With summer upon us, we’re entering my favorite season of the year: grilling season.
Years ago, a friend shared his favorite marinade with us. Here’s my favorite marinade:
- Minced garlic
- Soy sauce
My favorite way to use this marinade is with salmon. Try it and you’ll thank me.
If you marinate your favorite meat for just a couple of minutes, you won’t taste the marinade. The secret of any good marinade is time.
On the other hand, if I marinate my meat for too long, then all I taste is the marinade.
Like a master griller, God knows just how long to let us soak before using us.
Today, you’ll read about his marination process with one person in particular.
Please join me!
2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
2 Samuel 4:1-6:23. Upon the desertion and death of Abner, Ish-Bosheth—an already weak king—became even weaker. It was just a matter of time until his reign, and the short-lived dynasty of Saul, would come to an end.
Two of Ish-Bosheth’s military leaders, Recab and Baanah, assassinated their king and brought his head to David. Rather than reward them, David demanded that their lives be taken as well. Scholars speculate about the reasoning behind David’s actions. He obviously believed that only God should remove a king from his power. But also, he certainly didn’t want to appear to grab the throne of Israel by force. But one underlying reason for objecting to Ish-Bosheth’s murder is because this man was Jonathan’s brother. At some level, David must have felt a sense of loyalty to this man—despite the fact that both were vying for leadership of a unified Israel.
Upon the death of Saul’s son, the rest of Israel recognized that David was the obvious choice for king. Not only would he be the obvious choice for commander-in-chief, but he had also demonstrated the needed qualities to lead.
In his first act of king, David led his men into battle to take possession of Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem? Because it sits on a bluff, making it much more difficult for attacking armies to conquer.
The New Bible Commentary also explains: “It was much more central than Hebron, and since it lay in Benjamite territory, it would help the northern Israelites to feel that David was truly king of all Israel.”
David then expanded the influence of Jerusalem by making it not only the political capital, but also the spiritual capital of Israel when he brought in the ark of the covenant.
John 13:31-14:14. What does obedience to Jesus look like? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
The first part of John14 does not place the disciples in a positive light. Thomas asks for further explanation on the way to heaven—failing to realize Jesus was the way. Philip then says, “Just show us the father and that will be enough for us.” In other words, after spending three years with Jesus, listening to him preach and seeing him talk about his relationship with the father, they still didn’t get it. Remember, this was the week of Jesus’ death.
Psalm 119:17-32. “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times” (Psalm 119:20). Reading this section, it quickly becomes apparent that the psalmist is longing for more than mere rules. The psalmist recognizes that obedience to God brings life.
Then we read in verse 32, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Rather than bring bondage, obedience to God brings freedom. How can this be?
Proverbs 15:31-32. Seemingly building on our reading in the psalms, Solomon tells us, “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.”
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Have you noticed how long David waited to become king? After being anointed king, he spent much of his 20s on the run from Saul, but then waited seven more years until he became ruler of a unified Israel. He may have spent as much as 20 years waiting to become king, proving that God is never in a hurry to thrust us into new positions of responsibility. Not enough can be said about the importance of seasoning.
I must admit that I’m not a very good at waiting. All too often I fail to realize that seasoning takes time. Yet that’s what God chose to do with David—and often chooses to do with us.
In order to prepare us for his purposes, God often allows us to soak in his divine marinade. His intention is to bring out our true selves, while giving off the distinct flavor of Jesus.
And what can this look like?
- A dead-end job.
The list goes on.
It doesn’t appear very glorious—and neither did David’s season of marination. Yet at the right time, when David’s heart was ready, God thrust him into new prominence.
I can’t promise that this is true for every person who encounters hardship, but at a minimum, God can redeem every tear.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- How have you experienced freedom by following God’s commands?
- What’s your favorite marinade?
- What has God used to marinate you?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.