Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

2 Samuel 19

Scripture

2 Samuel 19:6

“You love those who hate you…”

Observation

David receives the news that Absalom has died in battle. Joab informs David that his mourning is an affront to his men who risked their lives to eliminate Absalom’s threat to David’s life and throne. To encourage them, David holds court at the city gate as a show of gratitude and support. Absalom’s death means the return of the king to Jerusalem and this, depending on how one treated David while he was in exile, causes either rejoicing or terror. Instead of seizing the opportunity to exact retribution and vengeance, David chooses to forgive those who cursed him and bless those who blessed him. But the king’s return does not bring unity as the men of Judah and Israel argue over which kingdom David should rightfully rule over.

Understanding

God loves like we do not

In the midst of rebuking David for his misplaced loyalties, Joab inadvertently points out that David possesses one of the most glorious attributes of the Father. David’s love for his enemies reflects the heart of God that loves those who hate Him. He loves those who curse Him, who mock and deny Him; those who reject Him and ignore Him. He loved them so much that He sent His son to die for them and make reconciliation possible. And even when that love is spit upon, He still loves them. He doesn’t rejoice over the fact that their rebellion results in death, but mourns that they rejected all of the love that He longed to pour out to them. We so often have a picture of God that is made in our own image – a God who hates his enemies just like we do. We hate those who are sinners and rebels and lawbreakers; and think that God does too. We think that, like us, God rejoices when the bad guys “get theirs”. But wait a minute. Wasn’t that who I was when He called me out of the depravity and debauchery of my sin? I wasn’t looking for Him and certainly did not love Him when He found me. His love for me overcame my sin and made me alive when I was dead in my transgressions. He loved me when I hated Him. Didn’t I deserve to suffer the death penalty for my sin? Why do I demand wrath for them but mercy for me? How then can I be so grateful for the mercy that He to extended me and yet desire that He pour out His wrath on all those other sinners? The hypocrisy is too much to bear. God loves those who hate Him and so should I.

Life Application

I will never be truly transformed until I can love as God loves.

The more I meditate on this truth, the smaller and pettier I see myself. I can hold a grudge for the slightest infraction and can hate you like I knew you “from the neighborhood”. Until I learn to love even those who hate me, curse me, talk about me behind my back and wound me, I will never be able to love others with the Father’s heart or experience the fullness of His love for me. Holy Spirit, I invite you to begin a work of conviction and healing in this heart of stone.

1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
 
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Gary Parker


2 Samuel 18

Scripture

2 Samuel 18:12-13

12 But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’13 And if I had put my life in jeopardy—and nothing is hidden from the king—you would have kept your distance from me.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
A man from David’s army had every opportunity to kill Absalom. He informed Joab where he had found Absalom and Joab asked him why he didn’t kill him on the spot. Joab said he would have been given 10 shekels of silver and a warrior’s belt. However, the man stayed true to his king’s command not to harm his son Absalom.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The man remained faithful to the commands of his king and did not sell him out for money, status or recognition.
 
It may have been tempting for the man to take Absalom’s life when he saw him hanging by his hair on a large oak, however, he remained faithful and trustworthy to his king’s command and would not disobey him even for money or status.
 
Life Application
 
Remain faithful to the commands of our Eternal King.
 
We must not sell out our Lord for money, status, comfort, happiness, etc.  We must remain faithful to His commands over our lives as He continues to remain faithful to us. 
 
Dear Lord, just as the man was submissive to his earthly King, may we also be submissive to You, our Eternal King. Holy Spirit, please continue to remind us that this is our temporary, not our permanent home. I pray that we wouldn’t compromise who we are as a member of Your army, just for extra comforts in this world. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


2 Samuel 17

Scripture

2 Samuel 17:14b

For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.

Observation – What does it say?

Absalom’s plan to take his father’s throne had been years in the making. He had been strategic and used his wisdom, relationships and connections to execute it all. Things seem to be going well for him, so well that even the great King David had abandoned his palace in Jerusalem and was on the run for his life. However, as much as Absalom felt his plan would continue to unfold just as he desired, the Lord had other things in mind.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is ultimately in control.

The Lord was determined to bring disaster on Absalom who had wrongfully spilled the blood of his brother, refused to repent, and was now attempting to take a throne with no regard for the man God had chosen to sit on it.

God used his servant’s advice to Absalom to accomplish his will to bring disaster on Absalom. Today, he still uses his servants to bring about his will for people and nations.

Although political parties, politicians and other people in positions of power may think they are in control, ultimately God is in control. No matter who is president, Jesus is still king. Regardless of the political situations in our country and around the world, regardless of the turmoil and how things look on the surface, God is above it all and he is working everything into conformity with the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:11).

Life Application

Trust God to bring about his plans and purposes for us and our nation.

God, thank you that you are in control! We ask for your kingdom to come and your will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. We trust that you are working everything together for the good of those who love you. We believe that if what we see isn’t good, that means it isn’t over. Because the end you are working things toward is good. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


2 Samuel 16

Scripture

2 Samuel 16:11-12

11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 

It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

Observation

David has left Jerusalem and now finds himself cheated by Ziba and cursed by Shimei…and Shimei’s account is mostly inaccurate.  [While the Lord had brought the curse upon, it was not for any of the reasons that Shimei mentioned.]  BUT David receives this adversity with humility and hope. Abishei comes to David’s defense – ready to “take [Shimei’s] head off.”  But David doesn’t stop Shimei and doesn’t allow anyone else to either.  He was willing to hear what was being said and give credit – even of the cursing – to God.  David let Shimei speak because he saw the hand of God in every circumstance – His hand was on the future as well as the present.  And it’s evident that he is hopeful that if he does what is right NOW, God may “repay him with good.”

Understanding

A few things that stood out to me…

  • Even in the worst of circumstances, we can have hope and trust in God.
  • Even when we fail and have to “sit in” the consequences of our sin, God can be present.
  • Sometimes God can speak to us through the most unlikely of sources – in this case a harsh and lying critic.

Life Application

Dear God, help me to keep my heart and eyes open to the many ways you may speak to me.  May I remain steadfast in my pursuit of you and stay hopeful – knowing that your will and plan for my life is bigger and better than what I can imagine.  May I be aware of where my own sin and choices have delayed my God-given blessings and promises.  Help me to be patient in the waiting and to steadfastly seek you.

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

– Rei



2 Samuel 15

Scripture
 
2 Samuel 15:13-14
 
“A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
David’s son Absalom has started a rebellion to dethrone his dad David. David gets wind of this news, and seems to panic! He gathers his people, and begins to flee out of Jerusalem.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
David let fear get in the way of his judgment.
 
Time and time again before this, David was able to overcome obstacles in his life because of his trust in God. Whenever David ran into a predicament, David sought out God for His wisdom and advice. This time around, David seemed to let fear get the best of him. I mean how big and bad can Absalom’s army be anyway?
David defeated much more formidable foes than this one I would think. Why did he choose to flee instead of fight? Was it because it was against his own son? Why did he forget to turn to God for wisdom and advice on something like this? David sought out God for His wisdom and advice on more difficult circumstances before, and God delivered him from them. If I were David why quit now?
 
Life Application
 
Prayer should precede and pervade everything we do.
 
Sound familiar? It should. It is one of DSC’s core values. It should also be a core value we live by as Christ Followers. Prayer is  one of the vital parts of communication with God, (the other is reading His Word). With our God being all knowing and all powerful, I would be foolish not to seek His advice in everything I do.
 
Thank you Lord for always having time to hear my prayers. Thank you for allowing me to come to you freely with anything that concerns me. Nothing is too big or too small for you. May I continue to seek you in everything I do. May my ears, heart, and mind be open to anything you want me to do. Help me be obedient to your instructions. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


2 Samuel 14

Scripture

2 Samuel 14:9 (NKJV)

And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, O king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father’s house, and the king and his throne be guiltless.”

Observation

In an effort to facilitate Absalom’s return from exile Joab enlists the help of a wise woman from Tekoa. Reminiscent of the strategy used by the prophet Nathan in confronting David regarding his sin with Bathsheba, Joab concocts a story for the woman to relay to David – the effect of which is to show David’s hypocrisy in being willing to offer forgiveness to the woman’s “guilty” fictitious son while being unwilling to offer the same to Absalom. After recognizing Joab’s hand in the matter, David relents and allows Absalom to return. David, however, does not allow Absalom to enter into his presence for two years. Bitter, impatient and unwilling to admit his sin, Absalom resorts to desperate measures (the burning of Joab’s fields) in order to gain an audience with the king. Though forgiven, Absalom is unrepentant and seeks the king’s favor only as a means by which he can usurp his throne.

Understanding

The gospel is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and the entire Bible is the singular story of God’s redemptive plan for mankind through Christ.

A child is in exile because of sin. A father desires reconciliation but knows that the death penalty must be paid. When an innocent party intercedes and offers to take the guilt upon their head, the father relents and forgives. However, continued rebellion and unrepentance mars the relationship.

Sound familiar?

God found Himself in a similar dilemma as had David. God the Father was separated from His children due to sin, rebellion and unrepentance. God’s justice demanded that the penalty of the sin be paid. In order to spare his beloved children the death wages of sin, He sent His guiltless Son to pay the penalty on our behalf and satisfy the letter of the Law; opening up the door to forgiveness and restoration. Then, since we were dead in our sin – unable and unwilling to repent – God made us alive and gave us His Spirit that we might see how far short of His glory we had fallen and to lead us in conviction, confession and repentance so that full reconciliation could occur.

Life Application

God made reconciliation and relationship with Him possible through Christ. I experience the fullness of that gift through obedience and humility.

Only God, in His ultimate wisdom, could solve an apparently impossible dilemma. Jesus illustrated this truth when He likened the impossibility of someone who trusted in earthly riches entering the Kingdom of Heaven to the impossibility of a camel walking though the eye of a needle. I thank God that, as Jesus proclaimed, “…what is impossible with man is possible with God”.

Father, thank you that you made the impossibility of my salvation possible through Christ and The Cross. Thank you for satisfying the Law and the justice that your holiness demands  at your expense and not mine. Because you did so, I stand before you in unearned justification. In response to your grace and mercy, may I live as an obedient son who, when he sins against you and others, humbles himself and welcomes your counsel, correction and discipline.

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
 
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Gary Parker


2 Samuel 13

Scripture

2 Samuel 13:13

“‘What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace?  And what about you?  You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel.  Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.’ But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.”

Observation-What does it say?

Amnon fell in love with his sister Tamar, but was frustrated because he could not have her sexually, as she was a virgin. So, he resorted to manipulation and deception and raped her.  As a result, Absalom (Tamar and Amnon’s brother), became furious.  The anger he felt for his brother for disgracing their sister resulted in him killing Amnon 2 years later.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Sin always leads to no good and affects more than the individual who chooses to sin.

God’s Word does not sugar coat anything.  In this chapter, we read of incest, rape and murder.  All these sins within the household of David resulted from a man’s desire to do what he wanted, not what God wanted.  Problems always happen when we become lord of our own lives. Innocent people suffer just as Tamar, David and the rest of the king’s sons did because of Amnon and Absalom’s sinful choices (see vs. 19 and vs. 36).

Life Application

Rom. 6:12-13-Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.  Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.  So, use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”

We ALL get tempted to sin.  Not even Jesus was exempt from temptation.  Despite being tempted, he remained above reproach and did not sin.  It’s not the temptation that gets us into trouble, but what we do with it.
 
Holy Spirit, wash our minds and hearts to be only about You. Please help us take our thoughts captive, before desire gives birth to sin and innocent lives are destroyed  The sins of Amnon and Absalom all started out as thoughts.  Amnon’s unpure thoughts about his sister and then Absalom’s burning anger against Amnon led to desire, then premeditation to sin, then a plan to sin, and then the sin occurred.  I pray that my thought life would be in submission to You and my heart, soul, mind and strength would be Yours alone.  Please forgive me for the times I have not taken unpure thoughts captive right away.  I desire for my WHOLE being to be used as an instrument to do what is right in your sight for Your glory alone. (Rom. 6:13).  Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


2 Samuel 12

Scripture

2 Samuel 12:13

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die…”

Observation – What does it say?

After committing adultery with Bathsheba, receiving news she was pregnant and having her husband killed, David is confronted by the prophet Nathan. Rather than getting defensive, justifying his actions or minimizing his sin, he confesses. And although he had to face the consequences of his actions, after his confession God forgave him.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When you own your sin and confess it, God forgives.
 
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

In these two chapters (11 & 12), David sets both a horrible and an excellent example for us to follow. Obviously his sin in chapter 11 is an example we should learn to avoid. However, when confronted with his sin, his response is one we should learn to follow.

When someone points out a flaw or sin in my life, my natural reaction is to get defensive and even to push the other person away. It’s uncomfortable and painful to be confronted. Put yourself in David’s shoes when Nathan likened him to the wicked man in the story and exclaimed, “You are the man!”

David’s brokenness over his sin was real and genuine. His heart was tender toward God and he demonstrated great humility. After this confrontation with Nathan, David penned Psalm 51 in which he poured out his heart with prayers like these:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.”

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

As a result of David’s confession and genuine repentance, he was forgiven and spared the full extent of what his actions deserved.

Life Application

Rather than getting defensive when confronted by others or by the Holy Spirit, choose to examine my heart and actions and to own my wrongs.

God, forgive me for the times I haven’t been open to correction. Forgive me for my pride and defensiveness. Thank you so much for your mercy and grace that you lavish on us when we come to you in humility and repentance. Reveal the areas of sin in our lives that we may repent and receive your mercy and grace. We love you and desire to please you! Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


2 Samuel 11

Scripture

2 Samuel 11:27

27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.

Observation

This all started with David’s attempt to honor Hanun’s father (2 Sam. 10:2).  Now because of good intentions that were misconstrued by Hanun’s people, David’s kingdom was at war.  While his men were away fighting, David was home getting into trouble.  David saw, coveted and committed adultery with Bathsheba.  When he learns that Bathsheba is pregnant with his child, he attempts to cover his adultery; and, when that didn’t work, he set up the death of Uriah – Uriah’s husband.  He then married Bathsheba who bore his son. 

Understanding

It appears that only a handful of people know of David’s acts – David, Bathsheba and Joab…and perhaps the person(s) he sent to “find out about” Bathsheba and the messengers sent to get her.  Even so, though, the number of those aware was limited.  Despite David going to such great extent to hide his sin/actions, verse 27 reminds us that God knew.  And, not only did He know, He was displeased.  The goal is not to appear good on the outside, but rather to truly be Holy and have a heart after God. 

Life Application

Dear God, may my actions never be to my glory but to yours.  May my good intentions be received well.  May I be honest and forthcoming about my mistakes and areas where I fall short.  And, God, may my heart remain true to you…a heart after yours, with eyes to see people they way you do.  May I be merely a vessel through which you shine and give and love…and may I forever give you all honor and glory for the ways you choose to use me. 

Love you!  And I am grateful to be used by you.    

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



2 Samuel 10

Scripture
 
2 Samuel 10:3
 
“The Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, their master, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the city so they can come in and conquer it!”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
King Nahash of the Ammonites has just died. His son Hanun has just replaced him as king. David wants to show loyalty to Hanun, just as his father was always loyal to him. So David sends ambassadors to Ammon to give the new king his condolences. But rather than take the simplicity of David’s act of compassion, Hanun takes the advice of his commanders. Hanun and his commanders believe that David has some sort of ulterior motive behind his act. They believe he sent his ambassadors to spy on them, so they can conquer them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
 Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10)
 
I believe Hanun was surrounded by very cynical people. People who were out to climb their own “political ladder” and who were out for their own selfish gain when they gave Hanun this advice. These men presumed the worst out of people, instead of expecting the best from God’s people.
Hanun on the other hand should have took a page out of David’s book and seeked God for counsel. Maybe if he did that and surrounded himself with Godly men’s advice, it wouldn’t have ended so badly for him and his people.
 
Life Application
 
 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
 
Seek God in everything I do. Surround myself with Godly and righteous people. Seek counsel from these God fearing men and women that God has put in my life when life throws me for a loop.
Father God thank You for my church family. Thank You for the leadership here at DSC that shepherds me to grow in my faith. May you continue to bless these men and women for their leadership and their commitment to You. Lord, I don’t have it all together and I do need help. Help me to humbly seek You and Your people in those times of need. In Your Holy and precious name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi