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Don’t be surprised when insecure people are fearful and jealous of your successes, if not downright hostile. David’s successes brought popular approval when many must have already begun to lose confidence in the erratic rule of Saul. Twice Saul hurls scepters at David in fits of anger after hearing the songs of praise for David, and then he gives David a dangerous military command and further asks for a hundred tokens of dead Philistines (with David bringing twice that many) that only makes things worse. Saul finally starts to openly try to kill David even though Jonathan affects a brief reconciliation until David’s next victory in battle and God has to twice intervene. In David’s times of troubles, it was vital to have a real and tested friend in Jonathon. Likewise after three years in ministry and even after his resurrection, Christ speaks to only 500 during his sermon from the mount – during which He tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit. Then only a few weeks later at Pentecost, only 120 remained. In friendship it is better to go for quality rather than quantity.

Note: do not think that a dowry suggested that women were sold as property. The dowry was part of an elaborate pre-nuptial agreement where the husband generally agreed to continue support in the case of divorce (besides the woman keeping the dowry). Thus, the exchange of gifts showed that both the parents and groom valued the woman and that marriage was not to be taken lightly. Saul’s daughter loved David (and lied to help him escape), but her sinful father violated her trust and never considered her feelings in giving her to David. Years later, David will demand the return of his wife, but only for political reasons (2 Sam 3:13-16) and so will likewise violate her trust. She will show her bitterness at such repeated unfair treatment when she sees David praising God ecstatically (2 Sam 6), demonstrating that she had likewise failed to seek comfort in God. Let me repeat that if you ever read a biblical story and consider anyone other than God to be the hero, you should immediately reread the story.

The true test of Christian character is if you continue to obey Christ’s commandments (see John 14:21 and 2 John 1:6). A new Christian just converted by a single sermon should not have too much confidence in their feelings. Do not repress your love and joy for the Lord, but your faith has not been tried yet. I find the two biggest hurdles for Christians are at 2 months (where 50% are lost – for a total of 10 million Americans who have made a commitment to Christ but were without a relationship with any church within 2 months) and at two years when we our early overly high expectations in fellow Christians meets head on with reality (in much the same way a child must face deficiencies in parents). But, the service of God (not Christians) will free you from the slavery of evil passions, corrupt propensities, degrading vices, and groveling views.

“We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man!” This is a most obvious lie – the descendants of Abraham, or their fathers, had been slaves in Egypt. In addition, their nation had been enslaved in Babylon, repeatedly been subject to the Assyrians, was enslaved by Herod the Great, and was at that very moment under the grievous bondage of the Romans. The condition of a sinner, however, being captive to sin, is to avoid and oppose the truth, be subject to irrational passions, and have little regard for what is said. Jesus was right when he said in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil; he is a liar, and the father of it.

Jesus emphasizes earlier that He did not mean political bondage but slavery to evil desires and rebellion, but every slave knows that a disobedient slave is quickly sold or discarded. A harsh reminder that they could lose the special privileges and status of being the people of God – that they could be cast off like an unfaithful slave without accepting the Gospel (and a warning for every Christian: Hebrews 6:4-8 – “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame”). Pretending as if not to understand Him, they boasted again that Abraham was their father and made into an offense his suggestion they were the offspring of anyone else.

They sought to kill the Messiah because there was no room for Him, being so filled with pride, prejudice, and false notions. He tells them such was not an act of Abraham and repeats the charge that their deeds are of their father (at this time had still not yet named Satan, preferring that they should infer whom He meant). They still profess to not understand Him and suggest that He was calling them of mixed blood and thusly outside the covenant (“we are not born of fornication”). And He tells them again, “If God was your father, you would love me hear God’s words.” Sinners cannot tolerate (as back in v 6:60) true biblical doctrines and form an obstinate purpose that it shall not be applied to them. The Samaritans were deemed as schismatic (and they had long debated which worshiped God correctly) and so why they call Christ one and then they say He had a devil since He called them of Satan (sort of like, “we know you are, but what are we”).

If we have examined ourselves and are left in good conscience, we should not consider it dishonorable to be under reproach, believing that God will in due time avenge us and bring forth “our righteousness as the light and our judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:6). Where ever the disciples went, people spoke against them. Christ says, however, “If I honor myself, my honor is nothing.” They had enough, though, when He claimed that He had come before Abraham and picked up stones to kill Him, but he was able to quickly hide himself (was he miraculously invisible and just so common looking that He could get lost in the multitude?). Today’s Psalm provides a vivid contrast of a good man in verse 5 in strong black and white terms against the wicked described in Psalm 109. The desire of the righteous will prevail while the desire of the wicked will perish. The horn is a symbol of power that speaks of prominence and a lasting sense of worth. This is again one of the nine acrostic (where each subsequent line begins with successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet) verses: 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145.

1 Samuel 18:5-19:24
We have already been given the clues and keys to success when we read the Book of Joshua [This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (1:8)] So it should not be a surprise to anyone when the young man David, who will come to be know as the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, is a success everywhere he goes.

Sin has crouched at the door of Saul’s heart and Saul has let him in just like Cain before him (Genesis 4:7). If Saul had done what was right, even with sin hanging around outside, God would have accepted him. Knowing that God had taken the Kingdome away from him (1 Sam 13:14), Saul makes no effort to “clean” up the condition of his heart, but spends time and energy trying to “take-out” a person of more noble character than he. This futile exercise is done daily all around us and some of it is committed by Christians. We slander and assassinate the character of others so we will look good, or so we think.

As we pursue what we falsely perceive as the enemy we sink deeper into a life of madness just like Saul. Declaring that the “other” is really our problem when the true culprit is that man or woman in the mirror.

I am intrigued by Saul’s run in with the Spirit of God that causes him to prophesy, even take off his clothes while he is doing what may appear on the outside to be some religious acts. I’m intrigued because Saul has no relationship with God, yet God’s Spirit comes upon him to keep him from killing David. This same thing happened to the troops he had sent previously to take David out. So a “religious” experience may not be a sign of a changed heart, in reality we are told to look for spiritual fruit not religious fervor, because it may just be a means of stopping a killer from pursuing his or her intended victim. This is a possibility I must give further thought too.
John 8:31-59

Verse thirty-two, 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," is quoted and misquoted by believers and non-believers alike. The truth that sets one free, according to Jesus, is the truth that comes when one obeys Jesus’ teachings. Since Jesus is Truth, our freedom can only come in conjunction with our relationship with Him.

Jesus’ exchange with the religious leaders in this passage proves the above point. Although confronted with the truth about themselves, they failed to hear it because their alliance was not with Jesus but with their father the Devil, the father of all lies.

It is in this eighth chapter that Jesus begins to frequently use the words, truth, truly and true however those He speaks to cannot handle the truth.

In the Book of Job there is a passage that quotes Job as saying, “Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” Job 12:11). This says to me we know truth when we hear it, but sadly we reject it because it does not fit our agendas. Yet, the sin we so love to chase after, binds us with cords entangling us so that we drown in our own sin. The sin we so love doesn’t love us back; in truth it mocks and then kills us.

Psalm 112:1-10

9 They give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will never be forgotten.
They will have influence and honor.

10 The wicked will be infuriated when they see this.
They will grind their teeth in anger;
they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

These two verses seem to describe Saul. No matter what he tried to do to get David killed, he was “thwarted.”

The continuity of God’s message to us seamlessly threads its way through time and writers from different backgrounds and education never losing the gravity of its Words or significance. Wow, Only God can do that.

Proverbs 15:12-14

If a wise person is hungry for truth, and Jesus is
Truth then the wise person can only be satisfied by Jesus.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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