One Monday morning my wife left me. Packed up some earthly belongings, our only daughter, and a Visa card before heading west for a week, leaving Jeffrey, Stephen, and me to fend for ourselves.
Family feuds, wayward kids, parent-child clashes, husband-wife disagreements, and other in-house pressures have a way of breaking our spirits and stealing our joy. And no one is immune who compromises with God’s standard—not even a king such as David. In this study we witness the monarch’s misery as the sword of consequences falls on him and his family.
I had never given the idea of compassion much thought until a few months ago when in the midst of a friend’s crisis, I felt gut wrenching pain and realized, for the first time, this was what true compassion felt like.
The story we discover recorded in 1 Samuel 25 is amazing—change a few particulars, the geography, and the date, and we find ourselves reenacting a series of events as modern as today’s news. It is the story of an unfair boss, a strained marriage, and a great-hearted woman whose act of unselfish bravery saved her husband’s neck! Its fairy tale ending makes the story one of the most memorable in all the Old Testament.
For the rest of the missions trip, I thought about Jesus' ministry and the compassion He must have felt for the many people He encountered. People He taught, healed, and those who desperately cried out to Him.
When Saul became king, he was “little in his own eyes” (see 1 Sam. 15:17), but some time later all that changed drastically. The erosion of his character left him proud, impatient, and downright rebellious…a man who refused to bow even to the Lord his God. A serious failure and well worth our attention.
The boy Samuel heard God’s voice in the middle of the night. Have you ever wondered why God spoke to him? Or what God said that night? The scene may be familiar, but what it represents is not. It is a message as relevant today as it was when the Lord first spoke it.
Being compassionate or not is all about what you look at and see. The fact that we don't like seeing pain makes compassion difficult, but compassion only occurs in the context of another's pain.
Two things make Achan’s story especially sad. First, it occurred so suddenly on the heels of an incredible victory—the miraculous invasion of Jericho. And second, it resulted in a devastating toll on so many others. One man—a single, isolated individual—deliberately chose to disobey, yet numerous innocent victims fell in the wake of his sin, bringing calamity to a nation.