Monday, April 30, 2012

Bible Reading Challenge Week 18 Day 1

Our reading challenge for the day is 1 Samuel 26-31. I’ll hit a few highlights. You make comments too and fill in the gaps. What strikes you as specially significant?

1 Samuel 26 - Even when Saul was delivered into David’s hands David made no attempt to kill Saul, but rather protected him. In the same way, Jesus, the anointed one of God (Christos), did not bring harm to the people who mocked and scorned him, but rather protected them, laying his life down for us when we were still sinners.

1 Samuel 27 - It’s hard to deal with David’s actions in chapter 27. He is clearly bent on both self-preservation and harming Israel’s enemies. Ethics in war are very complicated. It is only Jesus who went through this life without a mixed motive. The rest of us see less clearly.

1 Samuel 28 - It is never a good idea to consult a fortune-teller for anything. At best you enrich someone who is a fraud. At worst you consult evil spirits who pose as real people. What happens with Saul and Samuel? It may be something slightly different. Notice that the spirit of Samuel reaffirms what God has decreed, something which would go against the desires of Saul and which would strengthen God’s kingdom. This may have been a genuine vision, which could explain why it was so shocking to the medium. Just the same, I think I’ll steer clear of mediums.

1 Samuel 29 - We don’t know David’s motivation in 1 Samuel 29. He may have been going toward battle in cooperation with the Philistines and he may not have. Yet he redirected very appropriately. Sometimes we are doing something, even something we think is God’s will, but find there are obstacles which make us redirect. There’s no shame in altering our plan or its timing. Our Lord will work in and through us to accomplish his good pleasure.

1 Samuel 30-31 - Warfare is a messy thing. See how David shows charity to some, hostility toward others. Likewise, Saul arranged his death in more controlled circumstances than it might have come otherwise. Was this an act of cowardice? Was he simply protecting himself from more pain with the same outcome? We cannot tell. Best to assume the best possible motive and pray that the Lord delivers us from situations in which we might have to make those decisions.

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