David is so close to becoming king over all of Israel, but things are never that simple, are they? Ish-bosheth is Saul’s son who is still alive and, in general, sons get to take over the crown. He even had a bit of a following supporting him. But there was one key thing missing from Ish-bosheth’s efforts to become king: God’s support. Be sure to read the whole story of what happened, it gets dicey.
2 Samuel 2:12-3:39:
- 12-28 – Though Judah and Israel would split into two nations after Solomon’s reign, they are technically still united during this story. Abner is simply loyal to Saul’s line and is trying to keep them in power, this is why David’s men are fighting against Abner’s.
- 2-5 – David had a lot of wives.
- 7-11 – Because of Ish-bosheth’s accusation, Abner abruptly switches allegiances and promises his efforts and loyalty to guaranteeing David’s reign.
- 20-30 – David believed Abner’s new-found loyalty to him, but Joab, one of David’s military leaders still had a score to settle with him. Abner felt that he was safe in David’s good graces, but Joab kills him. David washes his hands of any responsibility.
- 4-17 – Jesus lowers himself to the lowest household job. He becomes a servant to his followers to show them how they are to serve those they lead. Peter is resistant to Jesus’ acts of kindness because he doesn’t feel that this is an act meant for the Messiah.
- 23 – John’s gospel is the only one that singles out or even refers to a “disciple whom Jesus loved”. Some say it may be John referring to himself.
- This is, by far, the longest psalm.
- In this section of the psalm, a number of different tactics for remaining pure and faithful are mentioned: praising God for his law, guarding your path, following God’s commands, knowing God’s word.
My mom heard me call my sister a “butthead” once. She told me never to say it again so I literally never did until I retold the story when I was in my 20’s. It was still difficult to say. Just because we sin once doesn’t mean we should continue on with that sin. It’s not as if that has to be your “thing”. Today’s 1 Samuel reading reminds us of why this is an important concept to understand.
1 Samuel 12:1-13:22:
- 1-5 – Some Bible scholars say that Samuel is the most boring character in Scripture. Basically, he never turns from God or is involved in a scandal of any sort. He is just steady. Not even his constituents can find fault with him.
- 8-14 – The Lord was continuously faithful in protecting and providing for the Israelites, but people are fickle, and when things got scary, they lost trust. They convinced themselves that a human king could protect them from other nations best.
- 20-22 – A good reminder that just because we’ve been sinful doesn’t mean we should keep on sinning and assume God is no longer for us. God redeems and restores over and over.
- 2 – There were many places called Gibeah in the area, that’s why Gibeah has been mentioned multiple times recently. Each Gibeah is qualified, for instance, this is Gibeah of Benjamin.
- 8-14 – Saul was not supposed to offer burnt offerings. That was the job of the priest. Saul was afraid of the Philistines and afraid that his supporters and army were abandoning him so he took matters into his own hands. Because of his lack of faith, his family line would not continue to be king.
- 14 – The description, “A man after God’s own heart” is only used about one person throughout Scripture, the next king: David.
- 19-22 – This sounds like a pretty difficult way to fight a battle.
- 2 – The Feast of Booths, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of the Ingathering, is the last of the 7 festivals Jews were to observe. During it, Jews put together a small, quickly built hut to eat their meals in. It is a time of remembering when their ancestors lived in small, quickly built huts for 40 years in the desert. It was later used to celebrate the harvest.
- 10-13 – Jesus’ ministry caused a huge ruckus amongst the religious authorities. He was starting a movement that didn’t fit in their constraints and they felt threatened.
- 16-18 – A good way to check ourselves. Are we seeking glory for God or for ourselves – a good way to know whether or not you should continue what you’re doing.
- 26-28 – The people of Jerusalem who begin to question if Jesus really was the Christ or not raise the point that they know where Jesus came from, which means he can’t be the Christ. They think they know where he came from as in Mary’s womb and Nazareth his hometown. But truly, Jesus comes from God.
- 4 – This beautiful description of God’s great love and faithfulness inspired a Third Day song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEF7IoQ3eUk
- This psalm is a mixture of David’s praise to God and remembering the reasons he deserves praise and a plea for help in war. Often we ask for the help without offering the praise or thanksgiving.
- We often think perverse words or thoughts are all in fun or can be stopped at any time. Instead, these words and thoughts are the fruit of what we are putting into ourselves. From a good tree comes good fruit. From a bad tree comes bad fruit.
Words tend to be a large part of a variety of our sins. Deceit, manipulation, lies, etc. are all sins of words. Our words have power and we often forget that. Let today’s Proverb remind you to be careful with your words.
1 Samuel 10:1-11:15:
- 1-8 – Samuel anoints Saul as prince (eventually king) of Israel and explains to him what God will do to confirm that this is all true. It would be pretty hard to believe that you were being anointed as the king of Israel when there had never been one and you weren’t seeking to be king.
- 9-13 – Though Saul’s anointing hadn’t been made public yet, he was quickly revealed to some people who knew him as a prophet.
- 20-24 – Though Saul was reluctant, the people of Israel accepted him immediately as king. He looked the part, being tall and handsome.
- 1-15 – This story is a little confusing without context. The Ammonites attacked the Israelites in Jabesh-gilead (also known as Jabesh). The men of Jabesh are willing to make a treaty with the Ammonites to serve them. Note that they never seek God’s help throughout the story. The Ammonites want to gouge out an eye because it disgraces the Israelites and renders them unable to fight in battles. The men of Jabesh send for help and the plea reaches Saul. Saul’s army defeats the Ammonites and Saul’s position is solidified with the people.
- 47-51 – God provided for the physical needs of the Israelites in the desert. God uses Jesus to take it a step further by offering himself up for people’s eternal needs.
- 52-58 – Jesus did not actually intend for the people to gnaw on his body. He did, however, intend for them to practice communion (which began with the last supper), and to allow his body and blood to be what sustained them.
- 67-69 – Peter is the only disciple who publicly identifies Jesus as the Messiah or Son of God.
- 1 – This verse often starts psalms and other portions of Scripture meant for praising God.
- 8-9 – Too often we forget these things when we feel forgotten, desperate, or alone. It is beautiful when we can remember God’s “wondrous works” and testify to his faithfulness so that other “hungry souls” can hear and be filled.
- 10-13 – Sometimes we fail and have to face our consequences, but when we cry out to God, he is always faithful to bring us back to himself.
- 23-32 – This portion of the psalm would have been helpful for the disciples to know when they were in a storm on a boat and panicked.
- 1-2 – The book of James dedicates a large section to taming the tongue. The tongue is compared to a horse’s bridle or a boat’s rudder. It steers and can control us. This Proverb supports that.
Get ready because this is a powerful book with a lot packed in! We meet, Samuel, a faithful guide for Israel, Saul, Israel’s first king, and David, who we’ve already read a lot about in the Psalms. The Israelites reject God as king, Saul rises and falls, and David, though extremely unlikely, becomes a man after God’s own heart.
John 3:30 is John the Baptist speaking. He says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” What if that was our goal for the way we lived our lives? What if everything we did and every decision we made was with the goal of becoming more like Christ? What if we were more concerned with God being glorified than with our own recognition and success? Let’s take a verse from John the Baptist on this one.
- 1 – Stories continue to be started with the phrase, “when there was no king in Israel”. This should not be read as a negative. God did not intend for Israel to have a human king, but to be their king himself.
- 22-26 – This is almost identical to the story in Genesis 19 about Sodom and Gomorrah and the townsmen trying to have sex with the visiting angels. Clearly sexually assaulting a woman was seen as a far lesser crime than sexually assaulting a man.
- 27-30 – Obviously a very disturbing story, the Levite dismembers his dead concubine and sends pieces to every tribe. It seems his intention is to remind them of their sin and encourage them to speak out against one another when they commit such egregious sins.
- 23 – The first time in the whole ordeal when someone calls on God for direction.
- 43 – “Nohah” has a superscript 2 attached. When you look at the footnote it mentions the “Septuagint.” The Septuagint was a translation of the Old Testament, which was originally written in Hebrew, into Koine Greek, which is what the majority of the New Testament was originally written in.
- 25-30 – While John’s disciples viewed Jesus as competition, John recognized that he had simply paved the way for Jesus. His explanation in verse 30 of his relationship with Jesus is one that we should all model after.
- 34 – When God sends people they have his words because he fills them with the Spirit. Often we worry about “what to say”, but we need not worry because if we’re sent by God he will give us the words.
- The works and control of God are amazing. This Psalm chronicles some of the specifics.
- 22- 23 – The book of James tells us not simply to hear the word but also to do what it says. These verses are similar. We are not simply to talk, but also to do.
Dr. Seuss is often credited with the quotation, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Though not the same words, Proverbs had a similar sentiment long before Seuss. Today’s Proverb reminds us not to give any merit to those who scoff at our attempts to be faithful.
- 22-23 – God had purposefully not given the Israelites a ruler or king. God was their king. Gideon and the other judges were intended to act as guides, but not rulers.
- 29 – Remember, Jerubbaal was Gideon’s other name.
- 6 – Clearly Abimelech wasn’t intended to be king, but the people wanted one and appointed him king anyway.
- 46 – The temple curtain was designed to separate the holiness of God from the sin of the people. Jesus’ death both symbolically and literally removed this barrier.
- 50-51 – The council had approved Jesus’ death, but Joseph of Arimathea dissented.
- 1-11 – It is significant that it was women who first witnessed Jesus’ resurrection because the testimony of women did not count.
- 12 – Once again, it is Peter who is first to seek out Christ.
- 6 – Moses, Aaron, and Samuel were all Jewish heroes of the faith. The fact that they worshipped and were avenged by God gave even more clout to God.
- Foolish people mock us when we choose to do what is right and choose to obey God and repent. We should give their mocks no merit.