Spiritual Rants: May 18 “D’oh!” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Samuel 22:1-23:29 John 10:1-21 Psalm 115:1-18 Proverbs 15:18-19

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Old Testament: 1 Samuel 22:1-23:29

Saul had priests killed, all eighty-five; he allowed none to be alive.

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1 Samuel 22:1-22  Overkill

David camped out at the cave of Adullam.  When the word got out, his family met him there along with all the down-an-outers in the kingdom.  There were people soaked in debt, people who hated life and others.  David became their leader.  David had about 400 in his army.

Saul was sitting under a tree whining about how no one liked him anymore and that ne’er-do-well, Doeg, approached him.  Doeg said that he had seen David in Nob with the high priest, Ahimelech.  He said he saw David get some food and take the sword of Goliath.  Saul sent out messengers to bring back Ahimelech and all the priests.  Saul asked the priest why he was in cahoots with David to overthrow him.

The high priest answered Saul with a question, “Who is as faithful to you as David?   It wasn’t the first time David came to me for answers.  Don’t blame me!  I don’t know what’s going on.”  Saul didn’t like his answer and told his guards to off all 85 of the priests.  That was not a typo.  Saul actually wanted all the priests exterminated!  But the guards wouldn’t do it.  So Saul told Doeg, the dirtbag, to do it.  And he did.  All 85 of them!  Then he killed everyone, including men, women and children in the priests’ village of Nob.  He even killed the babies and the animals.  What an evil guy!

Only one priest escaped, Abiathar.  He gave all the bad news to David.  David said, “I knew that rotten Doeg was going to cause trouble the moment I saw him in the Temple. It’s my fault all the priests were slayed.  Abiathar, you stay with me.  Saul’s men will be looking to kill me.  I’ll be safe and you will be, too.”

1 Samuel 23:1-29   Some Real Ziph-oes

David was told the Philistines were fighting against the city of Keilah and taking all the grain there.  On Yahweh’s orders David struck the Philistines and was victorious, plundering all the Philistines’ livestock while saving all the inhabitants of Keilah.

When Saul heard that David was in Keilah, he thought he had him trapped.  But David consulted the priest, Abiathar, and realized he needed to abscond before Saul could attack him.  He stayed up in the mountains with his men and Yahweh protected him.

David moved to the wilderness of Ziph.  Jonathan joined him there to encourage him. He told David not to worry about his father finding him.  Jonathan was sure David would be king with Jonathan by his side.  They made a covenant with each other (v. 18).  David stayed at Ziph and Jonathan went home.

The Ziphites squealed on David to Saul.  Saul told them to go home and scout out David for him.  Saul came down to take on David who had moved down to the wilderness of Maon.  Saul started to surround David and his men but suddenly got a report that the Philistines were going to attack.  Saul was forced to withdrawn from the area and allow David to escape.  That place was then called “The Rock of Escape.” Then David fled to caves that were in Engedi.

New Testament: John 10:1-21

Jesus explained what He was for, one main purpose was that He was a door.

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John 10:1-21  Pharisees: D0’h!

Here is the third of the “I Am’s” in the Gospel of John.   The First was “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35).  The Second was “I am the Light” (John 8:12).  Now the third, “I am the Door” (John 10:9).

Jesus warns his followers that whoever does not come in by the door but climbs in another way is a thief and a robber (v. 1).  The shepherd is the only one who comes in through the door.  He knows the sheep by name and they know His voice (v. 3).  The sheep scatter when strangers come in because they don’t recognize their voice.

No one knew what Jesus was talking about.  He was trying to tell them that a lot of impostors had come before Him but the sheep didn’t recognize them.  Jesus as the door for the sheep can open to allow them eternal life.  The thief only steals and wreaks death and devastation.  Satan is the thief.  Jesus, in complete contrast, brings life and lots of it (v. 10)!

Jesus identified Himself as the “Good Shepherd” who yields His life for His sheep.  A false shepherd who is only working for money abandons the sheep when trouble comes.  Wolves cause him to abandon his post and leave the sheep exposed.  Jesus said He had other sheep to tend that were not of the Jewish fold.  They were the Gentiles.  The flocks would later become one (v. 16) but would have the same shepherd.  The Father loved Jesus because He was wilingl to exchange His life for the sheep (v. 17).  Jesus made it clear that no one could kill Him but that He would “lay … down” His life by His own free will (v. 18).  Jesus said He had the right to lay down His life and He also had the right to resurrect Himself (v. 18).  In fact, He was told by His Father to do it!

The Jews again started fighting amongst themselves after hearing Jesus (v. 19).  Some again accused Him of being demon-possessed and crazy.  This was the fourth time He had been accused of being demon-possessed (cf. John 7:20; 8:48, 52). Do’h!  Others said, “How could a demon-possessed person heal a blind man?”  (v. 21, cf. John 9:16).

Psalm 115:1-18    A Liturgical Hymn By Anonymous

Thie psalmist writes about God’s faithful love, the Israelites’ security comes from Heaven above.

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Psalm 115:1-18  Just Sayin’ Nuthin’

Psalm 115 is another Hallel psalm.  It could have been written on the occasion of the defeat of the Arab nations recounted in 2 Chron. 20:20-30.  More likely, it was written by Ezra to celebrate the remnant’s return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.  It was probably used at the dedication of the second temple (cf. Ezra 6:16).

When you ask God for something do you ask for yourself?  The psalmist was asking his request for God’s glory (v. 1b).  It was not for his own glory (v. 1a).  He was asking according to Yahweh’s hesed or lovingkindness, His binding love for Israel (v. 1c).

The psalmist didn’t want the surrounding pagans to be able to gloat (v. 2).  He understood that God was the center of the universe and whatever He wanted was what was important (v. 3).

He knew that the pagans’ idols were just valuable metals formed by men (v. 4).  They were not true deity, in fact, they were shaped like mere men (vv. 5-7).  Though they had features like humans, they didn’t have the abilities that humans had.  They couldn’t speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, or talk.  People who worship the idols will be as useless as the idols themselves.   They will become just like the idols.  They just say nuthin’.

Aaron was the first high priest and brother of Moses.  He is invoked as the model for the Israelites (vv. 10, 12).  Israel is exhorted to trust the Lord three times in verses 9-11.  Those who trust the Only True God will be blessed (vv. 12-13).  He will prosper the families of those who trust Him (v. 14).  He is Lord of all and is able to do it (v. 15, cf. 1 Thess. 5:24).

God dwells in Heaven but He allows us on earth to get His will done down here (v. 16).  We pray that in the Lord’s Prayer, “‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven'” (Matt. 6:10).

Did you realize that we only have the opportunity to witness to others about Christ’s salvation for us while we are down on earth?  Everyone in Heaven is already saved.  It is those down here on earth that need to hear the message.  Are you spreading it?  The dead aren’t spreading the good news, either in Heaven or in Hell (v. 17).

Now is the time to worship the Lord (v. 18).  Now is the time to witness to what Christ has done for us and spread the Word!  And then we will be proclaiming His praises throughout all eternity (v. 18b)!

Proverbs 15:18-19   Taking The High Way

Lazy kids are liking on a thorn, it better that they not be born.

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A guy with an anger problem is just trouble which is why it’s probably better not to marry one (v. 18a).  A calm person is usually able to quell an altercation (v. 18b).  Notice how Jesus didn’t say much during His trial.  Often He was quiet even when you would have expected He would have slugged someone (cf. Mark 15:5).  Paul was much more feisty (cf. Gal. 2:11).  

You want to deal with lazy people about as much as you’d like to step on some thorns.  In fact, it’s about the same thing since lazy people usually build a wall of thorns around themselves (v. 19a).  They don’t get anywhere.  On the other hand, hardworking believers get things done and move things quickly into the future as if they were on a super-highway (v. 19b).

Choose Life: Scripture:   John 10:10   NASB    “The Grace Track”

“‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.'”      John 10:10

It’s such a shame that someone can get saved and then not get the proper grace teaching to stay on track.  Often a person trusts Christ and is filled with the Spirit but then goes to church and is taught legalism or bad doctrine.

The thief is out there to steal a person’s joy and relationship with the Lord.  They can attend a church that basically has no doctrine at all or one that teaches they’re not saved unless they are immersed.  They might be taught they can’t be saved unless they “make Jesus Lord” of their life so the person is left to try to figure out what that means.  Maybe they thought they were supposed to “invite Jesus into their heart” but are left wondering if He really came into their heart.  Maybe they are taught that “tithing” is necessary or giving up movies or smoking or rock music or that they need a haircut.  Maybe they are taught that they absolutely must speak in tongues or go to church on Saturdays.

What a shame.

And shame on teachers that teach all those things!

What does Jesus say?  He says that we must believe Him, trust Him that He died in our place (2 Cor. 5:20; John 1:12).  Of course, we must accept that we are sinners in need of a Savior to begin with.  Then we must believe that Christ’s death on the cross was an historical fact that satisfied God’s wrath against our sin.  Then we have to personally trust Him.

We must then have good doctrine in our churches and warn new believers that Satan’s priority to steal away the grace God has just bestowed on them.

Are you warning new believers that there is a thief that wants to steal away their joy?

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

Fun Application:   

What habits have you formed that are robbing your grace?  What habits have you formed that are supporting grace in your life?

Are you memorizing Scripture?  Are you being a good “Berean” (cf. Acts 17:10-11) by checking out things that you’ve learned to see if they are really in the Scriptures?

This might be the month for action at the Great Racetrack but, for you, it might be a return to the Great Gracetrack.

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:   Overkill

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