Today’s Text of Encouragement sent to me last night by Myrt G. from Germany.
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee.”
Deuteronomy 33: 27
King James Version
“Thrust in Hebrew”: He shall surely “put away trouble.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, ‘Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not.’”
I Kings 1: 11
King James Version
“A God of Renewal”
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Titus 3: 5
How do I feel knowing I have God’s forgiveness and renewal transforming my life?
“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
“Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find strength in what
For those of you who come to the Garden regularly, it certainly may be apparent that I have a great love for poetry. Of course, having read a great many poems in my life, I’ve developed a fondness for several poets, William
Wordsworth being right near the top of my list. When in High School, for our Advanced English class, I had to compile a booklet of my favorite poems, Wordsworth’s poem, Daffodils, was the cover poem in my book.
Among the beautiful poems he wrote, from his “Recollections of Early Childhood,” are the words quoted above. If you read this passage again, knowing that it is a remembrance of an exuberant time in his childhood, draws my mind back to the carefree days I spent as a kid at my grandparents canyon ranch, a time when life seemed very burden-free and the perils we encounter, as time goes by, seemed impossible to comprehend.
I share these poetic words with you for they convey the message contained in our devotionals for the next five days – thoughts that lay out for us a reflection on memories from the past that can become road blocks to our moving forward in the present as well as the future.
Frankly, on my own, I have found it nearly impossible to beat down the heartaches of past failures. Some may call these impediments, “the demons” of the past. And they can rear their destructive heads at the most unsuspecting moments. Perhaps it is an old song you hear or the words someone speaks which carry an element from the toxin of some painful time in your life. All at once, an old wound in your life, which you might have thought was healed, is opened up again.
If you have ever found yourself drawn to look into a mirror that reflects what is behind you, then the next few days will, I pray, be an encouragement, as with God’s help, you step forward on the path and purpose He has for your life – no matter what the past contained that appears impossible to forget.
I find these words by Henri Nouwen, a wonderful place to begin our Biblical study in I Kings:
“What once seemed such a curse has become a blessing. All the agony that threatened to destroy my life now seems like the fertile ground for greater trust, stronger hope, and deeper love.”
This is what we find hidden away in the first chapter of the first book of Kings. This book begins by telling us, in the very first verse, that King David was old and “stricken in years.”
Having married more than one woman, David’s past mistakes began to stalk his present when his sons started to jockey for position on the throne. Normally, the heir apparent of the kingdom was the eldest son. From Scripture we learn, however, that while it doesn’t appear Adonijah was the oldest son, he took it upon himself to call together “all his brethren the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants.” While there were others in the realm who didn’t agree with Adonijah’s take-over of the throne, it appears this group did.
And here’s where this story takes a very interesting twist, for we find that Nathan, the prophet, went directly to have a talk with Bathsheba. Yes, the same Bathsheba whose name in the Bible first appears as she bathes while the leering eyes of David take in her obvious beauty.
It would do us well at this point to remember that it was God who sent the prophet Nathan to David’s court to condemn his affair with the wife of Uriah and to uncover what had been hidden – the ultimate murder of the devoted soldier, Uriah the Hittite.
This time though, the message Nathan carried was very different. In I Kings 1: 11 and 12, we find several distinct elements in the “present day” message Nathan carried to Bathsheba. I’d like to list each one of the questions and points in this discussion:
Part 1: Have you heard what Adonijah has done?
Part 2: Does our lord David know what has happened?
Part 3: I want to give you counsel.
Part 4: I want to help you save your life.
Part 5: I want to help save the life of Solomon – your child with David.
As a protector, confider and counselor, Nathan came to Bathsheba to give her a “heads-up” regarding the attempted coup by Adonijah for Nathan knew full-well that if the rulership of Adonijah was “certified” by the nation, in revenge, Adonijah would, as often happened in those days, wipe our any other “brotherly” competition for the throne as well. This massacre would not just eliminate Solomon but most likely Bathsheba, too.
What I find so interesting about this encounter is that Nathan, in the present, did not bring up the past. What had been the history between Nathan and David and Bathsheba, did not keep Nathan from serving in the role of a protector and counselor sent by God to warn Bathsheba of impending trouble. Furthermore, if you note in
I Kings 1: 11, Nathan respectfully refers to the elderly and weakened David as, “our lord,” a term of esteem. Nathan could have called David a wide-variety of names, some very derogatory ones, but instead, as God’s anointed, David was treated with honor by Nathan, who knew better than anyone, the past that was contained in the lives of both David and Bathsheba.
It is from this point that we will continue our studies this week for this story is one of renewal. It is an example of how our God as a Father longs to transform our lives. When He tells us the past is buried in the depths of the sea and wiped out as a “thick cloud,” (Micah 7: 19) He means every single word. And yet, it is from this past where He gathers His best stepping stones which He lays before us as a renewed pathway where we can be of service to Him. God didn’t just renew David’s life…He renewed Bathsheba’s, too. God gave this wife and mother, a place where she was fulfilling the plan God had for her. And guess what, He’ll do the same for you and me, too!
“I do not ask to walk smooth paths
nor bear an easy load.
I pray for strength and fortitude
to climb the rock-strewn road.
Give me such courage and I can scale
the headiest peaks…and transform
every stumbling block into a stepping stone.”
“God our Love-Maker”
“We are afraid of Your love, Your intimacy.
We are used to being judged,
but we are not used to being loved, totally.
We would rather hold on to our self-hatred
than believe in Your total acceptance of us.
Give us the courage to let go and
embrace You: may we learn how to
want You to touch us, to know us,
that we in our turn may love generously
those who cannot believe they are loved.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.