07 Sep Shepherd To King-Day 10
Scripture: 1 Samuel 20:14-15,17- NLT- “And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die, treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.” “And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.”
Get the whole story here: 1 Samuel 20
Observation: King Saul was determined to kill the anointed rival to his throne, David. However, Saul’s son Jonathan, was David’s loyal friend and did everything in his power to save him from his father. Jonathan loved David and after vowing to warn him of his father’s plans, he asked David to be loyal to him and his family as he was certain that the LORD would make David victorious over all of his enemies.
Application: In his groundbreaking book, Bowling Alone, Harvard University professor Robert Putnam uses volumes of data to document the dramatic decline over the last few decades in social capital, the fabric of our connections with one another. Pointing to a number of factors, he demonstrates that Americans have become shockingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures. The consequences of this drop in social capital are innumerable, but Putnam shares a hopeful factoid. Joining and participating in one group for connection and relationship cuts our odds of dying the following year in half.
We probably do not need a Harvard professorship to recognize the challenges facing our communities today. With all of the bickering between social groups, political strife, and mass shootings, we have become more disconnected from one another than ever before despite the many social media platforms available to us anytime and anywhere. We have hundreds of social network friends, yet we have never felt so alone and isolated.
The solution to our current malaise is ancient, going all of the way back to the code for successful living etched on two stone tablets. Jesus put it this way in response to a question about the most important commandment, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39. Just as important as loving God, is loving the people around you and not just in a friendly, neighborly way but with the same intensity with which you value your own life.
This is the kind of love that Jonathan and David shared. It was a love that was fiercely loyal and committed despite family tension. David would remember that love long after Jonathan and his father Saul died on the battlefield. Instead of putting away Jonathan’s surviving son who likely had a legitimate claim to the throne of Israel, David not only sought him out but restored his riches. He exalted him to a place of honor by giving him a place at the king’s table for the rest of his life. That kind of love is far deeper than the “likes” and “thumbs up” affirmations of today’s generation. That kind of love would end the social strife and political bickering that threatens the fabric of our modern culture. That kind of love would establish God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. That kind of love is what Jesus calls us to have for those around us whether or not they share our race, faith, or any other identity.
Prayer: Father, in Jesus’ name I pray that you would help me to love those around me faithfully regardless of who they are. Help me to build committed relationships with others instead of superficial ones. Forgive me for those moments when I neglected to connect meaningfully with the people you put on my path. Help me become a kingdom builder by abiding in your great command to love you and to love those around me fiercely and loyally. Amen!
- Join us here tomorrow for Day 11
- If you are struggling to connect, and you aren’t yet plugged in, then find a J-Team area to serve on, a J-Group to join, and attend one of the gatherings during the weekends. Being around others is the first step in getting out of your comfort zone and building meaningful relationships.
- Take time during your Slot and Spot to ask God to soften your heart toward those around you and give you a boldness to build meaningful relationships with people you may not otherwise associate.
- In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus indicated that those neighbors to be loved may not look like us or even believe as we do but are nonetheless worthy of our deepest affection. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and meditate on the Apostle Paul’s description of the true love we are to share with others.
Emory Woodard / Journey Kids and Production J-Teamer
Emory Woodard has been gathering at The Journey since August of 2021. Emory is committed to building the future Church by sowing into the lives of children today through dynamic ministry efforts in-person and online. Emory has a lovely wife and two beautiful children he adores.