Women In The Word - OT: Day 26

Michal

by

Today's Text: 1 Samuel 18:12-29, 1 Samuel 19:9-18, 2 Samuel 6:12-23, Exodus 20:2-6

"Michal loved David."

- 1 Samuel 18:28 -

Love makes us act in remarkable ways. In my best moments, I confess my feelings to those I love, sacrifice on their behalf, or put myself in harm’s way to protect them. When we love someone, we step out for them. It’s the God-nature He stamped in us (Genesis 1:27).

In my worst moments, I control those I love, demanding they be what I need. I make them my idols, expecting them to fill me up. I am on a journey, learning that the love I give needs to be daily sourced from God, or else its path is destructive.

Michal has a big story with a heroic beginning and a tragic ending. I wish it were as easy as saying her way of loving was all good or all bad, but she’s the same hot mess I am. Her story is at its best when Michal and David love each other with sacrificial, demonstrative, God-sourced love.

When we look closely at the text, we can identify some of these moments in and hear the echo of God and Gospel in them—

The daughter of King Saul, Michal married David for love, which was not always the case for princesses in biblical history. She chose him (1 Samuel 18:20). It’s our first glimpse of God’s heart expressed in her.

God chose us (Ephesians 1:4).

David must have felt something for Michal as well, because when Saul asked for the death of 100 Philistines as payment for her hand in marriage—knowing there was a chance David would be killed in this effort—David struck down 200 instead. In the unabashed certainty of his gesture we see reflections of Gospel love (1 Samuel 18:27):

Jesus went over and above when paying a price for us (1 John 2:2).  

Michal shows love by saving David’s life, stalling and tricking Saul when he comes to kill him. She protects him at great risk to herself.

God laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16).

It must have been confusing, then, when David didn’t come back for her until years later, after her father had already married her off to another man. How did she mend her broken heart? Did she learn to love another? When her father Saul eventually died, David negotiated for Michal’s return, stirring emotions long buried.

God comes for us (Matthew 1:23).

I am can’t imagine the emotional gymnastics Michal’s heart went through as it loved, expressed, felt rejected, was pursued… and then what? How did she accept him? How did she respond to his other wives? What sourced her emotion at this point?

My heart has been stretched in difficult relationships, and I, too, have found myself with choices to make. Will I grow, lean in, be filled? Or will I harden, hold back, be empty?

These moments are opportunities to love God’s way, especially when our human nature roars to be satisfied.

When we last we read of Michal, she berated David for his undignified behavior as he worshipped God with abandon (2 Samuel 6). She despised how he was uncovered and out of control. Her spiteful words are a magnifying glass to her wounds, her hardened heart no longer able to love well.

In his last recorded loving act towards her, David—the man after God’s own heart—said, “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this…” (2 Samuel 6:21-22). He shared truth in that moment as he saw her stubbornness, setting an example for her—and me!—of where to go to be filled up.

God speaks truth to us (John 17:17).

In the end, Michal paid a heavy price for not listening to that truth. She desired David more than she desired God, making an idol out of her king. He is a jealous God, wanting our whole heart to be captivated with Him so He can fill us to overflowing! When she couldn’t have David on her terms, Michal lost her connection to them both.

Let’s pray to be filled with love today—love sourced from God and not from ourselves or or even those we love. May we be satisfied by Him to the point of spilling over, demonstrating who God is by the way we choose to love.

Beth Guckenberger is a girl who ultimately believes God is sovereign. The journey to that life-truth has been raucous, including living 15+ years in a foreign country, raising ten kids and being married for 20 years to a man she calls “her deepest breath.” Beth is a writer, a lover of orphan children, and follower of Jesus. A perfect day for her involves conversations of substance, ample dark chocolate and an ocean.

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  • Tiffany Bruland

    Such an incredible and applicable devotional!

  • The best devotional I’ve read so far. How easy it is for us to hyper-focus our gaze on what is tangible than to have faith in the fact that God does source our needs in the perfect time. It would be easy for a heart to grow bitter if it is focused entirely on something that is fallible. David pursued the father with everything while Michals identity was rapped in the life she had with David. I get how easy it is to do that. I guess my prayer is that my love for Father will always out way the desire of my control.

  • allie1401

    I imagine Michal and all of her hurt… The man she loved and rescued, sacrificing her relationship with her own father to do so, never came for her, never fought for her. Whether out of spite or some other rationale, her father then gave her to another man, humiliated her, shamed her. Still, her first husband, her love, did nothing. Not only that, he married TWO other women. Only after her father died did he come for her, and many scholars believe it was only to re-solidify his claim to Saul’s throne. I imagine she already felt discarded, shamed, and forgotten, and now used by David – after already having been used by her father repeatedly. Not only that, but the scriptures say that when Michal was taken to David, away from her second husband Paltiel, Paltiel wept the entire way there. Did she love Paltiel as well? Not the girly young teenage love of her youth, but the mature love of a woman, of a wife for a man she viewed as her true husband? A man who wanted and loved her as well? And now, here comes David strutting half-naked through the streets of the city, making a show, with no regard for dignity. Hadn’t she borne enough humiliation?

    I imagine in that moment, Michal’s words had little to do with David’s choice to worship God unashamedly. Yet these chapters in 2 Samuel challenge me… Where do I seek love? Where do I seek satisfaction? Validation? Worth? All Michal could see was a man who abandoned her, discarded her, rejected her, and used her. It was all about her – her hurt, her pride, her wants. Yet she failed to see, even as she rescued David, that God was using David for the good of his people and his glory. Nevermind that David defeated Israel’s enemies, that he returned the ark of the Lord. He had hurt her. And in her bitterness and resentment she was blind to God’s goodness, to his redemption of the folies of her father. It was all about her… And yet if I were to imagine myself in her place…

    Lord, let me, help me, to look to you first in ALL things. Help me to find worth and joy and satisfaction in YOU. To not be ruled by the emotions of my heart, because as your word says, “The heart is deceitful above all else.” Help me to be steadfast and true to YOU and to worship you with abandon like David. Thank you for fighting for me, for not naglecting me, for the opposite – for pursuing me! for ransoming me! for washing me, clothing me new, and claiming me as your own! even as I neglect you, hurt you, and am untrue to you. Make me true. Make me more and more like your son each day.

    • madampinkjustice

      “Lord, let me, help me, to look to you first in ALL things. Help me to find worth and joy and satisfaction in YOU. To not be ruled by the emotions of my heart, because as your word says, “The heart is deceitful above all else.” Amen. Thanks.

    • Mary Beth

      I truly loved what you wrote. This brought the passages into perspective for me more than the reflection. I understand Michal now. I think we’ve all been that woman. As women we know the sting of rejection and our desire for stability in love. I think Michal had every right to act the way she did, and I don’t think I would have reacted any differently to the circumstances. I don’t think she rejected God, I just think that through the lens of pain she couldn’t see what He was doing. This is so easy to fall into! Sometimes we have to look really hard to see God at work.

  • Sveta Riley

    This was amazing. I needed this reminder to, as I continue in my relationship, not put my boyfriend above (or even come close to the love I have for God) God!

  • This was like a slap in the face for me God sure speaks and when you are willing to listen it’s loud. Thanks :)

  • This is absolutely beautiful. Everyone needs to be exposed to this truth.

  • I needed this one! Entering into a new relationship recently I’ve noticed too much of my focus has been on this man, wonderful though he is, when it should be on God. I’ve been impatient and wanting to control the relationship when I should be trusting God’s plan for us and His timing. This devotion really humbled me and reminded me not to make an idol of this man and to seek God’s love first and always.

    • Sarah

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! This was a much needed reminder for me as well!

    • Sveta Riley

      I’m in the exact same boat as you are, girl! But you got this because God is with you!

  • Juliefay

    Hear hear! I agree! Can someone help us out? I know the Holy Spirit is always working and helping us understand the text and that context is important and interpretations or proceedings of the story can be encouraging to the readers but why is there so much elaboration on Michal and what is the point of this story?

    I found a little Hebrew help from this website which seems to say that the word ‘despised’ means undervalued. They also give other perspectives on this story.

    When reading the scriptures it is so easy to get carried away with speculations and elaborations even if we think they may be historically accurate. It’s especially tempting to pick out lessons to fit our ‘women’ study and to want to relate with biblical characters …but it’s so important to read the passage just how it is written and not jump to any conclusions or rely On devotionals for a sole application for our daily lives. I also want to know the answer to Stephs question above about the reliability of interpretations we read the scriptures through.

    • Beatrice

      I would say that LindaLep has a good perspective. Yes, sometimes there is opinion that goes into the interpretation of scripture. But by looking at the cultural context, language use (returning to the original language), and purpose of the text (whether historical, prophetic, efc) we can begin to more fully understand a scriptural reference to an individual or situation.

  • So, I am confused. I understaand that things are left up to interpretation in the bible and we are to study and use other scriptures and knowledge of God to create those interpretations and fill those missing pieces, but how do you know that David actually came back for Michal and that he wasn't there purely to bring the ark? And how do you know Michal loved David more than God? Is there more to this story than included in the selected scriptures?

    Reading the bible as always been difficult for me. I find it hard to concentrate and the words irritate me a lot. I cannot handle KJV or even NKJV. I skip right over things others pick up on only because the words are frustrating to me and the flow often doesn't make sense. I tell you this to say therefore, there is a lot about the bible I do not know. I have found it easier and more enjoyable to read His word since finding SRT, but I get discouraged still because a lot of what is written in the devotionals seems to be interpretation. I suppose I am very literal person and if it is not writte than how do you know it be trustworthy?

    • LindaLep

      In 2 Samuel 3:14 it says that David asked for Michal to be brought to him. It was at the same time that he was becoming the King of Israel. No reason is given. But a few verses later it mentions Michals husband crying as he start d to follow Michal, until he was ordered to go back. We can probably read between the lines that Michal and her husband loved eachother and weren't happy to be separated. David had lots of wives and concubines and you have to wonder whether he and Michal had much of a relationship after she return d to him. She may very well have been bitter towards him, even though she initially loved him.

    • Beatrice

      I would highly recommend reading another version. Try NAS or NIV or ESV. All have slightly different styles but are far easier to understand than KJV.

  • David danced with reckless abandonment to God!!!

    • Juliefay

      David looked like he was flaunting himself…but really if his heart was pure in how expressive he was then that was something that should have fired up people to celebrate with him. I want to celebrate and rejoice when I see someone doing that too! He has given us victory! Let’s go!

  • My God my God what a word! Whew! Talk about reality check. Thank God for this devotion today and may it truly bless us to remember not to make anyone or anything an Idol before God! Father forgive me for I have sinned and heal those fleshy ways in Jesus name!

  • Vicky V.

    Wow! Could I be like Michal?! Making an idol out of my husband…Lord if this is the case I ask for your forgiveness, in Jesus name!!

  • Great devotional!

  • Antimony

    “Will I grow, lean in, be filled? Or will I harden, hold back, be empty?” This caught my eye today. And then she finds herself hard and empty. Driving away the people who love her … because she chose to respond wrongly to the pressures, pains, rejections, and losses of life. She desperately wanted life to be “good”. When it wasn’t she clammed up and withdrew from life. She became bitter. She resented the joy and contentment she saw in others. She mocked the religion/faith that she saw in others. She …. wow … She started so well. But she let life make her bitter and hard. :'(

    • Katie

      That phrase caught my eye too, as I can recognize myself in it. Your comments are spot on – I can see my own actions mirroring that. Good reminder to let God’s love in

  • Adrianna Ford

    This was one of the best ones of this series so far. A lot of them have been about the guy in the women’s story or how it affected the guy. This one was about the women, her choices and how they affected her. I loved it.

  • Kasey Summers

    I love this!!! My life motto is live to love like Jesus!!! He is more than enough to to give us so much purpose, joy, peace, and healing our hearts!! I love this quote…. “He is a jealous God, wanting our whole heart to be captivated with Him so He can fill us to overflowing!” Praying this verse!! I want a heart captivated by God!

  • This was so good!!!! I have tended to make idols of men I care about too instead of giving them God sourced love! Not just men but people I’m close with in general !

    • Juliashelly

      You are not alone. I am learning I have the same tendencies. This was so good for me to read!

  • As we are called to love all kinds of people, some like us and most not, thank you for the reminder that being filled with God’s Spirit, and because Jesus first loves us, that we can “[demonstrate] who God is by the way we choose to love.”

  • I’m still so confused about all this killing in the scripture! David had all the favor of God, yet he KILLED 200 men for her hand in Marriage?? Whaaaat? How is that OK?

    • Lauren

      I don’t believe it was “OK” with God – David was operating under human culture and conditions, but God understood his heart. God is always working, and he works around and within human cultures and cultural expectations. I kind of think that God has worked to change our culture so that now we DON’T think it’s OK to kill people for dowry! It may have taken a long time, but now that change is here.

      Disclaimer – I am no theologian, and these are mostly half-formed thoughts. All I know is that God is always the same, and the God of the New Testament is the God of the Old Testament and the God of right now.

  • michelle of LA CA

    Thank you for this lesson today

  • taylorvanderwell

    I can't help but feel really heavy-hearted for Michal. She loved David and helped save his life only to be abandoned by him and married off to someone else. She hears he's taken other wives. Then David just marches back in and demands to have her back after he's been completely out of the picture and she's moved on. I don't blame her for being upset by David's actions. And I get that he was dancing practically naked in front of female servants and men alike "for the Lord". I'm not saying it's wrong or untrue but…I mean, how many times has God prompted you to do that? I don't read it as Michal despising David because David loved God more than her. I think she just despised him for the way he had acted. She spoke to him out of hurt and bitterness, which isn't good, healthy, or holy. But it makes me sad that we're so quick to just write off David has being blameless in this whole story/situation and the second Michal gets upset with him, we're like "Oh, she's obviously making him an idol and putting her love for him above her love for God." Or maybe she's just mad at him for the way she's been hurt and she's expressing that. Ha. I don't know! I could be totally off, but something just didn't sit quite right with me this morning even though I understand and agree with the point that's being made.

    • Christina

      It doesn’t seem quite right, does it? However, the thing that gets me thinking is that God’s response to her bitterness was infertility. I don’t know what kept David away for so long, but regardless of what he may have done in a wrong way, Michal’s bitter words were directed at God’s chosen man. Not only were they directed against His chosen man, but they were misplaced judgment against him. We are not her judge. God was. It reminds me that God takes His calling on any man or woman’s life seriously, even though none of us is perfect. It leaves me room to pause before I speak out against someone, since I cannot know every detail or see every stroke of the picture God is painting through him or her.

  • This reminds me of Elizabeth Elliot’s legacy of acting in obedience rather than by feelings. Those words she spoke to David were rash and out of the overflow of her bitter heart. I am convicted today of how often I speak rashly to my husband out of feeling, when I should speak out of obedience to the Lord. I stand today in Gods grace knowing that I am chosen by Him!

  • This is a little off topic but with the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage, I find I am at a loss on how to respond properly. How am I supposed to feel and what am I supposed to say to my Christian friends and my non-Christian friends.

    • Lindsey Brewer

      Gods word is Truth. That’s what I say, I have friends who are in Christ and those who are very much in the world. My heart breaks for this world, so accepting of sin. Gods word is Truth. In the good news of Christ and in the condemnation of homosexuality. Truth is Truth. Praying for you my sister.

      In Christ,
      Lindsey

    • Meg

      I’ve be thinking about this all day. Confused as to how I’m supposed to feel. I have several very dear friends who are gay. Earlier this year, my sister told me that she’s a lesbian. I’ve struggled with how to react. And I think that this post was actually pretty perfect. It was kind of a really god-sent confirmation of what I was feeling.

      “Let’s pray to be filled with love today- love sourced from God and not ourselves or even those we love. May we be satisfied by Him to the point of spilling over, demonstrating who God is by the way we choose to live.”

      Instead of fretting over how to feel, how to respond, how to react- I’m going to be spending more time focused on the Source of my love. Gods love and grace extends to every single one of us. Who am I to be choosy on who I extend my grace and love to? I’m going to spend more time praying for Gods love to transform my heart and better equip me to live a life that is in line with His word. And I’m going to spend more time loving my friends and family, regardless of their lifestyle, because you know? Love always wins.

      • Adrienna

        Amen! What’s done by the government is done. It’s out of our hands. All we can do is love those God has put in our lives to love.

      • Aryn

        Thank you! I have had such a heavy heart. But you are right! My focus has been misplaced. When we turn our eyes to Christ- our identity, our only hope – He is able to bring perspective. :)

    • Larissa

      I avoid the topic. Here’s why: I don’t feel like my belief on the subject would make my Christian friends happy. I think gay marriage is just the same as it being legal for people to get drunk, and people to get high and people to be mean through freedom of speech. All of these things are legal. Why is it such a big deal that gay marriage is legal? Is it any worse a sin than getting drunk or getting high? Or being hateful towards someone? The world lives by a different rule book than we do. Our standard is Christ alone.

  • I found it very interesting that Michal used an idol to cover for David as he escaped in 1 Samuel. It isn't surprising as she grew up under the reign of her father, King Saul, who had no heart for God. We then fast forward to 2 Samuel where David dances in the streets worshipping God and Michal despises him for it. Exodus 20 clearly lines out the 10 Commandments and what God expects of us. He makes it clear there that we can't put anyone or anything before Him. Michal doesn't follow any of the Commandments. She loves David with all her heart, puts him on a pedestal, and leaves no room for God in her heart. David, on the other hand, does the opposite and loves God with all his heart. We need to place God first in our marriages, our spouses second, and lastly ourselves. Michael sees first hand how someone can fail her with their love. She despises David for loving God more that he loves her. But, when God is first, His love will never fail us.

  • I would appreciate your prayers. I am struggling with anxiety. I have on and off since I was a teen, but it seems to have gotten worse after children and PPD. I am trying to get in with a naturopath in my area. The anxiety, coupled with some physical symptoms, leads me to believe I have some sort of imbalance.

    • churchmouse

      Praying for healing of your mind, spirit and emotions right now. And that He would lead you to whoever can best help you. You are not alone.

    • Adrienna

      I have dealt with anxiety and depression as well, due to a chemical imbalance. It isn’t easy. Just remember that it does not define you any more than a person’s diabetes or arthritis defines them. It is a result of sin, not a sin itself. Praying for you.

    • Emily

      Praying for you now! I dealt with panic attacks during pregnancy and much anxiety f

      • Emily

        Sorry! H

        • Emily

          Can you tell I hit send prematurely too much?! Whoops. I wanted you to know I’m praying for you. As a mother to young children there is much to be anxious about. I read the book, Can Medicine Stop the Pain co-authored by a Christian doctor and Christian author Elyse Fitzpatrick. God used that book to help bring healing to me as I had made the decision to wean off, and ultimately stop, using Paxil.

          I hope this helps.

    • Angela

      I, too, suffer from anxiety and depression. I’ll be praying for you!!

    • Larissa

      Anxiety and depression are the devil’s way of getting you to focus on yourself when you are a natural giver. Your normal personality trait is probably taking care of everyone else, am I right? The devil wants you to be focused on yourself so you can not shine God’s love on others. Anxiety is one of the only ways he can hinder naturally selfless people and force them to be selfish. I struggled with this for about a year. I was completely delivered by God once I knew Him well enough to understand how deep and how wide and how strong His love for me really is. I would urge you to seek God and get to know Him as best you can, however you can. Please don’t give up, your deliverance is coming just like mine came.

  • I see a wounded woman, who covers up with sharpness and harsh words. Has it been so long that she let love penetrate her heart? She can feel nothing but anger. Oh how I hope that the truth of David’s words penetrated her heart, and from there on out she found refuge in the Lord.

    Reading this, it makes me think about the pressure from the world to toughen up, grow a calloused heart, don’t let things bother you anymore. Be in control. I have tried that route, but quickly learned that it is only a soft heart, a broken heart (psalm 51:17) that God can penetrate and use. In my most broken moments, when I reach out to God, when I ask for a touch of his grace- that’s when I am most able to grasp and believe the overwhelming tenderness of his love. When I am guarded, I feel alone. When by his grace I let down my guard, he comes and ministers with grace to my heart.

  • melindawatters

    My heart has been stretched in difficult relationships, and I, too, have found myself with choices to make. Will I grow, lean in, be filled? Or will I harden, hold back, be empty?
    These moments are opportunities to love God’s way, especially when our human nature roars to be satisfied.

    These words jumped off the page at me this morning. I know my tendency is to hold back in selfish self protection and end up empty. It's a vicious cycle. Oh how my heart roars to be satisfied. My i lean into god, THE SOURCE of true LOVE. May I grow, lean in and be filled when I find myself again these places. Oh that I can love people as He loves me. May my life be filled with His crazy love!

    Thanks ladies for all your added insights and Beth for your writing.

  • I comparing Michal’s response to David to my own at times. I see her frightened and panics as she watches her husband slip away. I’m not excusing her behavior, she has her own issues. I just see myself in her in how I get distracted from the real issues. I let my feelings get hurt, I act in anger and frustration and I do not love well at all. Michal had some of her father in her. She was prone to harsh reactions.
    I pray my focus is taking everything to God and not letting my misunderstandings lead me to sin.

  • Alexis Hale

    I love how this story can be related to God and His love for us. I hope to love my God more and more so I can more fully love those around me.

  • I can totally relate today. I do put my love for my husband before my love for God. I idolize my husband, and when he fails to meet my expectations of him, I crumble. I get angry and resentful. He’s an incredible man, but that’s the problem….he is man. Man fails. Man stumbles. Man will disappoint.
    I’m praying that the Lord will help me see that His grace is sufficient for me. He is enough. That He will deliver and never disappoint. That His promises are real and are never broken. How badly I need to be after God’s own heart. Please pray for me. I want learn how to love God with all that I am.

    • Keela

      I love your response as it is all so true in my own life with my husband. I pray that we will be able to seek to God’s love first and our spouses second because as you said, men fail because we are all imperfect. However God is perfect and has an everlasting pure love that we will never be able to fully comprehend the amount of love he has for us because it is beyond the ways we love.

  • God may bless us with others and earthly possessions, but let me not forget who gave the gift. Always thanking God, He is enough. No other gift is enough except the one true Giver.

  • I look forward to reading everyday, the writers go into great detail. I love it and it gives good understanding. I also love to read about the writer at the end, it give us a glimpse of the writer and how she came to write so well. Thank you all of you that are involved in this journey of the women of the bible. Your all doing an awesome job!

  • Adrienna

    This brought to mind the issues I have with my own husband. We are both believers but have different theological and denominational views. While we have found a church that we can mostly agree on, it is still difficult when he won’t take communion with me. When we (God willing) have children some day, we will have to discuss whether or not to baptize them as infants. There are times when I get frustrated, when I think his views are silly or stupid. When I get angry that he puts his spiritual needs, based on theology I don’t agree with, above my emotional needs. I feel so much like Michal as I type this. So guilty of ridiculing my husband in my heart for the way he worships.

  • Leenda324

    And here I sit still stewing in the fetid juice of my marriage ending 8 years ago. I am convicted.

  • Savannah

    At this time when my dear love is gone with limited communication, this message speaks so much to me. I love my fiancé so much, when things go wrong I run to him for encouragement. But right now I can’t do that. He’s only been gone a day, but I woke up this morning with a sinking heart. Time passes so slowly without him :( My prayer is that during this time I will fall more in love with Jesus, that He will fill me, and my true joy will come from God.

    • Rachel

      I will pray for you Savannah. In your aching to be near your husband to be and in turning to God, may you experience being filled by the God who is THE ONE TRUE never-failing, all loving, all merciful source. May you be enriched, blessed, and overflow with love and hope as you walk with Him!!

    • Erika

      Savannah, I don't know the exact details of your situation. But your response is very similar to my circumstances. My boyfriend and I broke up 2 months ago because God wanted us to take a step back so that He could work in our lives. I have a lot of hope that our relationship will be restored and made new. I haven't spoken to my ex in a month and a half and it's still extremely painful. I want more then anything to just be with him. But I know that God is doing a lot of work in both of our hearts and minds during our time apart. I know exactly what you're going through. Be strong, spend time with the Lord, pour out your heart to Him and He will speak to you in ways you never imagined! Praying for you!

      • Savannah

        Thank so much for your prayer! My fiancé is deployed right now, the first one for both of us. I will be praying for you and for God to work through both of you. He always has a plan.

  • Wow, it's so easy to let your good intentions and "love" you have for another person become warped and controlling, far from something that honors God. I can easily relate to Michal and the bitterness she felt for David after feeling betrayed and heartbroken, and it's scary how any of us can become bitter and angry; when we put other people before God, we are more likely to hurt them in the end (which is interesting, because these are people we love the most). This is something I've been struggling with, and it was so good to see it in this light.

    I pray for a love that is of God, not of my own. I pray that my heart be filled with God's love so that I can love others in a way that honors Him. I pray that He softens my heart and fills me up so that I can point others to Him and love them for who they are, not what they do for me.

    Thank you for such a beautiful truth this morning!

    • Katie@ichoosebrave

      At times I've thought of sin as all the bad and ugly but it's interesting (more dangerous?) to notice how it warps what is pure and beautiful. We love with the best of intentions and hardly notice when that slips to control, an idol. This makes me even more aware of my continual need for His Spirit to filter my heart, that the chaff may fall away. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ashley.

  • Wow! There is so much truth and insight that is leading to my conviction of sin of loving my husband more than God. Wanting and needing his affirmation and love over being filled, affirmed, and loved by God. I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing. Thank you God and this wonderful WITW study to bring this to light.

    This part hit home: “My heart has been stretched in difficult relationships, and I, too, have found myself with choices to make. Will I grow, lean in, be filled? Or will I harden, hold back, be empty? These moments are opportunities to love God’s way, especially when our human nature roars to be satisfied.”. With God as my source, He will fulfill me so I can be the wife and mom He created me to be, not dependent on any other source.

  • Beth,
    Your words really spoke to me today. Especially when you said, “My heart has been stretched in difficult relationships…These moments are opportunities to love God’s way, especially when our human nature roars to be satisfied.”

    So often my heart roars to be satisfied, and I look for satisfaction in all the wrong places. I don’t patiently wait for God to fill me. I look to for the people in my life to fill me here and now. They seem like a quick fix. But I know that’s not what I need. All people have limits, and I need a source of love that is perfect and has no beginning and no end. I need Jesus!

    Thank you for your post today!

  • I think Michal's story is one of the most tragic, and least told. Isn't it crazy how life can make us bitter if we let it?

  • Leslie Olson

    All the good in Michals life was God, every evil thing was evidence of her distance from him. #simpleprofoundtruth

  • Can someone help me!? So with reading about Michal and her idolizing David and ridiculed God and not seeing that she was desiring David more than she desired God. I have started a journal about praying for my future husband. I feel like I was seeking God for myself, and then I wanted to pray that my husband who I have no idea is, or when God will appoint me to enter into his life, would be filled by God too. How do I refrain from desiring my future husband more than I am desiring God, even though I am praying that God would build the man He has for me, into his image?

    • Leslie Olson

      As a mom of 3 daughters and 30 plus years of marriage after many years of imbalanced concern for my own future relationships may I offer that Refrain may begin by your focus on becoming the wife /woman that God desires MORE than you focus on the prayer for that man/husband. Your prayers and desires are not unrighteous unless they are out of balance. Set aside a time for those prayers and then when you have completed them – move on to your date with God for that day. Know that God hears. And of course, psalm 37:4
      Delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
      He loves you He has a beautiful future planned for you – those are promises for you today!

      • JJK

        Yes! That makes COMPLETE sense! And thank you so much for helping!

      • smithwendy62

        Leslie you are right on target and JJK I hope you read her reply again and again…I too have been married for almost 30 years and Leslie is right that once you have an understanding of what God wants for a wife and a mother to be then you will begin to make strides to be that person. God does have a plan for you and gain your strength in that person relationship with the Father first.

    • Leslie Olson

      Double minded – we see glimpses of God/good in her story and glimpses of distance.

      Welcome to the wonderful world of womanhood or better said, humanity. Every day there are glimpses of my closeness to God and glimpses of my distance. What I wonder is what I will be known for – TODAY? Will I be a woman seen as close to God – where good is apparent and choices are deliberate — or will I be a woman who is distant from God where self is apparent and choices happen by default? Thank you Lord for warnings …… And for the freedom to choose. Please give me awareness and strength for this day….that I may know that the moment that matters most is this one. Thank you Jesus for the ability and strength that comes from you to die to myself and choose life.

    • Rachel

      Hi JJK!
      Let’s pray for each other. It’s all about the order. “Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” Put God first and trust Him with his decision. It is so good that you are praying for your future husband and for him to love God first too!!

      While I am married, oftentimes I do struggle with loving my husband more than God. But that struggle has led me to pray that much more that I turn to God for my fulfillment, purpose, strength. Here’s the amazing part …it works! When I’m filled with love by God as I walk and abide with Him and experience Him, then, and only then, can I love my husband with true unselfish unconditional love. And my heart is at rest. Hope that helps. I’m still asking God to continue to show me!!

    • Allie

      Hi JJK-
      Your post sang to me…familiar lyrics that my heart struggled with in years past. Here is what God has shown me in my journey…

      Desiring my future husband became an idol for me…so much that when push came to shove I would simply abandon my God for a man that I convinced myself was made for me. This pattern manifested itself on 3 separate occasions. (Yes…I’m a hot mess).

      My point is this…I was so consumed in praying for my future husband that the slightest indication of his arrival made me throw away everything I knew as truth to be what this human wanted me to be.

      I praise your work on being intentionally in prayer for your future husband!! Keep it up…but don’t let it consume you.

      I challenge you to consider a shift in your perspective. A shift in perspective that saved my life…and taught me (finally) how to love my (soon to be!!!) spouse…

      Keep praying for him! Focusing on praying for his relationship with God…that God be his number 1…his complete fulfillment. More importantly, lean in yourself, that especially in this time of singleness you learn to abide in Him and find all fulfillment in who He is…that your heart be at home in Him alone. The reality is even your future husband will disappoint you at times…simply because he is a human.

      Keep God as your number 1 and learn to love through who He is. He will work out the rest.

  • This observation is not on point, yet I couldn't seem to pass by it. Today we read:
    1st Samuel 18:12…the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.
    And two days ago we read:
    Judges 16:20…But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.

    This departing is scarry stuff. Are these both examples of apostasy? I see myself going off on another study.

    I pray that my ears remain open to God speaking His truth to me.
    And that I would grow in loving others through Christ. That my relationship would be so tight with Him that His love can't but ooze out of me.

  • I have always found Michal fascinating – in fact, I have written several flash fiction pieces about her. But I never thought of her quite like this. Never understood her bitterness until now. Thank you. Lord, may I love You most, and love others as You wish me to.

  • Just again reminds me of how I once loved and adored my husband. So dedicated to showing love to him that I thought I was allowing God in it and I'm sure to an extent I did, but ultimately my love of and concern over my husband's heart just continued to get in the way of God. I wanted to love God's way, and I misunderstand what that looked and ended up loving my way … just further wreaking havoc on areas that God needed to work out. God's love is perfect and it involves discipline AND my eyes should have been on Christ has my husband entirely. I should have been more concerned with God's love over me than my husband's. Over many years, I got a lot of moments right and a lot of moments wrong. Not fully understanding this portion, *I* worked too hard to bring peace to my husband's warring heart and our warring marriage, instead of leaving it to God. In that, my working and striving on-goingly, inadvertently put me in harm's way, and the constant swell of the emotions, trauma and pain in our marriage left me feeling tired and empty and worn. All of that opened the door of my heart to bitterness, hurt and an unhealthy anger….so when God DID move on my husband, when I did get out of the way, I didn't see it the way I should have and I reacted harshly, just like Michal to David, to my changed husband. All things I swore I could never imagine doing….but this world has a way of wearing us down and our choices, especially over long and grueling years, can wear us thin, and I fell hard. God didn't need change in my relationship just for my husband, but for me as well. It's easy to see yourself as the "good spouse" when you're living the way I was, when your sins aren't obvious and your moving in love. BUT ultimately it takes two and I would encourage others to look closely at their struggling relationships and ask yourselves, "Where have I been a harsh Michal?", "Where am I placing my hope, how am I loving these people, my way or God's?" It's a humbling awareness when God reveals work in you, but it's oh so beautiful when we let Him take us and mold us His way. When we give up loving the way we want and instead love the way He wants, the end result is amazing. ~ B

    • Jen

      -B- Thank you for sharing this. I feel I could have written this as it seems to mirror my heart and circumstances as well. Except the change has not come as of yet, but I’ve begun to fear that, like you described, the hurt, anger, and bitterness creeping in would cause a similar reaction even if God did work the miracle I desire. Thank you for prompting a soul searching and giving me solace in knowing I am not alone. I’m sure the details and specifics of our situations differ, but what you wrote really resonated with me. I will pray for you…could you please remember me in prayer as well?

      • ~ B ~

        Jen, I will absolutely be prayerful over you and your husband. Seasons such as this, that feel like they just drone on can feel so overwhelming, just know you are not alone. And God knows the goings ons. Keep your eyes on Christ and He will not let you down. My heart truly aches for women in your position, please know if you are ever in need of extra prayer or specific prayer you can always reach out to me, I'm always happy to pray specifically over marriages and wives in your place. Thinking of you Jen! ~ B

      • Kate

        Praying for you also!

      • Ellen

        Jen, I will be praying for you too. I have been where you are and I remember how hopeless my marriage felt before God did amazing transformational work in my husband and in me. Like B, I thought God just needed to do a work in my husband. But then God opened my eyes to my own part in our marital struggles. I was devastated at seeing myself as harsh as Michal. But, how merciful of God to show us our sin so that we can repent and be ever more conformed to the image of our beloved Jesus!
        Jen, you are not alone, and you are in my prayers. Thanks B for your transparency and starting this conversation.

  • I especially feel the application of this study with the love I have for my kids. My love for them is unchanging but my own efforts of patience with them are often failing. (they’re 2 and 1 and I stay home with them.) when I strive to parent and teach them out of my own love, I come up short and frustrated. When I operate in th spirit out of Gods love overflowing in me, grace fills our home. Not perfection. Just grace. And we all need more grace. Praying for an unashamed-dancing-joyfully-before-the-lord-overflowing-with-his-love kind of day!

  • Hey Beth! I am so glad to see you on here. I never met you myself, but I’m part of the church family in Fairfield, OH! :) I feel like I’ve known you myself, from all the stories they’ve shared since coming back from Mex. Thank you for your insight on Michal today. Gave me a lot to chew on throughout my day.

  • Pam Seipp

    May I have this dance for the rest of my life!

    Song that comes to me now! Song of love and devotion.

  • I feel like that is speaking directly to my heart today. As I struggle with giving the possibilities of a new relationship to God, I realize that my relationship with God must come first.

  • I come, not with a comet, but with a question. Does anyone understand what is meant in chapter 19 verse 9? This particular verse speaks of the harmful spirit coming from the Lord. This has me somewhat baffled.

    • Shayna

      Hi Dee! I was confused too – a lot of research is saying that this confusion we're experiencing is due to translation of the Hebrew. Most sources say that because God removed His spirit from Saul, evil spirits were allowed to torment Him. The evil spirits couldn't be from God, since God is all good. Hope that helps ;)

      • Laura Jernigan

        Yes, when the Lord’s hand is removed, it opens the door for Satan to come in. It’s not directly from God, but from being outside of His covering. No place I ever want to be!!

        • Dee

          Thank you both, Shayna and Laura. Your replies were so helpful! Have a beautiful day ladies!

          • theregoesmollyrose

            I was wondering the same thing!! I feel we will never completely understand all of Scripture and must continue to have faith and trust in Him.

          • theregoesmollyrose

            Also! The notes in my bible read that scripture indicates that evil spirits are subject to Gods control and operate only within divinely determined boundaries. It references to 1 kings 22:19-23 , job 1:12, and job 2:6. All good insight!

    • Kathryn

      I think what this is referring to is the same thing when scripture tells us that God “hardens hearts”. God doesn’t bring harm, but rather, he simply removes His spirit. By the very act of removing His presence and holiness, darkness will creep in. It sounds harsh, but the truth is that it, like everything else, is for His ultimate Glory. We can’t always see the big picture or understand why some of us are chosen and others have “hardened hearts”, but we have to be faithful, trust God and live for His Glory.

  • Thank you for drawing us back to Jesus…

  • I hope I will always make my love for Christ bigger than my love for anyone or anything else but it’s honestly a struggle! Today I pray that my love for Him would come first and on top.

  • I appreciate how you made me see Michal in a whole new way.

  • I have loved who I am for as long as I can remember, even as a child of mixed parentage in the 50/60s….why…because I was loved….by my earthly father…He sacrificed, he gave, he was ever present in my life…Always listening, there to advice, hug, give wise council…..So here we are, he is no longer here to fight or advise in my battles…and this love thing is hard, because he is not here…family are causing stress at a time when we should pull together in our loss…but oh no.suddenly it is a case of them und us ( my brother and I ), because we live away from home and tradition…I have even said in the last few days..I love who I am, the name I carry, and whose earthly daughter and heritage I have, …but this is hard, the dismissive attitude, and 'you of no importance' comments hurt..
    Thank you for the devo today…I needed, for sure, to take to heart all that you have said…and hear TRUTH…that I am a child of God, first and foremost….and I am loved…and I need to apply that same God love, and heart as I/we move forward, navigating the funeral arrangements with family..

    Speak your truth to me Lord God, your daughter is listening…Here I am LORD …Speak…

    Blessings to all…xxx

    • Candacejo

      Missing you here, have been praying for you and your family. My heart goes out to you, I am so sorry there are family difficulties, it just shouldn't be. Know you are loved by the King, a child of the Most High God and your sisters are praying for you today and in the days to come that you would simply be allowed to grieve and also be flooded with precious memories. Much love to you dear friend. ♥♥♥

    • Missa

      My dad passed away 4 years ago, such a devastating loss for me. I can’t imagine having to go through that loss with family stress on top of it. I am praying for you and your family, Tina.

    • Zuriel

      Praying for you, sweet sister. May the love you show be a reflection of your earthly father and your heavenly Father. The Lord give you the strength, peace, and wisdom to endure. You are a precious jewel, a beloved daughter. Remember that no matter how you are treated by your earthly family, you have a heavenly family that loves you dearly. We are with you, though not physically.

      Hugs to you…
      Zuri

      • Heather (MNmomma)

        You are in my prayers Tina….love and hugs to you my dear…

    • ~ B ~

      Tina, I'm so sorry to hear of the difficulties with family in this raw season. It disheartening and I can't imagine how much worse it must make you feel. Prayerful over you and yours and thankful that you stopped in for the morning. Hopeful that as the days pass God comforts you more and more and provides wonderful memories that allow you to feel His great love over you. Love to you T! ~ B

    • Debbie

      I have missed you as well, been praying for you knowing that losing a parent is very hard even as an adult. Then there are others in our familes that make us feel less, all the while GOD says I love you with all my heart.. Tina , love you also with God's love. I will stand with you in prayer.

    • Sharon

      What a wonderful legacy your father left you, Tina! It sounds like he modeled how to live well in this messed up world. My prayers are with you today. People in pain can act in hurtful ways. As you navigate through this journey of grief- I am praying God gives you His perspective, wisdom from above, and love that overflows to those around you.

    • Angela

      Praying for you and the difficulties you’re experiencing with your family. May you continue to feel the peaceful presence of your Heavenly Father as you grieve your earthly father. ((hugs))

    • mamajonk

      Praying for you Tina. Family can be so hard at times, but hang in there girl! The Lord and your spiritual family has your back ;-)

  • Kelly_Smith

    Every day I have opportunities to love God's way. Sacrificial. Forgiving. Patient. Kind. More times than not, I fall into the pattern of loving my way. Selfish. Controlling. Bitter. I, in my own strength, do not know how to love any other way. It is only through Christ that I am able to love others with the love of God. It is supernatural in the true sense of the word–beyond the laws of nature. The seed of perfect love starts to grow when I give my heart completely to God. Out of the overflow of loving Him fiercely, I will begin to love others the way He loves me. As I explore the depths of His love through scripture, I learn new ways to love others. Love should make us do crazy things. Dancing in the street, hanging on a cross, standing for Christ in the face of persecution–that's some crazy love! Lord, make me crazy in love with You. Only then will I love others, the way You love me.

    • Candacejo

      Crazy love! Yes…Can't get the song out of my head:

      I will dance, I will sing to be mad for my King
      Nothing, Lord, is hindering the passion in my soul
      I will dance, I will sing to be mad for my King
      Nothing, Lord, is hindering the passion in my soul

      And I'll become even more undignified than this
      Some would say it's foolishness
      But I'll become even more undignified than this
      Leave my pride by the side

      Help me Lord to leave my pride by the side…it's not about me! Here's the youtube video if anyone wants to get a little David in them this morning. :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp7B5V-qpTQ

    • Rachel

      Amen!

  • This hit so close to home. I have to be filled with God love, not my love for myself or the love others have for me.

  • I love the connections you made between David and Michal's love story and the love story God is writing in our lives. The amazing thing about the two of them is they took turns representing God and representing us. Sometimes David reflected God to Michal, and sometimes Michal reflected God to David.
    I think that's how the best relationships work: we take turns showing each other who God is, and we take turns showing each other our need for Him. We point each other towards Him both at our best and at our worst.
    She probably told herself she was speaking out of love when she berated him. But her love was so poisoned by that time, she probably doubted her heart toward him, and his heart toward her.
    This story filled my heart with compassion for Michal. I want a better ending for her. I want a better ending for me. She leaves me asking, "How can I protect the source of my love so it flows pure?"

    • Sharon

      Love this idea, Hannah. What an incredible privilege and honor to represent God to my husband. And how quickly that can change and become terribly distorted when my focus shifts. Maybe it doesn't happen quickly. Maybe just a slight change over time takes one farther from truth than was ever the hope or plan. I wish Michal had a better ending too. And I want a better ending for myself. This story causes me to pause and reevaluate my heart, my soul– and that is a good thing!

    • melindawatters

      How can I protect the source of my love so it flows pure?"

      I too am asking myself this question this morning. I too wished for a better ending for Michal. Reading those last words as the light fades out on her life left me so sad and reflecting on my own heart and what poisons I have let in.

    • Brooke

      I feel the same way. I want a better ending for Michal, whose life, heart, and emotions were used by her father for his own gain. I know God valued her, and I also know our choices have consequences. But a deep part of me is on her side, hoping that even though she never had children, she found happiness.

      When we're going through difficult things, we often don't even think about the way we respond. But our response matters to God. I've been telling that to my own heart for years now, and He's given me amble opportunity to try it out. I imagine Michal thought to herself, "surely not this, Lord. Surely you can't expect me to respond well in this circumstance? I have a right to be angry!"

      After spending a lot of time angry over various things in my life, I'm landing on this: my rights are less important than God's glory, and the main reason for my life is that others may see Jesus in me. My response matters to God.

    • Judy

      I always look forward to your comments on each devotional. You have unique insight into truth and it underscores the purpose of what I read. I love this connection and push and pull between David And Michal. I experience that in my own relationship and it is good to ponder how God would have me constantly relying on Him….thereby giving me a gift to bring to these earthly bonds through His love.

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