Old Testament: 1 Samuel 14: 1 -52
1 Samuel 14:1-23 Shake It Up, Baby
Saul continues to show his real character as his story goes on. It ends with a visit to a witch. Strangely, he had a great son who, but for his father, could have had a line that ruled as long as David’s. David would have ruled but they had discussed a co-regency but Saul had the kingdom ripped away.
Jonathan had a plan to surprise the Philistines but didn’t tell his father who was lounging under a pomegranate tree protected by about six hundred men and a bogus priest. Just Jonathan and his armor bearer slayed twenty men. The Philistines “trembled” (v. 15) and to make things worse for them, the Lord sent an earthquake and that even caused more “trembling” (are these puns on purpose?).
When Saul saw the Philistines disappearing, he took inventory and found that Jonathan and his armor bearer were gone. He superstitiously asked for the ark to be brought to him. He led a charge into the Philistines who had been so confused they were killing each other! The Hebrews who had defected into the Philistine army as well as the ones up in the hills all turned on the Philistines and there was a great slaughter of the pagans.
1 Samuel 14:24-46 That’s Enough, Honey
Saul should have just stayed under the pomegranate tree. Instead, he issued an order for his men not to eat any food until all the Philistines had been dispatched. When the Israelites got to the forest of the Philistines, there was honey all over the place. Jonathan hadn’t gotten the memo from his Dad about the food so when he saw the honey, he did the natural thing and tasted it from the tip of his spear. His eyes lit up from the instant nutrition. Then he got the memo. Whoops. Jonathan realized what a stupid command that had been. He realized that had his men been able to eat the honey they would have done even more damage to the Philistines. (Ever have a dumb boss?)
Though Jonathan’s men were worn out, they whooped the Philistines all across central Palestine. Once the ban was lifted, the men “rushed upon the spoil” (v. 32) and at the animals so quickly that they failed to drain the blood. That was a violation of the Mosaic law (Lev. 17:10-14). Saul built an altar for them so they could slaughter their animals and eat them according to the law.
Saul wanted to chase after the Philistines that night but when he inquired of the Lord, he didn’t get an answer. So he had lots drawn to see if he and Jonathan had offended the Lord or if the people had. Turned out it was on his side of the family. Then the lot showed Jonathan was the culprit so he ‘fessed up that he had eaten the honey and broken the ban.
Saul asked Jonathan, “What’s the deal?” Jonathan told him he had tasted a smidgeon of honey. Saul was going to kill him. The people wisely intervened and Jonathan’s life was spared. Was Saul a bonehead or what?
The Philistines went back home and so did Saul so there was again peace in the Middle East. But not for long.
1 Samuel 14:24-46 War In The Middle East
Saul was constantly fighting with the pagans that Israel had failed to extricate in the days of Joshua. They included the Moabites, Ammonites (sometimes you feel like a nut), the Amalekites and the Philistines. He inflicted a lot of pain on them whenever he encountered them.
Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchi-shua. He had daughters named Merab and Michal (pronounced “me-kawl´”). Saul’s wife was Ahimnoam and the captain of the army was Abner. Saul was constantly fighting the Philistines and adding the best men to his army.
New Testament: John 7:31-53
John 7:31-39 Getting Doused
People weren’t all quite sure Jesus was the Messiah but they couldn’t imagine anyone coming and doing more miracles than He (v. 31).
The religious leaders sent the Temple police out to arrest Him but Jesus escaped saying He would be around for a while. He said He’d leave when He wanted to leave. He said He was going to go to a place where they couldn’t follow Him. This really puzzled them. They thought maybe He was going to go to teach the Greeks. They could only think in a worldly way.
Jesus got up on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated not only the water provided for the Israelites in the desert (Num. 20:8-11; Ps. 78:15-16) but also looked forward to the Millennium reign of Christ on earth (cf. Zech. 14:8, 16-19). The last day of the Feast was the greatest (cf. Lev. 23: 36). The rabbis usually sat but Jesus stood (v. 37). In offering water to drink, Jesus was symbolically offering salvation (cf. John 4:14).
In mentioning the “rivers of living water” flowing out of believers, He was predicting the new era of the Holy Spirit dwelling in believers during the Church age (v. 39).
John 7:40-53 Who’s Fooling Who?
The Temple Police reported back to the religious leaders who asked them why they didn’t bring Jesus back with them. The police answered, “He was a really, really good speaker.” The religious leaders said, “Oh, no, you haven’t been fooled by Him, too, have you? We’re a lot smarter than the crowd, aren’t we? And none of us thinks He is the Messiah!”
Nicodemus, of John chapter 3 fame, protested that Jesus could not be condemned without a hearing according to the Mosaic law. The leaders said, “Are you from Galilee, too? You dork [implied]. No prophet comes out of Galilee!” Then everyone went home.
Psalm 109:1-31 A Lament By David
Psalm 109:1-31 Never Give Up
This is another imprecatory or cursing psalm. Is it really OK to curse people? Generally, not. But they always apply to demons or people who act demonically. Like Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Judas. In fact, verses from this psalm were applied to Judas. Peter in Acts 1:10 applies Psalm 109:6-9 specifically to Judas.
Do you think Judas should have been cursed? God did. He betrayed the Son of Man! Those are the types of people that should be cursed. Demons have already been cursed but I think if they are hampering God’s will, they are fair game for cursing as well.
David begins in praise of God and asks God to answer Him (v. 1). I think if we were to pray this way we’d have more answers to prayer. To exhort God to answer is to say we are really meaning business with Him. Try it. It is a model for us.
David is being hounded again by really, really bad guys (v. 2). It’s hard to tell when he wrote this since this happened all throughout his life. Don’t be surprised if you try to do God’s will and even other believers try to thwart you (cf. 1 Pet. 4:12). His adversaries lied about him (v. 2b) and generally dissed him (v. 3).
In return for his love, they accused him of things he didn’t do (v. 4, cf. Ps. 69:4). I’ve been surprised in ministry how many people could be upset with me when I did nothing but wish and work for their good. It was shocking. One friend of mine told me of a saying, “no good deed goes unpunished.” It is certainly true in ministry, if you are being true to the Lord.
The antidote is to be in prayer (v. 4b). You will most certainly be repaid evil for love as you represent Christ. But we are still to be ambassadors for Him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20). To be an ambassador for Christ does not mean we have to be doormats, but it does mean that need to represent His character. He definitely stood up to some that opposed Him (cf. Matt. 23:27).
A curse is pronounced on one of David’s foes in v. 6. Of course, this also sounds just like Judas. His days were few as an apostle (v. 8) and if he had children, they were made fatherless (v. 9) when he took his own life. If he prayed, they were sinful prayers (v. 7). That is a scary thought, isn’t it, that prayers can be considered sinful by God? That’s why it’s always best to pray in His name (cf. John 14:12-14).
This is a pretty nasty curse: the oppressor’s children begging (v. 10), a creditor seizing all his assets (v. 11), none showing him comfort (v. 12), and his legacy destroyed (v. 13) and his mother’s sin won’t be forgiven (vv. 14-15).
He was an evil man (vv. 15-20). He cursed others and thus should be cursed. It is talionic justice (see Ps. 64, Boomerang Slang). He should reap what he sows (cf. Gal. 6:7).
David asks Yahweh to treat him according to His love and kindness (v. 21). He has been beaten down and is discouraged from constant abuse (vv. 22-25).
David asks for help and to do it for His own glory (vv. 26-27; John 14:13). It is better to have God’s blessing even if we are still being abused by others (v. 28). Hangman, I mean, Haman is an example of someone who tried to destroy God’s people but ended up dead on the gallows he built for another (Esther 8:7). He and his family were completely disgraced after he attempted to annihilate the Jews (cf. Esther 9:12-14). Does Haman give you an example of a type of person that should be cursed? (See also Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin in Crime Does Not Pay).
When evil people are given justice, the righteous will rejoice (v. 30, cf. in the end times, the righteous will rejoice over the judgment of evil, Rev. 18:20).
You may not see the justice of God right now but keep praying. God is near you, at your “right hand.” He will take you to live with Him throughout all eternity (cf. John 14:3). Keep persevering (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58)!
Charles Stanley used to tell a story about Winston Churchill. He said Churchill visited his childhood school to give a speech one time. He got up to the podium and said, “Never give up . . . never give up . . . never, never, NEVER give up!” Then he sat down. I don’t know if that’s true but it’s a pretty cool story.
No matter who opposes you when you are doing God’s will, don’t give up. Don’t ever, ever, ever . . . give up!
Proverbs 15:5-7 Bad Intentions
The first of the ten commandments that should be learned by children and comes with a promise is the one about obeying parents (cf. Eph. 6:2). A child who rejects his parents’ correction won’t accept anyone else’s correction either. Parents may not always be correct but a child can figure that out later. To not accept any discipline leads to complete arrogance.
So now you understand a lot about 2016. Parents aren’t correcting and if they do, they let their kids get away without accepting their reproof. Thus, we have a nation filled with a lot of spoiled brat kids on electronics aka “fools” (v. 5a) Those who heed advice may be scarce but they are the “sensible” ones (v. 5b).
Righteous people tend to be hardworking and so are inclined to do alright financially. But more than that, they have spiritual wealth (v. 6a). Wicked people may be wealthy but they have a lot of trouble along with it (v. 6b, cf. Prov. 10:22, “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it”).
Smart people teach others helpful things (v. 7a). Unbelievers, aka “fools,” have selfish intentions (v. 7b).
Choose Life: Scripture: John 7:37 NASB “Drinks On God”
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.'” John 7:37
Why are people thirsty these days? Satan has so sabotaged our environment that it is very difficult to find the truth. In the media? Not hardly. From Church? The Church has been contaminated by false doctrine and weak Bible teaching. From Christians? See previous comment on the Church.
The only place to find truth is in the Bible. It is through God’s Word that we find the Word, Jesus Christ.
If anyone is thirsty, that is, wanting fulfillment and the meaning of life, they would need to come to Jesus.
Even as saved people, we need to go to Jesus everyday for fulfillment and avoid false ideas about God.
Are you going daily to Jesus?
If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
I guess if you wanted to get drunk, the better thing would be to get drunk on the Spirit or on Jesus. How do you do that? Get straight with the Bible. Find a good fellowship. The world is trouble (cf. John 16:33). Jesus promises joy (“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and [that] your joy may be made full;” “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy” John 15:11; 16: 20).
Are you joyful today? Ask God what you need to adjust to be in line with Jesus and find joy.
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Shake It Up, Baby