Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday, April 30th: 2 Samuel 21, 1 Chronicles 20:4-8, 2 Samuel 22, Psalm 18 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 21, 1 Chronicles 20:4-8, 2 Samuel 22, Psalm 18

The beginning portion of our passage reminds us how seriously God takes oaths.  Years before Joshua had made a treaty with the Gibeonites after they had deceived him, but the treaty still stood despite the deception.  However, Saul disregarded the treaty and the result was a famine that lasted until David asked God the cause, and dealt with the broken treaty justly.  A huge reminder for us not to be careless with our words!

Psalm 18:32-34  God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.

God doesn't not promise to eliminate challenges or to always rescue us from them.  He doesn't promise to only give us what we can handle.  That's a complete misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:13 which refers to temptation, not hard times.  Instead, God promises to give us strength to face those challenges as well as the promise of His presence through them.  If He didn't give us rough roads to walk or mountains to climb or battles to fight, we wouldn't grow.  But He stands beside us, with us, teaching us, and strengthening us.  That is His promise - to David and to us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  2 Samuel 24:1-17, 1 Chronicles 21:7-17, 2 Samuel 24:18-25, 1 Chronicles 21:18-22:19

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday, April 29th: 2 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 7 ~ Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: 2 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 7

I am going to focus my comment on our reading from Psalm 7.    

David appears to be under some distress.  He pleads his case of innocence before God, believing that he has not done anything wrong to receive the ill-treatment of his adversaries.

David knows that God is righteous and will judge over all people for every action: "God is a righteous judge,  a God who displays his wrath every day"  (vs 11).

He also comforts himself with the common wisdom that under God's rule crime does not pay:
"Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made.  
The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads." (vs 14-16)                        16 
Lastly, David praises and gives thanks to the Lord:
"I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;  I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High."  (vs 17) 

Even in his time of need David is thanking and praising God for who He is.  He has a strong anticipation of his prayers not just being heard, but being answered too.  

Prayers are generally sprung on by a need, but if God is to be truly honoured, then prayer and praise to God must follow deliverance as well.  God is Most High.  He is to the above all things and above all people.  When we praise God it is to be for the acts He has already performed and in anticipation of His acts in the future.      

Do I give God the praise that He is due?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday, April 28th: 2 Samuel 16-17, Psalm 13 & 63 ~ Jeannine

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 16-17, Psalm 13 & Psalm 63

Couple things...

I find it interesting how David responds to the cursing of Shimei. He really just lets this guy go off and curse and yell at him. And when his advisers tell him that they will go shut him up, David just tells them to leave him alone. Maintaining that kind of composure when faced by unjustified criticism is an extremely difficult task and very discouraging. Ignoring it is maybe even harder. I find even slight criticism hard to take at times, never mind if someone were to curse me the way Shimei cursed David.

Psalm 13 - I think we all, at times, feel the way David did in this passage. Here David talks his problems out with God. He expresses his feelings of disappointment, abandonment and loneliness. And in that find strength and peace. I find it interesting how even in my own life when I am alone and sharing my thoughts with God I feel the same strength and peace even when I don't get an answer. Just talking it out with Him is enough.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 7

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday, April 27th: 2 Samuel 13-15 ~ Nathan

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 13-15

2 Samuel 12:11
“This is what the Lord says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.

In today's reading we see how soon God brought disaster on David's household and family. Pre-adultery, things were going well for both King David and Israel, but soon afterwards David's children were involved in lying, cheating, rape, and murder within David's family.

David didn't deal correctly with his son Absalom after he had murdered his brother, and that led to Absalom conniving his way into a position that threatened to over take his father.

The whole situation seemed like a mess, and things weren't looking good, but David didn't unravel. He knew he had made mistakes, and he knew that God still loved him and was faithful. He was at the end of his rope and now left things in God's hands,

2 Samuel 15:25
Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord's eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again.

When things aren't going well, do we throw our hands in the air and give up, and then feel sorry for ourselves? Or do we keep our faith in God, who loves us and is faithful, and keep on battling by doing what we've learned and know He wants?

Often our problems are because of bad choices we've made, and result in more problems if left without God's help to fix. As David showed, when faced with problems it is not a time to throw in the towel, it is a time to rally and focus on God, putting His will ahead of our own.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 16-17, Psalm 3, Psalm 63

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 26th: 2 Samuel 11:1-13, 1 Chronicles 20:1, 2 Samuel 11:14-12:12, Psalms 51, 2 Samuel 12:13-31, 1 Chronicles 20:2-3 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 11:1-13, 1 Chronicles 20:12 Samuel 11:14-12:12, Psalm 512 Samuel 12:13-311 Chronicles 20:2-3

Wow, David & Bathsheba!  I don't feel at all qualified to write on a passage as big as this, but at the same time am amazed at God’s timing.

I have just started a Bible study (When Godly People Do Ungodly Things –Beth Moore) & I find it so interesting how the 2 tie together.

We have read, leading up to these passages, how David followed God’s leading faithfully & here, just like that, he messes it all up.  And big time!  One sin leads to another as he has to cover his tracks.  How does this happen?  Why?

Here's where my bible study comes in 😋.  Speaking on how/why people who are so committed to God, but almost overnight can make the biggest mistake of their life & spiral from there. The reason is that Satan doesn't want God to have us & desperately wants us back.  He hates to see us living victoriously for God & will deceive, seduce & do whatever is necessary to take over.  Satan is out to destroy the testimony of the believer.

I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted & seduced from wholehearted & sincere & pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3

What happened to David can happen to anyone.  We need to be aware & vigilantly guarding ourselves against it.

David opened himself up for attack. By staying home instead of joining his men as they went off to war, by staying on the rooftop & entertaining temptations in his mind, he weakened himself.  After this it snowballed from calling Bathsheba to his room to needing to cover his tracks.

We can guard ourselves by staying away from tempting people, places & situations.  Asking God to guard our hearts, memorizing & focusing on scripture.  And learning to follow what we know is truth rather than what we feel.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, & renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Thankfully God is always there to take us back.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage2 Samuel 13-15

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016: 2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 19 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is
2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 19 
2 Samuel 10:3-4 But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?” So Hanun took David's servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away.
Observation: Sometimes it isn't always a wise idea to listen to the suspicions and conspiracy theories of other people.
Application: Gossip and slander are rampant and words that follow "Can you believe that they.....?" "Did you hear.....?" flow so easily. I'm a terrible person to keep secrets--even the good ones!-- and I know that many times I have fallen into the trap of gossip and it has hurt people. 

In James it says in  3:8" but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison." How true it is that we can take a simple misunderstanding and turn into a restless evil and cause great harm to others and even to ourselves. When David sent the messengers to bring comfort he did it with the right intentions. David was genuinely repaying the good relationship he had with Nahash and doing what he felt best would console  Hanun in his grief. David didn't intend for his actions to be anything less than a sign of support. Despite his good intentions, they were misinterpreted by the advisers of Hanun and chaos ensued. The misunderstanding caused unbelievable death and destruction and changed the relationship among the people involved. 
We don't always know the whole story. We might even misjudge a person's motives and intentions. We need to choose our words carefully.  This makes me think of a time that my friend spoke in chapel a few years ago. She ended her devotional with this:

 The princes of the Ammonites may have believed that David was, in fact, trying to spy on them but it wasn't the truth. Their interference was not ultimately helpful. It did not inspire good relationships after that. It turned out not be be necessary and it was not kind to take a gesture of goodwill and turn it into something sinister. May we use the above filter in our own lives to prevent destruction and chaos.
Prayer: Lord, we often think we have it all figured out. We guess and create stories that fit with what we believe to be true. We fall short all the time. Thank you for the forgiveness we have through you and the change to begin again when we fail. Give us the desire and Your strength to try and fix our mistakes. May each day be a chance to begin again and to THINK about what we are saying before we speak.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday, April 24th: 2 Samuel 8, 1 Chronicles 18, Psalm 60, 2 Samuel 9 ~ Jay

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is:2 Samuel 8, 1 Chronicles 18, Psalm 60, 2 Samuel 9

Good morning blog readers.

From the passages today, I gleaned several key thoughts which I took notice of relative to my walk with God.

1) Even as David gained notoriety for his success, it was God who was the author of that success; 2 Samuel 8-13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites[g] in the Valley of Salt.
14 He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.
15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people
The exact same words are repeated in 1 Chronicles 19- The Lord gave David victory wherever he went. 14 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.  How often is it that we turn to God and are closest to him when things get tough and we are going through a rough patch. Yet when things are going well (job, family, health) we tend to forget our Creator and focus on our own self-accomplishments.  David owed all his success in battle and even his reputation to God.  To his credit, David did not let success go to his head and continued to rule Israel in the same manner that he had always ruled- with justice and fairness.  Regardless of our success or lack thereof, we need to focus on God, be humble and conduct ourselves in a manner that is in keeping with God's attributes- fair and just.
2) David continues to dedicate the gifts he receives from conquered nations to God.  1 Chronicles 18- 11 King David dedicated these articles to the Lord, as he had done with the silver and gold he had taken from all these nations: 
This goes back to that same thought around the realization that any success we have comes from God and needs to viewed from that perspective.  This not only refers to physical / financial gain we might receive throughout our lifetime, but also refers to the talents He has bestowed on us (music , leadership, etc).  We need to not only be willing to utilize these for his purposes, we also need to actively seek opportunities to put these into service.
3) Psalm 60 provides additional insight into the battle challenges and prayers of  David as he faced these nations he was battling.  It was not the easy cake walk that seemed to be part of the above accounts, where God seems to deliver David's enemies one after another. The later part of the Psalm again provides the insight that David acknowledges where his success will come from ....11 Give us aid against the enemy,for human help is worthless. 12 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.  As we face challenges on a daily basis...the lesson for me here is that I need to be in a right relationship with God and turn first to Him, rather than attempting to relying on my own skills or strength to solve things.  Once deliverance is granted, I need to give God the glory so that through whatever challenges we are facing, He is glorified.
12W God we will gain the victo
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 192 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday, April 23rd: 2 Samuel 6:17-19, 1 Chronicles 16:1-42, 2 Samuel 6:20-23, 1 Chronicles 16:43, 2 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, 2 Samuel 7:18-29, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 6:17-19, 1 Chronicles 16:1-42, 2 Samuel 6:20-23, 1 Chronicles 16:43, 2 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, 2 Samuel 7:18-29, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

A few things jumped out at me in today's passage.

First, we see David's desire to do something for God to show his gratitude towards Him, and as an act of worship, wanting to give Him glory.

Next, we see David's character when his desire to build a temple, born out of the right motives, is refused by God.  David did not pout, complain, or get upset.  Instead, he praised God!  He accepted God's plan and didn't try to go beyond God's purpose for his own life. Instead, he did what God asked him to do, and made preparations to make it easier for the next king, his son, to build the temple.

Being able to accept a "no" answer, when we can see no reason why God wouldn't say "yes" is the sign of not only strong character, but faith and trust in God and His plan.

Instead of being jealous because his son would have the prestige of building God's temple, he did what he could to help his son in that privilege.  Are we quick to help others do something that will gain them respect and attention instead of ourselves?

Next was this passage.....
2 Samuel 7:18-19 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?  And now, Sovereign Lord, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord?"

The answer to this is both yes and no.  No, obviously not everyone is given the kingship and promised to rule forever.

But yet in other ways, yes we are!  We deserve nothing.  But He gives us mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  We deserve death, and He offers us eternity.  In fact, our spiritual dynasty will last forever!  He has brought us this far and He will never leave us or forsake us.  Nothing can separate us from His love.

Thanks be to God - He does deal with everyone this way!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage2 Samuel 8, 1 Chronicles 18, Psalm 60, 2 Samuel 9

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday, April 22nd: 2 Samuel 6:1-11, 1 Chronicles 13:1-14:7, 2 Samuel 5:17-25, 1 Chronicles 14:8-15:24, 2 Samuel 6:12-16, 1 Chronicles 15:25-29

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: 2 Samuel 6:1-11, 1 Chronicles 13:1-14:7, 2 Samuel 5:17-25, 1 Chronicles 14:8-15:24, 2 Samuel 6:12-16, 1 Chronicles 15:25-29

"David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums, and cymbals.  When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and tookhold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.  The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God."  2 Samuel 6:5-7

We read that all those with David celebrated with him with all their might.  They were  proud to be a part of this parade and not afraid to publicly show it.  The idea of the parade made me think of the gay pride parades here in Winnipeg.  When I've seen clips of this parade on the news, the participants are celebrating their lifestyle with all their might and wanting to make a statement.  Not only are they participating in the parade, but they are also hoping to make it on TV, or to be interviewed to convince others of their choice in lifestyle.  It caused me to question if I would be willing to publicly participate in a parade for Jesus, to make a loud statement on what He has done for me?  Would I want to be on the news and recognized for what I believe?  Would I want to be interviewed?

Well, David has the desire to move the ark to Jerusalem from Gibeon (from my googling this distance is about 6 1/2 miles).  David wanted to have all the details planned out and make any necessary preparations before transporting the ark.  A new cart was acquired and two professional ark movers were selected - Ahio and Uzzah.

This move would not have been like any journey through the flat land of Saskatchewan.  It would have involved some changes in elevation through the hills, which would have meant some up and down hill maneuvers.

Reading this story reminded me of the time when our children (mostly me) delivered the flyers in our neighbourhood.  The time was winter which meant using a toboggan.  This also meant all hands on deck.  I was pulling the toboggan and the stacks of flyers required their hands to support the flyers from falling off and spreading everywhere.  (I know, you're all thinking that it sounds like a lot of fun in -30).  The point is, we all had a job, and those jobs needed to be carried out in a certain way.

Similarly to the importance of how we transported the flyers, the ark required a specific procedure in its transportation too.  This procedure was definitely not an all hands on deck move.  In fact, the ark was to be done by using the poles inserted through the holes on the sides.  We see proof of that, as that is when things turn around on David and his peeps.....

For some reason the oxen stumbled (maybe they had potholes there too) and Uzzah did not want the ark to fall off the cart.  His automatic reflects caused him to reach out his hand to take hold of the ark to steady it, and by doing so, God struck him dead.

That's one way to put an end to a celebration!  All of this was to honor God.  Uzziah's motives were good, his actions were not.  Why would He strike Uzzah dead right there and then?  Well, God gave very clear instruction about the ark of God.  Not only specific instructions about how it should be made, but He also indicated who was to carry it, and how it was to be transported from one place to another.

What I took from this passage is that we need to be careful of not just going through the motions, but to listen to God and to do the specific steps that He instructs us to do.  By doing all the steps, and not just some of them, we are placing our faith in God and trusting Him on the outcome, not ourselves.  We also need to make sure that our actions are in line with our motives.  We may have the correct intent, just as Uzziah did, but more importantly to make sure our actions are pleasing to God too.    

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage2 Samuel 6:17-19, 1 Chronicles 16:1-42, 2 Samuel 6:20-23, 1 Chronicles 16:43, 2 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, 2 Samuel 7:18-29, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thursday April 21 (round 2): 2 Samuel 3:6-5:5, 1 Chronicles 11:1-3, 12:23-40, 2 Samuel 5:6-16, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9 ~Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 3:6-5:5, 1 Chronicles 11:1-3, 12:23-40, 2 Samuel 5:6-16, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9

Well let's try this again...I did the wrong passage so here is a quick post on the correct passages.

In 2 Samuel 3:13-15 we see an odd exchange. David demands Abner and Ish-Bosheth return Michal to him. Michal was one of Saul's daughters and given to David in return for 100 Philistine foreskins. When David fled Saul for the final time, Saul gave Michal to another man. We have a scene where her current husband follows the group weeping, before being told to leave them alone. That is the last we read of Paltiel of Laish. I'm not even sure where to go with that other than it must have looked weird to travelers passing the royal procession to present Michal to David and a weeping man following behind.

Joab strikes me as someone who does what needs to be done, not just because he is told but because he believes it to be the right thing to do. That is why he murders Abner, receiving a curse from David in the process. He then leads the attack on Jerusalem and is promoted to General of the David's armies. He also spearheads the rebuilding Jerusalem after the attacks. His story gets revealed in future passages but it includes disobeying David to kill who needed to be killed, and confronting and chastising that same king for not being a strong leader for their armies. *Spoiler alert, it doesn't end well.

At the conclusion of these passages, after many years running from Saul, and another 7 years in a civil war with Saul's son, David is crowned King of all Israel.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 6:1-11, 1 Chronicles 13:1-14:7, 2 Samuel 5:17-25, 1 Chronicles 14:8-15:24, 2 Samuel 6:12-16, 1 Chronicles 15:25-29

Thursday April 20: 2 Samuel 1:1-3:5, 2 Samuel 23:8-17, 1 Chronicles 11:10-19, 2 Samuel 23:18-39, 1 Chronicles 11:20-47 ~Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 1:1-3:5, 2 Samuel 23:8-17, 1 Chronicles 11:10-19, 2 Samuel 23:18-39, 1 Chronicles 11:20-47

The passages are split between the story of David coming to power and a hall of fame listing of David's mighty men.

An Amalekite finds David to report Saul's death. He even brings the crown and royal armband as proof. This is different from the account in 1 Samuel 31:1-7 where Saul takes his own life. My commentary suggests the Amalekite may have come across Saul's body and looted it before the Philistines were able. His report to David was intended to gain favour in the eyes of the new king. A grave miscalculation. David had him cut down without ceremony for destroying the Lord's anointed. This is consistent with David's character, who repeatedly refused to take advantage of situations and harm Saul.

One thing that stood out to me later in the narrative is how David did not have the throne handed to him after Saul's death. He was first anointed king of Judah before going to war with Saul's successor. David was king in Judah for seven and half years! It makes me think of the saying "when God closes a door, He opens a window." I have often thought the statement trite. The Bible is filled with stories where someone must stay the course and have faith before ultimately being rewarded with what had been promised. A faithful life is not about finding a convenient or most efficient path. Sometimes we need faith that the door will burst open with our continued efforts and in God's time. Our faith and character will be increased because of the experience.

I wonder about how the mighty men on these lists are grouped. The lists are not identical and the order is different between the lists in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles but notice that there are a some parallels, including a specific group of three listed at the forefront. Jesus had a group of followers, yet limited His close contacts to the disciples and His inner circle to just three. Could the mighty men have similar structure? It may be worth a deeper dive or could end up being a rabbit hole, but could be interesting nonetheless.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 3:6-5:5, 1 Chronicles 11:1-3, 12:23-40, 2 Samuel 5:6-16, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wednesday, April 20: 2 Samuel 1: 1-3:5, 2 Samuel 23: 8-17, 1 Chronicles 11: 10-19, 2 Samuel 23: 18-39, 1 Chronicles 11: 20-47

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 1:1-3:5, 2 Samuel 23:8-17, 1 Chronicles 11:10-19, 2 Samuel 23:18-39, 1 Chronicles 11:20-47

A few verses that stood out to me...
- 2 Samuel 1: 26
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.

David shows how close he was to his friend Jonathan, and how grieved he was at his passing. What a blessing it is to have good friends, something to remember to be thankful for.

- 2 Samuel 3:1
The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker

I often assumed that David became King immediately after Saul had died, but here it shows that it was a long drawn out battle. God's will was eventually done.

- 2 Samuel 23: 15-17
David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” [16] So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. [17] “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors.

A great short story that shows the devotion of David's men, and David's love and respect for his men. Mainly this story shows to me David's commitment to God, he longed for the good water and when he got it he gave it back to God as an offering.

This ties in to our sermon in church last Sunday, am I willing to give to God my best and put him first even when I don't feel like it? Or am I thinking of myself first, taking care of myself before thinking of God?

- Finally, I notice the name of Uriah the Hittite on the list of David's mighty men. The same man who was killed by King David so he could take Uriah's wife who he lusted for. This proved to be one of King David's greatest mistakes (sins). God forgives all sin that we are truly sorry for.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 3:6-5:5, 1 Chronicles 11:1-3, 12:23-40, 2 Samuel 5:6-16, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday, April 19: 1 Samuel 30, 1 Chronicles 12:20-22, 1 Samuel 31, 1 Chronicles 10:1-14 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 301 Chronicles 12:20-221 Samuel 311 Chronicles 10:1-14

In the reading today we see the stark contrast in the hearts of 2 Old Testament kings.

David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons & daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 
1 Samuel 30:6

Not only was David fearing for his life at the hands of his faithful “followers,” but he had also lost his 2 wives in the raid. In the face of tragedy, uncertainty & fear, David looked to God.

Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord & even consulted a medium for guidance, & did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death & turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.  1 Chronicles 10:13-14

Saul did things his own way. When he did look to God, it was only as a last resort. 

Two different kings & 2 different hearts.  Neither of them were perfect, in fact far from.  But we know David to be called “a man after God’s own heart” & Saul “died because he was unfaithful to the Lord.”

We know that we all “have sinned & fall short of the glory of God” Rom 3:23.  God knows this too, however, he is looking at our hearts.  Are we truly seeking him?  Do we find our strength in him or is he our last resort?  Do we humbly return to him after we fall?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  2 Samuel 1:1-3:52 Samuel 23:8-17, 1 Chronicles 11:10-192 Samuel 23:18-391 Chronicles 11:20-47

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday, April 18: 1 Samuel 27:1-7, 1 Chronicles 12:1-7, 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11, 1 Chronicles 12:19, Psalm 56 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 27:1-7, 1 Chronicles 12:1-7, 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11, 1 Chronicles 12:19, Psalm 56

Saul is desperate.  The Philistines are at war with the Israelites as usual, but this time they seem really serious.  He may have heard that David is among the Philistines ready to attack Israel.  He's aware of the danger he is in and he is desperately afraid.  So desperate that he tries to "inquire of the Lord", but he doesn't get any answers.  Why not?  Because it's not a genuine inquiry, it's a desperate and last ditch attempt to have God bail him out of a bad situation. And because Saul has not been obedient to God and has not repented for that disobedience.  When God has already given guidance that we have rejected, we should not assume He will continue to provide more guidance until we follow His original plan.

As Bob Deffinbaugh says...
There is a point in time where God ceases to convict the sinner, but rather hardens their heart, due to persistent rejection of the gospel. There is a point in time when it is, humanly speaking, too late. Those who foolishly suppose they can continue to live in sin and reject the gospel, thinking God will always “be there for them,” are wrong.

I believe there is also a “point of no return” for a Christian who is living in constant, willful rebellion. It is not that this person will lose their salvation, but they will lose the “joy” of their salvation. They may very well lose the assurance of their salvation. They certainly will lose the sense of intimacy and fellowship they could and should have with Christ and His church. They may even lose their lives, even as Saul did (see 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 John 5:13-17).

Though it may not be a comforting thought, we are more like Saul than we would like to believe. There is a lot of “Saul” in every one of us. This is why we must abide in Christ and in His Word. This is why we must pray for strength, and that we will not fall into temptation. This is why we need “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves” and the encouragement of Christian brothers and sisters, and we must beware of persistent, willful sin (Hebrews 10:19-31).

It is very clear that our text is no fairy tale. Saul does not live “happily ever after,” as fairy tale people do. Neither does anyone who fails to trust and obey God. Let us be sobered and humbled by Saul, and let us acknowledge our weaknesses, and rely wholly on His strength.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage1 Samuel 30, 1 Chronicles 12:20-22, 1 Samuel 31, 1 Chronicles 10:1-14

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday, April 17th: 1 Samuel 24-26 ~ Kelora

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is; 1 Samuel 24-26

In these passages David spares Saul’s life twice.  It is amazing how David had the opportunity to kill Saul but acknowledges the fact that God had appointed Saul as King and he still held respect for this.  It surprises me that after David spared Saul’s life the first time that Saul would keep pursuing David.  In I Samuel 24:15 David tells Saul that “May the Lord be our judge and decide between us.  May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”  It shows that David acknowledges that God is in control and will ultimately be the judge of each of their actions.  

In Chapter 25 David requests food for his men from a wealthy man named Nabal who refuses to share and give David and his men any food.  I don’t understand his reason for not giving David and his food since they protected Nabal’s land.  Perhaps selfishness.  Nabal’s wife Abigail recognizes what a disastrous decision this was on her husband’s part and she quickly gathers enough food and meets David to avoid any consequences as a result of her husband’s poor decision.  Abigail appears to be a very wise woman and tries to protect her family from a poor decision.  This reminds me to remember when someone is need to share what we have with them and to remember to be thankful for what God has given to us.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Samuel 27:1-7, 1 Chronicles 12:1-7, 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11, 1 Chronicles 12:19, Psalm 56

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday, April 16th: 1 Chronicles 12:8-18, 1 Samuel 22:3-23, Psalm 52, 1 Samuel 23, Psalm 54 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Chronicles 12:8-18, 1 Samuel 22:3-23, Psalm 52, 1 Samuel 23, Psalm 54

In our passage today we see Ahimelech going against the letter of the law by giving the holy bread to David instead of only to the priests. Jesus later referred to this incident showing that God's laws should be applied with compassion, and that to do good and save life is God's greater law.

King Saul thought Ahimelech was involved in a conspiracy with David against him, and had the 85 priests and their families killed.  This horrific act showed his mental and emotional instability, as well as how evil he had become and how far he had strayed from God.  Unfortunately, evil things will happen to faithful people in this life, but thankfully God has promised that ultimately all evil will be abolished.

I am enjoying reading the "correct" Psalms alongside the events as they happened in David's life!  Today we read about Doeg the Edomite betraying Ahimelech and David, and then callously killing the priests.  He thought he was a great warrior and even boasted about his deed!  In reality, his deed was evil.  We cannot mistake accomplishment for goodness.  We need to measure our actions against God's Word, not by how well we can do it.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Samuel 24-26

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday April 15th: 1 Samuel 18:1-19:7; Psalm 59; 1 Samuel 19:18-20:42 ~Conrad

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is: 1 Samuel 21, Psalm 34, 1 Samuel 22:1-2, Psalm 57, Psalm 142

"I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips."  Psalm 34:1

David praised God for His deliverance and answer to prayer and he was committed to continual praise of the Lord for how God protected him in his times of fear.  David was dependent on God, and not dependent on himself.  He gave all the glory to God and took none for himself.  David's prayers helped to silence his fears and he felt comfort and relief in knowing that God heard his concerns. 

If we are hoping to spend eternity with God and praising Him, it only makes sense to spend our time here on earth doing the same.  The verse does not say that we will bless the Lord in the good times only, but at all times.  In every situation that we face; in every event that occurs.  Whether we are experiencing joy or sorrow, safety or danger, prosperity or adversity, the idea is that we would bless the Lord privately and publicly.  Our thanks should be unceasing; constantly uttering His praises.  The words coming out from our mouth should reflect the glory of God.

Dear Lord, I pray that I would bless you every chance that I can.  I want to praise you at all times, in every situation, under every circumstance.  Whether it's before, during, or after the trials, I want to praise you with my lips.  I will be thankful for your mercies, and will express my sense of your goodness.  Thank you for David and the example that he has shown to me in how I can put this verse into action and apply it to my life.  You are truly worthy of our praise!  Amen.   

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Chronicles 12:8-18, 1 Samuel 22:3-23, Psalm 52, 1 Samuel 23, Psalm 54

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday April 14: 1 Samuel 18:1-19:7; Psalm 59; 1 Samuel 19:18-20:42 ~Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 18:1-19:7, Psalm 59, 1 Samuel 19:18-20:42

A little background reading revealed this little nugget:

from 1 Samuel 18:10-11:
The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing his lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, "I'll pin David to the wall." But David eluded him twice.

Let us examine the original more closely: it is said that Saul prophesied in the midst of his house, that is, he prayed in his family, while David was playing on the harp; and then suddenly threw his javelin, intending to have killed David. Let it be observed that the word ויתנבא vaiyithnabbe is the third person singular of the future hithpael; the sign of which is not only to do an action on or for one's self, but also to feign or pretend to do it. The meaning seems to be, Saul pretended to be praying in his family, the better to conceal his murderous intentions, and render David unsuspicious; who was, probably, at this time performing the musical part of the family worship. This view of the subject makes the whole case natural and plain.

Basically, Saul pretended to be enthralled with the praise and worship songs in order to catch David unaware. Reminds me of another verse urging us to be alert because the enemy "prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" - 1 Peter 5-8

Psalm 59:
There is something about faith under dire circumstances that captures the imagination. David is calling for God to deliver and be a fortress to him. An unjust conspiracy by the king had David a step away from an assassin's blade. He calls for God to rouse Himself and punish all nations (verse 5), to go ahead so David can gloat over those who slandered him (verse 10). That is some raw emotion! Later when David had a chance to gloat over whatever remained of Saul's family, he showed mercy and love. This was not a call for obliteration but a need to express both frustration and worship the One who controlled his destiny. Faith in any circumstances, regardless of the result, frees us to be the type of people who can be a light to the world wherever we find ourselves.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Samuel 21, Psalm 34, 1 Samuel 22:1-2, Psalm 57, Psalm 142

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday, April 13: 1 Samuel 15-17 ~ Emma

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 15-17

Once again, I am taking over for my Dad today.

What stood out to me in this passage is how God picked David over his brothers to be the king of Israel. Everyone expected one of the other brothers to be picked because they were bigger and stronger (which translates to "better" in the language of society). But 1 Samuel 16:7 contradicts that theory:

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him [this is referring to David's brother, Eliab]. The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

This year was my third year participating in the voice festival in Steinbach. I had not won any of my classes until this year. There was always this one girl that beat me every time. This year I won one of my classes and went on to the next level of the competition, and competed against that same girl plus three more. Every girl in my class either won an award or moved on, except for me.

My point is, even though other people are "better" than I am at singing, I am still used by God for His purpose. And nobody can take the role that I was created to play. I may not be the "best", and I may not always win, but when I feel discouraged because others keep beating me, I can remember that no one can be better at the role God has given me than me.

David lived in his brother's shadows for a long time before fulfilling the role God had called him to fill. But no one, not even his bigger, stronger, "better" brothers could take his place.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage1 Samuel 18:1 - 19:17, Psalm 591 Samuel 19:18 - 20:42

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tuesday, April 12th: 1 Samuel 13-14 ~ Danae

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 13-14

Saul was Israel’s king for 42 years. Sadly, they were not years of overall victory.  Saul was not the godly leader that Israel needed.

In 1 Samuel 13:9-13, we see Saul’s impatience & disregard for God’s instructions. From verses 6&7, we see that the Israelites were afraid & in an overwhelming situation.  In verses 9-13, Saul, rather than waiting for a priest, performs the offerings to God on his own. Samuel was to come by the seventh day.  While Saul did wait until the seventh day, he didn't wait until the end of the day when Samuel arrived.

Why couldn't Saul have waited the last few hours?

If Saul was really committed to obedience & sincerely believed, what would an extra few hours have been?  Rather, he could justify saying “I've waited the seven days, now I'll do it my way.”  He didn't really respect God's ways, thinking it was just a ritual & was too impatient to follow God's timing.

God uses these opportunities to test our obedience & faith. How easy is it for us to doubt God's ways/timing & take matters into our own hands.

Saul, then, makes excuses for his disobedience (the men were scattering & Samuel was late). We can't make up excuses for our disobedience, God knows our true motives. Only when we acknowledge our sins & lack of faith can God forgive & restore us.

God knows our heart.  Are we just giving him “lip service” without really giving him our heart or are we ready to trust & obey him completely?  God tested Saul & he failed (& as a result, would lose his kingdom). We need to remember that God is on our side & not panic when opposition moves in. In that time we can trust God to be true, even when his ways/timing are not our own.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:  1 Samuel 15-17

Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday: April 11: 1 Samuel 9-12 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 9-12

 Scripture: 1 Samuel 12:16
16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.
Observation: If we would only take the time to stand still we would see the hand of God working things out for us in ways we could never have imagined. Whether that be in ways we would want or in ways to get our attention in a big way.

Application: This was my verse of the year last year and it reminded me that in all things God is in control. Big chapters in my life were closing (such as Kaden finishing Grade 8 and Kiandra graduating from high school to name a few) and new chapters were beginning (Kezia getting her driver's license and both girls getting jobs to name a few) and this verse reminded me that even though I don't know what will happen next what I can take comfort in is that God will do great things before my eyes if I will only stand still and watch him.

As I read through the readings today, I think about Saul and his ordinary task that day of searching for lost donkeys. I am quite certain that he was not anticipating that on this errand that he would meet Samuel and be told that he---Saul-from the "lowly" tribe of Benjamin--- was whom God had chosen to be king. Saul stood still. He listened to all the things Samuel was telling him....unbelievable as they must have been...and he allowed Samuel (someone he just met) anoint him and give him specific instructions about where to go from there and he followed them. What if Saul had laughed at the absurdity of Samuel's words and just walked away from what could have appeared as the crazy ramblings of a stranger? What if he had doubted what Samuel had said? What if he had demanded proof? It says in verse  When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. God gave him another heart. Even when people hated Saul and talked badly about him, his new heart didn't cause him to react badly. Verse 10:27 says  2But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.When we listen and stand still God can give us a new heart too and cause us to react in a way that we wouldn't react with God's help.

However, we are sinners. We will fall short. We will react in a way that is against what God would want us to do. When Samuel says 16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes  he wasn't talking about a "great" thing as in a positive thing. He was giving them a warning that God's wrath against them if they rebel and disobey Him. They had every reason to tremble in fear when Samuel called on God to send thunder and rain during the harvest. They had begged for a king instead of serving the King of Kings. They forgot the Lord again and again. They were in need of God's mercy and forgiveness....somethings never change from then to now.

Prayer: Lord, Thank you for putting up with our failures and offering the gift of salvation despite our sinfulness. Help us to remember that you alone are Holy and our ways are not Your ways. May we strive to stand still and to listen to your instructions/warnings and obey. Amen.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage1 Samuel 13-14

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sunday, April 10th: 1 Samuel 4-6 ~ Jay

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is; 1 Samuel 4-6

A few thoughts from the passage today.

1) We need to make sure we continue to worship and obey the creator- with the honor and respect due Him....which includes following his commands.
In reading through the first part of chapter of 4, I was trying to figure out why God would allow the Israelites to be defeated once again.  Typically in the past they had fallen away from God or worshiped other God's but in this case it does not directly mention that. Originally God had provided strict instructions around where the ark was to be kept and who was to be in close proximity with the ark.  The Most Holy of the tabernacle was the location it was to be kept and only the High Priest (Eli) was supposed to enter in and be in proximity to the ark. Yet ...Hophni and Phinehas must have had access to it as they were with the ark when it was brought from Shiloh.  Maybe trying to read too much into this and looking for a "reason" for the loss but perhaps once again Israel failed to follow God's commands.

2) It is somewhat interesting that even non-believers are often mindful of God's power....yet they continue on their current path...following false gods and relying on their own strength. We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? They are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, Philistines! Be men, or you will be subject to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Be men, and fight!”  
How often as believers do we forget the powerful God we serve, and the deliverance he has provided throughout history and will continue to provide.

3) Eli Fell backwards and died not as a result of hearing of his sons deaths, but rather in hearing of the capture of the Ark.17 The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”
18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. We experience great emotion around the personal loss of family or those close to us....but do we feel that same level of emotion for the things of God?  If someone uses His name in vane, or a fellow believer turns from his/her we feel that same level of grief.  
4)  Man may have several "gods" but the one true God continues to reveal himself.
Imagine the Philistines having a temple dedicated to Dagon...and placing the Ark next their primary god whom they believed was responsible for weather and crops. Waking up not once but on two mornings to see their all powerful god toppled over and on his face in reverance before the Ark.  God continues to show his power, even though we may try to compartmentalize him with many other important things in our lives (aka other gods like Dagon).   

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage:

Saturday, April 9th: 1 Samuel 1-3 ~ Tammy

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

There's a lot going on in today's passage but I'm only going to focus on a couple of things.

As a side note, Elkanah's attempt to comfort Hannah during her inability to conceive showed a pretty major lack of understanding women!

Anyway, the first thing that stood out to me was Hannah's willingness to give back to God the very thing she had so desperately wanted in the first place - her child. How difficult it must have been to leave Samuel at the temple at such a young age, particularly with it being common knowledge that Samuel was lacking in the parenting department, to put it mildly. She didn't grasp on to her dream with both hands, going back on her vow, and keeping her son at home with her, as she easily could have justified herself doing. Instead, recognizing that Samuel was not just a gift of God's but that he was God's, she gave Him what was never truly hers anyway.

Do we do that? With our children? Our spouses? Our jobs? Our houses? Our stuff?! Do we grasp them so tight that they are all but useless for Kingdom work? Or do we steward everything God's given us as the temporary gifts that they are, acknowledging that their purpose is to glorify God and they are to be "used" as God intended?

The story of God calling Samuel has always struck me as somewhat humorous, but today I also realized that we all need to be listening for God's voice, even in the ordinariness of life. And then need to be willing to act on it! Relaying God's words to Eli must have been extremely hard for a young Samuel to do, but he did it anyway. Are we willing to live with such integrity and boldness?

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 1 Samuel 4-8