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Pray for Those Who Persecute You

Daily Reading: 2 Samuel 1

Scripture Focus: You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul. (2 Samuel 1.24a)

Devotional Thought: David was the greatest King in Israelite history, but his rise to power was not without problems. Saul’s insecurity and jealousy stood in the way of David coming into the kingship. Though Saul threatened and pursued David to kill him, David always remained loyal to Saul, whom he considered the Lord’s anointed. At one point, when David had the opportunity to slay Saul, David had said, “The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord's anointed” (1 Samuel 26.11). Now, when David heard of Saul’s demise, he was genuinely grief-stricken.

David had known Saul in his vigor and strength. He had served in Saul’s military. He was familiar with all that Saul had done to unite and protect the 12 tribes of Israel. He had heard the story of Saul’s anointing as king. While David benefitted from Saul’s death, he did not rejoice in it. He even wrote a lament, a eulogy, to be sung about Saul. Perhaps it was used at a state memorial service. Even though David and Saul were in “rival parties,” David acknowledged all the good Saul had done. He encouraged people to remember the good things of Saul’s reign.

In this simple gesture, we discover something about David' character. Though far from perfect, he wanted to do the right thing. He had a heart for God. And, as we shall see later, when David failed, disappointing himself and God, he did not assert his power and privilege, nor did he hide behind a veil of self-justification. He repented and returned to his values.

May God help us to be like David, men and women after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13.14).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I consider your words, "Father forgive them..." I realize I come up short. Help me to have a heart like yours, a heart that forgives even my enemies and prays for those who persecute me. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 97.8-12

8 Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord. 9 For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

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