Spiritual Rants: May 16 “The Eye-Pointy Thing” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Samuel 18:5-19:24 John 8:31-59 Psalm 112:1-10 Proverbs 15:12-14

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Old Testament: 1 Samuel 18:5-19:24

Saul kept his eye on David to kill, understandably David wrote psalms but it made him ill.

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1 Samuel 18:5-19:24  The Eye-Pointy Thing

David was a really popular guy.  He went wherever Saul sent him and conquered.  That made him a hero amongst the people and the army.

When David was coming back from offing Golly, the women came out to sing to the heroes like they usually do but starting crooning about David slaying his ten thousands while Saul had only killed thousands.  Ooopser.  This would cause trouble with a jealous Saul.  In fact, it really torqued Saul and made him fear that David would inherit the kingdom.  From then on he did that eye-pointy thing with his two fingers whenever David was around.

PointyEyeThing

1 Samuel 18:10-19   Shake A Spear

That old evil spirit came back to haunt Saul.  He went into a rage when David was playing harp one day.  Saul had a spear and tried to pin David to the wall with it.  Twice.  He missed both times.

Saul was afraid of David because Yahweh had left Saul but gone to David (v. 12).  Saul got a hot idea, he would appoint David as a commander probably hoping he would get killed in battle.  But David kept beating the enemy and gaining fame as a hero (v. 16).

Saul made a deal with David.  He said David could have his oldest daughter, Merab.  In exchange, Saul said he just wanted David to be successful in battle.  But Saul was actually thinking if he sent David out enough that he’d be offed by the Philistines and he wouldn’t have to do the dirty work.  When Saul asked David if he wanted the deal, David said, “Who . . . ME?”  But when it came time to give Merab away, Saul gave her to some other guy anyway.

1 Samuel 18:20-30   A Woman Named Michal

Saul’s daughter, Michal (pronounced “Me-kawl´”) had the hots for David and wanted him as a husband.  Saul thought that it’d be a good idea to give her to David because he had another plot in mind to have him extinguished.  David had told Saul he was too poor to become a part of his family when asked about Merab.  He answered the same when asked about Michal.  So Saul told David if he could produce 100 Philistine foreskins that he could have Michal as a wife.  Of course, usually the Philistine would have to be killed before yielding said foreskin.  Saul would benefit either by a slaughter by David or what he was really hoping for was a slaughter of David.  What he didn’t count on was David coming back with twice the amount of foreskins required, two hundred.  Saul was forced to give Michal to David as his bride.  The outcome was Saul became even more frightened of David who became even more successful in battle vs. the Phillies.  David continued to become even more popular.

1 Samuel 19:1-24   From Perpetrator To Prophet

Saul put out the word that he wanted David offed.  Jonathan had gotten the memo and warned David.  Then he tried to persuade his father that he shouldn’t harm David since David had done him so much good.  Saul changed his mind and decided Jonathan was right, that he should let David live.  Jonathan assured David that he was allowed in the king’s presence again.

So David slaughtered a bunch of Philistines again and was again playing the harp for Saul. That nasty evil spirit came back and Saul once again did the spear thing.  He missed a third time!  David absconded.  Saul sent assassins to David’s house to try to off him when he came out in the morning.  Michal told him to fly the coup that very night or he’d be offed.  David went out the window and bolted.  Michal was as deceptive as her dad. She put an idol, perhaps a bust, in David’s bed with some goat’s hair so it’d look like David. When Saul sent for David, she said he was ill.  So Saul commanded that he be brought to him on his bed so he could put him to sleep, permanently.  When Saul found out Michal had tried to deceive him he asked, “What up?”  Michal said David had threatened to kill her if she hadn’t complied.  Talk about dysfunctional.

David took off for Samuel’s place at Ramah and poured out his heart to him. Then Sam and Dave moved to an abode in Naioth.  When Saul sent his crew out to murder David, they found a party of prophets praising the Lord.  What’s more, when the assassins arrived, the Spirit fell on them and they started prophesying, too!  So Saul sent some other assassins and the same thing happened to them.  A third time even more murderers were sent out by Saul and they, too, became prophets.  Saul went out to Naioth to do the job himself.  When he arrived, the Spirit came on him, too, and he started prophesying!  He took off his royal robes and was worshipping beside Samuel all night.  Thus, the phrase was revived, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (v. 24, cf. 10:12).  Prophesying, by the way can mean worshipping and singing which is probably what they were doing rather than predicting the future (see Wiersbe).

New Testament: John 8:31-59

There is only one way to be, know the Truth and be free.

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John 8:31-59  Nobody Gets ‘Hit’ These Days!

Was just having a discussion on this this morning with a pastor in a large denomination on the east coast.  Why don’t people get it that they are supposed to read their Bibles?

I remember when I was first saved and was flying back home to the east coast.   I was flashing my “Reach Out” New Testament Living Bible on the plane.  I was really proud of it but I noticed people cringing and trying to move away?   Why was that?

Here’s the reason:  I think people don’t want the truth!   I think they just want to do their “own thing.”  They want to be told that they are right and everything they do is OK.  The last thing they want is the truth!  It could hurt their “self esteem.”

In fact, most churches cater to this sort of thing.  I was in the bookstore of a large church.  The Shack was on a shelf along with all the Five-point Calvinist writers.  Two opposite ends of the perspective and both wrong!  I guess they weren’t offending anyone.  They were covering all the bases pretty much   Hey, why not just pick up your Bible and read it?  People would rather have religion.  BTW, religion is defined as “man seeking God.”  Biblical Christianity is God seeking man.    Why do we keep trying to mess up a good thing?

I have nothing against reading good Christian books.  I don’t even have anything against reading not so great Christian literature (like this blog for example?).  But we are commanded to read the Bible and to know it.

Here’s what Jesus said to new believers, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciple of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free”  (v. 31 – 32).  Let’s break that down a little.  Does it say “if you own a Bible”?  No.  “If you peruse the Bible”?  No.  It says “if you continue in my word.”  What does it mean to continue in the Word?  I’ll let you figure that out for your own life.  In this day of electronics, we can actually have the Bible read to us on our iPads which means you can hear any portion of it on the way to work and back.  Or if your eyesight goes and you’re laying in bed dying.  Or in an MRI machine that plays CDs!  You can read it off an iPad, iPhone, iMac or probably on your X box (I don’t know for sure.  I don’t have an X box.)

You can memorize it.  You can write it on cards and put them on your dashboard.  Mine are above our toilet in the bathroom (sorry girls).  Or if you’re lazy, you can buy the cards printed out for you already!  (I recommend the Topical Memory System).

There must be millions of sermons that can be downloaded.  A good sermon will focus on the Scripture.

In Jesus’ day, disciples would memorize what the Rabbis taught.  Remember that next time you hear someone criticize the Scripture because it was passed down aurally at first.  Yeah, it was memorized perfectly and then passed down.  THAT is continuing in the Word!  The Greek word literally means “abide.”  That’s a good old fashioned word that means we should be thinking about Scripture as much as we possibly can.

I’m not in favor of a lot of legalism so I’m not advocating throwing your TV out the window however . . .   There is a church up the street from us that is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s old fashioned looking with an actual steeple, great lawn, great parking lot, cool signage.  It was just a lot about three years ago.  They built it themselves from scratch.  How did they do it?  They don’t believe in watching TV.  Their lives are centered around church.  They have a Tuesday night, Friday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night services that are all well-attended.  How?  They don’t watch TV!

I recently reposted a Facebook picture of teenagers walking down the street in a row oblivious to all their friends around them.  Why?  They were glued to their mobile phone screens!  I’m thinking it was a “group text.”  I doubt they were reading their Bibles.

So Jesus says in v. 31 if you continue in the Word, you’ll be His disciples.  The He says in v. 32 that a disciple would then know the truth and then be set free!  If you ask anyone if he or she would like to be set free, what would they say?  Do you want to know ultimate truth?  They reply with a resounding, “Yes!”  But then how many want to learn their Bibles?  Even if they are professing Christians?

Forgive me for all this but the name of the blog is “Spiritual Rants”!

Moving right along, Jesus gives us the flip side of the coin.  He tells us that anyone who sins is a slave to sin (v. 34).  Don’t believe him?  Look at the culture!  I’m appalled at what’s on TV and even more so on cable.  It seems as if the cable stations are trying to out do themselves in sleaze.  Don’t me started.  And “premium” cable means that they major in sleaze!  Can the end be far off?  And does anyone care?  (A man was arrested in New Hampshire at a school board meeting for protesting the pornographic reading material assigned to his daughter as a freshman in high school that had been approved by the state!  The next day a boy in Florida was told to put away his Bible in a high school because it could be offensive to some.)

Jesus told the religious leaders that He was in sync with His Father and they were in sync with their father, the devil (cf. v. 38, 44).

Jesus confirmed His points by pointing out that He was sinless (check out Hebrew 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin).

He asked them to point out a sin in His life.  I think that would tend to confirm His cred.  Jesus told the religious leaders they couldn’t hear Him because He was sinless and they weren’t sinless.  They were sinful and, actually, they were “not of God” (v. 47).  Wow.  Religious leaders who weren’t of God?  Have we ever seen that before?

Ooo, then the religious leaders fired off a low blow.  They asked if He were a “half-breed” Samaritan.   Oooo.  And they wondered if He was possessed of the Devil.  Just what He said.  They were of their father the Devil.

Contrariwise, Jesus said He did not have a demon but was glorying His Father.  He followed with a right jab, “If anyone keeps my word he will never see death” (v. 52).  They rightly perceived that He was saying He was greater than Abraham and the prophets.  Jesus threw a knock-out punch, “You say Yahweh is ‘our God,’ but you haven’t even come to know Him in the sense of recognizing Him at all (Greek for “know” is ginosko,” recognize, perceive).  On the other hand, I actually know Him in the most intimate sense (Greek oida, to know in the sense of intimate knowledge, inherent perception).”

Jesus said He’d couldn’t lie so He couldn’t say that He didn’t know God intimately (v. 55).  Then He’d be a liar like them if He did.  Jesus told the Jews that Abraham was up in Heaven partying because Jesus’ day had come.   With their fleshly, wordly minds the leaders again didn’t “get it.”  They said, “You aren’t even a half century old, how could you see Abraham who lived hundreds of years ago.”

They picked up stones to stone Him but who had really gotten stoned in this conversation?  Jesus walked away so none of their stones hit Him.  Symbolic, huh?

Psalm 112:1-10   A Wisdom Psalm

When it’s possible to lend, it will be well with you in the end.

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Psalm 112:1-10   Not Shaken, Not Stirred

Psalm 112 is the second in a trilogy of praise psalms.  It, like Psalm 112, is an acrostic in Hebrew, making it easier to learn in Hebrew.

It also being with a exhortation to praise the Lord (v. 1).  The ones who worship Yahweh are the people who are truly happy (v. 1b).  They are the ones who do what He says (v. 1c, cf. 1 John 2:3).

I haven’t known a lot of rich, committed Christians.  The wisdom and riches they have are worth a lot more than material things (v. 3).  They are the ones who are truly blessed (v. 2).   We want to change the world so that everyone is rich but is anyone really looking for the true riches?

God is gracious and compassionate as well as righteous (v. 4).  We expect Him to just be gracious and compassionate.  He can’t be.  He has to be balanced.

If Christians are to lend, they have to expect that most people will not return what they loan out (v. 5, cf. Luke 6:35).  God will take care of the one who lends.

Those who trust the Lord, the truly righteous by faith, will be the most stable people on earth (v. 6, cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).  Some have taken Psalm 93:1 to mean that the world does not turn on its axis.  It means the world is stable and won’t go anywhere God doesn’t want it to go (duh)!

If the Lord is for you, who could be against you (vv. 7-8, cf. Ps. 56:4, 11; Rom. 8:31)?  Believing in the Lord leads to a stabilized life, no matter what happens (v. 8).   He will take care of us and those who oppose.

Yahweh takes care of the needy (v. 9).  Everyone thinks the government should do it all.  God may use the government services but ultimately, He is the one who takes care of everyone (cf. Ps. 145:15).

“His horn is exalted in honor” means that everyone will recognize His strength (v. 9c).  Horn represents power.

The power of the Lord scares His adversaries (v. 10).  It confuses them (v. 10a).  They will get mad at Him and even shake their fists at Him (v. 10b, cf. Rev. 9:20-21; Job 15:25).

Eventually, those who oppose the Lord will evaporate (v. 10, see The GWT).  They will be taken off the earth but they will live eternally in Hell (cf. Matt. 25:41).

Did you realize everyone who was ever born has eternal life?  Some will spend eternity with God.  Some will spend eternity separated from God.

Where will you spend eternity?  (see How To Be Sure You’re Going To Heaven – no fine print, no caveats – right-hand column).

Proverbs 15:12-14   A Unicorn With A Brain

When you’re joyful your face will shine but when you’re sad everything seems to be bad.

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The world, now, is filled with mockers.  Jude 18 states, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”  Movies, TV, internet, music, industry, news . . .  everywhere you look: mockers.  Even I’m a mocker.  But I like to mock mockers.  They are dumb.

Ringo, famously of a British rock group, was once asked if he was a “mod” or a “rocker.”  He said he was a “mocker.”  And so he was.  And so were all the Beatles.  That is why they were so famous.  And their music was great, too.  So perfect for the age, great music, mocking message.

One thing you don’t want to do is cross a mocker.  They will get very mad.  They are very open-minded except in regards to one topic, the things of God.  They are not open-minded about hearing the gospel.  They mock it.  It is a stumbling block to them (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23b).  Or maybe it’s just “foolishness” to them (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23c).  Either way, they trip over hearing that Christ died for their sins.

I love the next verse.  If you are happy, you are probably also healthy (v. 13a).  There is a good book called Anatomy Of An Illness written by Saturday Review editor, Norman Cousins.  It details his recovery from a rare disease.   He took large amounts of Vitamin C and laughed a lot.  Ha ha.  No really.

Just think what Nehemiah 8:10 could do for a believer or Philippians 4:4.  But when we’re sad, the mind-body connection can lead to disease (v. 13b).  It’s true.

You can look it up as Casey Stengel use to say (v. 14).  If you are smart, you will keep learning (v. 14a).  I had an elderly lady in our church a while back.  She had been a school teacher.  Instead of just watching TV all the time, she would keep sharp by reading books.  Robert Redford, not known for his biblical wisdom, said in one of his movies, “books are like TV for smart people.”  ‘Nuf said.  Read about the mind body connection.  Another good book to check out on that might be Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky.   You probably don’t really need to read the book to figure out that Zebras don’t get ulcers because they don’t get depressed.  Same as unicorns.  Who always seem to be skipping around and happy.

Mockers and fools just feed their minds with nonsense and folly.  They get sick  . . .  and depressed.

So it’s better to be like a unicorn, only with a brain.

Choose Life: Scripture:   John 8:31-32   NASB    “Freedumb?”

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'”         John 8:31-32

The Scripture says that in the end times God will send a delusion on all people so that they will believe a lie (For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie,” 2 Th. 2:11 NIV).  I believe that specific reference has to do with a seven year period of Tribulation in the future.  However, it does seem that many people today are believing Satan’s lies (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4 Rom. 1:18-25).

If we want to know the truth, God will make sure we find it (cf. James 1:5, also see blog Want To Know God’s Will?).

Why wouldn’t people want to be free?  They claim they want freedom but then they don’t come to the Lord Who is the only One that can make them free.  They would rather have their sin (cf. John 8:34; Rom. 6:16).

How about you?  Which would you rather have?  Your sin or freedom?  You can choose to be free in Christ or just dumb.

Choose Christ.

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

In what areas of your life you feel “bound up”?  Do you know how to conquer sin?  Check out my posts Getting Off Square OneNot My Problem, and Get The Led Out.  Get rid of your sin and throw off your chains!

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:   No One Gets ‘Hit’ These Days

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