Spiritual Rants: May 19 “Nabal Observatory” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44 John 10:22-42 Psalm 116:1-19 Proverbs 15:20-21

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Old Testament: 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44

Nabal’s name meant fool, being so turns out not to be cool.

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1 Samuel 24:1-22  Saul Lucks Out The First Time

Saul found out David was hiding out in the caves of Engendi so pursued him with 3K men.  At the time that Saul had to “make water,” some of David’s men spotted him in a cave.  David’s men thought, “Whoopee!  This is the day the Lord has made!”  But David was not rejoicing or glad in it.  Instead of sending Saul to the next world, he just cut off the end of his robe instead.  Then he even felt bad about that since Saul had been God’s choice to lead Israel, at least for the time being.  Saul left the cave, none the wise for his fashion faux-pas.

David called after Saul after he had left.  Saul turned around and looked at him.  When Saul turned around, David laid on the ground.  David said he had had the opportunity to off him and didn’t.  He asked Saul why he believed his aides that David was trying to kill him.  He told Saul that he was nothing to him, like a flea or a deceased canine.  He told Saul that if he looked down he could see that David was only trying to be true to the Lord.  Saul may have thought he had some paper on his sandal but should have been able to see that the end of his robe was missing.

Saul told David that he had definitely won the righteousness battle.  He said he knew David would be rewarded by the Lord with the kingdom.  Though David had cut his robe, he asked David not to cut off his descendants.  And David said that he wouldn’t.   Saul and David both retreated to their respective corners.

1 Samuel 25:1-44  Nabal Gazing

Samuel died.  This is mentioned again in chap. 28:3.  David didn’t attend the funeral mostly likely because Saul’s spies would have been there.  Everyone knew David’s regard for Samuel anyway.

There was a rich man living in Carmel (for those living in Indiana:  duh!).  Here’s how rich he was, he owned 3K sheep and a thousand goats.  His name was Nabal.  LOL.  Oh, I need to tell you, Nabal means “fool.”  Who would do this to a kid?  Name him Fool?  Well, he lived up to his name.  Here’s another question:  what kind of a woman would marry someone named “Fool”?  We’re going to find out.

David’s men had been guarding the area which meant that Nabal and his livestock were safe because of David.   So David asked Nabal if he could make a donation to his men when they came to town for the festival.

Nabal’s wife was Abigail and she was pretty and bright.  Her name means “my father’s joy.”  What a delight!  But her husband was a dork.  He was greedy and selfish and truth be told, not very intelligent.

When David’s men came to the Fool and asked for the donation, Nabal replied, “David who?”  When David heard the report he was rather stirred.  David took half of his 400 men and took off for Nabal’s place.

One of Nabal’s men tipped off Abigail that David was coming to put the hurt on the Fool.  Nabal was obviously rooting for the wrong side but Abigail was more spiritual.  She was siding with David.  She took bread, wine and sheep and other victuals to appease David.  She didn’t let the Fool know what she was doing.  David had just been thinking that anyone should pity the fool that doesn’t appreciate what he’d done for him.   David was thinking that he was going to vaporize Nabal and all his men.

Just then Abigail pulled up on her donkey.  She fell on her face before David.  She asked David not to pay attention to the Fool.  She said, “No kidding.  His name really is Fool.  And you can see why!”  Abigail said, “I didn’t get your message at first.  But please accept these gifts now for your men.  I know you are on the Lord’s side.  And when you take over, please remember me.”

David replied, “Thanks for stopping me from slaughtering all your working men.  Go ahead home and everything will be OK.”

The Fool was off having the feast of king at his house when Abigail got back.  Nabal was as drunk as a skunk, feeling no pain, plowed out of his mind so Abigail left him alone.  The next morning Abigail then told the Fool what had happened with David.  Nabal’s heart fossilized.  By around the ten-day mark, the Lord had sucked all the life out of Nabal and had moved him on to his next phase.

When David heard about the Fool, he said, in essence, “I guess what goes around, comes around!  The Lord took care of him for me!”

Then it must have dawned on him how great a wife Abigail would make so he married her.  For some reason, David didn’t think one wife was enough so he also married a woman named Ahinoam.  Maybe it took two to take the place of Michal whom Saul had given to someone else.  But I doubt it.

New Testament: John 10:22-42

He should as Messiah billed, He certainly didn’t deserved to be killed.

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John 10:22-42  Some Baa’d Sheep

Jesus was walking in the Temple in winter when some Jews approached him and asked why He didn’t just say straight out that He was the Messiah.  Jesus said He had said it straight out but they couldn’t hear because they weren’t his sheep.  Only His sheep could hear His voice and they were the ones who would follow Him.  He said they would have eternal life and be secure, no one would be able to steal them away from Him (v. 28).  He said the Father would keep His sheep secure, too (29).  He said the Father and He did the same things, had the same desires and, in fact, were the same.  By that He meant that He was God.

The Jews were torqued at that point and were about to stone Him for blasphemy and saying He was God.  Jesus asked what good thing had He done to deserve stoning.  The Jews said it wasn’t for anything He had done but because He said He was God.  He told them that if He was doing what God wanted Him to do, they shouldn’t be looking to harm Him.  They got even more angry and tried again to arrest Him but He just walked away.

He went to the place where John had been baptizing.  It dawned on a bunch of the spectators that everything John had said about Jesus was true.  And a lot of them put their faith and trust in Him there.

Psalm 116:1-19    A Psalm Of Thanksgiving By Anonymous

When I call to the Lord He hears my voice, that is because it is His choice.

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Psalm 116:1-19   Immersed In The Lord

Psalm 116 is another Hallel psalm.  It was probably recited after a meal as opposed to Psalms 113-115 which were probably sung before meals.

I love verse 1 so much that I set it to music.  I’ve sung it in church.  I’ve even taught it to the congregation and we’ve sung it in rounds.  It’s perfect for that.

I stopped singing it because in my church start a lady said it sounded weird.  I don’t think she had heard medieval music before because I think it sounded kind of ancient.  Then I told her that I wrote it.  Well, I wrote the music.  I obviously had a Librettist.  She was embarrassed.  But I never sang it again.  Some Christians can be very hurtful.

It is a great verse.  We should love the Lord because He is the Lord but our fondness definitely increases when He answers our prayers (v. 1)!

We won’t always get answers to prayer that we like but God always answers prayers.  Sometimes He says, “Yes.”  We like that.  Sometimes He says, “No.”  We don’t usually like that but we should.  He usually answers “no” for our own good and for His glory.  Sometimes we just have to wait to get an answer (cf. Ps. 27:14).

Verse 3 echoes Jonah 2:2-5 when he was entangled in seaweed inside the huge fish.  It also sounds like Psalm 18:4-6 and Psalm 71:20-21.  Just like Jonah, the psalmist cries out to God in his anguish.  It’s a shame we wait till we are in agony sometimes to call on the Lord.  We should do it everyday.

Many trust the Lord in co-called “foxhole conversions” (v. 5).  Those types of conversions are better than not being saved at all.  But everything we know about God and His ways is found in the Bible.  Those who are truly converted in foxhole-type situations need to go on and learn their Bibles.   Sometimes it is much later that they actually seek the things of God.  God looks after the “simple,” though (v. 6).  We need to understand that when we are “brought low” that it is God Who rescues us (v. 6).  It is from God that we truly find rest (v. 7).  Saint Augustine said that we really only find rest when we find it in God.  (We are all just as much a saint as Augustine was, cf. 1 Cor. 1:2).

We would all be going astray if God didn’t seek us out (v. 8, cf. Isa. 53:6).   After we are saved, we need to live a life that reflects what God has done for us (v. 9, cf. Rom. 6:4; 7:6, see Getting Off Square One on three phases of salvation).

When we get to the end of our rope, we cry out to God (v. 10).  God will give us a better prognosis than men will (v. 11).   I just got news that an acquaintance got a job at the Pentagon.  He was told his life was basically over after a routine operation left him without basic functions.  Good thing he didn’t listen.  I was told that I would have to live basically as a zombie after my six bypasses.  I keep fighting and after ten years have a lot of my energy back.  Sometimes God just wants us to fight!

What should we give back to the Lord for all He has done for us (v. 12)?  We can tell others what He has done and “lift up the cup of salvation” (v. 13)!

Old Testament vows were a thing unto themselves (v. 14, 18).  There are all kinds of rules in the OT about them.  Don’t believe the televangelists’ theology on them.  Research it your own self!  Today we should owe no one anything but love (cf. Rom. 13:8).  If you want to fulfill a vow to the Lord today, obey Him (cf. 1 John 2:3-4).  Those around you will notice if you are obeying the Lord and it will give Him glory (v. 14b).

A person who dies in the Lord has a life that is a witness to Him at their funeral (v. 15).  God is glad to be getting them back.

When we serve the Lord, then we are truly free.  Notice in John 8:32 that the truth will set us free but that is dependent upon us “continuing” in His Word (John 8:31)!

Obedience to the Lord is better than sacrifice (v. 17, cf. 1 Sam. 15:22).  But we can always sacrifice by praising and thanking the Lord (cf. Heb. 13:15).

The psalmist enjoyed giving God glory in the public place of worship (v. 19).  You can do that today by just showing up in church.  But there are other ways as well.  Baptism is one.  The purpose of baptism by immersion is to make a public witness of your faith in Christ.  It does not save you.  It does help to sanctify you.  Have you been baptized (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38, 41)?  More importantly, are you immersed in the Lord?

Proverbs 15:20-21   A Ma That’s A Barker

A wise person will take the straight way, a fool will end up making hay.

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A wise son makes his father proud (v. 20a).  So does a good daughter but this is Hebrew parallelism so it’s implied.

A dumb son embarrasses his mother unless she’s Ma Barker (v. 20b).  Something got really twisted there.  

Some kids just ain’t got no sense and they like it (v. 21a).   Astute children get good things accomplished in life (v. 21b).

Choose Life: Scripture:   John 10:28-29  NASB    “Loveship Salvation”

” . . . and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”      John 10:28-29

I collect definitions of grace.  I like grace.  It is what separates Biblical Christianity from every other form of religion.  Of course, technically, Christianity is not a religion.  It is the opposite of religion.  Religion is man seeking God.  Christianity is God seeking man and a relationship with Him.

Here are the definitions of grace I have collected:

1) Grace is unmerited favor, that is, favor that is not merited (duh!).  This is the technical theological definition.

2)  Grace is when we get what we don’t deserve (as opposed to mercy, when we don’t get what we do deserve).

3)  Grace is “divine influence.”

4)  Grace is “something for nothing.”

5)  Grace is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”

6)  Grace means “no expectations for acceptance.”

My favorite is No. 6.  God has no expectations for us in being obedient or loving Him.  If we are obedient or not, He will still love us infinitely.  Some speak of “Lordship Salvation” which means we have to clean up our lives before we can be saved.  What a ridiculous idea!  As if . . .   How could we clean ourselves up enough to have God show His love to us in salvation?  How much would we have to clean up?  For how long do we have to stay cleaned up?  Are you beginning to see how ridiculous it is to believe that we have to clean ourselves up before we can be saved?

Maybe a better representation of the Bible is “Loveship Salvation.”  He loves us and just wants us to love Him back.  This is what salvation and the Bible is all about.

Do you really understand that God loves you without expectations?

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

Fun Application:   

I have been preaching grace for years and years.  I thought I understood it.  Just yesterday I thought I had really grasped it.  I probably just understood grace in still deeper way.  Do you realize that God is changing us from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18)?  We are understanding things in a new and deeper way every day if we continue to study and pray.  As C.S. Lewis wrote in the last of his Narnia Chronicles through Aslan the lion (representing Christ), “Further up, further in!” (The Last Battle, p. 158).

Look back on your past.  Have you been going “further up and further in”?

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:   Nabal Observatory

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