There is nothing sadder than a rudderless leader

I know I may make a few enemies by this post, but I am going to say it anyway:There are many pastors who should not be leading God's people because they are not conscious of being led by God themselves1 Samuel 28 reveals a desperate King who no longer receives God's guidance. Whatever makes us think we will fare any better than Saul if we are not led by God? The message of the Bible is that if we do things our own way we will fail dismally. If we listen to God and follow him we will … [Read more...]

Understanding the violent age the OT occurred in

I thought it was high time I returned to the long running series of posts about leadership lessons from I and II Samuel. Sometimes as you read Scripture you come to a chapter that at first glance it is hard to get comfort, a teaching, or instruction from. 1 Samuel 27 is one such chapter.  In it we see one of the Bible's leading heroes running away, allying himself with God's enemies, ingratiating himself by raiding other villages and leaving nobody alive, and convincing God's enemies that he h … [Read more...]

Knowing when it’s time to quit

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Sometimes we find ourselves going round and round in circles. Reading 1 Samuel 26 sounded familiar even though I had taken a break from slowly meandering through this book looking for leadership lessons.But it seems David also had a sense of déjà vu and determined enough was enough. He had already determined that Saul could never be trusted again but must not be killed by him.. But here he was again, being hunted by his king and tempted by his friends to take matters into his own h … [Read more...]

Everybody needs somebody to challenge us

Today I want us to look at 1 Samuel 25.  We see here in this passage the best of David and the worst.A leader despised and therefore angeredIn just the last chapter David refused to stretch out his hand to vindicate himself, here he almost makes the exact same mistake. We have to understand the culture of the day to fully appreciate what is going on.  Hospitality at the time was considered obligatory, and to fail to provide it was a major slight. David didn't have a contract with Nabal, … [Read more...]

Returning good for evil even when a relationship is beyond repair

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"An eye for an eye" says Leviticus 24:17. We often fail to realise that this was a great gift from God to the Jewish people. In an age when food was scarce, when your enemies were plentiful, and when only the strong survived, it was typical for retribution to be much fiercer. For example, if someone from a neighbouring village stole a bit of corn from the fields, why not pillage and burn the whole village in response? God asked his people to limit their retribution to no more than was taken. A … [Read more...]

What you really need when it feels like the World is against you

There is only so much that one person can take.  Some people have a higher threshold than others, for sure.  But no wonder that David would have felt the pressure as he was eing hunted from place to place, even while he still defended towns from Philistine assault. Then, sneaking out from the camp of David's enemy comes the one man who can help him, Jonathan.  The man who's love for David is the stuff of legends. The man who was content to advance his political rival's cause.  The man who had lea … [Read more...]

How David transformed a ragtag group into a strong army

One of the marks of Saul's leadership was that he attached himself to the strong. David, now an outlaw seems to have a very different approach. In 1 Samuel 21 and 22 we see him make good his escape and establish for himself a base in a cave. In some ways this former darling of the royal court makes a pitiful sight.  He is described as "alone" as the small group of people with him in 1 Samuel 21 seems that way compared to his usual traveling companions.  When established in the cave, a small g … [Read more...]

David and Saul: No good deed goes unpunished

Now, where were we? Before the recent controversy intervened, I was ambling my way through 1 Samuel in a series looking at leadership lessons in the life of David and Saul. New readers may want to go back and look at some of those as we pick up where I left off in 1 Samuel 19 and 20.What is striking in these chapters is the extraordinary injustice of Saul's reaction to David. He was once like David himself. A young champion of war, a darling of the people, one whom The Lord was clearly with. … [Read more...]

Why cessationists are wrong about prophecy

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Later today the Strange Fire conference hosted by John MacArthur begins. A few weeks back I expressed my concern about some of the publicity for this event seeming to accuse all charismatics of being blasphemers. This event also prompted Terry Virgo to share a video about how Lloyd-Jones encouraged him as a young charismatic.I will be watching at least some of the event online. But one thing I am not expecting to hear is a novel or convincing argument from Scripture. I just want to state … [Read more...]

What does “The Lord was with him” mean?

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There is an important phrase buried in the middle of 1 Samuel 18:12-14. "The Lord was with him". It is important for us to learn what that means, not least because it is also clear that The Lord sometimes departs from someone. This was a major prompt for Saul's jealousy of David.As usual when considering something like this it is useful to look at other passages where this phrase is used. What are the marks of The Lord being with you?God grants you success. Here, David's success is … [Read more...]


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