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September 2020

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Books for the Journey:

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The break between the two books of Samuel is purely artificial. IMHO, the Amalekite was likely just one of those that came after the battle with Saul to strip the slain and had the good luck to come upon Saul and get his crown and bracelet and then the poor luck to come to Ziklag to see what he could likewise find in that burnt city only to find David had returned and only made up the story of killing Saul to bring David his crown to win favor. If his story was true, then again, it would be a good example of how being told to do something wrong by a civic or moral authority is no excuse. I personally know of a governmental contract manager that didn’t believe a subcontractor could afford a very low bid and hired a security consultant to break into their financial systems. The guy was probably sloppy enough to break into the administrative account from a lesser one assigned to him because he foolishly thought being hired by the US government would protect him – it did not. The story of being commanded to kill Saul likewise did not save this Amalekite. Again I ask: if this is the kind of punishment handed out to an unbeliever, imagine how much worse waits for believers committing similar crimes. For example, Christian statistician George Barna found that among American Christian adults who said they had given ten percent or more of their income to churches and related ministries in the past year, an examination of their finances showed that two-thirds of those people were lying about their generosity (such as Ananias and Sapphira in Act 5 that were slain by the Lord for only deceitfully keeping a portion of their own property for themselves). BTW, only 2-3% of Christians tithe as compared with 4-5% of Atheists that give a tenth to non-profit organizations.

Both Saul and David were both built and equipped to be great leaders. The difference was that Saul fashioned his functions from this form while David did it completely from God. Read 2 Samuel 2:1 -> David, “Hey God, should I go to one of the towns of Judah?” God, “Yep!” David, “Which one?” God, “Go up to Hebron.” Are your conversations with God this clear? Saul’s weren’t. When a church fails to focus on God, the hearing of churchgoers is suppressed. God speaks, but they can no more hear Him than can a man lying in the gutter in a drunken stupor. To quote Francois Fenelon, “How rare it is to find a soul quiet enough to hear God speak.”

David was anointed three times: 1) by Samuel in secret to indicate God’s purpose, 2) by Judea for the partial accomplishment of that purpose, 3) 7.5 years later by Israel when Saul’s son died and the Jews were reunited for the completion of God’s purpose (2 Sam 5:3). Ish-bosheth would have been 35 at Saul’s death while 2 Samuel 2:10 says that he began as king of Israel suggesting a five year period of turmoil before his short reign began although the long war in 2 Sam 3-4 and Abner’s conspiracy would imply a period of two years. Abner’s expedition to Gideon may have been for the purpose of shifting resources to the tribe of Benjamin to prepare for the war (or “to go out” in 2 Sam 2:12-13) with Judah.

Only John mentions the Greek friends of Philip in v 12:20. They had undoubtedly heard of Christ’s miracles and were perhaps of prophetic significance that Jesus by His death on the cross will provide eternal life to both Jew and Gentile. Christ died for me, paying the price of my sin, and there is no more price to be paid. I am free. I am no longer under the condemnation of God. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men to myself” (v 12:32). While ALL are natural-born sinners (Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 1 Tim. 2:4; Psa. 51:5), God commands ALL people to repent and receive Christ (Acts 17:30-31; I John 3:23; Luke 13:3), Christ as "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42) gave Himself a ransom for ALL (I Timothy 2:6), and He saves "as many as" receive Him (John 1:12). 1 John 2:2 states that Christ "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for THE WHOLE WORLD," and 1 Timothy 4:10 describes God as "the Savior of ALL men.” This concept was, in fact, Jacob Arminius’ strongest objection to TULIP Calvinism. Even as there is no way to the Father except through the Son, though, the only way to the Son is by the Father (v 6:44). But God allows the hearts of those who have repeatedly reject God to harden to the truth (Isaiah 6:10). Come freely with the sacrificial victim; make it ready; bind it to the altar (Psalm 118:27).

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