Bible Pathway - Apr. 19, 2011

Highlights:

We receive another life-changing lesson: Be careful when you vow! God punishes Israel with a 3-year famine as a result of King Saul's breaking a vow. Seven members of Saul's family are put to death. Breaking a promise is a serious matter (II Sam. 21:1-6). See chapter 22 for David's inspiring tribute to God.

Although King Saul was dead, he and his sons were guilty of causing a severe famine that devastated the Israelites. After three years, David had no doubt but that God had some reason for this famine. He believed that God would not afflict His people without having a reason.

David had not complained to the Lord, "This famine has lasted three years!" Instead, he inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul . . . because he slew the Gibeonites (II Sam. 21:1-2), breaking the covenant Joshua had made with them centuries earlier (Josh. 9:3-17). After the Lord revealed to David the purpose of the famine, we find David called the light of Israel (21:17).

David made things right with the Gibeonites, and then God was intreated (heeded prayers) for the land (II Sam. 21:14). David's song of praise for deliverance by God (II Sam. 22) proclaims the assurance that God is a personal Friend who cares for each of us as if we were His only child on earth (John 10:14; Matt. 10:30; 18:14). David's song, almost identical to Psalm 18, shows not one complaint — only praise to the Lord, who alone is worthy of our highest praise (II Sam. 22:3-4; Ps. 18:3).

Although David's life was filled with many disappointments, sufferings, and sorrows, he readily acknowledged that it was the Lord who gave Him every deliverance from his enemies. Because of his many years of prayerful conversation with the Lord, it was natural for David to sing: Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto Thy Name (II Sam. 22:50; Ps. 18:49).

David teaches us to give praise to God in the midst of stressful times — regardless of our circumstances. God may use such testimony to lead others to Him.

Praise God! He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses) (Heb. 4:15). There are times when believers pray without getting immediate answers from God; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (Is. 40:31). Consider! Is it not in your best interest to come to know and then to live in harmony with His revealed will in His Word?

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created (Rev. 4:11).

Thought for Today:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).

Christ Portrayed:

As the One we call upon for salvation (II Sam. 22:4). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Word Studies:

21:5 coasts boundaries, territories; 22:3 horn of my salvation having strength; 22:6 prevented confronted; 22:19 stay support; 22:27 froward perverse; unsavoury, cunning; 22:31 buckler defender; 22:46 close places strongholds.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Country: Congo, Republic of the (2 million) in west-central Africa • Major languages: French and Lingala • Limited religious freedom, but government hostility has lessened • 41% Roman Catholic; 20% fetishism and belief in ancestral spirits; 17% Protestant; 9% cults • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for the spiritual rest that is in Him (Heb. 4:9-10).

Optional Reading: Acts 20

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:11

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