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I have had my eyes on Saul's character since Ramona began discussing it earlier in the week. Here it's much more obvious what his flaws are. It's a lack of faith in God's power in his life and a focus on himself. That's why he initially hid among the baggage, that's why he was "small in his own eyes", that's why he is "afraid of the people", and why he wants Samuel to come back with him in order to honor himself. He also refers to God as the Lord your God (meaning Samuel's)---he doesn't call him the Lord, my God (meaning Saul's).

Interesting.

I Samuel 15 (NKJV)
2
Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.
3
Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

9
BUT SAUL AND THE PEOPLE SPARED AGAG AND THE BEST OF THE SHEEP, THE OXEN, THE FATLINGS, THE LAMBS, AND ALL THAT WAS GOOD, AND WERE UNWILLING TO UTTERLY DESTROY THEM. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
10
Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying,
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“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.

17
So Samuel said…
18
Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’
19
Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? WHY DID YOU SWOOP DOWN ON THE SPOIL, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?”

29
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”

I Samuel 16
7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees [ SEE NOTE ]; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

[NOTE ]
Septuagint reads For God does not see as man sees
Targum reads It is not by the appearance of a man
Vulgate reads Nor do I judge according to the looks of a man.

John 8 (NKJV)
10
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,[i] “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Psalm 110 (NKJV)
1
The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

Proverbs 15 (NKJV)
8
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
~~~

NOTE:
I am very glad that God is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God, Who is not fickle and change like humans do (I Samuel 15:29).

I am sure that it is impossible for us, as humans, to really have any idea how God sees people—or even how God sees us.

In fact, I have spoken with those who do not believe in the God of the Holy Bible—the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—often make this very point. They indicate that it is impossible to know with certainty who God is as He is so far above us.

That would be true, except that God has chosen to reveal Himself clearly and definitely in His Word, and through His covenant people over thousands of years. Most clearly, the Father has revealed Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the glory of God, according to Hebrews 1:1-3.

~~~
Having said that, we who have a relationship with the Lord know that our human wisdom can never understand who our God is. Yes, we must study to show ourselves approved, as in 2 Timothy 2:15.

Yes, we need to love God with all of our mind and reasoning faculties (as in the Great Commandment of our Father quoted by Jesus the Son).

è Yet, in the final analysis, our minds and beings will only know God fully by revelation through prayer and in that personal relationship with the Lord.

And this has everything to do with our hearts. It is so easy for me, as a human, to deceive myself based on my understanding of my own heart—just like King Saul.

~~~
To human understanding, there seems to be a huge difference between the Father God of the OT and the love of the Jesus the Son in the NT. At least, that is in limited human understanding.

Note the wrath and justice of God when He remembered the persistent sin of the Amalekites, and told King Saul to destroy them. Also note when God when He rejected Saul for not doing so.

Yet, Jesus called the God of the OT by the name of “Father”. This shows that He is a compassionate God, more than willing to be a Father and to love and forgive.

Also, note the verse in Proverbs: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…”

People can say that there is a contradiction between the “God” of the OT and Jesus the Son in the NT. After all, note the exchange of words with the woman caught in adultery: “And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ ”

~~~
The so-called “opposite sides” are reconciled by letting God’s Word—the Bible—interpret itself, and letting God speak for Himself.


1. FIRST, NOTE THAT JESUS CALLED THE GOD OF THE OT BY THE TERM, “FATHER”.

This reveals that God has always been a compassionate God, always ready to forgive and love. The OT is rich and overflowing with God’s compassion and mercy, more than willing to heal and forgive.

It is just hard for human understanding to get past the holiness and justice of God to see it. Again, it is not right for us to “judge” God by our limited view. He is God, and we are not.

2. Second, note the first verse Psalm 110, truly one of the most powerful Messianic Psalms: “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ ”

In Matthew 22 (NKJV), Jesus clearly references this verse as speaking about Himself:
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While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
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saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “ The Son of David.”
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He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
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‘ The LORD said to my Lord, “ Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool ” ’?
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If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
46
And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

~~~
It seems clear to me that Jesus and the Father are One—in unity and in essence. There are NOT three gods—rather three Persons in the Godhead. Though that might not satisfy some, it is the answer to the so-called contradiction between the “Father” and the “Son”.

Jesus clearly reveals His self awareness as God when quoting Psalm 110 about Himself. Also, Psalm 110 clearly shows that those who refuse to repent—whether the Amalekites, or me or you—can never be forgiven.

But that is not because of any kind of shortage of God’s mercy, or of the unwillingness of God to forgive. That is because our hearts—if they are not right—keep us from entering into the fantastically amazing mercy of God to forgive.

May we heed God's will in Philippians 2 (NKJV):
12
Therefore, my beloved…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Vance

1 SAM 15:22
But Samuel replied:
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

I think next year I am going to concentrate on Proverbs. It is pretty interesting whn one does a little research and finds corresponding verses in the Psalms and Proverbs. It helps to get a more complete picture of the passage. Keil & Delitzsch's Old Testament commentary is a great help in this area.

Prov 15:8
The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

Prov 15:29
The LORD is far from the wicked
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Prov 21:27
The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
how much more so when brought with evil intent!

Interesting that nowhere does it say, 'the sacrifice of the righteous is pleasing to God'. Perhaps it is a given?, or perhaps the emphasis is on prayer of the righteous. Who are the wicked?

Prov 4:19
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.

The wicked are the lost. Whether by choice or by ignorance the wicked have no clue. Oh, they might in a spiritual moment or at some time in their life embrace something they think is spiritual - sacrifices, worship, prayer - but the wicked do NOT know God, nor are they sincerely seeking Him.

The sacrifices of the wicked are NOT pleasing to God. They are not sacrificing with the right heart. Maybe they sacrifice because it is prescribed by the religion, maybe it is a social custom, maybe they are just appeasing or trying to please family, wife, or a girlfriend, maybe it is to be perceived as one who is coming to the Lord - but they do NOT know God.

It is even worse when done with evil intent. 'I will make this sacrifice, this confession, this act of pennance before God - because - heh, I can have a license to keep on acting in an evil (sinful) way as long as I periodically make the obligatory motions toward God to make everything all right.'

God HATES that even more! Regardless, God hates it and distances himself from such actions and people. But God is close to and hears the righteous. Not that anyone can be righteous, but in Old Testament that they Believe in God, his promises, and is seeking God with a right heart and striving to act in an upright manner.

Prov 28:9
If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.

Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

Not just the sacrifices, but back in Old Testament those that hear the Law and reject it or completely ignore it - their prayers are even detestable.

The Lord is near to those that call on him in truth. Back then the truth was those that sincerely sought the Lord. Today, the "truth" is Jesus.

"I am the way and the TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (emphasis mine)

Applications today: Don't get caught up in perfunctory ritual. Don't worship God because it is the way you were brought up, to please someone else, because it is the thing to do to get more local business. There is only one way the Lord, our God, will Hear you and that is to seek Him with an open heart, and come to Him through His son - Jesus Christ.


Light of the World

(As a recap from yesterday)
On the evening of the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles, there was a ceremony called the "Illumination of the Temple," which involved the ritual lighting of four golden candelabra in the Court of Women. For additional reflection, each person lit four candlesticks and set them in a floating bowl, producing such a spectacle of light that it is said that all Jerusalem basked in its glow. All night long the light shone. In celebration and anticipation, the greatest, wisest, and holiest of Israel's men danced before the Lord and sang psalms of joy and praise, while the people watched and waited.

They watched and waited, hoped and prayed, because this festival reminded the citizens of Israel that God had promised to send a light, the Light, to a sin-darkened world. God promised to send a Redeemer, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of God. God promised to send Someone Who would renew Israel's glory, release them from bondage, and restore their joy.
http://www.trinitycrc.org/sermons/jn08v12.html

Whether the light was to represent the Shekinah Glory once present in the Temple or the pillar of Fire that led the nation in the wilderness is not as important as that in the Old Testament "light" was promised (that it would be sent) to Israel .

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

In John 1:1 Jesus is the Word so it is no surprise that He claims to be the light. In fact it is mentioned often in John 1.

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me (Psalm 43:3).

Jesus is the light and the truth.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. (Is 60:1)

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned. (Is 9:2)

With the backdrop of recent Feast of Tabernacles and the promises in Scripture, Jesus says:

John 8:12
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

"I AM" (ego eimi)

"the light of the world" - not just Israel. The light of the world , but there is responsibility on our part -

"Whoever follows me" - Greek present participle - means "continuos following" - which is the difference between a disciple and a true disciple. See John 15:8

"will never walk in darkness" - THE PROMISE: if you walk in the light and abide in me (follow me) you will know God and the things of God. They will be illuminated to you.

"but will have the light of life." - see above - you will have the life-giving light - by knowing these things from receiving, believing, and following Christ you will walk in the light of God and be a reflection of His Glory.


Just a small note to add to Vance's statement about the Trinity being 3 persons in 1 God. I recently just had the concept that it's not that hard to connect with the concept - we also are 3 in 1 so to speak - body, soul and spirit - each a separate entity but all joined together.

I'm SO enjoying having joined in at this particular point in the readings, as each is consolidating what the Lord has already been teaching me - i.e. I had just started watching a film on the life of David (similar to the Jesus films) and had also just watched the Gospel of John before starting into these readings, so He's totally confirming many points to me once more. I think one thing that hit me on Saul's disobedient episode was how easy it is for us to assume we know better than God. Or where we feel we can change His Will in some way and still please Him. I thought it was tough on Saul in some respects that although he repented, and no doubt was perhaps even forgiven, he wasn't restored, which for him was so important. And I praise God that He provides us even restoration through Jesus when we truly repent. I think too that we sometimes don't truly appreciate just how fortunate we are that God provided his new Covenant for us to avail of - dread to think where the human race would be now if He hadn't. Blessings, Romayne

1 Samuel 15:1-16:23

Don’t second guess God and don’t think because God is the Ancient of Days, that He is senile and just doesn’t know anything. Don’t cry out, “God, you just don’t know …” Yes He does.

I am intrigued by Samuel’s directive to Saul, “And Samuel said unto Saul: 'The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over His people, over Israel; now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 15:1 JPS)

Saul, I (Samuel) about to give you some instructions, but they are not from me I’m passing them on from God so, “Listen Up!!” We read the Bible to get a “Word” from God. But, are we practicing witchcraft and idolatry by ignoring or fighting against the Word we have read and heard? Do we try to “pretty it up” by rationalizing and reasoning away the Word. Do we try to say God’s Word is complicated and open to interpretation in the face of someone telling us, “No, we are dead wrong and haven’t listened?” Samuel gave Saul a clear Word, leaving nothing to interpretation. However, what Saul heard with his ears was filtered by what was going on in his heart. He changed the message to fit himself.

Saul was a man with a big ego born out of his insecurity. Samuel said, When you were small in your own sight, were you not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed you king over Israel? (1 Samuel 15:17 AMP) People usually have big egos to cover-up their perceived insignificance. Saul saw himself and judged himself through his own eyes and not Gods. He is like those animals and fish that have a built in mechanism that causes them to “puff-up” to appear bigger than what they really are.

God how much have I “Puffed” myself up?

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Saul used the words "the Lord,your God"quite a bit.God wasn't Saul's God,just Samuel's.His repentance was just a show before Israel{"I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD}.I wonder why Samuel in the end did agree to go with him...and why Samuel argued with God on David's annointing because he feared Saul would kill him...It also beats me why Samuel would mourn over Saul so much.
In the NT reading,I just love the story of the sinful woman who got mercy from Jesus.When I think that he still intercedes for us in heaven it truly is an encouragement...
God bless you all

Re Mike's questions about Jesus the Light of the World:

As John pointed out in a comment yesterday, Jesus has been declaring himself in various ways in the chapters from John's Gospel the last few days, for example:

- the Son of Man (6:26)
- the Bread of Life (6:35)
- Son of the Father (6:40)
- sent by the Father (6:57)
- the light of the world (8:12)

And he has been offering salvation in various forms:

- true bread from heaven (6:32)
- life to the world (6:33)
- eternal life (6:40)
- resurrection at the last day (6:44)
- all of the above (6:50-51)
- his flesh as real food and his blood as real drink (6:55)
- He will remain in those who receive Him (6:56)
- the words of the Spirit, the life of the Spirit (6:63)
- streams of living water flowing from within us (7:38)
- the light of life (7:12)

There is a remark by John to his readers in 7:39 about Jesus' offer in v38 of streams of living water flowing from within us when we believe. John remarks:

"By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified."

Looking forward to reading Acts again soon where we see this happening to the Disciples and the the early church. But I miss the manifest presence of the Spirit in myself and in the church today. Not completely, there are signs of His presence. But, from these passages in John's Gospel, it seems there should be so much more .... "streams of living water flowing" sounds like more than a few drops or a trickle. "If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." sounds like more than a flickering torch light in a huge dark cavern.

Any comments?

Greetings,
Andrew B

From yesterday's reading, Christ assures us that "streams of living water" flows from within us as long as we believe in Him. Then today he gives us another assurance that we will no longer walk in darkness for He is the Light of the World.

As I was doing my readings I felt trasported to wen I was a kid being fascinated and enjoying two of the most memorable, dramatic and symbolic rituals in my church. First, the solemn singing of Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful at the end of our Christmas midnight mass.
All the lights were turned off except for the "shining star" at the altar. I never understood what it was all about as a kid but understand the symbolic meaning of the star. What a beautiful way to celebrate the birth of the Light of the World...

The Easter Vigil is another memorable liturgy for me, when again the church or the community starts out in complete darkness and then all our candles are lit from the One Source, the Easter Candle. These two importnat liturgies are a great way to celebrate and to be reminded that Christ is indeed the Light of the World, without Him we will continue to walk in darkness. It is truly a blessing and a gift to be able to experience the streams of living water and to walk in the Light.

oooops---some words got erased.

....what it was all about as a kid but as I got older I began to understand the symbolic meaning of the star.

In regard to what Anka expressed: "Saul used the words "the Lord,"YOUR" God" quite a bit.God wasn't Saul's God,just Samuel's (this is so true...sort of like when our children do something we don't like & they become "his" or "her" children or "their" mother or father!). His repentance was just a show before Israel{"I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD}. I wonder why Samuel in the end did agree to go with him...and why Samuel argued with God on David's annointing because he feared Saul would kill him...It also beats me why Samuel would mourn over Saul so much."

Saul was in trouble from day one when he said that he "listened" to the people & did what they wanted instead obeying God's commands/desires (a People Pleaser). He was on the downward spiral then...set most of what happened to him/Saul in motion. He really fulfilled his/Saul's role like God knew he would...just like a "human" King instead of a Godly King like the Messiah.

When you are a prophet of God like Samuel was, you know/discern things in the future (duh); therefore he knew that Saul would try to kill David or he just plain knew Saul for what he really was...imagine that?!?!?

Also, when God puts a person in your heart, you have a passion/compassion for that person/mission that God has given you & if you didn't have that passion/compassion...you wouldn't intercede for them with passion/compassion. The heart of Jesus is compassion & we are to be made in His image. I know this is what happens to me so often & I ask myself at times why I can't let go of someone that is so stiffnecked & hard headed & deceived & unwilling to be taught (an unteachable spirit). I think that is what laying down your life for another consists of & God saying that it is easy to love the lovely, but to love the unlovely is what being a "disciple" is all about. There is a huge difference in a "believer" & a "disciple," which I'm finally learning!!!

jan

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