The Sum Total Of It All

Day 1

Devotion written by Michael Brittenham
Read 2 Samuel 23

What a God we serve, He is persistent and consistent from everlasting to everlasting.  In the span of eternity our lives are such a small thing and yet we are held in the palm of the Father's hand.  David's story is one that becomes so relatable and personal when you study it.  His desire and pursuit of God from and early age, his zeal and victory as a warrior.  Then we see him stumble and fall just like we do.  Not once, not twice, but repeatedly.  But God is faithful to the very end and even in David's last words we see David speak of God's grace.  There are many lessons from David's life that have nothing to do with a giant Philistine.  Lessons of faith and failure and rising up by the grace of God.  Lessons of parenting and the impact of a father on his family, and lessons about how to live well even when our life is a mess.  My takeaway from this series has been to have my eyes opened to the humanity of David and the parallel to my own life.

If you were hearing this “Psalm” of David’s last words, what would you think about in his life that needed to be added or expanded on?

Pretend you went to David’s funeral and were asked to share a few words about his life, what would you share?

What does David’s life make you want to learn or change in your life the most?

Why not share a little bit on the messaging app with the others reading these devotions today?

Day 2

Devotion written by Pat Neuschwanger
Read 2 Samuel 11 

We’re human.  And as such, we’re 1 (careless) idea/step/decision away from completely changing our service to God.  Keep in mind that ALL humans have failed… except One (Jesus).

King David was on top of the world (not quite literally, but close…).  He had gone from running for his life from King Saul, sleeping in caves, fearing for his life most every minute of every day, to being in a covenant relationship with God Almighty.  He was experiencing incredible victories, popularity, and influence (2 Samuel 8:6).  Review 2 Samuel chapters 8, 9, and 10 for accounts of the stunning victories that David was experiencing.  This was all leading David to a turning point…

What a vivid, compelling example of humanity and its brokenness.  David, “a man after God’s own heart” had experienced a significant moral failure.  As Pastor Nate discussed in the sermon, this happens over and over in the bible!  Things were great in the Garden of Eden, then the serpent showed up to tempt Eve (Genesis 1&2).  Moses was developing into a leader of influence, and then he struck down an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12).  Cain made a short-sighted and selfish choice (Genesis 4:6-8).

When things are “going your way”, is it a priority to spend time building your relationship with God?  Or, do you tend to spend time reading the Word and in prayer “when you are asking God for something or in some sort of need?”

A request (I’m doing this too):  Examine your daily priorities and where you spend your time.  Is building your relationship with your Heavenly Father (through studying his Word, committing it to memory, spending time in prayer, etc.) a place where you choose to spend your time?  

What can you change about your regular routine to change your situation?

Day 3

Devotion Written by Pat Neuschwanger
Read Hebrews 11:17-40 (Examples of faith in the Bible)

The sermon sentence for this sermon bears reiterating.  It stated that, “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but are of those who have faith and preserve our souls.”  I interpret this as a “call to action”.  A further view could be that the writers of Hebrews are suggesting that we choose a course in life of faith.  Living that out could be summarized with the call to action of, “Don’t give up!”

Abraham didn’t hesitate when God instructed him to go to Moriah and offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.  He didn’t doubt that the living and true God, the Creator of the Universe, had greater depth and breadth of power and understanding than he did.  He didn’t give up when it seemed as though God was commanding him to sacrifice the very son through which God had promised he would father many generations (Genesis 17:1-2).  

Abraham’s example relays a template that seems to apply to multiple instances of faith in the Bible (summary of Pastor Nate’s sermon notes is below):
  1. Faith involves confident action

    1. Moses “heard, then did…”
    2. Noah “heard, then did…”
    3. Abraham “heard, then did…”
  2. Faith involves God working extraordinary miracles in the lives of ordinary people

    1. Faith has nothing to do with our self confidence
    2. It has everything to do with God’s sufficiency
  3. Faith works in a variety of situations

    1. People are unique and so are their circumstances
  4. Faith may have a variety of outcomes

    1. They may not be what we “prefer”, but God…
  5. Faith is rewarded by God

    1. Perspective:  our reward may not come in this life, but God’s Word (believing it and acting upon it = faith) will not return void (Is 55:11)

Ask yourself, “What part of my life am I holding away from faith (from God)?

Consider capturing these thoughts in a journal and adding them to your prayer list of items/situations that you can turn over to God and rest in the assurance that He hears your prayers.

Day 4

Read 2 Samuel 24

In my estimation, this is such a weird story to end the Samuel scroll on.  In the mind of the writer, they had set out to tell the stories of Israel’s greatest king ever.  This story is not even chronological in its presentation.  Even if you were going to end on a place of showing David’s humanity in failures, why choose this story?  But my thoughts are not inspired nor are they inerrant, and the BIble is…the way it is written. Therefore, the best that I can tell, this story seems to be at the end because it does a really good job of not making you think that the grand story the books are trying to tell is only about David.  It is about someone greater and rather than being a closed idea and a total story, it is meant to be seen as an open ended story that is still going.

In your mind, why do you see this as a good way to conclude these books of Samuel, or why do you see it as not a good way?

If you were to have one story from your life told at the your days that painted a good picture of the sum total of your life, what story would that be and why?

I want to really encourage you to spend time with that question, but how does this become your prayer today?

Day 5

Read 2 Samuel 22

This same writing appears as a Psalm, but is also recorded here at the end of the story telling of David’s life.  Maybe this was the writer's most favorite Psalm, or maybe the one that David liked the most?  I don’t really know, but it does have some great thoughts in it.  

What do you see here that speaks most to where your life is right now, by way of encouragement or even a line of praise that you can share like David did?

How has David’s seasons helped you in the last year or so with the seasons that you have been facing?

What is the main idea you will take away from David’s life?

Why not share some thoughts on the messaging app under the category of “5 Day Devotions Discussion” of how this study has been beneficial to you and those you have shared it with?

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