1 Samuel 1:1-2:21 + John 5:1-23 + Psalm 105:37-45 + Proverbs 14:28-29
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Old Testament - Today we begin the book of First Samuel! This is an amazing book of the Bible. I cannot wait to read about Hannah, Samuel, Saul & David! Below is an image of Samuel anointing Saul, which we will read about later this week:
Date: Probably tenth century B.C.
Content: The books of First and Second Samuel comprise one book in the Hebrew Bible because they form one continuous history covering the lives of Samuel, Saul, and David. They were separated into two books for convenience for reading. First Samuel deals with the Philistine wars and Saul’s ultimate failure to deal with the enemy. The book opens with Israel’s being oppressed by the Philistines (a war-like neighboring nation) and the emergence of the two early leaders, Samuel and Saul. Samuel was the religious leader and Saul ultimately became the king. Saul’s early victories are described, followed by his moral decline and tragic end. Balancing the decline of Saul is the rise of the youthful David who will assume leadership after the death of Saul.
Theme: The basic idea that pervades this book is that God does not make his people immune to the changes of human life, but give them grace to see things through to a satisfactory conclusion. The rise and fall of kings, times of peace and war – throughout it all God stays the same and controls human events in such a way that those who trust him will find comfort and the courage to endure. (Above commentary is from “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 5)
More commentary on First Samuel from Bible.org is at this link.
Here's a great quote from this link: “One might conclude from reading the Book of Judges that the problem was the absence of a king in Israel: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). In First Samuel, Israel will get her king. Saul, Israel’s first king, will be the kind of king the people want, and prove to be the king Israel deserves. David, Israel’s second king, will replace Saul. He is God’s kind of king, a man after God’s heart. First Samuel tells the story of fascinating people like Hannah and Samuel, like Saul and David. There is never a dull moment in this masterfully well written history. The book closes with the death of Saul, and thus the end of David’s flight from the hand of Saul, who seeks to kill him as an enemy.”
Below is a great image for First Samuel chapter 1 verses 24 through 28 today where we read: "When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and half a bushel of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they took the child to Eli. "Sir, do you remember me?" Hannah asked. "I am the woman who stood here several years ago praying to the LORD. I asked the LORD to give me this child, and he has given me my request. Now I am giving him to the LORD, and he will belong to the LORD his whole life." And they worshiped the LORD there."
Today in First Samuel chapter 2 we read the incredible Prayer of Hannah! In verse 2 we read: “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” This prayer of praise from Hannah really stands out to me these days. Oftentimes I think I “forget” that there is no one holy like the Lord – and I start to seek from other sources what I should only be seeking from God. I have come to realize more than ever lately that if I am feeling a strong emotion or need, I need to really reflect on that emotion or need and ask myself if God can satisfy or quench or dispel that emotion or need. The answer is always an unfailing and beautiful YES. There is no other person, place or being that will always be there for us – that will always be our Rock – that is perfectly consistent – besides God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is holy and his holiness can take care of any emotion or need that comes up in our lives. We need to turn it over to him and trust in Him. How about you? Do you sometimes “forget” that God is holy? Do you sometimes seek from other sources what you should only be seeking from God? Do you believe that God can satisfy or quench or dispel any emotion or need that comes up in your life? Is God your Rock? Do you believe there is no one holy like the Lord? Below is a great painting of Hannah and her prayer!
Bible.org's commentary on our readings today in First Samuel titled "The Son and the Psalm of Hannah" is at this link.
New Testament - I'm not sure if you noticed this unique thing about Jesus' healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda today - the man did not seem to have faith in Jesus or know who Jesus was! You'll recall with many of the healings we read about in the Gospels people yell out to Jesus for healing, or reach for Jesus' garment, and show some sort of faith or recognition of who Jesus truly is. Well, here in John chapter 5 verse 6 Jesus asks this man at the pool: "Do you want to get well?" And then in the following verses the man still doesn't realize who Jesus is and doesn't ask Jesus for healing, but instead frets about not getting into the waters of the pool where he thinks the waters will heal him. Well, come verse 8 Jesus says, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." I find this whole scene awesome and a great example of God's grace! Perhaps sometimes in our lives when we miss seeing what Jesus is doing, He will still often heal us or care for us! Even sometimes (though I don't think always...) when we seem to looking for the other "waters" that we think will heal us. Even sometimes when we don't ask Jesus for healing, he'll still do it for us.
Bible.org's commentary on our readings in John chapter 5 today titled "Jesus Heals the man at the Pool of Bethesda" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 105 wraps up the Exodus Cliff Notes version today, with a great closing verse 45 - "All this happened so they would follow his principles and obey his laws. Praise the LORD!" Indeed, praise the Lord!
Proverbs - Proverbs 14:29 teaches us today: "People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." Do you agree with this Proverb? Have you ever struggled with anger? Do you agree that controlling your anger demonstrates understanding, and that letting your anger control you shows great foolishness? Will you seek only understanding in this area of your life, and let all foolishness go? Please, please, don't be this guy...
Worship Video: Today's readings reminded me of Consumed by Fire's song "First Things First:"
Are you putting first things first? Click here for the Alpha/First!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God." 1 Samuel 2:1-2 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray like Hannah prayed to the Lord today! Pray that your heart is rejoicing in the LORD today. Pray that your delight is in your Rock and your deliverer, God.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on my reflections above about the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda, has Jesus ever done something amazing for you without you asking for it? Perhaps even when you were looking for somebody or something else to fix or heal something for you, is there a time when God's grace showed up on the scene instead and made the situation right? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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