NOTE: Before I get started, I want you to know that this will be the LAST MESSAGE I share this week. I am headed to the Dominican Republic early tomorrow morning. I will be there to start our building project. We purchased a parcel of land last year, but we have not been able to start construction due to several factors. I am excited to get the project started. We are building a school for the 170 Haitian children we support in La Vega, Dominican Republic. We will also build a church on the land. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so securely online at https://ripministries.org/donate. All donations in the United States are tax-deductible. RIPMinistries is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
I will be back home on Sunday and share the next message on Monday morning.
(Read 1 Samuel 31)
Today I will continue with “Faith and Patience Volume 5 – Greater is Coming!” This is Part 60. This means we have been studying the life of David for 12 solid weeks. I trust you have been enjoying the series. It just so happens that today, as we study 1 Samuel 31, I am talking about transition, and today also happens to be Election Day in the United States. God’s timing is perfect. Let’s get into the message.
We have been so involved with what happened to David and his men on their way back from the battle with Israel (the one they were not allowed to participate in) that many of you may have forgotten about the battle altogether. The fighting took place in this chapter, and the results were not pretty for Israel.
The Philistines attacked Israel fiercely, and the men of Israel fled. Many Israelites were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. It was at this point that the Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons. Just as the spirit of the Prophet Samuel predicted, Saul’s three sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua—were killed. As the fighting was closing in on Saul himself, a Philistine archer spotted him and severely wounded the king with an arrow. Saul realized he was at the point of death. He groaned to his armor-bearer and said, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor-bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor-bearer realized what Saul had done, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. Just like that, Saul, his three sons, his armor-bearer, and his troops all died on the same day.
When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that their army was fleeing and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled as well. With the Israelites gone, the Philistines moved in and occupied the Israeli territory. The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found Saul’s body and the bodies of his three sons on Mount Gilboa. They cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. They then proclaimed what they considered to be the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. The Philistines boldly celebrated Saul’s death. They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his headless body and the bodies of his sons to the wall of the city of Beth-shan.
When the people of Jabesh-Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul’s corpse, their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. The men then took the bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.
Mighty Israel had fallen. Their king was dead, their men had fled and their towns were occupied by Philistines. And to make a bad situation worse, their future king was still living with the enemy, in Ziklag, seeking the Lord concerning what to do next. The Israelites were fasting and praying. We will see tomorrow that David fasted and praying as well. While the situation was undoubtedly terrible for Israel, this nation, God’s nation, would rise again!
So what does this mean for you today? A few things:
1. We live our lives out in times and seasons, and we must progress through levels and stages.
— In 1 Samuel 31, the nation of Israel was in a bad situation, but just like the difficult season came, it would also pass. Our life is a journey. It is lived out in times and seasons, levels and stages. You may know your purpose. It may be clear to you where the Father wants you to ultimately end up in life, but that does not mean you will get there tomorrow. There is a path (for you to follow) and a pace (at which you should run) connected to your purpose. Both involve seasons and transitions. Some seasons are more pleasant than others.
— David was called to be king. If you look at his life, like we have been for the past 12 weeks, you will see that the path he took to his purpose was not an easy one. He had to endure the times/seasons/level/stages that were predestined for him to endure in order for him to become the man he was destined to become. Guess what? The same hold true for you!
— If you don’t endure the changes and challenges you will face on the path to your purpose, you run the risk of derailing yourself from your destiny!
— David did not become king because he did not face challenges. He faced more challenges than he expected. He became king simply because he refused to give up before God manifested what God promised. This is exactly what this series on faith and patience is all about. Hold on. Greater is coming!
2. God has plans for individual people and collective nations.
— The King of Israel was dead. Saul and his sons were killed by the Philistines. The divinely appointed successor was living with the enemy. The enemy had occupied Israeli towns and cities. For all intents and purposes, Israel had fallen. But God was still God and He still had a plan. David would eventually become king, and under David’s leadership, Israel would not just survive but thrive.
— Sometimes, it looks like you are down and out. From the outside-looking-in, it looks like all hope is gone. But if you still have a pulse, God still has a purpose. It’s not over until God says it’s over. God had a plan for Israel. The nation rose from this low point, and it rose to greater glory! The United States has had a rough year. No matter which side of the aisle you are on, you have to admit that it has been challenging. But God is still God, and He still has a plan for this great nation. No matter who wins the election, greater is coming!
— God’s hand was on Israel, and His Blessing saw the nation through many ups and downs. In the end, through it all, the one constant was God. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalm 33:12). Let this serve as a reminder to you that no matter who occupies the White House, God is still God, and He still has a plan for the United States of America!
— Today the citizens of the United States will vote. Either Donal Trump will be re-elected or Joe Biden will be elected. Either way, God’s hand is on this nation. Let’s pray for God to continue to bless America.
3. Times of transition are not easy.
— Israel was experiencing a time of transition between the reign of Saul and that of David. This ‘in-between’ time was not easy for them and it is often not easy for us.
— When you are in between seasons and you know the Father is birthing something in you that is greater than what you are facing, the pressure will be on you to give up, but deep down inside you know you can’t. You know that what lies before you is too great to forfeit. Therefore, you refuse to buckle under the pressure!
— One of the hardest places to be is the space between your history and your destiny. You know your state is not your fate. You know God has called you to more. But you also know that you are in a season of transition. God is pulling and pushing you. He is leading you to cut some relationships and establish others. He is leading you to hold on to some things and then let others go. Don’t get frustrated. Keep listening to the Holy Spirit, and do whatever He leads you to do. When the transition is over, and you are in the middle of your new season, you will be glad you RELEASED what you released, and you RECEIVED what you received while God was moving you from one season to the next.
— Israel did not have Saul anymore. But they also did not have David yet. When you are in-between positions, in a time of transition, you must keep what is in front of you at the forefront of your mind. Don’t let the frustration of being in-limbo get to you. If you keep going, you will see (in your hands), what God has already revealed (in your heart).
— Tomorrow morning at this time, the United States may still not know who won the election. We may be in a state of “limbo” of sorts. But we will get through it. As believers, we just need to pray that we get through it without violence and civil unrest.
4. Change is the only true constant.
— Every season is not going to be easy. Every season is not going to be hard. One thing is certain: if you keep living, the season you are in (good or bad) will change.
— No matter what you are facing this morning, know that change is coming. If you are enjoying a season of plenty and overflowing blessing right now, keep your heart right before the Lord so you can be prepared for difficulties when they arise, because they will arise. If you are in the middle of a season of difficulty right now, remember that you not only have the grace to endure it, but to overcome it. If you did not have the grace to take it, you would not be facing it. The mere fact that you are facing it is evidence that God trusts you with it. Keep pressing, change is coming!
— For some people, this season of COVID-19 has been a real struggle. Others are experiencing prosperity in the middle of the pandemic. Some people today are pulling for President Trump today. Others are hoping Joe Biden wins. No matter which group you find yourself in here, the bottom line is that your season will eventually change. Remain open to change when it comes, learn to ‘roll with the changes,’ and keep your heart open to God in the process. This is the type of mindset that is required to believe God for the long haul. This is what you need to operate in faith and patience. Living this way, GREATER IS COMING for you!
As I close, I am going to do something different today. Instead of a declaration, I will lead you in a prayer. The prayer is for the United States. I know many of you do not live in the United States. But I do. Please pray this prayer with us.
Prayer for the United States on Election Day:
Father, we come to You as Your children, called by Your name. We humble ourselves and pray. We pray in faith for the United States of America. We pray for the election process. We come up against deception of every kind. We bind the hand of the enemy from operating in both foreign and domestic interference. We pray that every vote is counted, that the results be honest, and that our citizens accept the results without violence. We pray for peace over this nation, for healing over the hearts of our citizens who are hurting, and for HOPE! May you inspire the citizens of this great land to maximize the purpose and potential You placed inside of them before the world began. Father, we thank You for having blessed America. We ask you to continue to do so. No matter who wins the election, we are looking to You! We know GREATER IS COMING! We declare that JESUS IS LORD over the United States, and You will be glorified through this nation today and for centuries to come! We pray this by faith, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!