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Meditations Contents
Series Theme:   Walking with God Meditations

Part No. ONE

Meditation Title: Overview

Part ONE





Gen 3:8

In the Cool of the Evening


Gen 5:22,23

Daily Walking


Gen 16:7,8

Running Away


Gen 21:14

Wandering in the Desert


Gen 18:16

Walking in God's Classroom


Gen 22:6

The Walk of Death


Gen 37:15

Wandering before Upheaval


Ex 3:3

The Walk of Investigation


Ex 19:3

The Walk of Separation


Josh 1:3

The Walk of Ownership


Josh 5:13 ,14

The Walk of Assessment


Josh 6:15

The Walk of Victory


Ruth 1:1,2

Walking into Oblivion


1 Sam 1:2

The Walk of Heart-Ache


1 Sam 3:6

The Walk of Response to God


1 Sam 14:6

The Walk of Adventure


1 Sam 16:7

The Walk of Disclosure


1 Sam 17:45

The Walk of Confidence


1 Sam 20:1

The Walk of Confusion


1 Sam 24:4-6

The Walk of Rebellion


Part TWO


1 Sam 28:8

The Walk of Rebellion (2)


2 Sam 6:7

The Walk of Carelessness


2 Sam 6:14,15

The Walk of Joy


2 Sam 12:7

The Walk of Rebuke


2 Sam 18:33

The Walk of Grief


2 Sam 24:11,12

The Walk of Judgement


1 Kings 3:3

The Walk of Imperfection


1 Kings 3:14

Walking in the Ways of God


1 Kings 9:4

Walking in Integrity of Heart


1 Kings 10:1

The Walk of Investigation (2)


1 Kings 11:1

The Walk of Folly


1 Kings 11:38

The Walk of Potential


1 Kings 12:28 ,29

The Walk of Imitation


1 Kings 14:27 ,28

The Walk of Shame


1 Kings 15:26

Walking in the Sins of the Past


1 Kings 17:6

Walking in Unusual Provision


1 Kings 17:15 ,16

Walking in Miraculous Provision


1 Kings 18:43

The Walk of Anticipation


1 Kings 19:3,4

The Walk of Despair


Ezra 1:5

The Walk to Restoration




Neh 2:11,12

The Walk of Assessment (2)


Psa 23:4

The Walk in the valley of the shadow of death


Esther 4:12-14

The Walk of Faith Provocation


Esther 5:2

The Walk of Wisdom


Isa 30:21

The Walk of Security


Isa 35:8

Walking in the Way of Holiness


Isa 40:31

Walking without Fainting


Jer 6:16

Walking in the Ancient Ways


Dan 1:3

Walking into Triumphant Slavery


Dan 4:37

Walking in Humility


Matt 9:5,6

Walking Freed & Forgiven


Matt 14:29

Walking on Water


Lk 24:15

The Walk of Communion


2 Cor 6:16

Walking with God in the Midst


Col 3:7-10

Walking Renewed


1 Jn 1:7

Walking in the Light


1 Jn 2:6

Walking as Jesus did


2 Jn 1:6

Walking in Obedience


2 Jn 1:6

Walking in Love


3 Jn 1:3

Walking in the Truth






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Meditations Contents
Series Theme:   Walking with God Meditations

Meditation No. Prologue

Meditation Title: Introduction


1 Jn 2:6   Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.


I had never noticed how many times walking is referred to in the Bible until a well-known writer briefly referred to it in the introduction of one of his books. The thought caught me and I started looking up the references to people and walking. Now we've quoted one of the New Testament verses that refers to us walking as Jesus did. Walking suggests movement and it is a common analogy for a life with God. Indeed, I looked up ‘walk' in a dictionary of quotations and most of them came from the Bible.

Rather than try and apportion importance to any particular meditation on walking, or categorise them, I have simply started at the beginning of the Bible and worked my way through passages that stood out to me. This is not meant to be an exhaustive study on the idea of walking with God, merely a pausing over particular references to see what they would say to us.

To meditate means to chew over or mull over something and the idea in each one of these meditations is that we see what the particular passage says happened, and then apply the analogy to the Christian life. In that respect I hope you will find each meditation first an exposition of the verse or passage, which then opens out into devotional consideration. Whenever we seek to observe principles through an analogy (a dangerous hobby!) we seek to ensure that everything we say conforms to the teaching found in the whole Bible.

We therefore hope that your understanding of the Bible and the Christian's walk with God will be increased and that you will be blessed by these meditations so that your own walk will be that much more both understood and enjoyed by you. if you meditated on these verses yourself without these notes, you may well find your mind going in completely different directions; that is the joy of meditating on the Scriptures, God can speak to you in a whole lot of different ways. We simply hope these will bless you.






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Series Theme:   Walking with God Meditations

Meditation No. 1

Meditation Title: In the Cool of the Evening


Gen 3:8   Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the cool of the day.


This is the first walk in the Bible. It is God walking in the Garden of Eden. What a beautiful picture. The day is coming to an end, dusk is approaching and the heat of the day has gone. The garden is God's creation for Adam and Eve to enjoy and the sense is that, perhaps, each evening the Lord came to meet with them, to relax with them at the end of an eventful day. Perhaps the day before Adam might have shared with the Lord, “Lord, I've been showing Eve the elephants down at the riverside. Amazing!” Another evening she might have shared, “Lord, we tried bananas today for the first time. Really good!” Here they were in this God-given environment of plenty and pleasure, and the Lord would drop in to say hi, and see how they were getting on. Of course that was for their benefit because, being God, He knew everything and knew how they were getting on. A lovely picture!


Except on this day it wasn't so lovely because this day had been different. This day Satan had turned up and the two had done what God told them not to do, and of course God knew about it – indeed He knew about it before it happened, for later in the Bible we're told that the Godhead had planned Jesus' coming to deal with the effects of this sin, even before They made the world. Oh yes, God knew it would happen but He still gave them free will to choose to listen to Satan or reject him. God knew the consequences and had planned accordingly.


So this evening was different. Adam and Eve had changed and God knew they had changed – but they didn't know that He knew, so they hid when they heard Him coming. Now there's an interesting thought, they heard Him coming! Was He calling their names, or was He singing? Whatever it was, He let them know that He was coming, perhaps to see how they would respond or, more importantly, (for He knew how they would respond!) for us to see how they would respond. They responded with fear, guilt, self-awareness and self-justification, all new experiences!


What a two-sided picture we have here. First of communion with the Lord at the end of the day, a relaxing, informal, chatty time of sharing the events of the day, but then, second, a time of defensive guilt and broken relationship.


For many non-Christians, those who don't believe in a personal God, the thought of God turning up to chat is a fearful thing. There is the fear of being told off. Instinctively so many know they are guilty and want to ‘hide' from God. Then there are the Christians. These are people who have been ‘hiding' all through their lives until they came to a point of desperation (conviction) that an encounter with God, as painful as it might be, was something that was better than carrying on with that sense of constant guilt and shame. They came out of hiding and faced God and received, to their amazement, His forgiveness through the work of Jesus Christ. Then, gloriously, they entered into a phase where it seemed that God was great to be with, a loving heavenly Father who would listen to their child-like chatterings in prayer. Walking with God in the cool of the evening was pure delight.


But then came failure. Somewhere you blew it and knew it! Suddenly you felt bad and wanted to hide away from God. It took a while to find 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.” We learnt that forgiveness wasn't just for the beginning of the walk, it also comes at intervals along the way.


With the years we come to learn that God knows , so why try to hide the failure. The more we realized this, the faster we confessed. It still hurt, there was still shame, but we came to learn that we could still walk with the Lord in the cool of the day after the events of the day, and pour out to Him the good, the bad, and the ugly! No longer need we hide, we realized, because He knows, so let's face Him, let's receive again the cleansing achieved by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. How wonderful!





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Series Theme:  Walking with God Meditations

Meditation No. 2

Meditation Title: Daily Walking


Gen 5:22,23    Enoch walked with the Lord 300 years…. Enoch walked with God then he was no more, because God took him away.


The few verses about Enoch tell us he was 65 before he started walking with God. Walking with God is not an automatic thing and it is something you start to do at some point of your life. The only thing linked with the change in the verses is that he became a father for the first time then. It is usually a crisis of some kind that pushes us into a relationship with the Lord. He is always there with open arms but it takes something to make us realize He's there. Whether watching childbirth so shook Enoch, or whether it was the fragility of the little baby, of whether his wife focused on the baby and not him, we don't know, but after the arrival of the baby he started ‘walking with God.'


What does it mean to ‘walk with' someone? Well, first of all, it means there is a sense of something you do for more than just a few moments. You spend some time doing it. Second, when you walk with someone you tend to communicate. Yes, you can walk in silence but even then there is a sense of communion – you are very much aware of the other person – but normally when you walk together you talk together and share your lives and your thoughts. It is a time of togetherness. That is what the Christian life is supposed to be. Once we've come through the crisis of new birth we have entered into a relationship with God – a time of walking together.


Some of my best times of communing with others have been when we have walked together. This is not a purposeful march but an easy ramble, taking time to be together easily, no rush, just enjoying one another. Isn't this how it is supposed to be between God and us? How often though, I wonder, do we just give Him a quick minute? How little do we ‘walk together' in reality?


We are told very little about Enoch but one clue about him comes in the New Testament – Jude 14-16 – where it tells us that he prophesied about God's coming judgement. What is amazing is that the Jews had a record of that. This was obviously not a ‘quiet' prophecy but a warning shared in his generation which was passed on until eventually Noah carried it through the Flood on to later generations. Where did the prophecy come from? It came from God, as the two of them walked together. When you truly walk with God He shares His heart and you come to understand the awfulness of the sin of the world. You also come to understand something of God's will, His plans, and His purposes. You want to know the will of God? Spend time in His presence, wait on Him, pray, wait again, pray again, read His word, wait, listen and take note of what is going through your mind. This is walking with God, but it is also the awareness of Him there alongside you, not only in the quiet times but in the midst of life's activities. ‘Walking' can be at any time of the day.


But then we read, “then he was no more because the Lord took him.” He didn't die, he just vanished. One minute he was there, the next minute, gone! Where has he gone? Heaven! Why? Because that's where everyone who walks with God goes. But why didn't Enoch just die, why did God take him in this way? I think God was making a point. Death is so often seen as the end. Enoch just carried on walking with God elsewhere. It's like he emigrated. he didn't die, he didn't come to an end, he carried on walking with God elsewhere. God wants us to know there is more to come after this earth. Old age may be a mixed blessing with illness and infirmity, but it's just a preparation for emigrating to heaven. Your body may stay here but the real you will keep walking in heaven. Enoch kept walking here on earth until God took him. Never stop walking with God!






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Series Theme:  Walking with God Meditations

Meditation No. 3

Meditation Title: Running Away


Gen 16:7.8 The angel of the Lord found Hagar… “where have you come from and where are you going?”… “I'm running away from my mistress, Sarai.”


I know this is supposed to be a meditation about ‘walking' but as I pondered Scripture, this passage stood out to me as important – fast walking, urgent walking, if you like! I've always felt negative about this passage of Scripture; it's not Abram and Sarai's finest moment! The Lord has promised them children but the years have passed. To be precise, the Lord had promised Abram children and that may be why Sarai makes the suggestion she does. She sees herself as the stumbling block to Abram's family name being continued and so she suggests that Abram continues it through her maid, Hagar. Casually this looks like a crisis of faith, but perhaps it was more a crisis of understanding. That is the difficult thing about prophecy. The Lord speaks but often he only gives a small amount of information and we have to rest with that. Sarai became fed up with waiting and perhaps wondered if there was some other way that the prophetic word is to be fulfilled. Hence, Hagar.


Hagar is just a servant-slave, and so Abram has intercourse with her and she conceives, so it was Sarai who was infertile, she had been right! But once she is pregnant, Hagar can't help looking down on Sarai for her inability to conceive. It was a big thing both then and now, this ability to conceive, and many today still know the heartache of the inability to have a child. Hagar somehow conveys what she feels and Sarai is upset, so much so that she ill-treats her. So bad was this ill-treatment that Hagar flees, but the only place she can go is the desert. It is there that she is confronted by the Lord in the form of an angel and there she confesses, “I am running away.” God's word comes, go back and I'll bless you with more descendants than you can count. This she does and Ishmael is born, the father of the Arab nations, who so often have been a thorn in the side of Israel .


But consider Hagar, as if you knew nothing of the rest of the story. She is a servant girl to a wealthy merchant and his wife. She particularly serves the mistress of the house. She is aware of the undercurrents of the household, but is powerless to do anything about it when she is drawn right into them. She is powerless to resist when Abram says he wants her to bear his child. Perhaps she feels honoured, but this course of action results in life getting even harder and harder. Eventually she finds herself in the desert with no future. The circumstances of life seem to have conspired against her so now she is running away – walking at a pace with urgency, if you like. She doesn't know where she is going and what will happen, until God turns up. She has revelation of God and names Him, ‘the God who sees me.' In the place of crisis she has come to a place of major understanding – God is there, He sees and He knows all about us; I'm not alone. In the place of crisis, running away, she receives revelation of destiny, she will be a mother of many, the mother of many nations we now know.


This is a picture of life in this Fallen World. It is ‘fallen' because Adam and Eve fell into sin and sin entered the world, so that every one of us has been tainted with it since. Thus we live in a world where people – other people as well as us – make poor decisions and we are affected. Their sins, their shortcomings, can sometimes affect us, so much so that we try to flee those circumstances and find ourselves in a desert with no apparent hope and no future. “What did I do to deserve this?”, we wonder. Nothing! We just happen to be in a Fallen World! But this desert is not the end, it is a place of isolation and opportunity where God can come and speak and reveal what is going on and what He plans to happen, through these disastrous things.


On the run? Get ready to meet God. Get ready to listen to Him and get ready to go back in faith like Hagar did, and pick up your life and your destiny.







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Meditation No. 4

Meditation Title: Wandering in the Desert


Gen 21:14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba .


We need to carry on the story of Hagar. Previously we saw the circumstances that brought Hagar to a place of distress where she was running away – walking fast with urgency. Since that time about fourteen years have passed [Abram was 75 when he came into the land – 12:4. Ten years had passed when he slept with Hagar (16:3), i.e. he was 86 ( 16:16 ), and he was 100 years old when Isaac was born (21:5) so Ishmael is 14). The circumstances outside Hagar's control that still affect her have moved on – Sarah has conceived and Isaac has been born.


Ishmael is a teenager and teenagers don't always have good attitudes as they try and find their place in life. We are told he ‘was mocking'. Presumably he knew about the tradition of the eldest son being the most important, who took the main inheritance, and so he derides the baby who has just been born. Perhaps his mocking was in the form of, “He'll work for me one day!” Sarah hears it and is upset and tells Abraham to send he and his mother away (v.10). This upsets Abraham because, after all, Ishmael is his son (v.11), but he's a godly man with an ear open to the Lord and the Lord tells him not to worry because Isaac is His chosen one, and anyway He will bless Ishmael and make him into a nation.


These are the circumstances that have preceded our verse above. It's always important to see that things don't ‘just happen' out of the blue. There are reasons, things that have gone before. Thus we find that Hagar and Ishmael are banished from the wealthy merchant's home and are now wandering in the desert.


Now ‘wandering' is walking without a purpose. A desert is a dry, arid, inhospitable and unfruitful place. Circumstances outside of Hagar's control have brought her here. Ah, but were they beyond her control? Yesterday we read how that when she became pregnant she despised Sarai. Now we have noted that Ishmael is mocking. His mother has not brought him up to have humble respect, because it was a character flaw in her so, yes, she did in fact contribute to the circumstances. However, yes, the big players were stronger than her and their attitudes created the end product, so it is a mixture of other people's actions and her own actions that produced the end result of her wandering in the desert.


If we're able to be honest, this is always the truth – our less-than-perfect motives, thoughts, words and deeds probably contributed to bring about the present. So here we are, wandering, purposeless, wondering what life is about, disillusioned by the Christian life even, somewhat cynical of things we see going on ‘in church'. There have been a lot of such people in the past decade who, because of ‘the circumstances' have dropped out of church and are even now, if they can be honest, wandering in a desert.


But see what happens. Hagar feels that they are at the end of their lives, Resources are few, hope is absent, and they cry. At this point, God intervenes again. For a second time, at the second crisis point, God steps in and reassures her (v.17,18). But reassurance is not enough – God brings revelation and she finds a source of water that is sufficient to keep them going (v.19). Suddenly there is hope. They continue to live in the desert but it became a place where they can live and survive, not a place of death. There is hope. But there is more. The Lord had promised that the boy will become a nation. That's a big promise. It starts small – there's got to be a first child and for that Ishmael needs a wife. Hagar travels to her home land, Egypt , and gets him a wife. The ball starts rolling. He will become a nation n.


Wandering in a desert place? Seek God for reassurance and provision. This is a place of divine opportunity – places of crisis always are. Recall what God has promised. receive His provision and take the first step towards the fulfilment of the promise. There is hope and hope leads to the first step of your destiny.







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Meditation No. 5

Meditation Title: Walking in God's Classroom


Gen 18:16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom , and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.


We go back a little bit from our previous meditation. This is a year before the last meditation. After the first incident with Hagar occurred, about fourteen years pass and the Lord speaks to Abram when he is 99 years old and reconfirms his promise to make him the father of many nations (17:1-7). After this the Lord comes to Abraham, as he now is, in the form of three men – angels – (18:1,2) and yet again reconfirms that in a year Sarah will have a child.


In these early verses of chapter 18, Abraham shows hospitality. He offers the men water to wash their feet, and rest (v.4), and then food (v.5). In return the lord gives the promise of a child in a year. In reality this starts out being a walk of hospitality. He is there with the three men “to see the men their way.” It's the caring thing to do. When you see someone on their way you make sure they have everything they will need for the journey; you make sure they know their way; it's a caring act, it's a gracious act. That is how Abraham finds himself walking – with concern. In reality few of us would be walking with God out of concern for Him, more out of gratitude perhaps.


However, on this walk something happens. The Lord starts thinking about Abraham's future. Yes, Abraham will become a great nation (v.18), he will keep the way of the Lord (v.19), and he will do what is right and just. Now we may take this to mean first, the fact that through faith Isaac is going to be born and, second, that the people of Abraham are going to be first a physical people through his grandchild, Jacob, (Israel) and then a spiritual people of faith – all believers. All of that is undoubtedly true, but it must also surely apply to the type of man Abraham is to be, an example to those around him, a man living God's way, knowing right and wrong.


These thoughts come out of the Lord's pondering on whether to show Abraham what He's about to do (v.17). He clearly decides He will do this and so this revelation is about to become a test for Abraham and a major teaching lesson for him. He reveals that He is going to see the state of Sodom and Gomorrah. Something significant then happens. The ‘men' representing the Lord (angels) turn off towards Sodom leaving Abraham standing there but very much aware of the Lord's presence still with him. Whether it was in the form of one of the men we don't know. Note that Abraham has come to a standstill in his walk. Very often when the Lord is dealing with us it seems that our walk comes to a standstill for the moment of crisis.


Abraham ponders this situation. He knows Sodom is evil and he knows his nephew, Lot , is there. He seeks to persuade the Lord not to destroy Sodom if there are fifty righteous men there. The Lord agrees to this, but as Abraham thinks about it, he realises that the evil reputation of Sodom probably means that there were not fifty righteous people there. He reduces the number again and again, until he comes down to ten. At that point he stops. We aren't told why but it is as if he realises that in reality there probably isn't a righteous person there, and its destruction would be quite just. He has faced the awful truth about Sodom 's sin and thought through the validity of justice destroying this city. He has reached out on behalf of Lot but now has to leave him to the Lord's grace and mercy. This has been an exercise in understanding.


When we walk with the Lord, He wants us to conform to the image of Jesus (2 Cor 3:18) but that also means in our thin king and our understanding. He wants us to be able to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil (Heb 5:14 ). He wants us to realise the awfulness of sin and realise that only something so awful could drive Jesus to the Cross. When we walk with the Lord with an open heart, he brings revelation but sometimes that revelation requires us to respond in faith to cope with that revelation. Revelation isn't just information, it is something to be received by faith and to be responded to in righteousness.







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Meditation No. 6

Meditation Title: The Walk of Death


Gen 22:6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife….. the two of them went on together


Time has passed by but we are still with Abraham. At the age of one hundred his heart ache of the years has been removed and Sarah had a son, Isaac. God's promise that had come again and again was being fulfilled. He had been promised that he would become a great nation and a nation starts with one. The one has arrived! Whether there will be many more children for Abraham and Sarah, or many children through Isaac or many children through Isaac's children (which did happen) was not made clear at that point of time. All Abraham knew was that God's word had been fulfilled and Sarah, who was past child-bearing age (i.e. past the menopause) had had a miraculous child. Yes Isaac was a miraculous provision from God. And so Abraham walked on with God until one day the Lord had a conversation with Abraham that we find at the beginning of chapter 22. What is amazing about what followed was that Abraham must have been absolutely certain he was hearing God. It is amazing because everything about what God said seemed to go completely against all that had happened.


God tells Abraham to go to the area of Moriah (present-day Jerusalem) and offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Now this was the sort of thing that other religion demanded of their adherents, but so far all Yahweh (the Lord) has done is bless Abraham.


So Abraham, apparently without dispute, saddles his donkey, loads it up with firewood and sets off with Isaac and two servants (presumably for protection). They travel for three days and when they near their destination, Abraham and Isaac leave the donkey and the two servants and walk the rest of the way.


It is on this walk that Isaac starts asking awkward questions. Why have we the wood for the fire but where is the lamb for the sacrifice? Isn't that interesting! Some thousand or so years later (a long time you might think!) the Son of God came and was referred to as the ‘Lamb of God' (Jn 1:29) and he too was sacrificed at the same place. Now it's interesting that Abraham doesn't say, “You're the lamb, my son,” although that must have been in his mind. He simply says that god will provide a lamb. How prophetic that was! Indeed when the time came, and they arrived at God's appointed place, Abraham built the altar, put the wood on it, and then tied Isaac and placed him on top. This has turned into a walk of death! He takes the knife and is about to kill Isaac when God intervenes and stops him. It had never been God's intention to kill Isaac, He merely wanted to see Abraham's willingness to surrender everything to God. The writer to the Hebrews said, Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead (Heb 11:19). That was the extent of Abraham's belief. God who could bring life to a womb beyond child-bearing capability, God who could bring life where none existed, could also bring back life when that life had been given up. That was the extent of the belief in this amazing man.


Now that the Lamb has come, we know that we will never be asked to make such a sacrifice because that would be murder. yet we find in our walk with God we do find a call, again and again, to give over to God people or things that are dear to us. it starts with our own lives. Unless we are willing to die to our old life, we can never be born again and receive the new resurrection life that God has for us. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (Jn 12:24,25).


We can never plan beforehand what God will ask of us, or when He will ask. That's part of the faith equation, but we do know that god asks us to give up pride, selfishness and anything the Bible calls ‘the old nature'. Those things are truly to die. Sometimes God calls us to give up our reputation or our rights of defence. Many times in the Christian walk the Lord calls us to give over to Him something that has become precious that challenges our love fro Him. It won't be someone or something that enhances our love for Him, but it will be those things that compete for His love. Surrender is at the heart of the Christian faith, a surrender of life that is followed by resurrection, so that we can say, “The Lord will provide” (Gen 22:14)






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Meditation No. 7

Meditation Title: Wandering before Upheaval


Gen 37:14,15 When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields


Sometimes in Scripture, a few apparently innocent looking words actually reflect an amazing truth. Consider, for instance, Matt 24:1, Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings .” All very innocent and yet as we think about it, we see that there is God (in human form) walking away from the temple supposedly built for His habitation – and the disciples don't realize this and only comment on the grand appearance of the building. One ‘temple' (the glorious, divine body of Christ) was walking away from another Temple , built in fact to glorify a man (Herod). The disciples were incapable of ‘seeing' the significance of what was happening in front of them.


Perhaps we will only see the significance of what was happening in our verses above as we look at what happened in Joseph's life. Joseph is his father's favourite (Gen 37:3) and is now hated by his brothers (37:4). Joseph has also had prophetic dreams that implied that all those around him would bow down before him (37:5-9). Now that was the word of God that had come to this young man. He's going to become a mighty ruler!


Having watched a lot of people receive prophetic words, I'm sure that when most people receive such a word, they really don't understand the significance of it. The point is that with most such words God takes time in fulfilling them and the fulfilment requires a change in us, and there is a long process to bring about that change. The reality is that so often that process is having to bring to death certain things in us before He can resurrect new characteristics in us. So if God says He will give you great patience, you will go through a long waiting process where your impatience will have to die and patience will grow in you. If He says He will give you great endurance, He will take you through long times of difficulty where your old temptation to give up will die and the ability to hang on in and keep going will grow in you. If God says He will make you a great leader, that is a leader after His style not the world's, and so the world's tendency to bully or to connive or to scheme will die in you and He will develop righteousness and godliness in you together with grace and wisdom.


Joseph, like most of us, doesn't realize this. He's just filled with the thought of becoming a great man. He doesn't think about the process. What was the process in this case? His sinful brothers were about to kill him (37:20), but instead they sell him to slave traders (37:28). He is bought off them in Egypt by one of Pharaoh's officials (39:1) to work in his home. There he is falsely accused by the official's wife (39:17,18) and thrown into prison (39:20) where he stayed for many years. It was only after he gets interpretation of dreams from God in prison (40:12-22, 41:25-) that he was released and made Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. It's an amazing story!


So, here is Joseph in our verses, wandering (walking aimlessly) in a field, in between the time when he received his prophetic promises and the start of the process to bring about the fulfilment of the promises. Do you see the elements of our verses? First note that he was ‘wandering'. Very often after a major prophetic word comes, people get excited and full of faith – and then nothing seems to happen! I've seen it like this many times. They go into a period of ‘wandering' as far as the prophetic promise is concerned, aimlessly wondering what it had all been about.


But note also that he was ‘in the fields', the place where shepherds work – for that is what they all were – the place or ordinary, everyday work life. So after the word comes, we just continue in the place of ordinariness, in our ‘wandering' in our life at home, college or work, and life just seems to just go on and on, and in our ‘wandering' we wonder how God can possibly do what He said.


And then ‘a man found him'. So often in these situations God sends someone along to just gently start the ball rolling, of this process we've got to go through. The man puts him in contact with his brothers, and the rest, as they say, is history. The problem about these things, is that we aren't warned that this person is carrying our ‘starting pistol'!


For the moment Joseph hasn't a clue what is coming but at the end of the process he's able to say to his brothers, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen 50:20). If you've had a great word and are now just ‘wandering' don't worry God's timing and process is perfect. When you are being squeezed and changed, don't panic, it's just God's process, working to fulfil His promises to you. You may not be able to see it like that at the moment, but the time will come when you will – so why not rejoice in God's goodness to you and His grace that is available to help you change. Be blessed!







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Meditation No. 8

Meditation Title: Walk of Investigation  


Exo 3:3   Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight.”


This would appear to be a short walk but perhaps one of the most significant in history! In the Star Trek films there is one entitled, “First Contact”. Of course it is sci-fi but the idea was a story around the first time the human race truly encountered alien life forms from outer space. The film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” culminates in a similar encounter.


As always, to catch the significance of any verse we have to see the context. Moses is a Hebrew who has been brought up as an Egyptian Prince in the Pharaoh's court. When he was forty, Moses went out into the land and observed that the Hebrews were slaves, and when he stepped in to help one of them who was being beaten by an Egyptian overseer, he inadvertently killed the Egyptian. The word of this action got out and he had to flee Egypt to the land of Midian where, for the next forty years, he became a shepherd, tending his new father-in-law's sheep. Wandering far and wide with the flock, Moses arrives at the mountain of Horeb , otherwise known as Sinai.


Now remember that Moses is a classical example of a failure, a man who threw away his inheritance in Pharaoh's court and ended up as a lowly shepherd. He is now eighty years old and has no future. He has no prophecy over his life; he only has the memory of a major failure. To make it worse, his people, the Hebrew people, are still slaves in Egypt and he is powerless to do anything about it, even if he wanted to. Quite probably he has written off trying to help his people as a nice idea that was just founded in misplaced enthusiasm.


So here we find this failure, tending to sheep in the desert, when suddenly he espies a bush that appears to be burning but without being destroyed. Now this is the critical moment for the future of Israel . What will he do? Will he just say, “Oh that's interesting” and move on, or will he go over to the bush and take a closer look?


What is strange about this story is why God had to speak out of a bush. Why couldn't He have just spoken out of thin air? perhaps it is that God wants to start introducing Moses to the concept of the miraculous, for that is going to play a major part in his future.


Moses sees the bush. Is he going to take the short walk of investigation over to it and seal his destiny? Yes! Once there, God speaks to him from out of the bush, and then starts one of the most amazing conversations with God that is re corded in the Bible. The outcome we know – God sends Moses to Pharaoh and uses him to deliver Israel out of Egypt . The Exodus follows.


Now we could speculate as to what might have happened if Moses hadn't have walked over to the bush, but the fact is, he did! In the meditation about Joseph we made some brief comments about prophecy. What I have observed over the years is that the Lord uses a whole variety of ways to catch out attention. It is almost as if He wants us to stop what we're doing and see what He's doing, and then hear what He wants to say.


Very often these ‘interruptions' are not miraculous (although sometimes they are!). Often these ‘interruptions' are simply crises in life – an illness, an accident, being made redundant, and so on. At such times you can ignore the event or moan about it, but the wise person pauses up and asks the Lord if He wants to use this time to speak.


Prophetic people, particularly, are triggered by normal, natural events – consider Jeremiah in the Potter's house (Jer 18), but God can catch our attention, the attention of all of us who call ourselves His children, by a whole variety of ways. Why does He like to do this? Perhaps because He knows we've given up inside because of past bad experiences, or perhaps He just sees that some of us are too busy, so He comes along and does something that pulls us up and makes us ‘walk over' and have another look. Has anything like that been happening to you? Walk on over and have a closer look. It could be God wants to speak words of destiny to you!








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Meditation No. 9

Meditation Title: Walk of Separation


Exo 19:3 Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain


Walking, as we have observed it in some of the other meditations, suggests an ongoing relationship. Walking with God suggests a time of communion and mutual sharing. For the Christian it is a time of receiving from God, a time of receiving revelation. Yet we have also seen the analogy of walking extended to wandering – times when there seems little purpose to life, but they so often become times of encounter with the Lord. We also saw in the previous meditation how there is the walk of investigation to find out what is going on. Now we consider what can only be called a climbing walk.


Once Moses had led Israel out of Egypt, the Lord led them through the desert until after about two weeks they arrived at Mount Sinai. Anyone who knows their Scripture, knows that Sinai was the place of encounter with the Lord, and where Israel were constituted a holy nation (19:6), and Moses received the Law from God. The question for any of us wanting to understand more the ways of God, is why did God need Moses to walk and climb a mountain to speak to Him? After all, Moses had spoken with the Lord again and again after the burning bush incident, and during the Exodus process, so why Sinai at all?


The answer is in the text. We have already commented that the Lord was calling them to be a ‘holy nation' (19:6), and the Lord says He will come and speak out of a dense cloud, so the people can hear Him (19:9). Then He instructs the people to consecrate or wash, cleanse and commit themselves to Him (19:10) and keep at a distance from the mountain (19:12,13). On the third day He came with thunder and lightning (19:16). Finally Moses has to go up and meet with God (19:20). Everything about this speaks of God's holiness, His different-ness, His separation from the people.


But we have already seen that Moses has been up the mountain previously, and in reality it seems he was going up and down the mountain a number of times (19:3,20 / 20:21 / 24:9,13 / 32:31). Every time Moses was taking a walk of separation. Every time there was a sense that to have close encounter with the Lord – and this was probably the time of greatest revelation in the life of Israel – it was necessary to separate from the ordinary world and climb ‘up' as if towards heaven.


In a day when, through Christ, we know God as our loving heavenly Father, we tend to forget the wonder of what Christ has done, what can only truly be perceived in the light of Sinai. God is holy, so different, pure and utterly righteous – and we are not. We will never truly understand this until we get to heaven where, if God's grace allows, we will look back and see ourselves as we truly were and, more importantly, we will see God's activities and know that He never said or did anything we could criticise. The Cross of Christ has bridged the gulf between, so now today we can know this holy God as Father. How amazing!


But still God reveals Himself in different ways, and at different levels or different intensities. Sometimes there is the quiet whisper of the Spirit that comes in the quiet time, or even in the midst of the busy day, and God quietly speaks. That is one level. Then there are times, usually in worship, when we have a greater sense of the presence or manifestation of the Lord, and such times are equally precious. And then sometimes, at the quiet calling of the Lord, we sense we need to really come aside, to ‘climb the mountain' and separate ourselves off from our busy, hectic and noisy lives, and go aside to meet God. When we do this, we know the close encounter with God, the greater sense of His presence, and greater revelation. The ‘walk up the mountain' takes time and isolation. It may be in the form of a week's retreat, or simply a few days put aside to meet with God. Yes, He is here every day, but this seems to open up a closer encounter that comes after a ‘walk up the mountain', something most of us can do only rarely. Why not take two or three days out, to separate off from your work life and often active home life, and just go aside, ‘climb the mountain' and be with God? You'll never be the same again!









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Meditation No. 10

Meditation Title: Walk of Ownership


Josh 1:3 the LORD said to Joshua ….I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.


Before we can ponder the possibilities of this verse for our own lives, we need to observe why Joshua was where he was and what followed. We will also need to distinguish between him as a Jew in a physical land and us as Christians in a spiritual kingdom.


God had promised Abraham this land (Gen 12:7). He had also told Abraham that his immediate descendants would go to another country where they would be slaves and ill-treated for four hundred years (a round figure, not a specific one), and afterwards they would return to this land. Following the Exodus, and Israel 's wilderness wanderings, the Lord led them again up to the border of the land which was inhabited by pagan worshippers who Israel is going to have to depose. The inhabitants of the land have three options: they can leave the land, they can join Israel and become God's people, or they will die. Now the Lord promises Joshua that wherever he walks in this land will be his! So much for the past!


Briefly, to take the land, the people of Israel had to physically overcome the people of the land. From the book of Judges we see they never fully did this and so the Lord said those people would be a thorn in Israel 's side (Jud 2:2,3). Israel should have been able to live at peace in the land, but for a long time the remaining inhabitants spoilt that peace. So Joshua's ‘walk' through the land was to be a walk of occupation, taking ownership of the land.


Now how does this picture apply practically to us? We don't have a physical land but we are part of the kingdom of God . What does that mean? It means we live under the reign of God over our lives. Physical land or physical space is not a matter of concern unless it is part of God's will, part of His specific purpose for us, e.g. purchasing a piece of land on which to live, run a business or whatever, all under God's guidance for our lives. Yet we can picture our lives as ‘the land'. When we came to Christ there is a new owner of ‘this land' (my life) and a new power source has entered it – the Holy Spirit. Now for different Christians this now works in different ways, because we each come with different things to be ‘cleared out of the land'. Yes, when we receive the Holy Spirit when we become a Christian we receive this new power source and as we let Jesus guide us, he will enable us to ‘overcome' these things that were perhaps habitual. For some people the change is instantaneous, this ‘taking the land', and every step we take in the Christian life is a new, free walk.


For others, it seems, we have to battle with each old occupier of the land. For some it means fighting against the habit of swearing, for others against excessive alcohol use, for others the use of drugs, and so on. However, those are obvious occupants to be ousted. The less obvious ones are pride or arrogance, or thinking badly about specific people or groups, i.e. getting rid of prejudice or hostility. For some uncontrollable anger is the occupant to be ousted. For others, self reliance, or over independence are the occupants to be dealt with. However, like Israel , we soon come to realise that we cannot do it on our own; we need God's help. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to change us bit by bit into the likeness of Jesus (2 Cor 3:18), and our part is to set our hearts in the direction of His will, and to co-operate with Him and obey Him as He leads. As we do that He will show us the way to overcome and also give us the power to overcome. As we walk with God, each step we take is a part of the walk of ownership, as we take control of our lives.


Previously we had been swept along by our desires (Eph 2:3). Once the ‘land' had been occupied by characteristics that were ungodly and unrighteous but now we have been given a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7). With this power and love flowing in us, we exercise self-discipline or self-control, the fruit of the Spirit working in us (Gal 5:23), and so with each step forward we take ownership of who God has designed us to be. Bit by bit we come more free and more fulfilled. Hallelujah!






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Meditation No. 11

Meditation Title: Walk of Assessment


Josh 5:13,14 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come."


In a recent meditation we thought about Moses turning aside and walking over to the burning bush to investigate what was happening. This situation in our verses above is somewhat similar but with a person. Not only that though, and this is what makes it so different, the circumstances are incredibly different. Moses had been a shepherd with a history of failure, rather aimless; Joshua is now the leader of the people of Israel about to go into battle with express instructions to take the land.


The change in the circumstances of Israel couldn't be greater. They have miraculously crossed the river Jordan and are now in the land where they freshly entered into covenant with God through the rite of circumcision (Josh 5:2-9), and then celebrated Passover (v.10) and ate the produce of the land (v.11) when the manna that had fed them for forty years had ceased (v.12). Thus the ‘feel-good factor' for Joshua is quite high! They are in the land and they are back on a right relationship with the Lord. It's a good time to be a General of the Lord's army, Israel .


Thus when Joshua sees before him a figure with a sword, he boldly walks up to him and demands that he reveals who he is and whose side he is on. Here is Joshua's mistake – he doesn't bother to check first of all who this man is. When we're sometimes full of the sense of the goodness of the Lord and the sense we have of the triumph and victory that is ours in His kingdom, we sometimes start speaking and acting presumptuously.


What is Joshua actually asking? Are you with us – in which case, welcome and join us – or are you against us – in which case you are an enemy and we'll destroy you. He's thinking in purely material terms. After all this is just a man standing here, and after all, I am The General, the commander of the Lord's army, so who are you?


It is then that he's given an answer that pulls him right up. OK, he's walked up to the man full of boldness and made demands of him, but the answer given and the way it is given, rocks Joshua and he falls in reverence and acts like a servant (v.14).


Joshua has asked, ‘Are you for us or against us?' and the answer has been given, ‘Neither!” What? Why? The continuing answer comes, “Because I am the commander of the army of the Lord and I don't take sides (implied). I call people to my side, I don't take sides!


There is a tremendous lesson to be learnt here. God doesn't take sides. We can't get God on our side. In war, opposing armies have been known to assume that they had God on their side, but He doesn't take sides! He is God! He is Supreme! He doesn't come down to the petty affairs of ant-like humans and take sides. He calls us to come to Him, to submit to Him and follow Him.


This walk of confidence – this walk of assessment – has turned into a walk of worship. As he walks forward, Joshua realises he is encountering either the Lord God Himself, or a leading angel or, as theologians think, a theophany, a physical expression of the Son. As he goes into battle Joshua will now realise that he isn't the commander of the Lord's army, the Lord is! It's a major lesson to be learnt. What he is doing is at the Lord's instigation and it will be with the Lord's wisdom and, as we shall shortly see, with the Lord's power. It is a partnership but Joshua has to realise that the major partner is the Lord. We, likewise, have to learn the same thing. If you pray for the Lord to be on your side in any battle you face, change your praying and ask the Lord to guide you to achieve what He wants you to achieve. If you haven't read it recently, turn to the believers' prayer of Acts 4:23-30 to see a good example of this. Ensure you are on His side!






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Meditation No. 12

Meditation Title: Walk of Victory


Josh 6:15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times


In olden days, when taking a fortified city, you would lay siege to it, pile earth against its walls and pound them with catapults until a breach was made. Even today we pound cities with rockets or bombs from aircraft until the place is just a pile of rubble. To simply walk round a city is not one of the recognised ways of bringing a city down – but that was what Joshua did!


We said in the previous meditation that something Joshua had to learn was that the Lord is the commander of the army, not him. It was the Lord's wisdom and the Lord's power that would subdue the land. Israel had fought and had conquered a couple of kings on the way to the land (and now no doubt feel more confident) but once in the land, the place that first confronts them as they cross the Jordan, is Jericho, a highly fortified city. They have no experience of taking such cities. So how did it happen?


The first thing to note is that the Lord declared, “I have delivered Jericho into your hands” (6:2). He had decreed it so it was as good as done! When we are confronted by any battle we need to seek the Lord and gain assurance from Him that this is a battle that He wants us to fight and if it is, that He wills victory for us.


The second thing to note is that the Lord gives instructions as to how this city is to be taken (6:3-5). Now there is a problem with this because of the nature of the instruction: march round the city once a day for six days and on the seventh day march round it seven times. The priests were to blow trumpets as they went, the ark was to be carried, and the army was to follow the ark (the women and children were probably glad they just had to watch from a distance!) Now the problem about this is that it sounds crazy! Making so much noise meant that this was not an attack of stealth. Doing nothing to the walls meant they were unlikely to come down. Humanly speaking this was a waste of time. Now we put it like this so that we realise that this was an act of pure faith, of pure obedience. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the word of God' . They have had God's word, so now all they have to do is obey it.


So for six days they go out and walk (march) round Jericho in silence – well, except for the priests' trumpets blowing, and then on the seventh day, they go round seven times and on the seventh time as the trumpets blow, they shouted at Joshua's command – and the walls fell down. All that was left was to go in and take the totally demoralised city.


Now it is very unlikely that you would be called to go and march around a city for seven days, but the overall principle is the same for you in any battle you face and, let's face it, we do face battles day by day, against demonic powers, and against people being used by the enemy.


Principle Number One: we are the Lord's army. We do not do what we feel like and we certainly don't fight battles the way the enemy does, using insults, innuendos, lies etc. Our weapons are righteousness, and righteousness is simply doing what God wants.


Principle Number Two: The Lord is the commander of this army and He knows how this particular battle is to be fought. We need to keep close to Him, to seek His face and to listen for His wisdom. He knows, we don't, and even if we don't understand how it could possibly work, we need to do it. That was the problem that Naaman suffered when Elisha told him to go and dip in the river Jordan seven times to get healed of leprosy. How can that possibly help? I don't know but that's what God said, so do it. He does and he's healed. Why? Because that's the way the Lord set it up, so that he could express his complete reliance on the Lord!


Principle Number Three: our part is to express faith and simply be obedient to what He says in His word and by His Spirit. We are to do no more and no less than what He says. That is our part! And then we are to leave the outcome up to Him! Again, as with the Naaman example above, God simply looks for our obedience, our complete reliance upon Him, that says, ‘Yes, you are God, and I acknowledge that.' Very often it seems that that is all He is looking for, and then he moves!


This is the walk to victory, and it is a walk of faith. It means receiving God's word and responding to it in total submission to Him, and then watching the Lord exercise His power on our behalf. May it be so!






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Meditation No. 13

Meditation Title: Walking into Oblivion


Ruth 1:2 The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.


This is the start of a disastrous story and a glorious story, and as such it tells us many things about walking with God. The story starts with a famine in Israel , which suggests a time of low spirituality (in the Law God promises blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience [which includes famine] – Deut 28). The times of the judges had been a time when the nation drifted from God and had to be rescued by Him in the form of those judges. But there is something else about the times of famines, they are times of testing and times of opportunity. Abram hadn't done very well when a famine occurred in his new country (Gen 12:10 -). Isaac fell into the same trap for the same reason; only the Lord intervened and stopped him going to Egypt (Gen 26:1-6).


So, there was a famine in Israel and an Israelite from Bethlehem takes his family to Moab. Historically Moab was to become an enemy of Israel, a frequent thorn in their side. Instead of seeking God, this man rationalises the situation and moves into the world to cope. How many of us get into difficulties and seek the world's way out instead of the Lord. This walk from Bethlehem (which means ‘house of bread') to Moab (which means ‘child of its father' – and Moab 's father was Lot who drifted right into the world – Sodom) is a walk of flight into the world.


In Moab the man dies and later on after they have married two Moabite women, their two sons also die. The only person left of the original family is Naomi, the wife. Then Naomi sets out on the walk of restoration back to Israel . At Naomi's urging one daughter-in-law returns home but the other one will not be put off and so goes to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law. For her, this is a walk into a new life and was to become a walk into the history books. For this family, the walk to Moab was a walk of death, and in what follows we might consider the walk back a walk of resurrection. God is going to do something very significant through this family. To cut a long story short, Naomi returns home with Ruth her daughter-in-law, and Ruth eventually marries Boaz and becomes part of the messianic family line (see Mt 1:5 for the place of honour that Ruth is given, being the mother of King David's grandfather.)


So what again have we seen here? A man from Israel goes with the low spiritual level of the nation and when a famine comes, flees the land and goes to Moab . A poor response – a walk of unbelief. Then he and his sons die. It has turned out to be a walk into oblivion for this man, yet from it, Ruth is drawn into the nation of Israel and joins the family tree of King David, the family tree of the Messiah. There seems nothing spectacular about this story; it is the story of normal, if tragic, family events, yet somehow at the end of it we see how the family was used to draw a foreigner into God's plans.


So what does it say? First of all, it warns us to hold firm to our faith in the face of difficult circumstances. In fact, the circumstances may indicate a low level of spirituality and the call is to rise up and return to God. Instead of fleeing into the world in a walk of unbelief, we are to stay where we are and seek the Lord.


Second, it shows us that the often invisible hand of God can yet bring about good, and He will take and use even those from the most unlikely backgrounds who will allow their hearts to be stirred by the Lord, to become part of His plans.


Perhaps we might consider are we an Elimelech, a Naomi or a Ruth? Elimelech baulked in the face of difficult circumstances and failed to seek God for provision. Are you in such a place? Seek Him. Naomi was faithful to her husband and was led into a bad place, but as soon as she had the chance, she returned to a place of blessing. Do you need to take steps to get back to the place of blessing? And then there was Ruth, an outsider who allowed her heart to be touched so that she joined the people of God and entered into God's purposes. Are you someone who has been touched by what you have read, and something in you tells you that you want to have a sense of destiny, of being part of God's plans?


A disastrous walk into oblivion, or walk of restoration, or a walk of destiny? Those are so often the options before us in our walk through life. The good news is that as long as we are alive, it doesn't have to end as a walk into oblivion. The only trouble is that we don't know how long we will live. If we have the courage to face the failure, it can turn into a walk into restoration and that so often becomes a walk into destiny. Make sure you make the right choice.






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Meditation No. 14


Meditation Title: Walk of Heart-Ache


1 Sam 1:2 There was a certain man …..whose name was Elkanah …..He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.


This series is about walking, and there was one particular walk that Hannah had to do every year that accentuated her position and increased her heart-ache. The story involves an Israelite who had two wives. Not a good start! In the early days of Israel , monogamy was not required – consider how many wives Solomon had and the trouble they caused him! Two wives mean shared affections and breeds grounds for jealousy and competition. The ‘competition' between Peninnah and Hannah was over child-bearing (as it had been between Jacob's wives). Hannah is childless while Peninnah has sons and daughters (v.4) – she was fertile! Each year the whole family would trek to Shiloh , where the Tabernacle of God was located, to make offerings to the Lord. Elkanah, the husband, tried to show Hannah that it didn't matter and that he loved her, by giving her double portions each year at the sacrificial feast, but that only seemed to make it worse. Peninnah, perhaps jealous of Elkanah's attention of Hannah, used to make comments about Hannah's infertility, in front of her.


Thus the annual walk to Shiloh probably became a walk to be dreaded, a time when Hannah's infertility became even more obvious. Imagine them all getting ready for the journey, all the noise and bustle of Peninnah's side of the family getting ready – and Hannah alone.


How many of us seem to be trapped in circumstances beyond our control, where again and again we have to go through family or work rituals that only accentuate our painful situation. The pain of childlessness is perhaps one of the worst anguishes to cope with, especially for the wife. Here she is with a body designed to carry new life, and month by month nothing happens. Every month becomes a time of dread. Like Hannah you may be godly and gracious. You know the Lord, love the Lord, serve the Lord, but still, despite praying, nothing happens. Maybe your husband is praying and still nothing happens (Isaac prayed for 20 years for Rebekah before she conceived – Gen 25:20,26). That almost seems to make it worse.


Perhaps there are other circumstances where, perhaps a brother or sister seems more favoured than you and year by year the differences are accentuated by comments made about the more clever, or more handsome or more beautiful brother or sister. There is nothing said maliciously but the hurt is there nevertheless, and it seems that nothing you can do can change it.


What hope is there in these situations? God! From your painful perspective it may seem trite but that is the answer. No, I don't know why it happened or why it has dragged on for so long, but one thing I am sure of, that the faith I have speaks of a God who again and again and again comes into the situation where death is reigning and brings life. Your body may appear dead, your circumstances may appear death and there appears no hope for nothing ever sees to change – but God is still there.


In Hannah's case she prayed, God eventually turned up, and Samuel was born, a most significant young man. The Bible has a number of these children, born to apparently infertile women after many years. Isaac born to Sarah, long after child-bearing age, Jacob (Israel) born to Rebekah after twenty years of wait, Samuel born to Hannah after years of anguish, and John born to Elizabeth in her old age. You can't find a more significant bundle of individuals!


It sounds a cliché but it is true nevertheless – the Lord knows and understands what you feel and feels with you. Hold on to what Gabriel said to the young girl, Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Can we cope while we wait for God to turn up and bring the change that seems impossible otherwise? Yes, because His grace IS sufficient for whoever and in whatever situation (2 Cor 12:9). As you walk the walk of heart-ache, reach out and receive what only He can give – hope, peace and grace, and know you are loved.






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Meditation No. 15

Meditation Title: Walk of Response to God


1 Sam 3:6   Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me."


This is quite a delightful story of naivety. Samuel is still a boy and he lives with old Eli, the priest, at Shiloh. The situation is physically and allegorically described in verse 2. Look at Eli's description: whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.” Now that physically is what was happening to him in old age but it also, I suggest, describes what he was like spiritually. It is clear from what goes before and what follows on, that Eli has lost vision and has allowed his sons to run amok spiritually and there is no sense of revelation from heaven (v.1). Moreover he was lying down in his usual place. OK, this was nighttime, but I suggest it also speaks of his spiritual state – inactive! Then we find (v.3), The lamp of God had not yet gone out.” Yes, that was the lamp in the tabernacle that was there to give light, but light speaks of revelation and the lamp of the Lord speaks of testimony, and although Eli and his sons were out of contact with God there were still those who were (see 2:27 -). Samuel was lying down (he's inactive so far) in the Tabernacle where the ark of God was. Now the ark always signifies the presence of God and so Samuel is in a good place to hear God speak – and he does! However, the problem is that Samuel really doesn't know the Lord yet. He hasn't come into a relationship with the Lord and he isn't able to recognize when God speaks.


Samuel hears a voice and, assuming it is Eli, he runs to him. When it happens a third time, Eli realizes that this must be a visitation from the Lord and instructs Samuel as to how he should respond. What follows is Samuel receiving prophetic revelation.


Now what we have here is a picture of what happens with many Christians. Ask a group of Christians how often they hear God speaking to them and some will reply ‘never' and a large number will reply ‘rarely' and it will only be a few who will answer more positively. Yet, when we look at Scripture we find that God is a God of communication; He is constantly talking to people!


So are you a Samuel-like person who doesn't recognize God's voice? So how does God speak? A number of ways! There is through His word, the Bible. In one sense all of it is God's communication to us, from which we can learn, but then sometimes when we read a verse or a passage it suddenly seems to take on significance, or perhaps it even seems to leap out of the page to us. Then there are righteous, godly thoughts that come into our mind, sometimes an impression, sometimes a clear word. There are circumstances that can speak to us, and sometimes God speaks through other people – a preacher or perhaps a friend who feel they have something for us.


But before all this happens, there needs to be an awareness that God speaks – and that's what Samuel had to learn first. But more than that, there needs to be a responsive heart full of faith. Samuel got up and went quickly to Eli – there was a responsiveness in him. God looks for those who will respond to Him. I'm certain that He speaks to all of us a lot of the time, but we just don't recognize that it is Him. He's actually looking for a people who will walk the walk of response – who will take time to listen, who will perhaps go aside to listen, who will take time to learn to listen. The key is having a responsive heart. You can afford to make mistakes in listening – it's how we learn, but perhaps it is better to have a mentor, someone who is more mature in these things than you, to help you, to check you and help you learn to hear more accurately the sometimes ‘still small voice of God', the gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12)


Samuel responded to something he thought he heard. He walked out to Eli to find out what it was. It was a learning walk and God invites many of us to take that same learning walk, the walk of response. This may be something completely new to you. Risk it, risk believing that because He loves you He will talk to you through the variety of ways we considered above. It's a whole new day when God speaks – and we hear!






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Series Theme:   Walking with God Meditations

Meditation No. 16

Meditation Title: Walk of Adventure


1 Sam 14:6 Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."


There are times when religion seems heavy and serious, and yes there is a need to sometimes remind ourselves of the awesome holiness of God, but Jesus gave us a picture of life with the Father that was very different from some of the serious minded, heavy, legalistic sort of religion you sometimes come across. For instance, do you remember the time when the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus to complain about the light hearted approach of his disciples who were not fasting when they and the disciples of the Pharisees were? Jesus simply replied,How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?” (Mt 9:15), with the implication that when he was around it was a time for celebrating, and Jewish celebrations are noisy and enthusiastic!


When we come to this story involving Jonathan, King Saul's son, there is a same sort of light-heartedness about it, which is endearing and encouraging. The situation is that Israel had recently called Saul to be king but already he hasn't done very well. It was all Jonathan's fault really; you just couldn't keep him down! The Philistines had been a major thorn in Israel 's side and appeared much more powerful than them. Jonathan wasn't put down by this and went over and beat up a Philistine outpost at Geba (1 Sam 13:3). This acted like poking a stick into a hornets' nest and the Philistines turned up in large force (13:5) which created much fear in the Israelites. Samuel the prophet-priest didn't seem to be turning up so Saul acted superstitiously and started making burnt offerings to get God on his side, for which he was severely rebuked by Samuel when he arrived. No, Saul was not doing very well! What made it worse was that the ‘army' of Israel was made up of farmers who only had farm tools to fight with. Only Saul and Jonathan had a sword and spear. So here they are, facing hopeless odds with hardly any weapons, and what do we find happening?


Jonathan hears there is a detachment of the Philistines set up as lookouts on the other side of a Pass from them. What is Jonathan's response? He grabs his armour bearer and says, “Let's go and have a look!” There are steep cliff sides to this Pass and Jonathan and his armour bearer are on top on one side looking across at the Philistine lookouts camped on the top of the cliff on the opposite side. To get to them, they've got to climb down their cliff, cross the Pass in the open and climb the cliff on the other side – all in the broad daylight! Not exactly a smart plan even for the Marines!


But Jonathan isn't a Marine, he's a young man who believes in God! Look at the adventurous spirit of this young man: let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows i.e. let's wander over and confront these characters who have no relationship with our God! That's the first thing. He's mindful of his relationship with the Lord and mindful that they don't have such a relationship. Advantage all his! Now see what follows: Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.Wow! Here's a guy who is not certain of his guidance but he trusts in his God anyway! So he continues, Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.i.e. God's going to save us somehow, and whether he's going to do it by the whole army or just us, I don't know, but let's have a go and see what happens!


So, they climb down the cliff and make the walk across the Pass to the other side where they have to climb the cliff in full view of the enemy – it's a walk of adventure, across that Pass. How often, I wonder, do we let the apparent obstacles put us off venturing out with God against the enemy? It seems that so often we are too lethargic, or too careful to consider doing something like this. So often as soon as someone suggests such a venture, there are the gloomy pessimists who just see all the problems. We'll be tired by the time we climb down our side, and it's a dangerous descent! We'll be seen by the enemy, crossing the Pass in the open in the daylight! We'll be sitting targets climbing up below the enemy! Anyway they outnumber us ten to one, so what are we thinking about? Oh yes, it's a silly exercise, but faith and trust in God often appears like that to the self-centred, self-concerned minds of an unbeliever, even if the unbeliever is a Christian! So what sort of Saviour do you follow? Is he adventurous, going and mixing with the rough, going places where nice people don't go? He'd better be!


Oh yes, if you don't know this story, we'd better finish it off. The result of this crazy expedition? The Philistines joke at these two puny individuals coming against them, but Jonathan and his armour bearer rout them, with the result that panic sets in to the main camp and in their panic they attack one another (14:20) so all Israel have to do is go in and clear up. Nice one Jonathan! Is your walk serious or seriously adventurous? Think about it.






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Meditation No. 17

Meditation Title: Walk of Disclosure


1 Sam 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."


We live in a world that functions on ‘appearances'. New buildings have to look modern and innovative. We have TV makeover programmes, whether it be buildings, gardens or people where the end product is something that looks good. When we go for a new job, we try to make ourselves look good, because we know that first appearances count. The fashion industry is based on the concept of looking good and, of course, they make you think that looking good one way only lasts for a season! Pretty girls and handsome boys are at the top of class popularity. People with big ears, big noses and big teeth are at the bottom end. That's life in a sinful Fallen World, and we're all prone to it.


The prophet-priest-judge, Samuel, was no different, but let's get the background first. The Lord had rejected Saul because Saul was so self-centred and disobedient he had shown he really wasn't up to the job of righteously leading God's people. When Saul abused his position, Samuel told him, But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.” (1 Sam 13:14). God had a replacement in mind! When Saul was disobedient a second time the word came: To obey is better than sacrifice…. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king… The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbours--to one better than you.” (1 Sam 15:22,23,29)


The next thing that happened was that God told Samuel, “I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” (1 Sam 16:1). The only problem was that He didn't tell Samuel which one of Jesse's sons He had chosen, and there were a number of them. We'll keep the story short. When Samuel gets to Bethlehem and the sons are being lined up for him, Samuel has now to decide which of the sons is the one to be chosen next king of Israel .


Samuel walks along the line of sons, all seven of them. This is a walk of assessment. Who is the one? Well, it's fairly obvious really. He goes back to the beginning of the line. Here is the eldest, Eliab, and he looks big and strong. That's who we need, isn't it, an elder son, the son of authority in the family, and a guy who is big and strong, who can beat up the enemy and inspire courage in his followers? This has got to be him! But the quiet word form the Lord comes to Samuel, “Wrong!”


Ooops! And the Lord speaks our verse above. Not this one; I don't look at the things you look at, I look at his heart. Of course, why hadn't Samuel remembered that? After all he had prophesied just that: the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart! God looks at hearts, not what is on the outside! God looks for those who will join their hearts to His, who will allow their hearts to be moulded to become like Him. This is to become a walk of disclosure of heart condition. Who of these sons has got a heart that will please God? He walks down the line, sensing the heart of each son. He gets to the end of the line. None of them! Something is wrong here! I'm sure I sensed their hearts aright and I'm sure God said it was one of Jesse's sons. Are there any more sons? Yes, one more out on the hills looking after sheep, killing bears and composing songs – but he's a bit young! He's the one!


Have you ever encountered a prophet who sees through you and obviously knows all about you? It's a scary thing to stand before God's representative who has been given the gift of insight. How do you think you would fare if you were standing in the line as the prophet makes his walk of disclosure? Your answer reveals the nature of your life. Do you have little patches of guilt that have not been dealt with? Do you have little areas of your life that are unsanctified, behaviour, habit or speech, that you would not want God to know about, things you would be ashamed of if you had to stand before Him in a public forum and be revealed? We all fall short in some way, but the things that concern Him are the things you know about and have tolerated or allowed to continue, things that you know sadden Him, grieve Him, and spoil your life. This is not to create condemnation but to suggest you WILL stand before Him and He does know anyway, so perhaps it's time to go to Him for forgiveness and help with them, now.







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Meditation No. 18

Meditation Title: Walk of Confidence


1 Sam 17:45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.


This is a delightful story of a young man who is full of confidence in his God. There is courage and boldness in this young man that perhaps puts many of us to shame. David, as we have seen previously, has been chosen by God to be the next king – but that is not generally known. It will be a number of years and some perilous adventures before that happens in reality. Meanwhile he is looking after his father's sheep. Saul is gathering all the potential fighting men to come against the Philistines who had been oppressing them for so long, and so most of David's brothers have gone and joined the army and are camped out in a place of stalemate opposite the Philistines. It is at this point that providence pushes David into the foreground. His father decides to send him with supplies for his brothers at the battlefront.


When he arrives, he finds nothing is happening. Apparently the Philistines had a giant who came out every morning and challenged an Israelite to fight him. Being so big, no one had the courage to take him on. What is so bizarre about this is that Israel allowed this giant to intimidate them. Why did they settle for his terms? Why didn't six of them go out and kill this giant? The answer seems to be that, like many Christians today, they allowed themselves to be intimidated by the enemy and allowed him to set the agenda.


When David arrives, he's rather like the boy in Hans Anderson's story of The Emperor's New Clothes, who hasn't been told about the supposedly invisible clothes. David hasn't picked up the fear. He knows what he knows and wonders whatever is going on: David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel ? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (v.26). Observe his language: Who is this uncircumcised Philistine? He is saying, who is this man who has no relationship with the Lord that he should insult Israel ?


The story then takes us through the process of David being brought to King Saul where we find: David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (v.37-37). Again see his language that highlights relationship with the Lord. David is simply stating what he knows. I've killed lions and bears when they've come after my father's flock, so what difference is this character? Saul then equips him with his armour but David is not a fighter with armour and he puts it off. He's a man with a slingshot and that's all he needs.


When the Philistine giant comes out next day, David goes out to him and we see the peak of his confidence in our verse today. You come with sword and spear? Huh, I come with the name of the Lord. As David walks out onto the battle field and as he walks towards with giant, it is a walk of confidence, a walk that is secure in the knowledge of his God. David knows that he is on God's side and this giant isn't. David knows that the Lord is jealous for His name, and David knows that the Lord has trained him and equipped him to deal with predators. He looked after his father's flock at home, and he's going to look after God's flock here before the Philistines. There is nothing brash or arrogant about this young man, he's just confident in his God. He kills the giant. End of story!


Have you come to know the Lord like this? Is your confidence in life established in God, like David's was? Have you come to a place where you know your abilities in God, where you know what the Lord can do through you? This is just all about faith and trust that comes out of a living relationship with the Lord. When you walk in the service of the Lord, is it a walk of confidence in Him and in His calling of you? Know these things and be assured in them. Walk in confidence of who you are because of who He is!






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Meditation No. 19

Meditation Title: Walk of Confusion


1 Sam 20:1 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?"


There are times in the Christian life when preachers and others give the impression that once you come to Christ, everything will be smooth and fine and you'll never have a problem again. If only it were! However, as we've commented before in these meditations, we live in Fallen World where sin predominates and therefore people are sometimes nasty (understatement!). More than that, there is a spiritual dimension to life that involves not only us and God, but angels and demons as well. Let's now look at what was happening in David's life to make him respond like he does in our verse above.


Saul has been given up by God because of his constant disobedience. Samuel has anointed David to be king but Saul is still there as king. After David had killed Goliath, Saul took him into his army (18:2) but so successful was he that Saul became jealous of him (18:6-8). Now clearly in what followed God was working – albeit strangely – in this situation, partly to discipline Saul and partly to eventually separate David off from him so that he could go his own way. The Lord did this by allowing an evil spirit access to Saul (when unbelievers reject God purposefully, they open themselves up to the enemy). The result of this was that Saul tried to kill David (18:10,11, 19:1,9-11). When this had happened a number of times, David went to Jonathan, Saul's son who had become good friends with David, and complained as we see in the verse above.


Now the Scriptures clearly show us that God often works in the background to mould and change his servants, as we saw in Joseph's life, and He does this by allowing them to go through trying circumstances where they will learn more and more to rely upon Him. Now that is easy to say in hindsight after reading the Scriptures, but often these things come into our lives without warning and they cause confusion in us. I thought God was with us? How can this be happening? That was exactly what Gideon said when an angel came and said the Lord was with him: “"But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, `Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt ?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” (Jud 6:13). It was confusing for Gideon, it was confusing for David and it's sometimes confusing for us. The answer to the primes question that comes, “I though God was with us?” is, He is! This is all happening because He is! It is Him at work. For Gideon, it was the Lord judging Israel through the Midianites but wanting Gideon to deal with them. For David, it is God judging Saul but wanting David to be separated off to raise up his own men in preparation for becoming king in actuality.


But in the situation it is confusing! David's walk to find Jonathan, is a walk of confusion, and quite often the Christian life can be that. The solution is obviously to seek the Lord and find out from Him what is going on, but of course, the silly side of us is often slow to do that!


David still had some things to learn, as do we. He asks, How have I wronged your father? That's the wrong question. As David matured, in his psalms he is able to declare his righteousness; he came to be secure in who he was in God, even though he still had down times and wondered. The reality is that he hasn't done anything wrong in respect of Saul; the problem is all Saul's! The question he needs to be asking, and would get an obvious answer, is what is happening to your father? Saul is acting irrationally. He's fallen off the rails! Why? Because he disobeyed God, was publicly rejected by Samuel and is now vulnerable to demonic attack, that's why. None of that is to do with David, none of it is his fault.


When things are sometimes going wrong, even though we seem to be on the bad end of the circumstances, we need to realize that it is because other people are not in a good place with God, and they are under enemy attack and they are not handling it well. The result is that we get dumped on with nasty stuff! It's at that point that confusion sets in and our walk with God becomes a walk of confusion. Don't worry, it won't last long; you'll be shown what is happening. You'll still need God's grace to cope, but at least you'll understand what is going on.


If there has been a blow up in your life, and you feel confused about the outcome, check out first that you didn't contribute to it and that it's not your fault. If it was, go and say sorry, but if it wasn't just ask the Lord to give you understanding of what is going on in the lives of those who are causing the upset. It may just be that He wants you to be a peacemaker in their lives. Check it out with Him and the walk of confusion could turn into the walk of healing.






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Meditation No. 20

Meditation Title: The Walk of Rebellion


1 Sam 24:4-6 Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe. Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD."


Over the years there has been a demeaning of authority in our land. Government are derided by the media, the police on occasion have been shown to be corrupt and even teachers are looked down upon. Authority is not a good word for our society, which is what might, perhaps, make the truths behind these verses sound almost strange to our modern mind. Let's consider what had been happening.

Time has moved on from our last meditation and David has fled from Saul's service and has a small army of his own now but is, nevertheless, on the run from Saul and his much bigger army. On this particular occasion Saul has an army of three thousand elite troops with him (24:2) and they have been chasing David and his men across the desert. David and his men are hiding in a large cave when Saul and his troops arrive outside, but being completely unaware that David is there, Saul goes into the cave to answer a call of nature and, presumably, hangs up his cloak as he goes further aside to do what he has to do. David's men are watching out of the darkness and encourage David to creep up on Saul and kill him while he is vulnerable. David does creep up but, almost as a dare, just cuts off the bottom corner of Saul's robe hanging up, and then creeps away. Saul finishes and leaves the cave, completely unaware that his life had been nearly taken. Now we won't worry about what followed, only is as far as it involved David's heart as revealed in the verses above.

Remember first, if you will, that David has been described as a man after God's own heart (1 Sam 13:14 / Acts 13:22 ) and God is the supreme authority who sends authorities to maintain peace on the earth. As Peter said, Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” (1 Pet 2:13,14). Now going back a little in Israel 's history, the people had asked Samuel for a king (1 Sam 8:5) and God had chosen Saul (1 Sam 9:16 ) then he was chosen by lot (1 Sam 10:19 -24). He was a man who was quickly accepted by the people because he was the sort of man they wanted as a king. He had been anointed by Samuel (1 Sam 10:1) and accepted by the people. Now regardless of whether he was a good king or not, he was still the one God had chosen for the people; he is God's authority

Thus, after David has cut off a piece of Saul's cloak, David is conscience-stricken for he sees this as an act of rebellion against God's authority. We may consider this a minor thing, but the man after God's own heart considered this an act against the anointed authority of God. We say again, it didn't matter whether he turned out to be a good or bad king, he was still the one who had been anointed by God to be king. Also it didn't matter that David had subsequently been anointed to be king. The reality, as far as David was concerned, was that God had appointed Saul and God would have to remove him.

A similar situation later occurred where David could have taken Saul's life at the encouragement of his men, but David said to Abishai, "Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD's anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the LORD lives," he said, "the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD's anointed.” (1 Sam 26:9-11). Do you see that? God may strike him down, but I won't.

David saw his walk across the cave had been a walk of rebellion and he immediately repented of it. It had been raising his hand against the one God had anointed and he knew that only God could remove Saul. How about us? What is our attitude towards authority like? The writer to the Hebrews wrote about the church,Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden.” (Heb 13:17). Listen to Peter's strong words: the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.” (2 Pet 2:9,10). For him, despising authority was a sign of the old sinful nature. This would have been why Paul taught, I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority (1 Tim 2:1). That way we maintain a right attitude towards authority. May it be so.