The Lord’s Turn

 The Lord’s Turn

Daily Reading: (2 Samuel 15:31):

“Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness” (2 Samuel 15:31).

What is happening here is heartbreaking. At this moment Absalom (David’s third son) was plotting to seize David’s throne. Absalom relied for the success of his rebellion upon the personal support he had built up among the country people. This was one reason why he chose Hebron as the place to declare himself king (7-10). The leading citizens of Jerusalem were unaware of the plot, except for the man who was possibly the mastermind behind it, David’s own chief adviser, Ahithophel (11-12). Ahithophel’s name means brother of ruin or folly.  

“So David prayed, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness” (2 Samuel 15:31b).

David wrote this of Ahithophelin Psalm 41:9 as David lamented,

“Even my own close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me [betraying me].”  Which also speaks of what Judas would do to Jesus.

And in Psalm 55:12-14, “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; Then I could have born it: Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; Then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, My guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, And walked unto the house of God in company.”

These verses show how close Ahithophel was to David and the level of relationship they had. He knew David’s way of thinking and strategies, so he was the best in position to give an insider’s view of David’s possible reactions to the rebellion. Ahithophel’s son Eliam is listed among David’s 30 warriors (2 Samuel 23:34). This relationship gets even wilder because where else is Eliam’s name mentioned? 2 Samuel 11:3 notes that Eliam is the father of Bathsheba. Bathsheba is one of David’s wives. PerhapsAhithophel may have been seeking a way of revenge against David for the sin he committed with his granddaughter and the death of his son-in-law which happened in 2 Samuel 11.

David knew that even Ahithophel’s wisdom had come as a gift from God, God can turn it where wise counsel sounds like foolishness to David’s enemies. God can turn it for us. Everything and almost everyone was conspiring against David, but God can turn it. What looks like a certain defeat, God can turn it into a surpassing overwhelming victory. When we don’t know where to turn, we don’t know who to trust, remember to turn to the Lord for it is the Lord’s turn to lead us into a great victory for His name’s sake. When we don’t have the wisdom, when we don’t have the strength. We are in a perfect position to see things turn as we turn to the one who can turn it, as God shows Himself strong on our behalf. Turn it for me Lord, may this trial turn into a testimony of your faithfulness and great love.

David will in this moment give us a foreshadowing of Christ to come. Because where is David at when he prayed?

“But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up” (2 Samuel 15:30).

David went up the Ascent of the Mount of Olives: When Jesus went from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, He essentially traced these same steps of David. Both David and Jesus suffered for sin, but Jesus suffered for our sins and David suffered for his own. Wept as he went up, and he had his head covered and went barefoot: These were emblems of mourning. David was struck by the greatness of this tragedy for the nation, for his family, and for himself.

How will this prayer be answered? David sent his other aide Hushai back to Jerusalem to frustrate Ahithophel’s counsel to Absalom. David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’ then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice (2 Samuel 15:33-34).

Hushai’s name means hasting, swiftness of motion, speed. I believe there is a hidden message in who David sent. Right after David prayed, his action demonstrated his faith in God answering his prayer. David immediately sent “swiftness” (Hushai) as a part of the plan and prayer for God to turn Ahithophel’s counsel into sounding foolish to Absalom. When we pray, may our actions and our words demonstrate our belief that God is actively working on our behalf through those cares we have given over to Him.

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Where Can I Turn?

Where Can I Turn Devo

Daily Reading: (Genesis 37:29-30):

“When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes, He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”

Approximately 3700 years later when things seem to go wrong and there is no one who can help us, we might ask the same question that Reuben asked, “where can I turn?” God will immediately answer Reuben’s question and many people have missed it.

In this moment in time, Reuben discovers that Joseph is not in the cistern where he left him, apparently the decision to sell Joseph into slavery was made when Reuben wasn’t there for the vote. We learn of Reuben’s intentions and they are to return Joseph safely back to their father. “Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father” (Genesis 37:22b).

Reuben’s plan to protect his younger brother failed, and he tears his clothes as a sign of mourning. This is what he says, “Where can I turn now?” Have you ever felt that way before? All your best-laid plans don’t work out, you tried to do something good and it blew up in your face, and you are standing over this empty void, all your hard work and nothing to show for it, or worse the report you receive is devastating news, and you ask, “where can I turn now?”

If we were left with that question in our own life with no answer, tragedies of life could haunt us forever. When the worst news is received to have an answer for where we can turn is of utmost importance. The Bible gives us the answer to Reuben’s question but most do not see it. Immediately after his heart-wrenching question what is said?

“Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe” (Genesis 37:31-32).

Reuben probably felt as though he threw that question out into the universe, and there would be no answer for it. He had no idea that what came next was a foreshadowing to the answer, “where can I turn?” and that answer is Jesus, the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins.  His sacrifice of Himself gave us His righteousness and we are restored in relationship to God, God as our Father. Being a part of the royal family means we have direct access to His throne. The One with ultimate power, authority, and love for us is the One who we can turn to.

Joseph points us to Jesus and we immediately see it in Genesis 37:31 right after the question where do I turn? Both Joseph and Jesus stripped of their coats (Genesis 37:23, John 19:23). We have their coat was dipped in blood (Genesis 37:31, Revelation 19:13). Both were sold by one of the 12 named Judah. In the Greek Judah is Judas (Genesis 37:26-27, (Matthew 26:15, 27:9). Joseph was apparently put to death, Jesus truly was by their own people to get them out of the way (Genesis 37:18-28, Acts 2:22-23). Reuben wanted to rescue Joseph (Genesis 37:21-22) and Pilate wanted to rescue Jesus (Matthew 27:24). Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt (Genesis 37:26-28). Jesus was betrayed for the price of a slave (Matthew 26:15, Exodus 21:32, Zechariah 11:12-13).

One of the most important questions that anyone could ever ask is, “where do I turn?”, it has an answer and that answer is found in Jesus. Because the truth is if we all would turn our attention to the One who is our success, who purchased for us to have His divine abundant life, we would be able to declare like the Psalmist, “Lord you are good to me”. I might not understand all of what I am going through, my best-made plans may just crumble before me, just like they did for Reuben, but ultimately your plan is a plan of salvation (Genesis 50:20).

The dreams Joseph was given were fulfilled and ultimately it resulted in the salvation of the 12 brothers, their parents, and many more lives. When trouble comes, look to Jesus where you will find salvation for what has come against you.

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Finding Grace

Finding Grace

Daily Reading: (Hebrews 4:16):

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

“Let us therefore”, this means that something that comes before this text has led to a drastic change. In the Old Testament when people used to live under the Law, they would not have any confidence at all when they would bring their petitions before God. Unfortunately, some believers who are still trying to live under the Law are the same way today. When you do not realize that Jesus fulfilled the Law on your behalf, you will try to work for what you have been freely given in Jesus.

No one could come directly before God except the High Priest and only one time a year during atonement. He did not come boldly- he came fearfully because if he did anything wrong or didn’t properly purify himself he would die. How effective was that? Ok, your sins are removed, but the next day at work you mess up royally and the High Priest isn’t going back in there for another year. Temple sacrifices and stuff but people could never be sure how they stood in their relationship with God before Jesus. Just listen to the way David wrote – a man after God’s own heart.

No one came before God except the High Priest and only one time a year during atonement. He did not come boldly- he came fearfully because if he did anything wrong or didn’t properly purify himself, he would die.

If the High Priest sinned, he brought guilt on his nation, and God would reject the entire nation no matter how law-abiding the people were or how faithful they were in bringing their sacrifices.

Conversely, if their High Priest was without fault and acceptable to God, God would accept the whole nation even if the people were sinful.

Unfortunately, the High Priests of Israel often failed because, like any human being, they were imperfect.

What changed?

 “Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ascended into Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess” (Hebrews 4:14).

We have Jesus as our High Priest. As our High Priest, His standing before God is always right. Jesus is always acceptable and pleasing to the Father. Therefore, we can never lose our acceptance with God because as our High Priest, Jesus only brings righteousness on His people.

In the Old Testament, people would bring their sacrifice and the priest would examine it. During that time the priest wasn’t looking at the person who brought the sacrifice, the priest only looked at the sacrifice.  And today that’s the same thing. God doesn’t look at us, He looks at the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. God looks at Jesus. If Jesus is accepted, you are accepted. If God sees Jesus perfect, then He sees you perfect. If Jesus is righteous, then you are righteous. And we know that Jesus our High Priest is good, accepted, perfect, and righteous, which means that that is how God sees us! That’s not fair, that’s not deserved, that’s not earned. That’s called grace and that is why, “since we have a great High Priest “Let us [therefore come boldly] unto the [throne of grace].”

Why a throne of grace? Confused people who think our sacrifice is what pleases God, will see a throne of judgment. If you put your faith in Jesus you get to come boldly unto God because you know that the perfect Sacrifice has been made for you and you will find yourself before God’s throne of grace.

Because Jesus is our High Priest something else happens when you pray in your time of need. In Leviticus 1:14-17 we see what happens when we pray as we understand what the High Priest in the Old Testament did with the burnt offering of a bird.

The birds what they represent are our prayers “flying” to the Lord Jesus because we pray to the Father in Jesus’ name. What the High Priest did with the bird sacrifice is He would remove the bird’s feathers after killing it. Jesus removes all that is unclean from our prayers, such as unbelief and self-centeredness.

Then, just as the High Priest offers the bird as a burnt sacrifice, a sweet aroma to the Lord, Jesus our High Priest adds His perfection, beauty, excellence, and fragrance, which the Father delights in, to our prayers. That is how He presents our prayers to the Father. That is how He lives to make intercession for you.

You don’t have to run to a church leader for them to pray “more powerfully” for you. You can pray for yourself. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). You are the righteousness of Christ Jesus so take advantage of Jesus’ intercession for you and know that the promise is that you “find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).