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POW*MIA symbol May 9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Psalms 3, 4, 11, 23, 26, 12, 36, 2Samuel 16:1-14

You are Not Forgotten

If a person has lived in America even a short while, he or she has seen the flag flown with a white silhouette of a bowed head on a black background. It stands for those who are missing in action (MIA). They have gone missing while serving in active duty during military maneuvers. Their fate is still unknown. The flags are flown so that we may never forget. “Leave no man behind” is the motto of our armed forces. There are continual searches being carried on for those left behind, even if they might be presumed dead. We want the families of those servicemen and our nation to know we have not forgotten them. Enduring persecution is never easy; it is exhausting. Being mocked, living in fear of attack, high stress, confusion, hopelessness and despair are all things experienced by people who are enduring persecution. King David was not an MIA and most likely neither are we, but if we are enduring persecution we may be wondering if we are forgotten. Christians are never forgotten by their God.

King David left Jerusalem in disgrace and shame. He was experiencing the results of his sin with Bathsheba. As prophesied by Nathan, David’s child that she bore to him died soon within a year after being born. David's daughter, Tamar, was later raped by his eldest son Amnon. Absalom, one of the other sons of David by a different wife, killed Amnon in revenge for his sister. Absalom exiled himself for three years in Geshur before he was allowed to come back to Jerusalem. When David was weak, Absalom staged a coup to unseat him and crown himself as king. David left the palace to protect the people from a civil war, leaving his concubines to help take care of the place. He left the tabernacle in Jerusalem, confident that if God was pleased with him he would soon bring him back. David left in shame, but some thought he left as a coward. “Flee as a bird to your mountain” they said to David, but he took refuge in the LORD (Psalm 11:1, NIV). When David left, he was mocked (Psalm 3:2), and he and his troops were pelted with stones by a Benjamite still loyal to the household of Saul (2 Samuel 16:5-13). How did he handle persecution? Was his head bowed in despair? Many of us have been unjustly removed from our positions in business or church or even in our homes. How do we react?

We do not know the exact order of the Psalms written about that time, but it appears at first that David left with confidence that he would be vindicated and quickly returned. When we suffer persecution, we also may believe the same things. In Psalm 3:3 David expresses the hope that God will protect him and return him to his throne, “But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head,” (NIV). David is so confident in God that he says in Psalm 4:8, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety,” (NIV). Psalm 23:1 says, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want,” (NIV). David says that God will lead, guide, and protect him and make it possible that he can return to the LORD’s tabernacle to worship him (23:1-6). In Psalm 26:12 David says, “My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the LORD,” (NIV). In other words, early on in his exile David is not stumbling in his faith toward God, and he shares his faith openly with others. When our persecution begins, do we say and do the same thing? Let's begin right with our confidence in God and not in others or in ourselves. Unless we have an established relationship with God, we will quickly stumble when the stresses of persecution come. God can help us stand on level ground if we will trust him (more...).

Persecution, however, is no bed of roses, and many people express their pain when they experience it. David was no different. Many of his Psalms were written in reference to this dark time in his life. Yet, to whom did he make his complaints and petitions for help? David prayed to God

Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people, (Psalm 3:7,8, NIV).

Indeed, God did bless and supply David, his troops, and all the people with him. Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, was one of those resources (2Samuel 16:1-2). It appears that Ziba supplied their needs out of kindness, but later we learn that he may have been trying to curry favor with David (2Samuel 19:24-30). Nevertheless, God took care of them. We may suffer persecutions in our lives, but God is always with us. He has not forgotten us and will take care of us. Pray to him for your deliverance.

Lessons to live by:

  • Christians are never forgotten by their God.
  • Unless we have an established relationship with God, we will quickly stumble when the stresses of persecution come. God can help us stand on level ground if we will trust him (more...).
  • We may suffer persecutions in our lives, but God is always with us. He has not forgotten us, and he will take care of us. Pray to him for your deliverance.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Psalm 11:1 “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain?’” (NIV)

praying girl Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

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