2 Samuel 1:1-2:7; John 20:10-31; Proverbs 13:20-14:4
David was “anointed … king over the house of Judah” (2 Samuel 2:4). Jesus was given a higher honour: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22). The greatest inheritance we can leave to the rising generations is the spiritual inheritance of faith in Jesus Christ – “that they may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name” (John 20:31).
2 Samuel 2:8-3:21; John 21:1-25; Psalm 69:1-12
God gave His own gracious promise concerning the reign of David: “For the Lord promised David, By My servant David I will rescue My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies” (2 Samuel 3:18). Jesus indicated to His disciples, notably Peter, what He was going to do through them: “the net … was full of large fish” (John 21:11). Note also Jesus’ purpose for His disciples – “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Those who long for much blessing to come, in our day, upon the Church of Christ, say, with the Psalmist, “Zeal for Your House consumes me” (Psalm 69:9).
2 Samuel 3:22-5:5; Acts 1:1-22; Psalms 69:13-28
David ascended to the throne of Israel – “they anointed David king over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:3). “He reigned for forty years” (2 Samuel 5:4). Jesus ascended “into heaven” (Acts 1:11), to the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. There, He reigns forever and ever. As we look to this mighty Saviour, we find “sure salvation” (Psalm 69:13).
2 Samuel 5:6-6:23; Acts 1:23-2:21; Psalms 69:29-36
The world cannot understand the working of the Holy Spirit – “when Michal, daughter of Saul, saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16). She didn’t understand what David was doing – “I will celebrate before the Lord” (2 Samuel 6:21). “Some … made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine’” (Acts 2:13). They didn’t understand what God was doing – “I will pour out My Spirit on all people …” (Acts 2:17). Whatever the world may think, God’s people must always say, “I will praise God’s Name in song and glorify Him in thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).
2 Samuel 7:1-8:18; Acts 2:22-47; Proverbs 14:5-14
“The Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (2 Samuel 8:14). The victory, given to Jesus, was a greater victory than any victory given by God to David. Concerning David, Scripture says, “David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day” (Acts 2:29). Concerning Jesus, Scripture says, “God raised Him from the dead …” (Acts 2:24). How important it is that we have faith in Christ if we are to be raised, with Him, to eternal life: “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish” (Proverbs 14:11).
2 Samuel 9:1-10:19; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 70:1-5
The kindness of God is shown in different ways. We read of “God’s kindness” being shown to Mephibosheth – “he always ate at the king’s house” (2 Samuel 9:3,7). Nevertheless, we are also told, at the end of the chapter, that “he was crippled in both feet” (2 Samuel 9:13). We read also of a man who did not receive worldly goods – “Silver or gold I do not have”, but he did receive healing – “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” We see him, “walking and jumping and praising God” (Acts 3:6,9). We should not demand that the kindness of God must always be shown in the same way. We do, however, have every encouragement to join with the Psalmist in praying, “I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay” (Psalm 70:5).
2 Samuel 11:1-12:31; Acts 4:1-22; Psalm 71:1-8
“David pleaded with God for the child”, born of his adultery with Bathsheba, but “the child died” (2 Samuel 12:18). David prayed that “the Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live” (2 Samuel 12:22). The child died, but the love of God did not cease (2 Samuel 2:24). In Acts 4, the apostles are “called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed” (Acts 4:9). They do not speak only of the healing. They speak also of salvation (Acts 4:10-12). The Name of Jesus Christ is the Name of our salvation. The Name of Jesus is the Name which declares that the love of God never ceases. Whatever our outward circumstances may be, God’s salvation remains constant. In His salvation, we rejoice. As we read of God’s salvation, we may come to Him and pray, with the Psalmist: “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress” (Psalm 71:3).
2 Samuel 13:1-39; Acts 4:23-5:11; Psalm 71:9-18
There are things happening which bring great distress to the Lord’s people. “When King David heard all this, he was furious … Ammon … had disgraced his sister Tamar” (2 Samuel 13:21-22). “Why do the nations rage … against the Lord and against His Anointed One” (Acts 4:25-26). “My enemies speak against me” (Psalm 71:10). How is all this to affect us? – “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteous deeds, of Your saving acts all day long — though I do not know how to relate them all” (Psalm 71:14-15).
2 Samuel 14:1-15:12; Acts 5:12-42; Proverbs 14:15-24
There’s a difference between human popularity – “Absalom’s following kept on increasing” (2 Samuel 15:12) – and divine approval – “more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (Acts 5:14). A man can gain popularity because the people are gullible – “A simple man believes anything”. A wise man seeks divine approval – “a prudent man gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15).
Day 161 – 2 Samuel 15:13-16:14; Acts 6:1-7;19; Psalm 71:19-24
The Bible contains many stories. The readings in 2 Samuel and Acts tell us about events that took place a long time ago. Stephen’s message, in Acts, stresses that all of the stories are part one Story – the Story of God in action. Take away God, and what do you have left? – You have a human story, but you don’t have God’s Story which needs to be told by each generation to the next generation. God’s Story is the greatest story ever told. It’s the Story of “the God of glory.” God gives His promise. God fulfils His promise (Acts 7:2-3,17). We look at the “great things” God has done, and we say, “Who, O God, is like You?” (Psalm 71:19).
2 Samuel 16:15-18:18; Acts 7:20-43; Psalm 72:1-20
How are we to die? This is an important question. There’s a difference between dying in shame and dying in glory. The death of Absalom (2 Samuel 18) is a shameful death. The death of Stephen (Acts 7) is a glorious triumph. Stephen’s death is preceded by a mighty proclamation of God’s Word. Stephen affirms God’s faithfulness to His people down through the generations. We might sum up Stephen’s great message in the words of Psalm 72:18-19 – “Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvellous deeds. Praise be to His glorious Name for ever; May the whole earth be filled with His glory.” Stephen’s message is full of thanksgiving for the past. His death proclaims hope for the future.
2 Samuel 18:19-19:43; Acts 7:44-8:3; Psalm 73:1-14
King David was held in extremely high regard in his day: “My lord the king is like an angel” (2 Samuel 19:27). We must remember that he was no more than a man who was seeking to “provide a dwelling-place for the God of Jacob” (Acts 7:56). Think of all that God has done for Israel. Think of all that He has done in Christ. Say, with the Psalmist, “God is good” (Psalm 73:1).
2 Samuel 20:1-21:22; Acts 8:1-40; Proverbs 14:25-35
“God answered prayer on behalf of the land” (2 Samuel 21:14). At the heart of all the confusion of many events involving the nations, there is God – the God who hears and answers prayer. What happens when God hears and answers prayer? – People hear and believe “the Good News about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). As we consider the events involving the nations, we must never forget the teaching of God’s Word – “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
2 Samuel 22:1-23:7; Acts 9:1-31; Psalm 73:15-28
2 Samuel 22 begins with a tremendous declaration of who is and a marvellous expression of trust in Him – “The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer … my Rock … my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation … my Stronghold, my Refuge and my Saviour” (2 Samuel 22:2-3). A similar testimony is found towards the end of Psalm 73 – “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). Such was the testimony of David, in the Old Testament, and Paul, in the New Testament. Paul “spoke boldly in the Name of the Lord” and “the Church … was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:28,31).
2 Samuel 23:8-24:25; Acts 9:32-10:23a; Psalm 74:1-9
“His mercy is great” (2 Samuel 24:14). These words of David are powerfully demonstrated in the call to peter to take the Gospel to Cornelius, the Gentile. God’s mercy is not only for the Jewish nation. It’s also for the Gentiles. Now, the Gentiles belong to the people whom God has “purchased”, the people whom He has “redeemed” (Psalm 74:2).
1 Kings 1:1-2:12; Acts 10:23b-11:18; Psalm 74:10-17
God’s purpose does not stand still. It moves forward. “So Solomon sat on the throne of his father, David, and his rule was firmly established” (1 Kings 2:12). “The circumcised believers … were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles” (Acts 10:45). Israel’s true King – the Lord Himself – is the God of salvation for both Jews and Gentiles: “But, You, O God, are my King from of old; You bring salvation upon the earth” (Psalm 74:12).
1 Kings 2:13-3:15; Acts 11:19-12:19a; Proverbs 15:1-10
Solomon asked for wisdom – “a discerning heart to govern Your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:9). “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this” (1 Kings 3:10). In Acts 11:24, Barnabas is described as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to live, by faith, as good people who are learning to distinguish between right and wrong. He gives us the power to choose right rather than wrong. In Proverbs 15:8, we read that “the prayer of the upright pleases the Lord.” True wisdom involves calling upon the Lord in prayer, receiving strength from the Lord, doing His will and pleasing Him. The prayer of the upright leads to the pursuit of righteousness. It’s the way of living which is loved by the Lord – “the Lord loves those who pursue righteousness” (Proverbs 15:9). The pursuit of righteousness is not to be half-hearted. It’s to be a whole-hearted pursuit of God Himself.
1 Kings 3:16-5:18; Acts 12:19b-13:12: Psalm 74:18-23
“God gave Solomon wisdom” (1 Kings 4:29). When wisdom is recognized as God-given, the people of God say, “Praise be to the Lord today” (1 Kings 5:7). True ministry, which promotes “wisdom unto salvation”, is based on the prompting of the Spirit and leads to the proclamation of the Word (Acts 13:4-5). The work of the Lord is to be done by those who are controlled by the Lord. “Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts” (Psalm 74:19). The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The beast is a symbol of evil. This is a prayer that we may be led by the Holy Spirit. It’s a prayer that we will be delivered from evil.
1 Kings 6:1-7:22; Acts 13:13-41; Psalm 75:1-10
In the reign of Solomon, God fulfilled His promise to David (1 Kings 6:11-13). There is, however, a greater fulfilment: “From David’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus, as He promised” (Acts 13:23). When we consider what God has done, we say, with the Psalmist, “We praise You, God, we praise You, for Your Name is near; people tell of Your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 75:1).
1 Kings 7:23-8:21; Acts 13:42-14:7; Psalm 76:1-12
The Temple is built. The glory goes to God: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel” (1 Kings 8:15). God’s purpose was not, however, to be limited to Israel: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47). He is not only the God of the Jews. He is the God who calls all nations to worship Him: “You alone are to be feared” (Psalm 76:7).
1 Kings 8:22-9:9; Acts 14:8-28; Proverbs 15:11-20
The majesty of the Temple was not merely human. The glory belonged to the Lord. His glory would be among His people, as they honoured Him by doing His will. The servants of the Lord must always say, “we are only men … We are bringing you Good News, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God” (Acts 14:15). The most important thing is this: “the fear of the Lord.” “Great wealth” is nothing without it (Proverbs 15:16).
1 Kings 9:10-11:13; Acts 15:1-21; Psalm 77:1-9
“We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved” (Acts 15:11). Once we have been saved, we are to live a godly life (Acts 15:20). This is the way in which God’s blessing is to remain and increase in our lives (1 Kings 11:9-11). There are difficult times in the life of faith, times when we can only ask questions (Psalm 77:7-9). These are not the questions of unbelief. These are the questions of faith seeking understanding.
1 Kings 11:14-12:24; Acts 15:22-41; Psalm 77:10-20
“They obeyed the Word of the Lord” (1 Kings 12:24). They were “commended … to the grace of the Lord” (Acts 15:40). Obedience to the Word of the Lord and being commended to the grace of God – these two things belong together. We can only promise obedience to God “in dependence on divine grace.” If we do not feed our faith on “the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 77:11), our obedience will waver. “I will consider all Your works and meditate on all Your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:12). This is the way of strengthening faith and obedience.
1 Kings 12:25-14:20; Acts 16:1-15; Psalm 78:1-8
“The Lord will raise up for Himself a king over Israel” (1 Kings 14:14). There was much “sin” among God’s people (1 Kings 13:33-34). God did not abandon His purpose of salvation. His saving purpose finds its fulfilment in Christ. He is the Gospel (“Good News”) which God has called us to preach (Acts 16:10). When Christ is preached, the Lord opens the hearts of men and women to respond to Him (Acts 16:14). Christ is the message which we must “not hide … from our children”. We must “tell the next generation” of Him (Psalm 78:4).
1 Kings 14:21-16:7; Acts 16:16-40; Proverbs 15:21-30
The history of the kings was, for the most part, a history of rebellion against God. So few were asking the question: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). God has given His answer to this question: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “The path of life leads upward for the wise” (Proverbs 15:24). This is the wisdom which leads to salvation, eternal life, heaven. It’s the wisdom which is faith in Christ.
1 Kings 16:8-18:15; Acts 17:1-21; Psalm 78:9-16
Elijah confronted King Ahab in the Name of the living God (1 Kings 18:15). The apostles confronted Caesar in the Name of “another King … Jesus” (Acts 17:7). It was in the Name of the Lord that the authority of Egypt was brought to nothing: “He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt” (Psalm 78:12).
1 Kings 18:16-19:21; Acts 17:22-18:8; Psalm 78:17-31
In the relationship between God and the gods, we see (a) the conflict between good and evil (1 Kings 18); (b) God’s way of salvation – He leads people out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of knowledge (Acts 17:23); (c) God’s word of warning – Where people choose error and darkness rather than truth and light, there is judgment (Psalm 78:17,31).
1 Kings 20:1-21:29; Acts 18:9-19:13; Psalm 78:32-39
As a prophet of God, Elijah brought this message to the people: “This is what the Lord says” (1 Kings 21:19). This was Paul’s ministry: “teaching them the Word of God” (Acts 18:11). Elijah’s ministry was the denunciation of the evil king, Ahab. Paul’s ministry was the proclamation of “the Kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). In our proclamation of God’s Kingdom, we must remember that God is our Rock and our Redeemer (Psalm 78:35).
1 Kings 22:1-53; Acts 19:14-41; Proverbs 15:31-16:7
Here’s a spiritual principle for everyone who seeks to be faithful to God: “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me” (1 Kings 22:14). In Ephesus, there was a riot. The crowds shouted, “Great is Artemis (“Diana” in the King James Version: Artemis is the Greek name for the Roman goddess, Diana) of the Ephesians” (Acts 19:28,34). In the present day, in our preaching of God’s Word, we must remind people of this – “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). We must be clear in our message concerning Jesus Christ: “There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In Christ, we enjoy salvation. Living in the strength of His salvation, our “ways are pleasing to the Lord” (Proverbs 16:7).
2 Kings 1:1-2:25; Acts 20:1-38; Psalm 78:40-55
“Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). With each succeeding generation, God is looking for those who will commit themselves to the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). “He brought His people out like a flock; He led them like sheep through the desert” (Psalm 78:52). How does God do this in this generation? – He works through those who give faithful testimony to the Gospel of His grace. He works through those do not hesitate “to proclaim … the whole will of God” (Acts 20:27). He works through those who call on men and women to “turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21).