You’ve been through so much. You have pressed in and pressed on. You have persevered and been shaped and transformed. You have been able to consider it pure joy. You have been able to take heart. You have been able let go of the pain. You have been able to forgive. You have been able to let go of the persecution. You have made it to the new starting line. Are you ready for all you have been called to? Are you ready to step into what God has prepared and positioned and called you to? Are you prepared to lead? Are you prepared to be restored? Are you prepared for God’s provision? Are you prepared for prosperity? Are you ready to be …?
Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with David after all the service, the running, the hiding, the battles, the pressure, the joys, the sorrows, no being anointed king in 2 Samuel 2…
‘After this, David asked the Lord , “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.” But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years. One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool. Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.” “All right,” Joab agreed. So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords. A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David. Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there. When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand. Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel. All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn’t stop until they arrived at Mahanaim. Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin. Joab and his men took Asahel’s body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father’s tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.’— 2 Samuel 2
‘The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’” At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’” Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord . So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it. I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse. Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’” Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord : “O Sovereign Lord ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day. “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them. “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. And yet, O Sovereign Lord , you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.” Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “I am the Lord , the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the Lord . “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it. “The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger. My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly! “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’–– Jeremiah 32
‘Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.” But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about. As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.’–– Luke 18:31-43
‘The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ‘— Hebrews 10:1-4
‘What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!’–– Psalms 65