Category Archives: 1 Samuel

The Avenger

“May the Lord judge between you and me.  And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.”  1 Samuel 24:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 8, Psalms 57-58, and Matthew 8.

Great role model activity by David.

Saul was clearly out to get David, but God protected David.

David had several opportunities to finish off Saul but refused to do it because Saul was God’s anointed king.

David’s restraint was remarkable.

How easy it is to get back at somebody.  They do something to you and you bide your time waiting for an opportunity to give them what they deserve.

But this isn’t God’s Way.  God expects us to love our enemies.  Obviously, we can’t do that in our own strength.  We need Him running our lives.

I believe that many of us drive in an ungodly manner.  Someone cuts us off?  Time for the horn!  Someone doesn’t use their signal?  Time to say/think unhappy thoughts!

O how we need Him!

“Lord, take me over.  I want every word/deed to please You.  Forgive me for taking revenge in whatever form it takes.  I need to honor You in all that I do.  Help me, I beg.”

Are you vengeful?

 

 

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Am I encouraging anyone?

“And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.”  1 Samuel 23:16.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 23, Psalm 31 & 54, and Matthew 7.

We are blessed if we have someone in our lives who regularly gives us encouragement.

I’m not talking about superficial encouragement but actual, realistic encouragement.

Jonathan knew two things; his father’s hatred toward David was senseless, and David would be the king because God had promised it.  Jonathan reminded David and encouraged him to keep going.

To be a good encourager, I must care for the other person’s well-being.  If I have a casual relationship with a person, my encouragement will be shallow and will be received the same way.

If I am full of God, I will be able to encourage others in a Godly way.  I will have His Words.  Those Words will be timely and appropriate.

“Lord, fill me with You. Give me, please, Your Words so that I will have them to use in every conversation I am in today.  Help me, Lord, I beg.”

Are you encouraging anyone?

 

 

 

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I was wrong….end of story!

“Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned.  I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions.  I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.’” 1 Samuel 15:24.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 15-16, 1 Chronicles 5, and Matthew 1.

This is called taking the blame but not really taking the blame!

Saul credits himself with doing wrong BUT blames others for his action.

Saul was the king.  He could give orders.  He didn’t give his men the orders that Samuel had told him to give.  Saul disobeyed God and led his men into sinning against God.

Now Saul is apologetic but in a limited way.

How often do we rationalize our behavior!  Too often, I suspect.

We sin and instead of taking full responsibility for it we “share” the responsibility.  “It was their fault that I did it,” we tell ourselves.

My responsibility is not to sin against God, period.  When I sin, I own it.

Imagine Saul’s men learning that the Israelites were in trouble because of what they had done after a victory.  “Huh?”  “We did what Saul allowed us to do.”  They would probably take Saul’s approach and blame him!

I must own my sinfulness.  I must be appalled by it.  My sins are against God first.  I have disobeyed Him, and I MUST take ownership and responsibility.

If Saul had taken full “credit” then things thereafter might have been different.  Instead, they weren’t, and God moved on from Saul to David.

“Lord, forgive me for trying to lessen the impact of my sinfulness.  I am a sinner.  Enable me to own up to my wrong-doing.  I want to be clean with You so that I can rightly represent You in everything I do.  Help me, Father.”

How are you at taking full responsibility for your sins?  Not good?  Saul had the same problem.

 

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Why didn’t God answer?

“So Saul asked God, ‘Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines?  Will you give them into Israel’s hand?’ But God did not answer him that day.”  1 Samuel 14:37.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 14, 1 Chronicles 4, and 2 Corinthians 13.

Saul was prone to erratic behavior.

Why wouldn’t God answer Saul this time?

It goes back to Saul insisting that no one eat until the Philistines had been defeated.  Sounds good if it was for a short period of time but it wasn’t and as time went on Saul’s army became weak from hunger.  When they finally defeated the Philistines, they were ready to eat everything they found.  And some of what they ate had blood inside it which was never to be eaten.

Saul’s foolish initial decision caused his army to break God’s law.

The things we do have consequences.  Sometimes the consequences are good, other times not so much.

If I am close to God, then my behavior will reveal that relationship.

If my relationship with God is messed up, then I will be functioning without His Guidance.  I cannot comfortably live apart from Him.

When I have disobeyed Him, I may not get an immediate reaction to it.  However, almost without fail, when I try to pray, I sense that my prayers are unheard and quickly recollect why.  I must confess the sin I’ve gotten into and seek restoration to Him.

“Lord, reveal to me the errors of my way.  Show me so that I can own up to them and get right with You.  I need You every second.  I want to please You so that my behavior and thoughts will please You. I want to rightly represent You in word and deed.  I am so needy.  Take me over, Lord.”

Had any unanswered prayer lately?  There may be unconfessed sin to deal with.

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In God we trust?

“But when you saw that Nahash King of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God was your king.” 1 Samuel 12:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 11-12, 1 Chronicles 1-2, and 2 Corinthians 11.

Having a heavenly King wasn’t enough!

Samuel is frustrated with the Israelites and well he should be.

They want someone other than God to be ruling them.  Why?  God’s rules were strict, and judgment was severe.  Maybe an earthly king, they thought, would be less demanding.

Why do we follow in their footsteps?  We stray from The God and turn our allegiances to other gods of our own creation.  And then we wonder why our lives are so troubled!

God is not mocked.  He knows where our hearts are.  Instinctively we want to have things go our way on our terms.  We want to run our own lives and Satan whispers to us that this is the best way.

My life must be totally committed to doing what God wants.  I must seek Him desperately and beg for His nearness.  “Earthly” kings will not get me where I need to be.  I cannot place my security in their hands because their hands are made of clay.  They will abandon me.  They will let me down.  Their attractiveness is only for a season.

I must be alert to the ascension of lesser gods in my life.  When I worry, it is because a lesser god is being challenged.  The God is always up to the task.  The God will never leave me.  I can, and must, rely solely on Him in all things.

I marvel that the Israelites would not see the folly of putting their hopes in an earthly king.  Of course, in our day, many are just as foolish as they put their trust in our leaders, or the opposition leaders, or our government……….sinking sand of the highest order!  In God we must trust.

“Lord, forgive me for giving power to lesser gods.  You are The God, the One and only God.  In You I trust.  Prick my conscience when my allegiance is being drawn away from You.  I don’t want that.  I want You in charge.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Are you trusting in God?

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Do what your hand finds to do

“The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”  1 Samuel 10:6-7.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 8-10 and 2 Corinthians 10.

This is so practical: Do what your hand finds to do.

There are moments where “big” things are going on.  You’re in the middle of a tremendous worship service.  The singing, the preaching, the prayers are all amazing.  Then it’s over, and home you go.

Today’s advice was given to Saul before he actually became Israel’s first king.  The “highs” were going to end and then the “regular” stuff would start!

It wouldn’t matter what activities Saul was involved in because God was with him.

God is with me in the mundane.  Taking out the rubbish.  Saying, “Thank you.”  I must not lessen my striving for full Godliness in any circumstance.  If I am full of God, it will carry over into the “rest” of my life.

“Lord, thank You for the Bible.  Thank You for the stories and the lessons therein.  I must be Godly in every situation.  I cannot hope to do that without being attached fully to You.  Take me over.  I surrender now to You.  I love You, Lord.”

I must follow His lead in everything I do this day.

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When He calls, will I hear?

“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel!  Samuel!’  Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’”  1 Samuel 3:10.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; 1 Samuel 3-5, Psalm 66, and 2 Corinthians 7.

Samuel doesn’t recognize the voice of the Lord.

I was part of a Bible class today from John 10 where Jesus is the Shepherd.  Jesus explains that His sheep know His Voice.

Samuel was young and unfamiliar with God, therefore God’s voice would not be known to him.

But once Samuel figures things out, he gives a wonderful response. Samuel wants God to speak to Him because now he is tuned in to God’s voice.  Samuel also recognizes that he is God’s servant.

Lessons are plentiful for me in this verse.  I MUST be listening to God.  I must construct my life so that there will be places where God can reach me.  I cannot be so consumed with other things that God can’t reach me.

I must also remember that I am His servant.  How am I going to know what to do, and not do, if I am not hearing from Him?  I must construct my life so that He is within range of me.  I need His guidance desperately.

“Lord, thank You for the story of Samuel’s introduction to God.  Forgive me for tuning You out.  I need You every second.  Prick my conscience when I am separating from You so that I can remove the separation.  I truly need You.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

Can God get through to you?

 

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You are in big trouble when……..

“’I am in great distress,’ Saul said.  ‘The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me.  He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams.’”  1 Samuel 28:15.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 28-29, Psalm 109, and Matthew 11.

Saul is in big trouble.  He has a formidable enemy and God is no longer with him.

No wonder he was in great distress!

How often do we get distressed?  Big things?  Little things?

We all have “enemies” to deal with in this life.  They are formidable, at least in our minds.

But how can anything be formidable for believers?

“In this world, there will be trouble.”  We’re not going to avoid it.

But if we have something Saul didn’t have; God, why should we be afraid?

We behave as if God is not with us.  If I have an umbrella with me, and it starts to rain, I know that I have protection.

Don’t believers have protection?  Isn’t God on their side?

Is it possible that our faith is so shallow that we aren’t even sure that God is with us?

The wise man built his house upon the rock so that when the storms came his house was not in trouble.

I must be conscious full-time that God is with me.  I must converse with Him.  I must think about Him.  I must know His Words.  I must be fully aware that He is the difference between calmness and distress as I face what comes my way.

“Lord, forgive me for acting as if You aren’t even around.  For fearing.  For doubting.  You are everywhere.  You will be with me in all of life’s situations.  You can be fully trusted.  I will not be like Saul (distressed) if I am aware of Your presence in my life.”

If God is with us why do we get so distressed?

 

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Why are we afraid? Here’s why:

“Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David and had departed from Saul.” 1 Samuel 18:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 18, 1 Chronicles 6, Psalm 11, and Matthew 3.

Here, in today’s verse, we can clearly see why someone (Saul) is afraid: God is no longer with them.

We can also understand why David was so fearless: He knew that God was with him and acted accordingly.

The “acting accordingly” part is very important.  It is like hearing the Gospel and claiming to believe it.  If there is no “acting accordingly,” then it is safe to assume that the so-called belief is NOT in place.

Being apart from God did a number on Saul.  He was angry.  He was moody.  He was unpredictable.  He was devious.  Godlessness will do that to us.

We must be careful not to assume that if we are Godly we will be successful by the world’s standards.  No, the standards will be God’s.  In our times of trusting Him He will lift our spirits and strength us as we are aware of His presence no matter what our circumstances are.

“I fear because I forget Your sovereignty.” – Tim Keller.

“Lord, some things in the Bible are very understandable and this is one of those times.  When I am full of You, I will not fear.  When I am full of me, I will be terrified.  David was on one side of this and Saul was on the other.  Fill me with You.  Remove the footholds that Satan has set up in me.  The inroads I have allowed him to make.  I want only You in charge.  I resist the Devil, in Your Name. Take me over, Father.”

Our fears reveal to us what we have placed our trust in instead of God.

 

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How to face the big deals in life

“Then the Philistine said, ‘This day I defy the armies of Israel!  Give me a man and let us fight each other.’  On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and ALL the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.”  1 Samuel 17:10-11.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 17, Psalm 9, and Matthew 2.

Mountains in our minds.

In our own vision, the world is filled with “giants.”

How often our first reactions to “giants” are godless ones.

Goliath scared Saul and the Israelites godless!

This guy was big (9’9”).  A basketball rim is 10’.  Not only was Goliath big but he had on the latest equipment and his weapons were first-rate as well.  Israel had no one like him.

What to do?  In times like that you find out where your ultimate trust is located.  For Saul and the Israelites, it was in the visible and they were frightened using their godless eyes.

Later, David will show up.  He does NOT take note of Goliath’s size.  He does take note that Goliath defies his God.  David’s God had helped him defend his sheep and David was certain that with God he could defeat Goliath.

God is not intimidated by the troubles I face.  He is not overwhelmed by the international threats of war of our day.  War may happen BUT God is in charge ultimately.  I must function in His strength against enemies that are visibly scary.

“Lord, You are omnipotent.  I thank You for the stories of people acting just like I do so that I can see how pitiful my behavior is.  I have You.  You are bigger than anything I face.  I want Your Ways to be my way from here on in.  Help me, God.”

Will we trust God in the slight inclines in our lives?  How about in the mountains?

 

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