Friday, October 23, 2015

23 October 2015 1 Samuel 27-29; 1 Timothy 3 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 27-29; 1 Timothy 3

Although David knew he had been anointed king, he could not bear the constant hide-and-seek existence in the wilderness for his family and small army. Given his earlier experience with the Philistines, he was courageous to return there. But this time he arrived with a small army. Unlike earlier, the Philistines would now be aware of Saul’s hostility toward David, which may have contributed to the welcome David received. David’s move again demonstrates the awkward and enigmatic relationship between the Israelites and Philistines. David’s suggestion to move to a smaller town would help to solve probably housing and social issues and allow the Israelites to live together as a community and maintain their own worship life. David knew how to negotiate, enhancing his request with words the king would like to hear. His stay in Ziklag and Gath, though little more than a year, provided further opportunity to gain the trust of the Philistines and to grow relationships with Israelites living in the area. Nomadic peoples living along the border between Canaan and Egypt often plundered Judean and Philistine towns. David would pursue these marauders in defense of the Israelite towns, exterminate them, and take their livestock as spoils of war. He pretended to be making raids on Judah, instead attacking the invaders and thereby actively helping his fellow Judeans. To maintain the deception, he had to make certain that none of the enemy survived. David’s responses to Achish’s questions were deliberately misleading, indicating only the direction he had gone, allowing Achish to assume that the raids were against Israelites. 

When told by Achish that he and his army would accompany them, David’s words are deliberately ambiguous. They could be support or betrayal. Loss of Samuel’s leadership may have emboldened the Philistines for an all-out attack on Israel. Now the king was desperate for any kind of guidance. Mediums consulted the spirits of the dead, and necromancers spoke with the deceased familiar to them, thereby supposedly discovering the secrets of the future. When Saul could get no answer from Urim or dreams or by prophets, he went to a medium. Calling up Samuel was another sign of Saul’s desperation; no ordinary spirit would do! Whether or not it was truly Samuel or Satan or one of his demons, we don’t know. Satan, though the father of lies, is capable of speaking the truth and can even mouth God’s Word. Saul’s sins are denounced as the reason for God’s anger and rejection. Missing is the prophet’s usual appeal for change of attitude, perhaps because it’s too late. Saul looks for a word of assurance that everything is going to be all right, but the earlier words of Samuel are only reinforced and are about to be fulfilled. Saul is in such despair that he refuses to eat. The medium has to offer an argument that he owed her for her risking her life.

As the Philistine army moves northward to battle, David’s difficult situation within the army is resolved when he is removed from the battlefield. Once again, God looked after David’s welfare. We, too, can get ourselves into some pretty tight spots as a result of our own decisions or deceptions. God will not condone our sinfulness, which is often what prompts the decisions we make. Yet, He still looks after our welfare, making all things work together for good in Christ.

In our NT reading, Paul tells Timothy that only qualified men may serve as pastors of God’s flock. We should honor and uphold the qualifications that God has set forth for those who would serve in the Office of the Public Ministry, always remembering that the pastoral office is a divine institution-a gift from God for His Church. The Lord Jesus has given this office and its qualifications because He loves us and always desires what is best for us. He Himself is our chief Shepherd. He has laid down His life for us and gives us eternal life. Deacons and deaconesses were faithful people, entrusted with special responsibilities for service to their fellow Christians. Christians today are also privileged to serve others through special congregational offices and service organizations. When given chances to express Jesus’ love in deeds of service, it is easy to pass on these opportunities. But, in truth, god calls every Christian to follow his example of self-giving service. Jesus came to serve sinners like us with His forgiveness and salvation. He still serves us today through His means of grace. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Samuel 30-31; 1 Timothy 4


TammyIsBlessed said...

God's sovereignty is so amazing that He can even work through our sinfulness to accomplish His plan. Indeed, though our sin hurts us and those around us, it cannot derail God's plans.

Grade 1 said...

This stood out for me:

4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?

I think this obviously has value but our children are going to make their own choices. I can think of some very devoted and God fearing parents who have children who have wandered and I don't think this should prevent them from having a leadership position.