~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
1 Samuel 10:1-11:15 ~ John 6:43-71
Psalm 107:1-43 ~ Proverbs 15:1-3
Old Testament - Okay - I have a temporary new favorite verse in the Bible! Today in First Samuel chapter 10 verse 22 when they were about to name Saul king, but they couldn't find him: "So they asked the LORD, "Where is he?" And the LORD replied, "He is hiding among the baggage."" That is awesome! I really appreciate the fact that Saul was hiding among the baggage. :) I think that's where I would be too. I hope I would be in any case. I think it's a bit scary when someone is too lustful for power. Better to have your future king hiding in the baggage... :)
(sorry, couldn't resist this photo... :) I suppose this image below would be more appropriate for Saul being named king as we read in verse 24: "Then Samuel said to all the people, "This is the man the LORD has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is his equal!" And all the people shouted, "Long live the king!"
In First Samuel chapter 11 we see Saul really step into his role as king by defending the city of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites attack. Verse 2 was sad to consider when the Ammonite king said this to the citizens of Jabesh-gilead - ""All right," Nahash said, "but only on one condition. I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you as a disgrace to all Israel!"" Gouging out the right eye would be done for humiliation purposes - but also to destroy the military ability of the archers. After this point, Saul gets word back in his hometown that Jabesh-gilead is under attack. Below is a powerful painting by the artist James Tissot from the year 1896 of verses 6 & 7: "Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he became very angry. 7 He took two oxen and cut them into pieces and sent the messengers to carry them throughout Israel with this message: “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who refuses to follow Saul and Samuel into battle!”"
I was impressed with Saul's graciousness in verses 12 & 13 of this chapter: "Then the people exclaimed to Samuel, "Now where are those men who said Saul shouldn't rule over us? Bring them here, and we will kill them!" But Saul replied, "No one will be executed today, for today the LORD has rescued Israel!" Impressive. You could see where after defeating the Ammonites, Israel's adrenaline might be running high to go after dissenters. Saul put a stop to it, which was impressive. What about us today? When we are riding high on a victory of some sort and the group around us says we should forge ahead on something that does not seem right, can we stand up and say "No" to the group as Saul did on this day?
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in 1 Samuel titled "The Making of Israel's First King" is at this link.
New Testament - Okay, so John chapter 6 verses 53 through 58 are some verses that get interpreted several different ways - some saying these verses speak of the Lord's Supper / Communion and some saying they speak only of faith in Jesus because the Lord's Supper had not yet been instituted by Jesus at this time. I think the key for us to focus on is that Jesus is our nourishment - our literal spiritual food if we have faith in him. It is interesting to note that many disciples turned away from Jesus after this teaching. I love Peter's reply to Jesus in verses 68 & 69 after Jesus asks if the Twelve will leave too - "Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them, and we know you are the Holy One of God."" True words indeed Peter. True words indeed. If not Jesus, to whom would you go? Does anyone else have the words that give eternal life?
Bible.org's commentary on John chapter 6 today titled "The Bread of Life" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 107 today is a wonderful Psalm of thanksgiving! Okay, be honest, who started busting out singing the Michael W. Smith worship tune "Forever" when you read verse 1? - "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever." I did! That's a great tune... based on a great verse in a great Psalm. Listen to a short portion of the tune "Forever" for free at this link here - song #1 at this link. Sing it y'all!
Psalm 107 repeats a verse four times - starting with verse 6 here - ""LORD, help!" they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress." (then see verse 13, verse 19, and verse 28 - same verse) This is a great reminder to pray - and yes, it's great to pray during times of distress of course. But, how about praying during times of happiness & joy? Or even times of just regular blahs? I recently read much of the book "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg (great book!), and it has a great chapter on prayer. It is so true that one of the best ways to truly know and love God is through prayer. Simple prayer. 5 minutes a day. Do you pray to God 5 minutes a day? When the storms of life come, do you cry out for help to Jesus? Do you know that he will always be there for you in the midst of the storm?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 15 verse 1 is so so so very true... we would all do well to practice this every day - "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." How beautifully true & wise this is? Let us be gentle people...
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: If someone were to describe you, would they describe you as a "gentle" person? Would you want to be described as a gentle person? Should we be gentle all of the time? Was Jesus gentle all of the time? Was Jesus gentle most of the time? To whom or in what circumstances was Jesus not gentle? Should we follow Jesus in this regard? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!