~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29 ~ John 10:1-21
Psalm 115:1-18 ~ Proverbs 15:18-19
Old Testament - Very sad readings today in First Samuel 22 as we read about the slaughter of the priests. Sadly fitting that Doeg betrayed the priests to Saul and then Saul commanded Doeg to kill the priests, because no one else would. This whole incident shows how far Saul has strayed away from God. He has lost his moral compass completely. It's interesting to recall earlier in our First Samuel readings how Saul looked like he might be a decent king initially. But, then he was disobedient to God. And then his sin continued and continued to where he is in today's readings. This should be a warning to each of us to not stray from God like this. If we are allowing ourselves to be disobedient to God or if we are continuing in a sin, we are slaves to that sin. And this slavery to sin can grow and grow until we lose all moral control, as Saul has. Image below by Gerard Hoet from a 1728 Bible is courtesy of Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries -
I love the mini-reunion of Jonathan and David in First Samuel 23 verses 16 & 17 - "Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. "Don't be afraid," Jonathan reassured him. "My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father is well aware." What great words of encouragement from Jonathan! Who is the last person you encouraged? Do you make it a habit to encourage people around you regularly? Who is someone you can encourage big-time today or tomorrow?
New Testament - I love Jesus' teachings today in John 10 verses 9 & 10 - "Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. Wherever they go, they will find green pastures. The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." What a great analogy - Jesus is the gateway to salvation. Life in relationship with Jesus will be full of green pastures - this reminds me of Psalm 23 verse 2! And then Jesus tells us that his purpose is to give us life in all its fullness. I think all too often we look for fullness of life in all the wrong places... when all we have to do is walk through the gate. Have you walked through the gate?
Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd is so very beautiful and fitting in verses 14 &15 - "I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep." After we walk through the gate of faith to fullness of life with Jesus, he will be our Good Shepherd forever. He is a shepherd that knows us - and we know him. He will protect us with his rod and staff - again, a little Psalm 23 verse 4. :) And more than anything else, this Good Shepherd has laid down his life for us. Do you consider Jesus to be your Good Shepherd?
Bible.org's commentary on our John 10 readings today titled "The Good Shepherd" is at this link.
Psalms - Today in Psalm 115 verse 1 we will read – “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory.” (Chris Tomlin fans out there will recognize this as one of his many awesome worship tunes. . .) I don’t know how this verse strikes you, but it strikes me hard. Which is good. I think sometimes I do things for my own glory. And this verse, and really the entire Bible, is clear that the glory is God’s and not ours. Yeah, sure, we will live our lives full of “glorious” moments when we are loving God and loving people. But, we should not be living our lives to build up our own fame or our own glory. As Rick Warren states so well in the 1st sentence of the 1st chapter of his book “Purpose Driven Life”- “It is not about you.” And this is true. It is about God. And this is good news! Really. I have tried to live my life in the past where it was all about me. And this was a miserable way to live life. I pray that you see the incredible wisdom in this verse - “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory.” How are you living your life? Are you living your life to advance the fame and glory of God? Are you doing this by loving God and loving other people with all that you are? Or, are you by chance living your life to advance the fame and glory of yourself? And if so. . . how’s this going for you? In addition to reading the Bible daily, I do recommend Chris Tomlin worship tunes (listen to song #3 clip at this link!) and Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” if you feel like you want to learn more about what it looks like to live your life for God’s fame and glory and not your own.
Proverbs - Proverbs 15 verse 19 today teaches us: "A lazy person has trouble all through life; the path of the upright is easy!" This is a great reminder that we should live our lives upright, intentionally, and not be afraid of a little hard work!
What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!