Saturday, May 31, 2014
Read: 2 Sam 17:1-29, John 19:23-42, Ps. 119:129-159, Pr. 16:12-13 David’s plan worked. Absalom listened to the advise of Hushai instead of Ahithophel’s so David had a chance to get away before Absalom’s troops came after him. Ahithophel hung himself in shame since Absalom didn’t take his advise. Now David had a spy in the palace who could tell him what was going on. In John, Jesus is on the cross fulfilling the scriptures. His garment is parted, He takes the vinegar, none of his bones were broken, and they looked on the one whom they pierced, and He would empty Joseph’s tomb. All these were prophesies were fulfilled. Psalms 119 is the alphabet Psalms. Instead of teaching them “A is for apple” they learned “Alpha is for ‘Blessed are the undefiled in the way…’” They only had 22 letters in their alphabet but the song went on for a long time. They memorized tons of scripture by the time they were 4. This shows us that our children are capable of more than we think. How fitting that the alphabet song for the Hebrews would be about loving God’s Word. Lord, help us to love Your Word and hide it in our hearts.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 15:23-16:23, John 18:25-19:22, Ps. 119:113-128, Pr. 16:10-11 David fled the city with the ark but as an act of faith that he would return, he sent the ark back along with Zadok the priest and his two sons. He also sent his friend, Hushai to counteract Ahithophel, his conspirator’s council. As David was leaving Jerusalem, Ziba presented him and his men with food and donkeys to ride. Ziba was the man who David had put in charge of serving Mephibosheth, the lone survivor of Saul’s house. When David asked where Mephibosheth was, Ziba lied and told him that Mephibosheth had gone to Jerusalem to serve Absalom. David gave Mephibosheth’s inheritance to Ziba. The next person David met was Shimei. He was also a distant relative of Saul’s. He came out and repeatedly cursed David and threw stones at him. David’s servant, Abishai, wanted to kill the man, but David refused to let him. David would let God show who was right. David was a type of Jesus. Jesus also refused to fight for an earthly kingship. When Pilate asked him if he were the King of the Jews, Jesus explained that His kingdom was not of this world. Like Shimei, the Jews threw more than curses and stones at Jesus. They lied about him and condemned him to death on the cross. They chose a robber over a healer. Jesus, like David gave himself to their criticism and let God defend His cause. They both trusted God to the end. Lord, order our steps today in Your word; and don’t let any iniquity have dominion over us.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 13:1-39, John 17:1-26, Ps. 119:81-96, Pr. 16:6-7 What a sad story for Tamar. She was the victim of Amnon’s greed and impatience. He wanted he now and couldn’t wait to do it the right way. Human nature is so well expressed in the Bible. We needed a Saviour to save us from our weakness and sin. Sad for Tamar that she couldn’t heal and be restored. She was changed forever in a few minutes. Our actions do have lasting implications so we need to act out of love. Jesus said that to love God and our neighbor is to fulfill the whole law. If we love our fellow man then we won’t want to steal from him, kill him, envy his blessings, etc. It is so true…love is the greatest. In John, Jesus is letting us listen to his prayer for us. He prays that we be one with the Father just like He and the Father are one. He also says that He is glorified through us. He prays that we would be kept from the evil of the world and that his love will be in us. This strengthens the verse that says, “If God be with us, who can be against us!” For ever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. O how we love your law! It is our meditation all the day.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
2 Sam. 12:1-31, John 16:1-33, Ps. 119:65-80, Pr. 16:4-5 Nathan was David’s prophet. He didn’t go to the people with his revelation but straight to the source. He told David, alone. Nathan gave David the rebuke in an allegory he could relate to. Once he had gotten David’s reaction, he turned the story on him. He had broken down his defenses and David could see his sin for what it was. His punishment was his sin turned back on him. His son died and later another son, Absalon slept with David’s concubines in broad daylight (2 Sam. 16:22) just as Nathan said would happen. David had a change of heart toward Bathsheba also. He comforted her and gave her another son who David named Solomon meaning peaceful. God loved this son and named him Jedidiah meaning beloved of Jehovah. In John we learn more about the Holy Spirit. He had to wait till Jesus left so He could come back as the Holy Spirit. He convicts the world of sin, reveals what is righteous and what is worthy of judgment. Their sin is their refusal to believe that Jesus is the Christ. Since Jesus has gone to the Father, his righteousness is seen through us. We see God’s judgment in how he judged Satan and threw him out of heaven. The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of truth. He will tell us what the Father is saying just like he did for Jesus. The disciples couldn’t comprehend how they were not going to see Jesus, then after a little while, they would but Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit once again. They wouldn’t see him after he died for a few days until the Holy Spirit was given, then they would see Him through the Holy Spirit. At that time, they could ask anything in Jesus’ name and God would give it to them. Lord, may your Holy Spirit live through us today and teach us what to do and say.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 9:1-11:27, John 15:1-27, Ps. 119:49-64, Pr. 16:1-3 Once David’s kingdom was established he wanted to show honor to anyone who was of the house of Saul and Ammon. He found a cripple named Mephibosheth who was one of Jonathan’s sons and gave him all the land that belonged to Saul and gave him servants and a place of honor at his table every meal. Mephibosheth received it humbly. The house of Ammon couldn’t forgive and trust David so they ended up in battle which cost them many men. What a picture of two types of people. One can forgive and receive kindness freely, the other can’t forgive and can’t trust or discern the goodness of God. Then there is the story of Bathsheba. As much as I love David, he really blew it on this. He took Bathsheba. One of the definitions of that word ‘took’ was to seize. I wonder if she wasn’t taken against her will. Once he had defiled her he sent her home and clearly wasn’t planning on ever seeing her again. When he found out she was pregnant, instead of comforting her he was only looking for an alibi. When his plan to hide his sin didn’t go as easily as he thought, he had to sin even greater and have her husband killed. He did this at the expense of other innocent men in his army. No wonder God wasn’t pleased. In John, Jesus taught us that He is the vine, God is the owner of the vine and we are the fruit. We must be pruned and tended to. To be fruit we have to abide in the vine and let God’s Word abide in us. When we bear much fruit our Father is glorified and He calls us His friends. We are no longer servants, but friends! What a awesome concept. God chose us! We think we chose to love Him, but really He chose us and gave us a heart to love him. We are not the world, we are sons of God! Talk about grace! The devil wants us to live condemned and thinking we can never live up to God’s expectations and God says we are his friend and He is pleased with us. Lord, make us a people who can forgive and receive Your love. Thank you for choosing us and calling us Your friend.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 7:1-8:18, John 14:15-31, Ps. 119:33-48, Pr. 15:33 David wanted to build God a temple until Nathan came and told him that God didn’t want to be confined to a box made by men. God established David’s kingdom and he ruled the people with justice. In John, Jesus is talking to those who love him. He reminds them that love is total obedience. Those that love him will do what he says. These are the ones who will keep His commandments. They will be able to ask anything in Jesus’ name and have it because they will be asking what God wants them to ask. They will align themselves to the will of God and nothing will be impossible for them. To them He sends the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter. He is the Spirit of truth that will testify of Jesus. He is the one who teaches us and explains to us what the Bible means. Jesus tries to help them to see the blessing in his death. He promises to come back…he must go to his Father first. Lord, thank you for loving us as a Father, a son and a friend. Thank you for sending us the Comforter to help us understand You better.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 4:1-6:23, John 13:31-14:14, Ps. 119:17-32, Pr. 15:31-32 David is anointed the king and wants to take Jerusalem from the Jebusites. They had taunted him saying that even their blind and lame could keep David from capturing it. But David did captured Zion and called it the City of David. On that day the saying “the blind and lame will not enter the palace” became popular. This is a true statement. The blind and lame will never enter heaven. They will all be healed and whole. After David defeated his enemies it was time to bring the ark back to where he was. When the ark looked like it was going to fall over, one of the men carrying the ark, Uzzah, tried to steady it and God killed him. “Uzzah” means strength. God doesn’t want our strength but is well able to do the impossible. I wonder what God wanted to do that day that Uzzah stopped Him. This scared David so much he stopped his parade and let the ark stay right there at the house of Obed-Edom and he brought the ark into his house. God prospered him so much that David decided he wanted to try again to bring the ark to the City of David. He did with much pomp and ceremony. David made a complete fool of himself dancing before the Lord. God was pleased, but Michal was embarrassed. When she rebuked David, he told her she hadn’t seen anything yet. It was God who gave him the kingdom and he would forever be undignified to make God famous. In John, Jesus is having his last words with his disciples. He gives them some hard assignments like to love one another as he loved them. He is about to go to the cross for them so this was no easy assignment. He also told them there were mansions waiting for them. No wonder Thomas wanted to know how to get there. The most misunderstood statement Jesus said was “greater works than these shall you do.” Lord, do your greater works through us.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Read 2 Sam. 2:12-3:39, John 13:1-30, Ps. 119:1-16, Pr. 15:29-30 The sum of today’s reading is found in 2 Sam. 3:1, “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew waker and weaker. It was Abner, Saul’s commander against Joab, David’s commander. David got his wife back that he had gotten at the price of a hundred foreskins. I can’t help feeling sorry for her husband, Paltiel. Abner had agreed to give David his kingdom but Joab had a personal vendetta with him and killed Abner. The Old Testament is full of revenge, violence, and bad decisions but it is a picture for us to look at and see the heart of man. No wonder we needed a Saviour! As God was weeding out the bad in our Old Testament reading, Jesus was weeding out the leaven in his own group of disciples. He first declares the truth, then puts action behind his words. He declared that one of them would deceive him, then he acted on it and sent Judas out. When John asked him who the deceiver was, Jesus spelled it out and John still didn’t get it. When Jesus washed his disciple’s feet and they didn’t get that either, He was referring to their walk. If our actions are clean, then the rest of our body will get in alignment. Our walk comes from what is in our heart. Our walk and our actions are not always the same. Your walk is how you act in and out of the public eye. Our actions can be deceiving, but our walk stems from our heart. Lord, may you wash our feet today so that the rest of us may be clean.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Read: 2 Sam. 1:1-2:11, John 12:20-50, Ps. 118:19-29, Pr. 15:27-28 David learns of Saul and Jonathan’s death and mourns. After a while David asks God if he should go back to a town in Judah. He knows he is to be the next king…but how does one go about doing that when they live with the enemy? God told him to go, so David went to Hebron, the town of Abraham’s home…where it all began. There the people anoint him as their king although, Abdner, Saul’s army commander had taken Ishbosheth, one of Saul’s sons and made him king over Israel. In John, Jesus knows his time is short and tries to tell them that in order for the kingdom to grow, he has to die. He is only the seed - the light. Whoever put their trust in Him would also become seed and light. Those who couldn’t see it even after seeing the miracles He did would remain in the dark and be judged on the last day. Jesus came to save the world, not judge it. To believe in Jesus is to believe in God. Too bad it’s not the other way around. Many believe in God, but only those with eyes to see believe in Jesus. Lord, thank you for reminding us of the awesome privilege of believing in You. We give thanks to You, Lord, for You are good and your love endures forever!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 29”1-31:13, John 11:54-12:19, Ps. 118:1-18, Pr. 15:24-26 Little did David realize, the Philistines did him a great favor by not letting he go with them to fight against Saul. It ended up that Saul and his sons were killed in that battle and that would not have looked good for David. Also, David didn’t know that his home town had been burned and his wives had been kidnapped. By having to leave early, he was able to rescue his family and all their belongings. Sometimes it is hard for us to understand why things don’t work out the way we think is best, but we have a God who has a better view of things. He sees the present and the future and always has our best in His heart. Notice that the Philistines said the same thing about David that the rules said about Jesus: “I find no fault in him.” Yet they still didn’t trust either one. Mary trusted and understood who Jesus was. She poured out the most costly earthly gift she had… her perfume. She anointed Jesus for his future. I wonder how we can anoint Jesus for the future. I think we can be attentive to what the Holy Spirit tells us to do and do it even if it doesn’t make sense to us at the time. I’m sure Mary didn’t know the significance of what she did when she did it, but it has been a memorial to her ever since. Lord, may what we do today be like perfume poured out on Your feet.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 26:1-28:25, John 11:1-53, PS. 117:1-2, Pr. 15:22-23 Today we read about two people who were brought up from the dead: Samuel and Lazarus. They came from a place called Sheol where people went before Jesus rose from the dead. Notice both stories say he came ‘up’ from the grave. To the righteous it was a place of sleep. Samuel got mad because Saul disturbed his rest. Jesus told his disciples in verse 11 that Lazarus was asleep and he was going to wake him up. They thought he was talking about natural sleep, but He was talking about death. Many believed in Jesus when they saw Lazarus come out of the tomb but it just made the Pharisees more jealous and determined to kill Jesus. They clearly could not ‘see’. Caiaphas, the high priest had even prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation and that he would cause all God’s people to band together as one. Going back to the beginning of our reading, I love how God put Saul and his men in a deep sleep so they could slip in and take his sword and water canteen. There is nothing to difficult for God. He has things planned to amaze us if we will only walk in faith. Lord, You protect and defend your children who walk in faith. You are the resurrection and the life.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 24:1-25:44, John 10:22-42, Ps. 116:1-19, Pr. 15:20-21 Even though David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king he never tried to usurp Saul’s kingdom and ‘make it happen’. When his men tried to convince him to kill Saul even claiming that God had arranged the situation so he could do just that; David refused to take matters into his own hands. David waited for God’s timing. God was putting His purposes for David into the hearts of the people. Abigail understood that one day David would be the king and she did everything in her power to be on his side. By honoring God, she was released from the bondage of her marriage to Nabal, she saved her household, and was made David’s wife. Jesus was waiting on God’s timing also. The Jews wanted him to say with his mouth “I am the Messiah”. He refused to do that just as David refused to make himself the king. Jesus claimed that his true followers would know the truth but the others were not his sheep so they would never understand. Both David and Jesus wanted the people to make up their own minds who was their king. Jesus said that his sheep listen to His voice and follow him. They will never be snatched out of his hand. Many of us have been given promises and prophesies and it is tempting to try to ‘make it happen’. If we truly think we have heard from God then He will make it happen. Our job is to trust His timing. Today, may we hear Your voice and follow You and may we trust Your timing.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 22:1-23:29, John 10:1-21, Ps. 115:1-18, Pr. 15:18-19 Saul was filled with jealousy that affected everything he did. It clouded his perception to the point that he had Ahimelech, the high priest and eighty-five of the Lord’s priests killed, just because they innocently helped David. The man that did Saul’s dirty work was Doeg. His name means “fearful”. Satan’s angels or demons don’t follow him out of love but out of fear. Doeg not only killed the priests but all the men and women and children. He would go to any length to get in Saul’s good graces - all out of fear. David chose to trust in the Lord, and even when it looked like he was going to be caught, God made a way of escape for him. God rules us out of love not fear. Jesus explains it this way: He is the good shepherd and his sheep know His voice and follow him. He lays down his life for his sheep. The wolf is the one who attacks the flock and scatters it. He wants only to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus came to give us an abundant life. There is no comparison! Lord, we choose the Shepherd. We choose You.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 20:1-21:15, John 9:1-41, Ps. 113:1-114:8, Pr. 15:15-17 It takes Jonathan a while to be convinced that his father, Saul wants to kill David, but when he is, he sides with David. Jonathan had a deeper understanding about life and God than most people in the Old Testament. Jonathan was being primed by Saul to be the next king yet he realized God was with David. Instead of being jealous and wanting David dead, Jonathan agreed with God. He protected David and loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan had ‘eyes to see’ into God’s bigger picture. In John we have the Pharisees who didn’t have ‘eyes to see’. Jesus heals a blind man who had been blind from birth. Jesus takes mud and puts it on the blind man’s eyes and tells him to wash them in the pool of Siloam. It is like Jesus takes dust from which the first man was made and recreates his eyes. Then sends him to the waters of Siloam. Siloam means “sent” and refers to the Holy Spirit who is the Sent One. The Spirit gave life to the dust and the result was new eyes. The Pharisees had dead eyes and they couldn’t see Jesus as the Messiah. They wanted him dead just like Saul wanted David dead. The devil hates those anointed by God so he will do anything he can to kill them. Lord, may we not be jealous of those who carry Your anointing but may we see with Your eyes and trust Your ways.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 18:5-19:24, John 8:31-59, Ps. 112:1-10a, Pr. 15:12-14 When God is on your side, who can be against you? That word would just about sum up today’s reading in 1 Samuel. God was on David’s side so there was nothing Saul could do to kill him or change that. All of Saul’s manipulation back-fired in his face. When God chooses to exalt a person, they will be exalted and when God chooses to humble a person, they will be humbled. God was choosing to exalt David and humble Saul. In John, Jesus was humbling the Jews. He was explaining to them that being a son of Abraham didn’t automatically make them a son of God. They had to accept God’s Son which they refused to do. When they wanted to stone Jesus before his time, God protected him just like He did for David. There is no harm or death that can touch us that God doesn’t allow. Our Psalms describes the blessings of fearing God and delighting in his commandments: 1) Your family will be blessed. 2) You will be abundantly provided for. 3) Light will come from your darkness. 4) Your legacy will stand forever. 5) You will not be afraid of bad news. 6) You will be exalted and the wicked will hate you. David and Jesus were examples of these principles and blessings. Lord, may we fear you and delight in Your commandments.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 17:1-18:4, John 8:21-30, Ps. 111:1-10, Pr. 15:11 This is such a familiar story but it always amazes me when I think that Goliath’s vest weighed 125 pounds! What a big man with very strong muscles! David spread his faith around until he was brought before Saul. Saul didn’t even recognized David as his harpist. Saul started doing his regular mode of operation which was ‘doing it his way’. He tried to dress David in his armor. David refused to do it man’s way. He went out unprotected with faith as his shield. He took his first stone and completely felled Goliath. That stone stood for the Word of God. It just takes one verse spoken in faith to see the devil fall. I love that David took Goliath’s own sword to cut off his head. Goliath was the principality and once he was conquered all the little demons fled. Satan’s camp is not in any sort of unity or form. It is total chaos and disloyalty. Jonathan noticed the power and favor on David and loved and honored David as himself. I don’t know of any other friendship in the Bible as sweet as theirs except maybe Jesus and John and Ruth and Naomi. Jesus warns the people that they cannot come where He is going unless they believe He is who He says He is. Otherwise, they will die in their sins. Even Jesus was totally obedient to his Father. Great are Your works, Oh Lord! Our hearts lay open before You. Make them holy Yours.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 15:1-16:23, John 8:1-20, Ps. 110:1-7, Pr. 15:8-10 Once again, Saul has taken matters into his own hands and did it his way. He chose to please his men over God. Once again God told Saul he would take his kingdom away. Saul begged Samuel to come back with him and offer a sacrifice so the people would think that God was pleased with him. Saul was a people pleaser. The problem with being a people pleaser is that you will never succeed. You can never make all the people happy. Pleasing God is the only satisfying option. We do that by obeying Him, not by our presents and sacrifices. Samuel had to obey God’s word and anoint the youngest of Jessie’s sons even though the older ones looked like a king. God could see David’s heart and it was the heart of the king God was looking for. God got David into the palace covertly as a harpist. If we obey God…He will bring it to pass. In John we have the story of the woman caught in adultery. I once asked God what Jesus wrote in the sand because I know God loves to reveal his mysteries. He led me to Jer. 17:13, which says, “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.” I think that is what he wrote…the names of the men standing around watching. He must have started with the genealogy of the oldest. As they saw their names being written in the ground I have to believe the Holy Spirit reminded them of this verse. How could Jesus know their names except through supernatural God? It caused them all to leave. Lord, help us to obey You and do everything Your way instead of ours. May our lives be pleasing to You for You are who we long to honor.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Read 1 Sam. 13:23-14:52, John 7:30-53, Ps. 109:1-31, Pr. 15:5-7 In our Old Testament reading two things stood out to me. The first was how Jonathan decided himself what the sign would be to show them whether to go up against the Philistines or not. I think sometimes I am so afraid of manipulating God that I am afraid to put out a fleece. God wants to lead us and talk to us and sometimes we need a tangible answer. It’s hard to hear when you are in the midst of something and you especially if you have a preference. Jonathan just threw a fleece out there and didn’t waver at the response. His armor bearer represented his guardian angel who had his back. The second thing that hit me was Saul’s flippant vow. Did he stop and think about it? His warriors were in the midst of battle and he forbids them to eat? How foolish. It wasn’t the vow that I was so amazed at, but the fact that Saul was going to actually kill his innocent son until the men took up for Jonathan and ransomed his life. Grace and truth always triumph over judgment and the law. In John, the people are celebrating the feast of tabernacles. During the feast they would do a ceremony called the water libation. At the feast of tabernacles God judged the nation for rainfall. To invoke God’s blessing for the next year they would bring water from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple. It was a great ceremony of joy. It was during this ceremony that Jesus stood and said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture says, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” This saying alone made many believe He was the Messiah. They got tripped up over his origin yet no one asked him where he came from. God doesn’t want us to come to Him because we have figured it out, He wants us to come in faith.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Read 1 Sam. 12:1-13:22, John 7:1-29, Ps. 108:1-13, Pr. 15:4 Samuel says his parting words as he leaves the scene as the last judge and Saul enters as the first king. He reminds them of their sin of wanting a king then of the time of the year. It is the wheat harvest, the same time of the year that God gave the Law on Mt. Sinai. This is the time of the feast of Pentecost. Just like the time of Moses there is thunder and rain and the people are in awe of God and their leader. Saul rules for 12 years but makes a bad mistake early in his reign. He impatiently offered the sacrifice that only Samuel was to offer. This displeased God so much, He told him He was done with Saul and was going to raise up a king after His own heart. Saul moved according to his own heart. In John, it is the time of the feast of tabernacles. All the Jews are to go to Jerusalem on this day with their family. Jesus tells his family to go ahead of him. They are not believers in Him and He doesn’t want them to hinder what God tells Him to do. Halfway through the feast he appears in the temple courts and starts teaching. The people are still debating whether Jesus is the Christ. Jesus always knows their thoughts and words and answers them. If they were such keepers of the law then Jesus wanted to know why they wanted to kill him. Isn’t “thou shalt not kill” in the top ten? They denied wanting to kill him. They argued over his birth saying no one was suppose to know where the Messiah came from. They didn’t understand it wasn’t talking about his hometown, but his heavenly beginning. Lord, help us to remember that the tongue that brings healing is a tree of life!
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Read 1 Sam. 10:1-11:15, John 6:43-71, Ps. 107:1-43, Pr. 15:1-3 I couldn’t help noticing all the “threes” in this reading: three men, three goats, three loaves, 300,000 men of Israel, 30,000 men of Judah. Three means to conform to the seed since that is what God created on the third day. The desire for a king was their seed of rebellion against God and Saul was the result. He started out humble and good but didn’t end too well. In John, Jesus started out saying that no one could come to God unless God drew them to Him. Then Jesus gave one of his toughest-to-believe teachings. It was all about how we must eat Jesus’s flesh and drink His blood. When the disciples told Him that this saying was hard for them to swallow, Jesus said that this was why no one could come to Jesus unless God enabled him to. Only God can open our spiritual eyes to see. I think I am so use to being able to “see” that it is hard for me to realize others can’t. Even among Jesus elite group, there was one who never did see. Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to understand Your great mysteries.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Read:1 Sam. 8:1-9:27, John 6:22-42, Ps. 106:32-48, Pr. 14:34-35 Israel had rejected God as their king and wanted a king like all the other nations had. So first, Samuel told them all the cons of having a king and what they could expect. They still wanted what they wanted which was a king. This reminds me of a friend I had who fell in love with a guy who was not a Christian and had lived a life of lies and trickery. I sat her down and told her just what her life would be like if she married him and moved out west with him. Everything I said would happen did and she ended up blaming me for marrying him. She told me I had failed her as her mentor and friend and that I should have physically restrained her from marrying him. As funny as that sounds, she was dead serious! God never makes us do anything, but he will warn us when we are about to make a mistake. It is our responsibility to trust him and we alone bare the consequences. In John, Jesus reminds them that it wasn’t the great leader, Moses, that sustained them in the wilderness with bread, but it was God. Jesus came to earth to teach them that that bread was Him and He would sustain them just like the manna did for the Israelites, only this bread gives eternal life. Lord, may You always be our number one King!
Friday, May 9, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 5:1-7:-17, John 6:1-21, Ps. 106:13-31, Pr. 14:32-33 Once again Israel has gotten themselves in a pickle, but so have the Philistines. What was a blessing to the Israelites was a curse to the Philistines because the ark didn’t belong to them. It’s rightful place was with Israel but Israel had despised their God by worshipping other gods. Israel got their ark back and repented of their false gods. Samuel assembled them in Mizpah to intercede for the people. They were in the middle of a draught so Samuel took water that was precious to them and poured it out to the Lord. The Philistines attacked in the middle of the sacrificing and the Lord thundered down in such a way it threw the Philistines into a panic that allowed the Israelites to win and be restored to peace. In the New Testament, a little boy gave up his food to allow Jesus to miraculously feed a multitude. What is God asking us to give up so that He can do a miracle? I think for me, it is my comfort zone. I think God wants to move me to a different place and I need to sell out and go. God is still pleased with our sacrifices they just are not the blood of goats but they are sacrifices of the heart. Lord, may we be like Phinehas in our Psalms today that stood up and proclaim righteousness in the midst of wickedness.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Read: 1 Sam. 2:22-4:22, John 5:24-47, Ps. 106:1-12, Pr. 14:30-31 To whom much is given; much will be required. Eli and his sons had been given the priesthood and they dishonored God in their service. Eli’s sons had sex with the women that worked at the temple. Eli didn’t do anything about it thus honoring them over God and he took the best part of the sacrifice for himself. Their punishment was that no one in their family would live their lives out to the end. They would all die young. To confirm this prophecy, Hophni and Phinehas would both die the same day. To make matters worse, God would raise up His priest and Eli’s offspring who would one day beg him for food and a job. God did raise up a faithful priest - Samuel. Everything the Lord said would happen did, and the ark of the Lord was taken by the Philistines. Eli and his son’s sought the honor of men and it cost them their lives. Jesus and Samuel didn’t seek the honor of men but of God. None of their words fell to the ground. Whatever they said came to pass. Lord, may we be like Jesus and Samuel; may we hear what you say and say it.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Read: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21, John 5:1-23, Ps. 105:37-45, Pr. 14:28-29 In a time when the priesthood was polluted with Eli’s sons, God sent a special baby to a barren woman, Hannah. Hannah means “favored”. Her son’s name was Samuel which means “hears from God”. Hannah gave her son to Eli to raise in the temple. God turned her curse of barrenness into a blessing and she had three more sons and two daughters. God did the same for Israel. It was cursed under the priesthood of Eli’s two sons, but blessed under Samuel. Eli’s two sons were Hophni and Phinehas. Their names mean “my fist” and “mouth of a serpent”. They ruled the people with fear and a raised fist and spoke lies like the serpent. If they were a reflection of Eli’s parenting, he redeemed himself with Samuel. Samuel would grow up to be one of Israel’s greatest leaders and prophets. In John, Jesus took a feeble man who had been handicapped of 38 years and made him totally restored. Jesus offered salvation to a world that had been dying in sin for about 3800 years. Jesus was not concerned or bound by the religious laws, he was only bound by the will of His Father. In Psalms we read of the wonderful faithfulness of God to His people. He gave them health, provision, protection, food, water, joy and gladness. He gave them the land of their enemies and they prospered from their enemies’ labor. Lord, how graciously kind you are to your children. Cause us to remember your goodness today. Thank you.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Read: Ruth 2:1-4:22, John 4:43-54, Ps. 105:16-36, Pr. 14:26-27 The story of Ruth is the Gentiles’ story. Ruth is a Gentile who chooses to come into a Jewish world and take their god. Boaz stands for Jesus, but there is a kinsman redeemer who is legally the one who Ruth belongs to if he chooses to take her and reproduce seed for her dead husband. When Boaz went to the city square to meet him, he was interested in the land, but not Ruth. This kinsman redeemer stands for the devil. He has legal rights to us, but all he is interested in is the land. Earth was his domain before God created beauty and nature. When God created man he told him to take dominion over the earth and subdue it. Just like he told Joshua to take the land in the promise land and drive out its inhabitants. That is what He told us to do. The devil is out to kill us, but he wants Earth. He wants the land. That is the big fight in the Holy Land. It’s over land, not people. People just get in the way and have to be moved or killed. Ruth chose Boaz just like we chose Jesus. Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed which means “servant of God”. He was from the line of Perez which means “breaking forth”. We are to break through and take the land from the devil. It is given to us by God. In John, Jesus returned to the sight of his first miracle which was turning the water to wine. For his second miracle, he saves a boy from death. Isn’t that what Jesus came to do…. be the water that was turned to wine - our Saviour, and save us from death? Lord, thank you for your Word. It is a light to our path. May we break through the enemies’ strongholds and take our land for You.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Read: Judges 19:1-20:48, John 3:22-4:3, Ps. 104:24-35, Pr. 14:22-24 I dislike reading this story more than any other story in the Bible. It shows how awful women were treated back then. How can a man give his wife or concubine over to be gang raped all night then tell her to ‘get up it’s time to leave’ the next morning when she’s passed out at the door. Only, she was dead. I find myself glad she died. How do you live with such memories. She would have needed a life-time of counseling to get through that. To me, the man should have been held responsible, along with the Benjamites. But the first sentence explains why this happened, “there was no king in Israel.” God was suppose to be their king and they didn’t acknowledge Him as their king so they did what they thought was right. Apart from God, nothing is right. They lost 40,000 men and Benjamin lost 50,000 men in battle. If only we could understand what John understood about ministry. It is not about us and numbers. John was losing popularity and people were going to Jesus to be baptized. When someone brought this to John’s attention he explained how much more important Jesus was than himself. He rejoiced in his part of building Jesus’ ministry to the detriment of his own. John got the principle of the kingdom. Jesus must increase in our lives and we must decrease. Lord, may we live with the attitude of John. May you increase and us decrease.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Read: Judges 17:1-18:31, John 3:1-21, Ps. 104:1-23, Pr. 14:20-21 Both of our main readings start with: “There is a man of ______ whose name is ________. One was an Israelite in deep deception thinking he had the truth and the other realizing he didn’t have the truth and seeking it. The first, Micah, was trying to serve God in his own terms by breaking God’s law. He stole from his own mother, had graven images in his house and set up a system of worship not laid out in God’s law. He lost everything. Nicodemus knew and followed the law, but saw something worth risking his own perception of God and his reputation. Nicodemus stretched his faith to seek out Jesus and hear about His salvation. He gained everything. Jesus made the statement that whoever lives by the truth comes into the light. In our Psalms today it says that God wraps himself in light as a garment. God wears light! I wonder what we would look like if we wore light. We actually do. The light is inside us, but God wants it to shine out of us like we wrapped ourselves in Him. Lord, may we break open so You can spill out. May our light so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify You.
Friday, May 2, 2014
Read Judges 15:1-16:31, John 2:1-25, Ps. 103:1-22 Pr. 14:17-19 The first sentence reads: “…at the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a kid.” Wheat harvest is the time of Penticost so it could read: “on Pentecost, God presented his wife, the church, with the perfect gift, the Holy Spirit.” In the life of Samson we see the reason the Holy Spirit was given us. It is to bind the strong man, fight our enemies, and to move in supernatural power. The number 3,000 is used in the story. The first Pentecost was on Mt. Sinai when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments. As a result, 3,000 were killed when they made the golden calf. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost and 3,000 were saved when Peter stood up, filled with the Holy Spirit, and preached. Another interesting tidbit in today’s reading was how Delilah brought Samson down. Samson in this story is the picture of the strongman. Mark 3:27 says, “No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” Delilah needed to know how to bind this strong man, Samson, so when she kept failing she had to find the secret of his strength. When she did, she could bind him and subdue him. Sometimes in our lives we need to know the source of our problem before we can successfully fight and win. If you are fighting depression, then you might want to find out how it started. If it was passed down from your mother, then you need to find the source of why she was depressed. Then you have the tools to bind it successfully. It’s like pulling weeds. If you don’t get the root, you will continue to fight weeds, but if you can kill the root, you have gotten rid of your weed problem. In John we see another picture of the Holy Spirit which is wine. The Holy Spirit is the new wine, the new covenant that was better than the old. God saved the best for last! Lord, thank you for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. May we honor His presence in our lives today.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Read: Judges13:1-14:20, John 1:29-51, Ps. 102:1-28, Pr. 14:15-16 There are many barren women in the Bible. They represent the people. The people were spiritually barren - producing no fruit just like Manoah’s wife. After the forty years of punishment for turning from God, God is ready to move on his people again. He causes a barren woman to conceive and bear a deliverer. Samson is born and he seems to have a weakness for pretty women, especially pretty Philistine women. The Philistine’s were in control over Israel so God used Samson’s weakness for His purposes. Samson is drawn to a Philistine woman in Timnath and takes his parents to see her. On the way he is met by a lion that he takes apart with his own hands. Samson knows that he has a supernatural power, but he tries to keep it to himself. When he is tricked by the Philistines his power is no longer a secret. He went home mad and his fiancé was given to another. In the New Testament, John sees Jesus and knows He is the Messiah. When he baptizes Him, John witnesses the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven and remaining on Jesus. John knew that he came baptizing with water, but this man, Jesus came baptizing with the Holy Spirit. The water in the baptismal stands for the Holy Spirit. It is a picture of us being baptized into the Holy Spirit and coming up to walk in the Spirit. John lost two of his disciples to Jesus. One of them was Andrew who ran home and got his brother, Peter. Jesus picked up Philip the next day. Phillip went and got Nathanael. Nathanael was skeptical until Jesus gave him a word of knowledge and he was convinced. Jesus promised them they would see greater things than that if they followed him. They would not be disappointed. Neither will we be disappointed when we choose to give up everything and follow Him. He is worthy. Lord, help us to see Your big picture and be our part in Your plan.