from the guy who appeared to be headed to a landslide election as the next king.

Now David had every excuse to appreciate what they had done. After all, Ishbosheth stood in David’s way to the throne. Moreover, David had already been anointed by Samuel as God’s choice to be the next king. Not only that, Saul’s administration had been rejected by God, and roundly condemned. And if that weren’t enough, Saul had tried to murder David, and now Ishbosheth was likewise trying to carry out Saul’s desire to eliminate David with the use of military force. (2 Samuel 2:8-32, 3:1)

But instead of accepting the murder of his rival as a blessing, David called it out. It was murder, no matter what the justification, and it was morally wrong. And as such, those who were thinking they were doing David a favor deserved what murderers deserved—swift execution, and in the same way they had killed Saul’s son. Just as David had executed another man who thought he was doing David a favor by finishing off the wounded Saul, these two were now summarily executed.

Brutal, yes, but David was simply living by his principles. Taking the life of another outside of war and the laws that governed society was wrong, even if it was a convenience to the man who would be king. Right is always right and wrong is always wrong, and David stuck to this principle.

Now fast-forward to your life and mine. Obviously, and thankfully, we don’t live in the kind of brutal environment David did, but we are faced with the opportunity to compromise our principles in favor of convenience on a regular basis. We mustn’t! Not ever!

If you desire to be a man or a woman after God’s own heart, then like David, you too must embrace godly principles, putting them in the driver’s seat of your actions and reactions, even if where they take you means personal inconvenience.

Whatever it takes, whatever it means, follow your principles.

Going Deeper With God: What are your principles? Have you thought them through? If not, I would encourage you to record the values, beliefs and principles that you would want to dive your life. Make sure they line up with God’s Word, then write them down. You will need them, likely before the day is out, to help you decide between what is convenient and what is right.

How To Get Promoted—God’s Way

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

In your desire to advance professionally, just remember that God’s promotions come in God’s time and in God’s way—you don’t need to help him out by trying to hurry them along. Furthermore, it is never wise to build yourself up by putting others down—to showcase your strengths by exposing the weaknesses of others is not God’s way. Likewise, remember that when God destines you to be a leader, be a patient and genuine follower under present leadership—even if it is flawed. If God has put a desire for leadership in your heart, you can be sure that he has also planted the right moves inside you that will take you all the way to the top.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 3:36

All the people took note [of the way David transitioned royal power from King Saul] and they were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.

In the ways and means of God’s kingdom, there is a right way and a wrong way to assume power. David’s rise to kingship is a textbook case of the right way—he was a man who made all the right moves on his way to the top.

The old king, Saul, was dead, and now nothing stood in the way of David’s ascendency to the throne of Israel. He was the rightful king of God’s people since the Lord, through the prophet Samuel, has called and anointed David as leader. Furthermore, in all of those difficult years in which King Saul had tried to eliminate the upstart shepherd boy, God had been training David how to “king it”, and now, at long last, he was throne-ready.

You will notice in these opening chapters of 2 Samuel, however, that even though King Saul, the last obstacle standing in the way of David’s prophetic rise to power, was now dead, still David did not seize the opportunity to thrust himself upon Israel as its new leader. Rather, he waited for a Divine opening of those doors critical to his assumption of the throne. Likewise, David demonstrated an uncanny leadership savvy in this delicate political situation by refusing to be opportunistic. You will see particularly in 2 Samuel 1 how David’s response to the news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathon distinguished the king-in-waiting as a different kind of leader than King Saul had been:

In reading this account, one can’t help but be moved by David’s authentic grief at the news of Saul’s death. (2 Samuel 1:11-12) Rather than rejoicing that their tormentor was dead, David and his men tore their clothes, mourned and fasted until evening. David empathized with a grieving nation at this time of loss—the loss of a king, a prince and an army. At this moment, David was not the king-to-be; he was first and foremost an Israelite who personally felt this national tragedy. He had lost a king and a father-in-law, and he had lost a brother-in-law in Prince Jonathan who happened also to be the closest friend he had ever known—and it hurt deeply. Furthermore, regardless of Saul’s ungodly and ineffective leadership, David still viewed Saul as the Lord’s anointed, and since “the anointed” had been killed in battle, that alone was reason for grief.

Furthermore, David distanced himself from a power-grabbing promotion to kingship. (2 Samuel 1:13-16) Instead of proclaiming himself to be the new king, he pulled away from the suggestion proffered in the presentation of the dead King Saul’s crown that it was now rightfully his. Indeed, in passing a death sentence on the Amalekite who had delivered the news and offered the crown to him, David still spoke of Saul as “the Lord’s anointed.” (2 Samuel 1:14,16)

Chapter one ends with a classy move on David’s part: He immortalized King Saul in song. (2 Samuel 1:17-27) In a heartfelt outpouring of David’s heart, this lament paid tribute to Saul and Jonathan as a source of pride, strength and inspiration to Israel.

Now we can learn a great deal from David’s approach to promotion in these chapters that would serve us well in our own journey toward advancement in life. For one thing, David shows us that God’s promotions come in God’s time and in God’s way—and we don’t need to help God out by trying to hurry them along. Furthermore, we learn from David that it is never wise to build ourselves up by putting others down—to showcase our strengths by exposing the weaknesses of others is not God’s way. And finally, when God destines you to be a leader, be a patient and genuine follower under present leadership—even if it is flawed.

If God has put a desire for leadership in your heart, you can be sure that he has also planted the right moves inside you that will take you all the way to the top. So as God brings the opportunities and opens the doors before you, be sure you are making all the right moves!

Going Deeper With God: There are three indispensable requirements if God is calling you to a leadership role: One, patience, two, patience, and three, more patience. Your assignment today is to practice patience. The good news is, since it is a fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will be there to help you.

Decisions Determine Destiny

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

You are facing decisions today. Most of them will be small and seemingly insignificant ones. A few will be big decisions. You might even face a decision that will change the trajectory of your life. Regardless of their size, develop a lifestyle approach to decision-making and the will of God: learn to wait for his timing, ask for him to show you what to do, listen and give him a chance to speak, then quickly and unconditionally obey. Decisions determine destiny.

Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 2:1

After this, David asked the Lord, “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” The Lord replied. “Yes,” Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” The Lord answered. “To Hebron.”

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Throughout life, we are faced with decisions. Every day, we make decisions, mostly small, but some big. At the end of the day, it will have been our decision-making ability that determined our destiny. Hopefully, our decision making was such that we were able to make wise choices. Only time will tell.

Of course, we will make a few bad ones along the way. We are flawed human beings, after all. Other than Jesus, no one has ever made it through life without making some head-scratching choices. Abraham made a wrong turn to Egypt; Moses hit the rock to add some special effects to his authority when God only told him to speak to it; Joshua made a deal with a foreign group, then asked the Lord to approve it; and David moved to Ziklag, hoping to find safety among the Philistines when Saul was chasing him.

Each of these leaders—flawed human beings one and all—paid for their bad decisions. But each of them learned from their mistakes and went on to have a stellar record in wise and godly decision making. David, in 2 Samuel 2, is a case in point. King Saul has been killed in battle and there was now a leadership void in Israel. Years earlier, Samuel had anointed David to be the next king, although at this point he needed the formality of a national coronation. But that coronation was not to come for years as the nation went through a mad scramble to decide who would sit as ruler over the twelve unified tribes.

As the nation worked about the process, which was ugly for a season, David played it cool. The text gives us some insights as to how David processed the “when, where and how” to assert himself as king:

  1. David gave it time: The first thing we read in 2 Samuel 2:1 is, “after this”. He waited. The act of waiting is an essential part of exercising trust in God.
  2. David prayed: After waiting and before acting, he asked, “Should I move” here or there. As simple as it sounds, we often skip this essential part of decision making.
  3. David listened: After inquiring of the Lord, he waited for him to speak, and “the Lord replied.” God wants to speak to us, that is why he has ordained prayer as the conduit of conversation with his children. But we have to listen.
  4. David obeyed: “So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron.” (2 Samuel 2:3) David moved to the city God chose. It is a simple formula to good decision making: pray, then obey.

And it was there at Hebron the nation began to coalesce around his leadership, starting with the tribe of Judah. Through David’s patient, prayerful and obedient processing, God began to work things out for David to become Israel’s most powerful and prophetically important king.

You are facing decisions today. Most of them will be small and seemingly insignificant ones. A few will be big decisions. You might even face a decision that will change the trajectory of your life. Regardless of their size, develop a lifestyle approach to decision-making and the will of God: learn to wait for his timing, ask for him to show you what to do, listen and give him a chance to speak, then quickly and unconditionally obey.

Decisions determine destiny. Follow David’s lead and you will be just fine.

Going Deeper With God: If you are making only small decisions today, should you still follow David’s process? I mean, if you are deciding what to order from the menu or whether you should wear black or brown shoes, do you still have to wait on God for direction? Obviously, God gave you a brain and expects you to use your best judgment in a number of matters, but still, if you practice a lifestyle of seeking the Lord, the Holy Spirit will be out ahead of you in helping you to decide well in these matters, even the small ones. And who knows, maybe choosing brown over black will open a spiritual conversation with someone who stops to admire your wardrobe tastes.