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Daily Distinctives, April 18, 2015 (Power Up)

April 18, 2015

Daily Reading:

[1Sa 26:8 NKJV]
Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not [have to strike] him a second time!”

[2Sa 16:9 NKJV]
Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!”

[2Sa 23:18 NKJV]
Now Abishai the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of [another] three. He lifted his spear against three hundred [men], killed [them], and won a name among [these] three.

Daily Distinctive:

I had the privilege of attending a men’s conference today themed “Power Up” and was only able to catch the last two speakers of the day. Most of my morning was spent with my son at a Scout Fair here in Houston. I enjoyed the time today with my son there and at the conference too. That is one of the things about being a dad; sometimes you don’t get to “self-indulge” all day long and enjoy a full blown men’s conference. Still, I walked away with a good dose of God’s WORD and was quite pleased with the time spent with my youngest son. But as I reflect back on the theme of the conference today the idea of powering up has been on my mind. When I think of getting powered up, I think of my iPhone. It can’t hold a charge to save my life. I am constantly having to put it on the charger. Perhaps the battery is going dead and the charges are not holding as long as they used to. In any case, when I think of powering up it reminds me of plugging in and getting recharged.

Now I don’t know about you, but for me personally what really powers me up in my faith and in my walk is to hear stories of inspirational characters in the Bible; those that had great zeal and determination. Now, we all have the tendency to project ourselves and to envision ourselves in the shoes of our favorite Bible characters. It’s how we relate to them. Now I recognize that my choice of favorite Bible characters can be quite telling of my personality, but I don’t hear very many sermons about this particular character and so I thought I would do my devotional today and explore what it is about this particular Bible character that is most appealing to me.

As you may have already discovered, one of my most favorite Bible characters is Abishai. Abishai was one of the Three renowned men of David’s army. He was a valiant warrior, and reminds me a lot of myself in many ways. The reason that I can relate to him so well is because I think if I would have been in David’s army, I would have probably been much like him. So let’s look at the verses and pull out some of the character traits of Abishai that are so appealing to me.

[1Sa 26:8 NKJV]
Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not [have to strike] him a second time!”

The first thing that I notice about Abishai is that he was loyal to David and brave. In verse 8 we find that David and Abishai are in the camp of Saul, standing over the sleeping king. Prior to them being in the camp of Saul, who had sought David’s life, David asked for volunteers to go into the “lion’s den.” It was Abishai that bravely volunteered.

Abishai was not concerned with his own life. By volunteering it¬†meant that he was willing to risk life and limb for David. This shows a great deal of loyalty. But to go to the center of the enemies camp, surrounded by some of the most lethal soldiers ever shows a whole lot of bravery. These are two qualities that I admire in Abishai. But another thing that I recognize here is that Abishai believed in God’s providence. Notice here that he says, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day.” Abishai was aware that it was God that had made a way for David to now be standing over his adversary. Of course we know that it was not by accident at all that David and Abishai were standing there. We read later in the account that it was God who caused a supernatural sleep to befall the men of Saul’s camp and Saul himself. But the fact that Abishai recognized God’s hand was something that inspired me.

But then I love the next part, Abishai’s request. He says, “Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not [have to strike] him a second time!” Ha! This dude wants to pick up the Saul’s own spear and run him through right there on the spot. Now I am not a violent man (anymore…although I used to be a brawler), but the fact that Abishai is willing to get the job done speaks volumes to me. He was not one to play around. I am like that in many ways, if something needs to be done, let’s get it done and move on. It takes a certain kind of person to make a decision that is not based on emotion and sentiment. I guess what I am trying to say is that I admire his decisiveness and his willingness to do the tough things.

[2Sa 16:9 NKJV]
Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!”

Now this is an interesting story. Apparently this old guy named Shimei who was related to Saul, and he was kicking up dirt at David, cussing him out, and throwing rocks at him. Abishai gets right to the point and is indignant towards this man that would dare act out in such a way towards David. Again, the loyalty of Abishai to his king. And so Abishai asks, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” With Saul no longer in the picture, yesterdays news in the mind of Abishai, and here is this guy bringing up the past instead of letting it go. Abishai simply requests that the king allow him to go over and separate the part of his body that was making all the noise from the rest of him. And so what I love about Abishai is his zeal. He was willing to guard the kings honor with great zeal. That is something that I truly appreciate about Abishai. And finally we see another trait of Abishai that I admire, he was a man of great valor. Look at the next verse…

[2Sa 23:18 NKJV]
Now Abishai the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of [another] three. He lifted his spear against three hundred [men], killed [them], and won a name among [these] three.

This guy was a totally¬†indomitable! I mean it says here that he lifted his spear against 300 men and killed them. Dude is a serious…well…the word that comes to mind is not exactly appropriate for a devotional, but you get the point. It was because of his zeal and tenacity and God’s hand that he was able to accomplish such a feat and earned a spot amongst the men of renown in David’s army, even leading a third of the men.

I love to know the meanings behind names and so I looked his up. What I discovered is that Abishai means “Desirous of a Gift” some commentators say it means, “A gift from God.” I kind of chuckle at this because my wife tells me all the time that I think I am a gift from God! LOL. But I can relate to the definition of being desirous of a gift. I long to serve the LORD, to teach His WORD, and minister to others. And so I can appreciate people like Abishai who are loyal to a fault, willing to get the job done no matter what it takes, and who are decisive in action, but willing to heed instruction before taking action. The fact is that I am very much like Abishai in many ways. I suppose that is a good thing. I know that when I lead a church, I will look for these qualities in at least one or more of my own leadership team. I think it is wise to have friends close to you that have your back, are zealous about the things of God, and willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Don’t you?

Daily Muse:

Like I said, sometimes I am quite encouraged by inspirational characters in the Bible. I find that the more I read the Bible and get acquainted with the people in it, I see some of my own character traits mirrored. The problem for me is sometimes that mirror is one of those 5X magnification mirrors, you know the kind, you can almost see your skull through your pores. But the thing about the characters in the Bible is that when they cause me to reflect on my own character, they reveal warts and all. But the good thing about it is that they also cause me to desire change. I have grown so much over the past twenty years walking with the LORD and I know the best is yet to come.

Daily Prayer:

LORD, thank You for the opportunity to reflect on Your WORD. By doing so You inspired me to share and also arranged another divine appointment for me to minister to someone in need of encouragement, prayer, and potentially discipleship. LORD I thank You for all that You are doing in my life. You are awesome LORD. To You be the glory!  -Amen

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