Stay in the City of Refuge

www-st-takla-org-the-city-of-refuge

Today’s Passage – 2 Samuel 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 15 – 16Proverbs 8Psalms 36 – 40

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 25

Read the “0408 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.” – (2 Samuel 3:27)

These first few chapters of the Book of 2 Samuel make for some exciting reading, as well as for some valuable truth. In our verse above, we see the murder of Abner by Joab and Abishai his brother. To fully understand what is happening here, there is an underlying principle that we must learn, as well as some additional background information.

First let me give you the principle. The city where this killing took place was Hebron, which was known as a City of Refuge. You can read all about the cities of refuge in the Book of Numbers 35:9 – 34; and Joshua 20. In a nutshell, though, a city of refuge was a place where somebody could flee to for safety. You see, the law in Israel stated that if you killed somebody in wartime, or if you unintentionally killed somebody (not for cases of pre-meditated murder) that the family of the dead person could avenge the blood of their relative without any legal action being taken against them. If the person who committed the “manslaughter” could get inside the city of refuge, then he would be granted safety and refuge as long as he remained in the city; but if he was to leave the city at any time, he was fair game for the revengers of blood.

Now let’s look at the background to this story. Chapter two tells us that Joab and Abishai had a brother named Asahel that was killed by Abner during a previous battle. Naturally, Joab and Abishai had never forgotten what Abner did to their brother, and even though the act was committed during a time of war, they wanted Abner to pay for their brother’s death. The problem was, however, that they had to get him outside the gate of the city. Notice our text tells us that Joab pulls him aside, in the gate, to speak with him quietly (privately).  But why would Abner willingly leave the protection of the city in order to speak with a man that wanted him dead? Because Joab had deceived him into thinking that he meant no harm. As soon as he gets him outside, however, he kills him.

Now let’s make application. The city of refuge is a picture of the will of God; and Joab is a picture of the devil. The devil cannot touch us directly as long as we are inside the walls of the will of God, so what he does is try to lure us out of the city so that he can kill our ministry for the Lord. The moral to the story is: stay inside the city. Don’t stray from God’s perfect will for your life. Don’t let Satan convince you that life will be better outside of the walls of the city. Stay in the Word of God; stay in the prayer closet; stay in church; stay out soul winning; stay separated. Stay in the City!


Posted in Thoughts from 2 Samuel by with 1 comment.

Encouragement from the Lord

Today’s Reading – 1 Samuel 28 – 31 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers read – Matthew 13 – 14; Proverbs 7; Psalms 31 – 35)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32 (Fast)

Read the “0407 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” – (1 Samuel 30:6)

In our passage this morning, we see David and his men returning home to Ziklag, and discover that the city was burned to the ground and their wives and children were gone. At this point they have no idea what these Amelekites had done to their families, but I am sure that David and his men suspected that they were either being slaughtered or, at the very least, abused. The men were naturally distraught. At times like these, people want to blame somebody, and since David was their leader, he bore the brunt of their wrath. Remember, these were men that loved David, and risked much by following him. This was certainly a great test of David’s leadership. But how was David supposed to help his men, when he was also distraught due to the loss of his family. It is very hard to encourage and lead people when you yourself are discouraged; and David is perhaps at the lowest point of his life here.

The last sentence in the verse tells us what got David back up to where he could do something to help these people who were relying on him for leadership. “…David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” It is not easy to turn to the Lord for encouragement when you are down. Honestly, I can speak from experience when I say that sometimes I want to just wallow in the mire of discouragement. Have a little pity party, so to speak. But, that will not help anybody. David didn’t stay down; he got back up. He received encouragement from the only source available at the time. Remember, his loyal men wanted to stone him at this time. David went to the Lord, and the Lord gave him the answers that he needed; and in a very short time, they had recovered their families, not to mention their possessions. However, none of that would have happened if David would have just stayed down.

This passage is a great encouragement for us today. Personally. I have  battled with discouragement. I guess, like David, I needed to get up, go to God, and get back in the battle. And, when I got encouragement from the Lord, then I was be able to give some encouragement to the people around me.


Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

Let God Take Care of the Problem

Grand-CanyonToday’s Passage – 1 Samuel 25 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers read – Matthew 11 – 12; Proverbs 6; Psalms 26 – 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0405 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Good Morning
This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today, and I don’t need your help, so have a nice day.

“Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.” – (1 Samuel 25:25-26)

“And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.” – (1 Samuel 26:9-10)

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – (Matthew 5:39)

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” – (Romans 12:19)

Have you ever been wronged by somebody? Have you ever been hurt by somebody? I am sure that we all have experienced pain at one time or another in life that was caused by another person. The tendency when we are being attacked, or maligned, or gossiped about by somebody else is to attack back. It is in our human nature to want to even the score. In our passage this morning, we see two occasions where David had the justification and the opportunity to settle the score with people who had treated him unfairly; yet David chose to let God take care of it, rather than settling the matter himself.

In chapter 25 of our reading today, we see David being treated poorly by a man named Nabal who was a nasty, selfish man without much mental capacity. David had been sharing the same fields with Nabal’s shepherds. David’s men protected the shepherds from any harm that might have come their way as they were feeding Nabal’s sheep. David asked if Nabal could give him some food for his men, and Nabal turned him down, and insulted him as well. David wanted to destroy the man and all that he owned, but Nabal’s wife, Abigail, convinced David not to do it. She reminded David that God was well able to take care of the situation; and God did. A short time later, Nabal died, and God gave David Nabal’s wife.

In chapter 26, we read where David has the opportunity to kill King Saul who had been pursuing David and trying to kill him. When a perfect opportunity comes for one of David’s men to put an end to this constant threat against David’s life, David says that he will not put forth his hand against God’s annointed. David knew that God would take care of the situation. We will read in future chapters about the death of Saul, and the coronation of David as the king of Judah, and then all of Israel.

You see, you do not have to take matters into your own hands. God is well able to watch out for you, and avenge any wrong that has been done to you. You and I just need to be like Jesus – ready to forgive those who have sinned against us. And remember, though you and I may have been sinned against a time or two in our lives, I bet we have also done our share of hurting other people as well. We may not have meant to, but nevertheless we did. And, when we do wrong we want others to gives us some grace, don’t we? So let’s be willing to turn the other cheek ourselves.


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 1 comment.

I’ve Got Your Back

2012-1-8-2012-child-under-His-wingToday’s Passage – 1 Samuel 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Matthew 6:33

Read the “0405 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.” – (1 Samuel 22:23)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” – (John 15:4-7)

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – (Hebrews 13:5)

In our passage today (Chapter 22), we read about King Saul slaughtering eighty-five of the priests of God from the city of Nob, along with their wives, children, and even their livestock. Saul had completely lost his mind, and had become completely consumed with destroying David, and anyone he imagined to be complicit with him, whether he had any evidence to back up his suspicions or not. Saul was convinced that the priests were secretly helping out David, so he murdered all of them, save one who escaped. Abiathar was the sole survivor of the massacre at Nob, and he escaped to tell David what had happened. That is when David tells Abiathar to stay with him where he will be cared for and protected from their mutual enemy.

David, in this story, is a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are pursued by an enemy that hates us because he hates our Saviour. Yet, God offers us the same protection that was pictured here with David and Abiathar. Abiathar lost his family, his home, and his safety all because of his association with David. David felt responsible for all that Abiathar lost, so he took him in. He would see to it that Abiathar was provided for and protected as long as he was with him. Is this not what we have in Christ? He provides for our needs, and protects us from those that would harm us. This is not to say that no “bad” things will ever happen to us, but we can be sure of the fact that no harm will come to us without first being authorized by Him; and if He puts His stamp of approval on it, it will be for His glory, and/or our good; and He promised that He will never give us more than we can handle.


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 2 comments.

Obsession

obs-en-17-01

Today’s Passage –  1 Samuel 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Proverbs 4; Psalms 16 – 20)

“And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.  And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.” – (1 Samuel 22:18-19)

Chapter 22 of 1 Samuel is perhaps one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. King Saul has all of the priests of Nob slain because he thinks that they are complicit with David. Saul is now totally out of control. He is completed obsessed with David, and he is allowing his imaginations to completely run wild. Let me back up and review the story. David is on the run from King Saul. He enters into Nob, the city where the priests of God lived, looking for bread for himself and his men. David does not tell Ahimelech the priest the truth, which was wrong. He tells the priest that he is on a top secret mission for the king, which required haste, and that is the reason that he did not have time to get food before he left. Ahimelech and the other priests are completely innocent. The priests give David some of the old shewbread from off of the altar, and they also give him the sword of Goliath which was also being stored in the city of Nob. There was an evil man, named Doeg, in the city that day, and he observed what had happened, and then went and told Saul.

Saul sends for Ahimelech and the rest of the priests, and asks them what had happened. Ahimelech rehearses the matter before Saul exactly as it did happen, but Saul does not believe him. Saul then orders the death of all of the priests of God. Saul’s insecurity regarding David has completely usurped his ability to reason logically. His imagination is in total control, and his imaginations are being fed by the wicked one. The Bible says that we are to cast down imaginations:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Saul’s insecurity began and took root as jealousy because of David’s successes. God obviously had his hand upon David and Saul knew it. Saul also knew that God no longer had his hand upon him. Saul’s insecurity affected the entire kingdom. Many people died because of it. Notice that Saul’s insecurity caused him to imagine that these priests were his enemies, and they were not. His insecurity also caused him to forget about his real enemy, which were the Philistines and some of the other nations surrounding Israel.

Can you relate to any of this. Have you ever imagined that people were against you without really knowing that they were? Have you ever saw a group of people gathered together without you, and imagined that they were talking about you? Have you forgotten that your enemy is Satan, not your friends and family members? Perhaps you are a little insecure yourself. You need to confess that as sin, because it is sin, and ask God to help you deal with it. Remember that God loves you just as much as he loves everyone else, and he has a wonderful plan for your life. Keep your eyes upon him, and forget about what He is doing with other people. As Jesus told Peter, “What is that to thee?” Get control of your imaginations before you totally lose it too.

 


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 1 comment.

The Giant Problem – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 17 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6; Proverbs 3; Psalms 11 – 15)

Read the “0403 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” (1Samuel 17:4-7)

Good morning. I am 6 feet tall. Goliath is a mere 3 inches shy of being 4 feet taller than me. He was 9’9” tall: that’s six cubits and a span. He had protection. Protection for his head, protection for his shoulders, protection for his body, and protection. He carried so much armor that he had someone to go before him carrying his shield. And he went armed with a spear and a sward. Only one thing was missing that would make him invincible; he didn’t have the LORD.

“And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.” (1Samuel 17:40-51)

David came to Goliath in the name of the LORD. David knew who he could count on. God delivered him from a lion and bear who were stealing his fathers sheep. And today we can see in the Bible that God never failed David.

How is your faith. You’ve trusted Him to deliver you from all your sins, and one day He will raise you from the dead. What about everything between that? You know the just shall live by faith, don’tcha? Are you? Living by faith, that is?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:1-40)

If you want to please God, live by faith.

Peace.


Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

Do I Hear Sheep?

Do I Hear Sheep

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 15 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4; Proverbs 2; Psalms 6 – 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0402 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” – (1 Samuel 15:14 )

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” – (1 Samuel 15:22)

The story in 1 Samuel 15 goes like this: God wanted Saul and the people of Israel to go and utterly destroy the Amelekites, and all that belonged to them, from off the face of the earth. It is not often that God gave a commandment like this, but it is important to know that when He did, He had a good reason. We may not completely understand why God would want something like this to happen, but we know that God is God, and He knows what is best. Saul obeyed much of what God commanded him to do. He wiped out all of the Amelekites, except the king, Agag. Saul also spared the sheep, because he justified that the sheep could be used for a sacrifice. However, God was not pleased with Saul’s partial obedience, and He was not interested in Saul’s sacrifice. God wanted total obedience, which is “better than sacrifice”.

If we look carefully at the text, we can figure out why Saul did not completely obey God. Consider these verses from the passage:

 “And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” – (1 Samuel 15:17)

“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” – (1 Samuel 15:24)

“Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.” – (1 Samuel 15:30)

It is apparent from these verses that Saul had a problem with pride. I guess we can all relate to that, can’t we? He was more concerned about pleasing the people, and being elevated in their sight, than he was about obeying and pleasing the Lord. How many times have we compromised our obedience in order to appease the people around us?

So it was Saul’s pride that caused him to disobey. But what causes you (or me) to disobey?  Is it pride like Saul? Is it covetousness? Is it laziness? We all have something in our lives that puts the pressure on us to not do what God commands us to do. God wants a total surrender though. He wants complete obedience, and He does not accept our excuses for disobedience.

 


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 1 comment.

Sweeter Than Honey

Sweeter Than Honey

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 12 – 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mathew 1 – 2Psalms 1 – 5Proverbs 1

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0401 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.” – (1 Samuel 14:29)

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” – (Psalm 19:9-10)

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – (Psalm 119:103)

In chapter 14 of 1 Samuel we see a great victory for Israel against their enemies, the Philistines. It all started when Saul’s son, Jonathan, and his armour bearer decide that they are going to trust God to bring a great victory. This is a very similar situation to the account of David and Goliath. Here, the massive army of the Philistines is encamped near the much smaller army of Israel. Saul, Israel’s king, is not really taking any action; so Jonathon decides to do something. Him and his armourbearer go up to where the Philistines are, and God goes with them, and gives them a great victory. This starts a chain reaction where the Philistines start running for their lives, and even fighting each other. Saul is watching this from a great distance, and is not sure what is happening, but soon realizes that his enemy is leaving. Now he decides to get involved. The rest of the people of Israel, along with Saul, join the chase, and attempt to kill all of the Philistines before they completely escape out of Israel. Saul then does something dumb. He tells all of his people that they are not to eat anything until the battle is completely over.  Anybody who violates this command will be put to death. The people don’t eat, but Jonathon does. He come upon a little honey in the woods as he is chasing the Philistine army, and he eats it. Now Jonathon did not know about Saul’s order. However, the Bible says that his “eyes were enlightened”.  By the way, if the rest of Israel was allowed to have a little of that honey, they would have had a lot more energy to continue in the battle. In fact, they are so famished that when it does come time to eat, they don’t even cook their meat; they eat it raw, which was forbidden by God.

There is a wonderful picture here regarding the honey. The honey is a picture of the Word of God. Notice the other verses above that compare honey to the Word. As Christians, we are supposed to be in a battle; and we need to recharge our spiritually batteries often throughout the battle. We need to take time to open the Bible, and allow God’s Word to “enlighten our eyes”,  giving us the wisdom and strength that we need to face the battles that will come our way. Have you eaten your honey today? Don’t let the Saul’s of this world keep you from tasting the sweet Word of God.

By the way, have you noticed that Saul has a rather insecure and obsessive personality. Why would he come up with such a rule anyway. He wants total control over the people. He didn’t want their eyes to be enlightened. Religion can be like that today. They frown upon the people tasting of the heavenly honey themselves, because they want to control completely what spiritual nutrition the people receive.


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 1 comment.

Humble Beginnings

Humble Beginnings

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 8 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here  to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 16 – 19Revelation 20 – 22Proverbs 31)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Proverbs 3:5 & 6

Read the “0331 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” – (1 Samuel 10:24)

“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” (1 Samuel 15:17)

The life of Saul has always fascinated me. Saul started out so well. If I were reading the Bible for the very first time, and just read up to chapter 11, I would see no indication at all that Saul would eventually turn bad. So far all that we have read about Saul is good. In chapter 8, we see him serving his father by searching the countryside for some lost asses. In chapter 9, he is met by Samuel the prophet and is told that “all the desire of Israel” was on him. Upon hearing this statement, Saul humbly states that he and is family were from the least of the tribes of Israel, basically stating that he was not even worthy of consideration. When it comes time for Samuel to announce to the people that Saul would be king, Saul is hiding. I don’t see even a hint of pride in this young man so far. Even when he is opposed by some ungodly men, he holds his peace, and then later when he was annointed king, some of his supporters remembered the opposition and tried to have them executed, but Saul refuses. He seems to be making all of the right moves thus far. He is humble, yet he demonstrates strong leadership when his people were threatened by the Ammonites in chapter 11. He rallies all of the people of Israel to come to the battle, and they destroy the invading army from Ammon. Saul starts out great.

I almost want to stop reading here while everything is “still good in the hood”. What happens to Saul? Does he stay on the right path or does he go off course somewhere? Well, we will read all about it in the next few days, but let me give you a little hint here. As we have already seen, Saul starts out very humble, but he will eventually become full of pride; and pride will bring about his destruction. Pride is a huge problem for most of us. Consider the following verses:

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – (Proverbs 16:18)

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” – (Proverbs 13:10)

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,” – (Proverbs 6:16-17)

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” – (Proverbs 29:23)

The Bible has a lot to say about pride. As we read these next few chapters, watch out for pride developing in the heart of Saul; but more importantly watch out for the development of pride in your own life.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” – (1 Peter 5:5)

 


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 1 comment.

Get It Out!

Death-at-Beth-Shemesh-EL2

Today’s Passage – 1 Samuel 4 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Revelation 13 – 15Proverbs 30Psalms 146 – 150)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song –  Psalm 121

Read the “0330 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.” – (1 Samuel 5:11)

“And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjathjearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you.” – (1 Samuel 6:21)

In our reading today we see the ark of God being taken from the Israelites by the Philistines; and then we see the voluntary return of the ark back to the people of Israel. Nobody seemed to want the ark. The story begins in chapter where the Israelite are losing in battle to the Philistines. The elders of Israel come up with the idea of getting the ark and bringing it to the battles because “it” would help them. Notice carefully the use of the word “it”. They were trusting in God to help them, they were trusting in a “good luck charm”. The Philistines seemed to have a better understanding of what the ark represented. They knew that the ark represented a powerful God, and though they did not know Him, they feared Him, and God gave them the victory and the ark. The moral to that part of the story is that God is not your good luck charm.

Once the ark was brought into the land of the Philistines, however, they began to experience some major problems. They put the ark of God in the Temple of Dagon. God does not like to share His glory with anyone so He knocked over Dagon, and chopped off his head and hands. To make matters much worse the people of city of Ashdod are all plagued with “emerods”. Now I don’t want to be graphic on this site, so I won’t go into deep explanation as to what emerods are, but I will tell you this: they can be helped with a little “Preparation H”. However, since the people of Ashdod didn’t have Preparation H at the time, or a CVS to buy it from, they opted to just get rid of the ark.

The ark then travels to two more cities of the Philistines where the same thing happens, so the Philistines wisely decide to send the ark back to Israel, along with some golden mice and emerods. Now that the ark is back in Israel, into the city of Bethshemesh, the people of Israel are very happy. Their happiness subsides, however, when they decide to take a little peek inside the ark. Not smart. About 50,000 of them died that day. They knew better. So the people that were left of Bethshemesh decided also to get rid of the ark, and they sent it to Kirjathjearim, where it remained for many years until David comes to get it.

We see here what happens when people dabble with the things of God, but do not actually know God. God gave clear instructions to the people of Israel as to the ark of the covenant. They should have known better. God will be worshipped on His terms or He won’t be worshipped at all. These people didn’t want God around them because they refused to submit to His Lordship. People are the same way today. They will not submit to God, so they would rather just not have Him around. And Christians who ought to know about God are so Bible ignorant that they have no clue what He expect from their lives. We need to get back into the Word of God in order to find out what God wants, and then we need to submit ourselves to His will.


Posted in Thoughts from 1 Samuel by with 1 comment.
%d bloggers like this: