Devotional Thought – “Lord Humble me, and Cleanse me”


Create in me a clean heart, O God” Psalm 51:10

This is a psalm of David.  He wrote these words after his sins were found out and the prophet Nathan had confronted him.  When someone else knows about your sin, let alone God, the devastation can be total.  David doesn’t try to go “on the record” and defend his actions.  He doesn’t move away or run from his mistakes.  He confronts his sins.  He was a murderer, a liar and an adulterer.  He had been caught, found out, and left wanting.  Yet, David returned to the only place one can return to when humbled by crippling sin – God.  Scripture records this sinner to be “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) but what made David fulfill this kind of criteria in life?  How can we also be men and women after God’s own heart?  



It should be noted that David was identified as such a man before his downfall; but this psalm and his actions following his downfall should also give us a clue into His humble character.  David was a shepherd as a young person.  He worked a lowly job which, at times, was considered one of the dirtiest and most undesirable jobs.  While working as a shepherd he wrote songs of praise to his God.  He understood where his joy came from and also his blessings.  

Following His downfall into sin, his reaction to being caught was not one of indignation but rather humility and grief.  He had broken God’s heart, and David pens these words of regret, remorse and was in search of God’s forgiveness.  Right relationship with His Salvation was his desire.  Sure he had messed up royally (no pun intended), but he longed to recover that which had been tarnished and nearly destroyed.  Scripture records David tearing his cloak, putting on sack cloth and pouring ashes on his head.  This is a sign of grief and mourning but is also a very humbling picture for us to see of a king.  

How humble are we?  Do we recognize how in need of a Savior we are daily?  We are all far from perfect people.  We all struggle with sin and temptation.  Do we seek after God with great passion just as David did, or do we merely think about Him on Sundays or special holidays?  Our lives were given to us as a gift.  Each one of us comes with struggles and concerns, but we don’t have to carry them alone.  Connecting with The Father connects us with the Divine and unburdens us, but we must first become humble.

Psalm 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Dear Lord, I confess my sins to you today.  Forgive me when I have stumbled along this path.  Help me to be who You have called me to be.  Restore me, renew me and cleanse me.  I long to be a person after Your own heart, show me how I ought to live.  Instruct me in Your ways, and walk beside me every moment of every day.  -Amen

Model Leadership by Bob Hostetler (Perspectives – Day 2)



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Model Leadership by Bob Hostetler

 Not long ago, I took a course in leadership, and in the course of that course (of course) the instructor asked who my Biblical model of leadership was. 

 I didn’t have one. 

 I’d never thought about it. 

 He urged me to make it a matter of thought, prayer, and study, so I did, eventually adopting David, the shepherd king of Israel, as my conscious, purposeful Biblical leadership model (of course, Jesus is my ultimate model, but since he never made a leadership mistake that I can see, and I have made millions of them, I thought I’d profit from a study of someone who shared at least a little of my propensity for boneheadedness). 

 It has been a very helpful exercise for me. I know David seems like the way-too-obvious choice, and part of me was tempted to make a selection that would seem more unique and make me feel more clever. But I resisted that impulse. There is just too much material, too many helpful insights into leadership throughout David’s life to ignore. 

Since that time, I’ve enjoyed and benefitted from David’s example in many ways. Consider: 


Even while he was exiled from the palace of King Saul, and on the run for his life, David refused to exalt himself, and even repented of cutting the hem off Saul’s garment when the king was in a vulnerable position. He somehow managed to submit to the leadership of another, while that “another” was acting sinfully and insanely! Wow, that’s humility. 


When other, better-equipped and more experienced me quailed at the threat posed by the warrior Goliath, David stepped to the front. Alone. 


When the so-called leaders of the nation let David take on Goliath, the shepherd boy declined the armor of King Saul and the conventional weaponry others would have relied on. He knew what his strengths were. He knew what he could do. He knew he needed God, but he also knew that God could use his strengths as much as anyone else’s, if he trusted in God. As a warrior and as a leader, he seems to have been comfortable in his own skin. I like that. I think it’s crucial for a leader. 


The guy shed his royal robes and danced before the ark of God with wild abandon. He had his priorities right, and he refused to sacrifice “the joy of the Lord” to preserve his own “dignity.”

 A Shepherd’s Heart

Not only was he an ACTUAL shepherd before becoming famous, Asaph said that David “shepherded” Israel. He was not primarily a manager or supervisor or commander. He was primarily a shepherd. That was a fundamental characteristic of his leadership: caring, protecting, feeding, providing, etc. 


David’s kindness to Mephibosheth, for Jonathan’s sake, and his mercy toward Shimei, who cursed David at one of the lowest points of his life, shows David to have been a uniquely merciful leader. Though his tendency toward mercy may have backfired in his own family, he is nonetheless an example of a leader who repeatedly chose mercy over judgment. 


David’s interaction with Abigail shows that he was not only able to recognize wisdom in others, but to exercise it himself. 


Asaph also described David as having “integrity of heart.” Though he lapsed into spiritual blindness and committed adultery with Bathsheba, when Nathan confronted him he didn’t deny or dissemble; he repented. Fully. Since I can’t expect to be a leader who never sins or makes a mistake, I aspire to be a leader who is quick to repent and admit his wrong. 


Perhaps recalling not only his youth as a shepherd but also his triumph over Goliath, Asaph sang of David leading Israel with “skillful hands.” He listened to counsel. He assembled a great team. He made tough decisions. He not only had the passion for leadership, but the skill as well. 


Though I can certainly bicker with the bitterness evident in David’s charge to Solomon (urging him to settle accounts with Shimei and Joab), his reign and his succession proved him to be a master planner, one who not only put out today’s fires but planned ahead, thinking of tomorrow’s challenges. 


These are not all the leadership examples that David’s life provides. But they are a start. They are an illustration of the rich material that is there to mine…and to emulate…in David’s example. 


I’m grateful for the challenge that was issued to me to choose a Biblical model of leadership. It has been helpful and encouraging in many ways. 


So what about you? Who is YOUR leadership model?


(Bob Hostetler ( is the author of thirty-five books, including TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY, a one-year devotional drawn from the writings of Samuel Logan Brengle. He blogs at


The Arrow Beyond Us!

In the early hours of the evening, just as the shadows begins to touch the edges of the palace and the waning light of the sun slips quietly beyond the horizon, Jonathan arrives to the  feast.  This is the second day of the feast of new moons, Jonathan is apprehensive; his sworn oath to his best friend David still fresh in his mind replays itself over and over again.  This task, this allegiance is not going to be easy.  Jonathan is stuck in the middle, and yet he is motivated by an intense devotion to his friend, and there is a fire in his heart of certainty that David’s safety is in grave danger.  King Saul, Jonathan’s father is extremely jealous of David and his popularity; for David is a true battle hero to the people.  Songs are sung about him and children are being tucked in at night with tales of David’s war victories told with great exaggeration and embellishments.  King Saul does not hide his distain and jealousy well, for his years in power has tainted his moral compass and his reasoning has become self-indulged and consumed by paranoia and hatred.   Still, Jonathan hopes that his presence there with his father is enough to stave off any notion of murdering his best friend David.  In a very real sense Jonathan’s seat at the feast tonight is a veiled attempted to gauge just how far his father will go to rid himself of David and his perceived threat to the throne.   Jonathan is an optimist at heart and he hopes to hear and see any evidence of King Saul’s humanity and compassion.  So he enters the feast as he did the night before and reclines himself down into his ornate arm chair of honor before dignitaries, war leaders, and his father who is nursing a large chalice of deep burgundy wine.  King Saul appears troubled; then again he always appears troubled these days.  But as he glances up from his cup and realizes David has once again not accompanied Jonathan to the festivities, his troubled brow that he has worn regularly like a uniform on a soldier becomes a deep ravine of creases like a tide rolling with anger and hatred.

“Why isn’t Jessie’s son here at the feast?” the king asks spitting out the words as if he’s just bitten into something foul tasting or poisonous.  Jonathan notices that his father can’t even bring himself to say David’s name.  King Saul’s question is more of an accusation directed at Jonathan than anything else; there isn’t even a hint of concern or compassion in the accusation either.  Jonathan looks over to his father and this sudden exchange quiets the regular chatter and festive atmosphere as all of the party guests sense danger in the air and they turn their attention cautiously to their king like an animal in the cross hairs of a predator.  Saul looks directly at Jonathan for some sort of explanation.  Jonathan, thinking quickly, recounts the phony explanation that he has rehearsed in his mind over and over again to the king.  “David asked me permission to attend a sacrifice with his family in Bethlehem, his oldest brother, first born of Jessie ordered him to be there.”  The excuse held some customary merit, a son honoring his family’s wishes, spending time together over this cultural holiday and harvest festival of sorts.

But Jonathan waits; he knows his father’s temper all too well.  He waits for the explosion of anger, recalling other fits of rage that he has endured.  The king’s other advisors, seated at the table, also hold their collective breaths while shifting their eyes in this moment of great agitation and dread as this intense silence blankets the room like a shroud on a death bed.   Then it comes like a storm, the fit of rage arrives exploding like a kettle under pressure in a fire too hot, king Saul stands, red faced and convulsing in fury, beard dripping with wine as he bellows, “Jonathan you son of a bitch, I know you have helped that son of Jessie escape and you have brought dishonor on yourself and the mother who brought you into this world!”

The venom that the king has just unleashed to his very own flesh and blood reverberates off of the stone walls of the feast hall like a sentence of death to an innocent man.  An uncomfortable silence replaces the outburst as the festival guests and dignitaries consider making an exit from this hall but knowing the king’s reputation are mortified to even move a muscle.  The conversation isn’t over yet, as Jonathan, loyal as ever, stands up to his indignant father, “Why should David be here, you plan to kill him, what has he ever done to you?”   Saul reaches for a nearby weapon in response to what can only be considered an accusation and insult to his station and stature as king of Israel.  With spear in hand and murder in his heart, Saul takes aim at his very own son heaving this deadly weapon of war at Jonathan.  If there was ever an indication that David’s life was forfeit before this king it is now evident to all.

Jonathan is stunned and stricken as the spear narrowly misses him, and with sadness he storms out of the festival hall certain that he will never trust his father again.  There is a deep wrenching within the pit of his stomach and he knows now that he must warn David to flee.

Early the next morning, after a sleepless night of tears mixed with pensive resentment towards his now estranged father, Jonathan gathers his bow and an assortment of arrows and makes his way to the hiding place of his best friend.  He has a servant boy with him and the plan is simple yet covert, no one else will know.   With emotions brimming over and exhaustion nipping at his heels, Jonathan draws back the string on his bow, exhales and lets fly his arrow of warning.  It sails overhead catching a small updraft on the breeze and hits the dark earth far off into the distance.  As he does so he instructs his servant boy to run and retrieve it.  While the boy runs to fetch the fallen arrow, Jonathan, with a lump in his throat calls out in a shaky and mournful voice; “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?  Hurry quickly, don’t stop!”  To any passerby or would be spy of the king this passing comment would solely be instructions to servant boy, yet he has just told the future king Israel to run for his life.   Can you imagine such love and devotion?  In a single command, Jonathan has warned David, knowing one day his family may be replaced in power and glory within this kingdom.  This was not an easy feat but a gallant hope; Jonathan chooses the most honorable path.  And minutes after the boy servant departs, Jonathan meets his best friend.  They embrace one last time; they weep and with hearts heavy with these burdens thrust upon them forever vow loyalty and honor.

This would be the last time Jonathan and David would meet each other, but their bond of love, companionship, and loyalty displays for us integrity,  strength of character and the kinds of priceless qualities that are rare in our world today.  How far would you go to stand up for what is right?  For what is just?  For what is best?  This tale of honor and loyalty should cause us to examine our own relationships and what truly matters in this world no matter the threat or pressure and peril we might find ourselves squaring off against.  Mahatma Gandhi once said; “be the change that you want to see in the world!”  I believe that to be true for all of us.  Jonathan selflessly sacrificed everything for his friend, his crown, his safety and his fortune, because of this he changed the world around him.  What are we doing to change the world around us? The arrow is beyond us, so stand up, be bold and change the world!  Image

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