Check out the Spiritual Rants podcasts at http://spiritualrants.libsyn.com
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 20:1-21:15
If Jonathan’s arrows would go far-oh, David should leave a long way and go.
1 Samuel 20:1-29 ‘Ezer Bad Situation
David took off from Naioth and fled to Jonathan. “What the heck did I do to tick off your father? Why is he trying to off me?” David asked him. Jonny said, “I dunno. But, don’t worry, he’s not going to be able to dispatch you. I’ll tell you what, Dad doesn’t do anything without telling me. If I hear he’s planning to off you, I’ll let you know.” David said, “Oh, thanks. I’m very comforted [sarcasm]. Your Dad knows you and I have a special relationship. He’s not going to tell you if he’s going to off me. I’m like a half-step from death at any moment.”
Jonathan asked, “What do you want me to do then?” David said, “I’m going to skip the meal at the king’s tomorrow. If he asks about me, tell him I’ve gone back to my hometown to sacrifice. If your Dad gets ticked, we know he was plotting to extirpate me.”
Everyone needs a friend like Jonathan! Jon said to David, “Let’s go out to the field and talk. He said let’s make a covenant between us. I’ll protect you and in exchange when you’re in charge, you protect me.” Jonathan didn’t do this from any tainted or evil motives. Remember Jon and Dave were BFF’s forever. Is that redundant?
Jonny worked out a code for David to relay what was going at the king’s place. He told David to stay away from the palace for three days and then go to the stone Ezel. Interestingly, Ezel means “abscond” or “disappear.” Jonny would signal him with arrows that he shoots by him. Then he’d send a kid out to collect them but if he said to the boy, “The arrows are this side of you” then David would be safe. But if Jonny said, “The arrows are beyond you” then David would need to abscond because then he’d be in trouble.
When Saul noticed that David was missing at the dinner table for the second day, he asked Jonathan where David was. Jonny told his Dad that David had gone to Bethlehem to sacrifice.
Saul erupted. He called his son Jonathan a “son of a gun” (v. 30). Well, not exactly but you can figure it out. This is a family blog. (Check out an early edition of the Living Bible if you want to know what he said literally. It’s also in the notes of the later versions.) Saul said that Jonathan was protecting David to his own detriment. He said Jonathan wouldn’t get the kingdom if he continued to protect David. He told Jonathan to retrieve David so Saul could exterminate him. But Jonathan protested that David hadn’t done anything to warrant death (sound like anyone else?). Saul picked up his spear and launched it at Jonathan. Another miss! Good thing Saul was such a lousy shot. He had now missed three times! He missed David twice (1 Sam. 18:10-11; 19:9-10) and Jonathan once (1 Sam. 20:30-33). I think that’s the same number of rebounds by Roy Hibbert in the playoffs. No wonder he sent other people out to fight! Now Jonathan was ticked, too, and stopped eating.
The next day David hid himself in the field by the Ezer stone. Jonathan shot the arrows and let David know things weren’t safe. After Jonny had sent his boy back to town with his armor. David came out hugged and kissed Jonny. Then David absconded from the area of the Ezer stone and Jonny went back to town.
1 Samuel 21:1-15 Don’t Do’eg To Me
David next hid out at Nob where the priests hung out. Ahimelech was the high priest and there were 85 other priests there (cf. 1Sam. 22: 17-18). David told him that he was there on a mission from the king. He may have been trying to protect the priests from knowing exactly what was going on but it didn’t work. David asked if Ahimelech had any food and was told there was only consecrated bread. Later Jesus made it clear that it was OK for David to have eaten the bread that was only supposed to be eaten by priests (Matt. 12:3-4).
No one realized there was a low-down spy there of Saul’s named, Doeg (pronounced Do’eg, it meant “anxious,” “worried,” the kind of guy you should be anxious around). David asked if there was a spear on hand and the high priest told him there were none but the one he had taken from Goliath. David said, “Cool!” (literally, “there is none like it”).
David took off for Gath in paganland. When he arrived, the king said, “Isn’t this the dude they sang about?’ Saul has slayed his K’s but David his 10K’s’?”
David had bowel trouble after hearing this. So he acted like he was nuts, drooling down his beard and scribbling on stuff. Achish, the king, said, “Do I need another nut around here? I don’t think so. Get him out of here!”
New Testament: John 9:1-41
It would seem that his parents were in a bind but the sightless man knew that he was no longer blind.
John 9:1-12 I Once Was Blind
Here is the story of a man who came into the world the same as all us: blind. But you say, I wasn’t born blind. Actually, you were. Everyone was born blind to righteousness (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3). The man born blind in this passage is a picture of us. We were born in sin. We were blind. We needed the Holy Spirit to wake us up (cf. John 16:8).
The man passed by Jesus and his disciples asked whose fault it was that the man was blind. The Apostle John loved to play with the concept of light and darkness. Check out his letter, 1John. It’s a predominant theme (1 John 1:5-7; 2:8-10). Here he points out that Jesus dubbed Himself the “Light of the World” (v. 5). There’s another “I Am” in there, too.
Jesus mixed some spit with some dirt and applied it to the blind man’s eyes. Then he told him to rinse it off in the Pool of Siloam. Siloam meant “sent.” Maybe that’s why after the miracle the man started witnessing to Jesus because he was a “sent one”? Anyway, the man came back to Jesus with one important change: he could see! The neighbors wondered if he was the same guy or a look-alike. The man said, “It is I.” They asked how this miracle came about and he told them. They asked where Jesus was and he replied, “I dunno.”
John 9:13-33 But Now I See
The poor guy was brought to the religious leaders. Turns out Jesus had healed him on a Saturday. Ut oh. They asked him how it was done, too. The man told them the same thing about the dirt and spit. The religious leaders automatically disqualified Jesus as having come from God because He was exerting Himself on the day of rest. Some of the religious leaders demurred, “How can a dirtbag do such miracles with the dirt?” they asked. They asked the formerly sight-challenged man who he thought Jesus was. He said, if he had to answer, he thought he was a prophet.
The religious leaders asked for a life-line to answer this question. They called up his parents and asked them how this all had happened. They said, “We dunno. Ask him, he’s not a kid anymore.” The parents were scared of the leaders. If they had admitted that they thought Jesus was the Messiah they could be excommunicated from the Temple. So that’s how they separated themselves from the controversy by telling the big shots to ask their kid themselves.
So they called the man to them again. They told the man that Jesus was a sinner. The man said, “Really? Oh, OK. What-ev-er. All I know is that I couldn’t see and now I can!”
The leaders asked him again, “So how did He do it”? The man replied, “I already told you. Do you want to become His disciples, too, do you?” So they mocked the poor guy. “You might be His disciple but we are disciples of Moses. We know Moses heard from God but we don’t even know where This Guy is from.”
“Wow. That’s something,” the man answered back. “You’re the hot shots, He gave me sight and you don’t even know where He’s from? This is a first, opening the eyes of man blind from birth? Do you think He’d be able to do that if He wasn’t from God?” “You’re just a big, fat sinner and you were born that way! You think you can teach us anything?” Then they kicked him out of the Temple.
John 9:35-41 See? Saw
Disclaimer: The second year I was in college, right before Easter vacation, I asked the overtly Christian hall monitor what it meant to be a Christian. He asked if I had any time and I said I didn’t that I had to catch a plane home the next day and had to pack. He said it wouldn’t take long. About three hours later I had accepted Christ. He kept forcing a “Reach Out” Living New Testament on me. When I said I didn’t even know where John 9 was, I looked down and had “arbitrarily” opened to that passage. Not long afterward I one) accepted that I was a sinner (Rom. 3: 23) two) believed that Christ had died for my sins (Rom. 5:8) and three) personally trusted Him for salvation (Rom. 10: 9, 10). The hall monitor told me that He thought that John 9 was not only about a physical healing, it was also about spiritual healing. Now back to our story.
When Jesus heard the poor formerly sight-challenged guy had been kicked out of the Temple, He found him and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who’s that?” the man asked. “You’re looking right at Him,” Jesus said. Jesus said, “Lord, I believe.” Then the man worshipped Jesus. He said He had come into the world for just this purpose to lead those who can’t see to Himself for spiritual sight. He said He’d have the opposite effect on those who didn’t want to see Him.
“Oh, you mean us?” the religious leaders asked. “We can hear you.” “Actually you can’t,” Jesus said. “If you really were blind you wouldn’t have to worry about anything but since you claim to be able to see, now you’ve really got problems.”
Psalm 113:1-114:8 Hymns By Ezra
From Egypt Israel was born, it was evident to the nations their strength and horn.
Psalm 113:1-9 Praise The Name Of The Lord
Two psalms in one day!!! Psalms 113-118 are called Hallel psalms. Hallel means praise so can you guess what these psalms are about? They were used during the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, and Dedication and other holy days. Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before a meal and Psalms 115-118 were sung after a meal (cf. BKC, McGee believes the first three were sung before meals and the last three after meals). F.G. Hibbard speculates that they were written by Ezra after the Israelites’ return from exile.
Of course, this psalm begins with praise (v. 1). All of our prayers should begin with praise. Our worship services should begin with praise to the Lord. Music in services should have the purpose of causing people to exalt the Lord as well as to teach doctrine. The purpose of music in a service should not be to entertain the congregation! #just sayin’.
The name of the Lord represents the Lord Himself (vv. 2-3). It should not be taken in vain. As a minister I’ve noticed that some people take His name in vain around me to shock me. I’m not shocked. I just take it as their prayer to know Christ.
McGee points out that God is so high that He has to stoop over to look down on the heavens (vv. 4-6).
Isn’t it wonderful that God chooses sometimes to lift people out of poverty (v. 7)? I don’t notice the government doing that often though it is always an election issue. God is the one who brings people out of poverty and allows them to cozy up with the privileged (v. 8). Joseph is an excellent example of someone who was raised from obscurity to sit at Pharoah’s right hand (Gen. 30-50).
Barren women like Hannah and Sarah became mothers at the Lord’s directive (v. 9).
Psalm 114:1-8 Quaking Before The Lord
The six psalms, the Hallel psalms, from 113-118, are sometimes called the Egyptian Hallel psalms because of Psalm 114 which celebrates the Israelites’ escape from Egypt.
Psalm 114 begins with the statement that the waters were opened so Israel could move back and forth from Egypt (vv. 1-3). Remember the Israelites walked through the Red Sea to escape Egypt and crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised Land (vv. 2-3, cf. Exod. 14:21-22; Josh. 1:2; 3:13-17).
The mountains “skipped” like rams and the hills like “lambs” means they shook (vv. 4-5). Ever seen the movie San Andreas? Wonder whom to blame? Actually, it was no one’s fault.
The psalmist is being funny. He mentions the mountains and hills quaking in verses 5 and 6 and then in verse 7 says we should all “tremble” before the Lord in verse 7. And we should. We will, probably, too (cf. Phil. 2:10-11; Rev. 19:12-13; 20:11-12).
We are to praise the same God Who opened up a rock and gave the Israelites water (v. 8, cf. once when Moses was told to strike the rock in Exod. 17:6 and once when he was told to speak to the rock in Num. 20:8-13).
Proverbs 15:15-17 Positive Biblical Attitude
If you can maintain your joy all the day, no matter happens you can keep sadness at bay.
You’ve heard of Positive Mental Attitude? I don’t know if it works. I think it’s probably unrealistic to be unsaved and have a positive attitude all the time unless you put your head in the sand. And then fall out of touch with reality.
On the other hand, I propose Positive Biblical Attitude. If we fill our heads with Scripture I think it’s possible to meet any and every challenge. But that is because anyone who does that realizes that the Lord is with them (cf. Heb. 13:5; Isa. 41:10; Zeph. 3:17).
Anyone who is sick or being persecuted is going to have a rough time of it (v. 15a). Non-Christians and Christians alike go through hard times. The difference is that Christians go through tough times with Jesus. Therefore, they can give thanks in everything (cf. Rom. 8:28; Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18) and have a good attitude (v. 15b).
Most Christians want to “prosper.” I would, too. But I know that the Bible says it’s actually better just to be happy with what I have (v. 16a, cf. Phil. 4:11-12). A little bit is better than being filthy rich and having all the trouble that comes with it (v. 16b, cf. Prov. 10:22; 19:6).
It’s better just to have vegetables, which are really good for you (v. 17a), than lots of beef that can clog your arteries and give you cancer anyway (v. 17b).
Choose Life: Scripture: 1 Samuel 20:33 NASB “My Name Is ‘Spearchucker'”
“Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death.” 1 Samuel 20:33
My name means “spearchucker.” Gerald. You can look it up. I guess that’s why I always go by Jerry. I am basically non-violent. Saul means “asked for” in Hebrew. He was violent and a warrior. But he was apparently a bad shot.
I think I’ve only thrown a spear once. Actually, I threw a javelin maybe once in eighth-grade gym class. I don’t think I hit anybody or anything. Just like Saul.
Saul had already thrown a spear at David . . . twice! (cf. 1 Sam. 18:11). He missed David the same as he missed his son, Jonathan, in our verse today. What a rotten shot for a warrior! How can that happen?
Here’s how it could happen. If God is protecting you, like he was protecting David and Jonathan, you won’t get hit (Isa. 43:2; also Ezra 8:22; Ps. 41:2; Ps. 121:7; Ps. 146:9; 2Thes. 3: 3).
You don’t need to take revenge for yourself. God says that vengeance is His (cf. Rom. 12:19). You can, however, protect yourself. You can do that by hiding in the Lord (cf. blog Hide In Christ). Let Christ be your Warrior (cf. Rev. ).
Are you your own “spearchucker” or have you made Christ your Warrior (cf. Exod. 15:3; Zeph. 3:17)?
If you have, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
To say we shouldn’t take revenge is not to say we should never protect ourselves. The Bible many times indicates that God will protect us (cf. Ps. 23:4-5; 91:14-15; Isa. 41:10). If you are being abused, you should protect yourself (cf. Luke 22:36, Jesus commanded the disciples to carry swords apparently for protection after He was taken from them). You may even need to remove yourself from a bad situation (cf. Lot in Gen. 19:14-15; David removed himself from Saul’s threat, 1 Sam. 18:11). You may need to seek help (cf. Prov. 11:14; 15:22). It is not Biblical to put yourself in harm’s way and just expect God to protect you. That is presumption upon God’s grace. Trust God but also seek to protect yourself.
We are always to balance our work with trust in God (cf. Phil. 2:12-13). The definition of success in the Christian life is to do whatever we do in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results up to God (see blog, Get The “Led” Out).
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: Don’t Do’eg To Me