1 Samuel 22:1-23:29 + John 10:1-21 + Psalm 115:1-18 + Proverbs 15:18-19
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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. This 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?
Bible.org's commentary on our First Samuel readings today titled "Saul Loses His Grip" is at this link and commentary titled "A Friend Indeed" is at this link.
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?
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!
Worship Video: Per Psalm 115:1 reflections above, here's Chris Tomlin's beautiful song "Sovereign" live at Red Rocks:
Do you know our sovereign God? Click here for Sovereignty!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "I (Jesus) am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray in thanksgiving to Jesus for laying down his life for you, if you have given your life over in faith to Him. Thank him for being your Good Shepherd! Pray for the lost "sheep" that you know, that they would come to know Jesus as their Good Shepherd.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.s. #2 - Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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1 Samuel 22-23:29
Wow, David had to have been some leader. If I saw these guys coming toward me, I would be running for the “Border.” I know that I’m quick to check out the “character” of those hanging around me and I usually inch away from folks who are the type of people that flocked to David. Rebellious people will usually rebel against you so it would take intense mentoring to guide a group like this.
2 And everyone in distress or in debt or discontented gathered to him, and he became a commander over them. And there were with him about 400 men.
I find it quit interesting that David uses his father’s connection to the Moabites to protect his mother and father. David’s father, Jessie, was the grandson of Ruth (Ruth 4:17). Because David sends his parents to stay in Moab before the Saul has the priest’s killed, David undeniably had a keen understanding of the lengths Saul would go to kill him and his family.
Saul’s promises of special privileges, implied or direct, had been used with his army as a motivational “tool” to get someone to kill Goliath, but Saul seemed to be someone who didn’t or wouldn’t keep his word. In the twenty-second chapter, he uses the carrot again to get people to pursue and fight an ungodly fight, the pursuit of David at all cost,
7 "Listen here, you men of Benjamin!" Saul shouted when he heard the news. "Has David promised you fields and vineyards? Has he promised to make you commanders in his army? 8 Is that why you have conspired against me? For not one of you has ever told me that my own son is on David's side. You're not even sorry for me. Think of it! My own son--encouraging David to try and kill me!"
Saul doesn’t appeal to his men’s sense of “righteousness” but he appeals to their emotions by throwing a pity party, a poor me gripe session. If we take this scenario and place it in today’s churches, we can use it as a guide to evaluate appeals by unscrupulous “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” I believe a call to spiritual arms should never be based on emotion and sentiment so an appeal to consider, “Poor me as I suffer for the Lord,” should cause the ringing of bells and blowing of whistles to go off in one’s head. If Israel represented a type of the church then, our churches hold the capacity and potential to be just as ruthless and deadly as Saul. But for God and the fact that David had not served the purpose God had created him for, we would never be reading this wonderful story about David.
"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. (Acts 13:36). Our obedience to the will of God is what keeps us alive and if we are not severing our purpose, God’s mercy holds us back from the grave.
This chapter is jammed pack with stuff. Jesus is the gate, the gatekeeper, the shepherd, the Good Shepherd. He is the go to guy for all of our needs.
This verse is powerful, “10 The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness,” and sets every other belief system at odds with Jesus. Jesus emphatically states that anyone other than He is a crook and a murderer and He is ”intolerant” to anything else. I guess Jesus is a Politically Incorrect man and God.
This passage contains the words that should stop everyone and anyone looking to blame Jesus’ crucifixion on a specific group of people.
17 "The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command."
The writer of Hebrews even states, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (12:2)” What was the joy set before Jesus? Our redemption from sin, death, hell and the grave.
Idols are dead things which cannot move, who cannot do anything for us. We have to carry our idols around; well most of the things we worship we must carry around. I find the most damning thing in this particular division of Psalm is verse 8 (my paraphrase) “We become what we worship, we take on the characteristics of the thing we give our adoration too. That is a sobering thought. Flip that thought or statement over and one could say, “I can tell who or what your God is by observing who you are!”
8 And those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.
Who am I, what are the fruit of my worship?
19 A lazy person has trouble all through life; the path of the upright is easy!
This is the first time I’m seeing this in this particular verse, but I know people who have bad things happen to their bad things. And I just realize the ones that I know really well, are lazy. They might not be lazy physically, but they refuse to use common sense in living their lives. They want someone else to tell them what to do because they don’t want to be held accountable for their decisions, “It not my fault I so and so told me to do it this way. They refuse to expend the time and energy to search for wisdom. Wow and boy oh boy or boy. Do I see me in all of this?
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | May 17, 2023 at 08:48 PM