1 Samuel 29:1-31:13 + John 11:55-12:19 + Psalm 118:1-18 + Proverbs 15:24-26
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Old Testament - We finish the book of First Samuel today! Second Samuel is up tomorrow! First Samuel chapter 29 verse 8 read a bit strange to me: ""What have I done to deserve this treatment?" David demanded. "Why can't I fight the enemies of my lord, the king?"" It seemed odd, at first read, that David would say this to King Achish of the Philistines. Commentaries suggest that David may have purposefully made an ambiguous statement here, such that Achish (and maybe us) would think he was referring to Achish - when perhaps he was referring to God or Saul as David's "lord, the king." With David's madman acting and wisdom, this ambiguous type statement with another meaning would not be surprising...
In First Samuel 31 today we read about the death of Saul. At the very end Saul did what he always did - took things into his own hands. Relied on himself. Fell on his own sword. Perhaps sometimes in our lives today we are not so different from Saul. Maybe we try to take things into our own hands. Rely on ourselves. But hopefully never fall on our own swords... We should instead be leaving things in God's hands and relying fully on God.
Bible.org's commentary on today's First Samuel readings titled "From “Playing Both Ends Against the Middle” to “Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place”" is at this link and "From Tragedy to Triumph" is at this link and "Saul's Death Wish" is at this link.
New Testament - John 12 verse 10 stood out to me today - somehow I hadn't really noticed this verse before - "Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus." Lazarus was raised from the dead and they wanted him dead again... sad... The miracle had caused many to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Not surprising that those in that day who were against Jesus would also be against those close to Jesus. Think there might be some correlation in this regard in our world today? Is it possible that the closer we get to Jesus, the more the Enemy might come up against us in various ways? It cannot defeat us with God on our side. But it may come after us. I'm a day late in our readings on this painting below from the year 1630 of "The Raising of Lazarus" by Rembrandt:
I like verse 19 today! "Then the Pharisees said to each other, "We've lost. Look, the whole world has gone after Jesus!"" Unfortunately it was a bit of an exaggeration at that time and the 2,000 years following. But maybe in the future? How are you part of the Great Commission today? An image is below for verse 15 (originally from Zechariah 9:9) - ""Don't be afraid, people of Israel. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt."
Bible.org's commentary on our John readings today titled "The Sweet Smell of Love and the Stench of Greed" is at this link and "The Un-Triumphal Entry" is at this link.
Psalms - I came across a wonderful speculation on Psalm 118! Zondervan's commentary suggested that Jesus and the disciples sung this psalm/hymn at the end of the Last Supper. Matthew chapter 26 verse 30 tells us - "When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." Adds a bit of a new dimension to this Psalm, no? The reason for this speculation is because this is the final Psalm in the Egyptian Hallel of Psalms 113 through 118. These Psalms were used in Jewish liturgy at the great religious festivals of Passover, Tabernacles, Dedication, Weeks, New Moon. At Passover Psalm 113 & 114 were sung before the meal and Psalms 115 - 118 were sung after the meal. Perhaps, even after the Last Supper by Jesus and the disciples? Below is Russian artist Simon Ushakov's "The Last Supper" from the year 1685 -
Verse 8 in this Psalm stands out to me big time: "It is better to trust the LORD than to put confidence in people." Kind of strong words I know... but what do you think? Might people, on occasion, let you down? Obviously, we know the answer to this one. People will let us down. Even our closest friends and family at some point will let us down. However - I don't think this means we give up on investing and loving friends and family! It just means we should not be surprised when someone lets us down. That's human nature. None of us is perfect this side of heaven - you will obviously let people down too. Realizing this, I think all of us should be prepared to forgive others and to ask for forgiveness of others. However, what do you think on this question: Will God ever let you down? Will Jesus ever let you down? Please know He won't! In fact, I believe that He's holding you up right this very moment...
Proverbs - Proverbs 15 verse 24 is a beautiful meditation - "The path of the wise leads to life above; they leave the grave behind." Are you on the path of the wise?
Worship Video: Today's readings in John about Jesus remind me of the Passion/Christy Nockels song "Let it be Jesus:"
Have you Let it be Jesus? Click here and Let it Be!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me (Jesus)." John 12:8 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you love Jesus above all else. Pray that you will indeed love and serve the poor in our world, but won't love this service to the poor or anything else in this world above your love for Jesus. Pray that you will always have Jesus in eternity. And pray that the poor will too, through their saving faith in Jesus. Pray that you realize we are all truly poor if we are not in a saving relationship with Jesus.
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.
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1 Samuel 29:1-31:13
Even when we have made alliances with the “enemy” for what we think is self-preservation; even when our actions cause pain and grief to others as well as ourselves—the city of Ziklag being taken, burned to the ground and everything that was in it carried off, God stills fights our “other” enemies and restores everything that has been stolen. Interestingly enough the town/city of Ziklag was not a town that should have been possessed by the Philistines, that city was part of Judah’s inheritance that had been taken from them during the time of the Judges. (See Joshua 15:21-31 for Judah’s inheritance) Therefore, God will restore all things lost by previous generations.
There is something here that I always considered just part of the narrative, the finding of the Egyptian in the desert as David and his men chased after the Amalekites. Now I see that it points to Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan. They army, like the Samaritan, was on a mission. In the King James Translations the use of the words, “by chance” describes how the priest and the Levite happened upon the man left half-dead; however, the Samaritan was on a “journey.” When we are on a journey, we will meet up with the people we are called to minister to; however, when we are traveling “by chance” we will pass folk by. Meeting up with those people and ministering to them will send us down the correct road that leads to complete restoration.
Some of the men of David’s army showed mercy to this Egyptian they found in the desert. They brought him back to David, they fed him and gave him something to drink, and they restored him. That act of kindness led them to the men they were seeking. Usually armies, especially back then, were ruthless in their pursuit. If you happened to be in there way while they were on the move, their feet, horses and chariots would crush you. What happened to the Egyptian is a clear “type” of Christ’s mercy, or the Mercy of God.
The second thing I observed, and am rethinking in a different way is Saul’s suicide. I had come to think that Saul was a coward and didn’t want to suffer the pain of a lingering death, but now I’m wondering if what he did was a continuation of his rebellion to the Word of God. Samuel had told him, the night before:
Since you did not obey the LORD and did not carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this thing to you today. The LORD will hand you and Israel over to the Philistines! Tomorrow both you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand the army of Israel over to the Philistines!" (1 Samuel 28:18-19 NET.)
My thinking is this: Did Saul fall on his sword thinking that in so doing he would place his dying, and how he died, in his own hands and defy the words spoken by the prophet Samuel. Hmmm.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | May 20, 2023 at 09:47 PM