THINK: Do you tend to hold a grudge? Is it hard for you to let go of past offenses and forgive those who caused them? While God doesn't expect you to trust-or even associate with-people who've proven to be untrustworthy or harmful to you, He does expect you to let go of the past and let Him take your pain. Holding a grudge can hold you back in your walk with God. It can keep your focus on past grievances and prevent you from pursuing future goals. It can breed bitterness and kill your joy. Most of all, it can cause you to harbor unforgiveness, which prevents God from forgiving you (Matthew 6:15). But if, like David, you let go of past offenses and find a way to honor God for what He's brought you through, God will prepare the way for you to pursue your highest purposes.
RESPOND: Why did the Amalekite's account of Saul's death differ from what's recorded in 1 Samuel 31:3-6? (See 1:10 note.) What was the Amalekite hoping to gain by bringing David the report? What does David's response to Saul's death reveal about David's character? Why do you think David expressed such regard for Saul, even though Saul had treated David with contempt and tried to kill him? How would you describe David's friendship with Jonathan? (See 1:26 note.) In what way was Jonathan's character and humility particularly evident in their friendship? Does it seem that David was anxious to become king after Saul's death? Why or why not? Over what part of the kingdom did David initially rule? (See 2:4 note.) How did a seemingly pointless fighting match between Abner's men and Joab's men bring unexpected tragedy and devastation (2:14-31)? How did Abner show an understanding of God's intentions for Israel (3:9,12,18,21)? Why did David honor Abner so highly, even though he was the commander of Ish-Bosheth's army? How did this show David's integrity and confidence in God's plans?
PRAY: Pray for people who have had a significant impact on your life in the past - particularly those who you seldom see anymore. Give God thanks for their influence on your life.
ACT: Call someone you just prayed for and haven't seen in a while. Let them know that you're thinking of them and wondering how they're doing. Thank them for their part in your life. Let them know that you miss them and you're praying for them. Even if they don't know Christ, ask if there is anything you can pray with them about.
THINK: How often do you catch yourself worrying about what people think of you? While it's tough to swallow pride and disregard others' opinions, trying to please people can keep you from pleasing God. And being preoccupied with your own reputation can keep you from being passionate about exalting God. It's no accident that people who do the greatest exploits with God are those who serve Him without reservations. Because they're not afraid to suffer humiliation for Jesus, Jesus is not hesitant to bring honor to them.
RESPOND: Why did Recab and Banaah kill Ish-Bosheth, and how did they expect David to react to the news (4:8)? How did David respond, and why (4:9-12)? In what way did the tension, war and bloodshed surrounding David's rise to the throne confirm God's warning about a human kingship? (See 4:12 note.) According to 2 Samuel 5:1-3, why did the tribes of Israel want David to be their king? Why was the conquest of Jerusalem so significant for David, and how did he show his regard for the city (5:9)? (See 5:6 note.) What does 5:13 reveal about David's most serious character weakness, and how did this bring trouble on him in years to come? (See 5:1 note.) How did David show dependence on God in his actions toward the Philistines? (See 5:19 note.) What did David recognize about his victories (6:24), and what can you learn from his example? Why did God consider Uzzah's handling of the ark irreverent, and why was his punishment so severe? (See 6:7 note.) What does this teach about a relationship with God and responding to His presence? (See 6:7 note, subpoint 2.) Why does God's presence bring calamity in some cases, but blessing in other cases (6:12), and what makes the difference? What was significant about David bringing the ark to Jerusalem? (See 6:12 note.) Why was Michal wrong in her perception of David's actions? (See 6:20 note.) How can you tell that David cared far more about honoring God than pleasing people (6:21-22)?
PRAY: Give thanks for opportunities you have to gather with others to worship God. Thank Jesus for His powerful presence and for winning your spiritual victories. Then take time to worship the Lord with extra passion.
ACT: Think of something you're doing to please, impress or pacify people that isn't likely what God wants you to do. Then change that behavior so you honor God, regardless of what people think.