Spiritual Rants: May 20 “A Small Medium At Large” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Samuel 26:1-28:25 John 11:1-54 Psalm 117:1-2 Proverbs 15:22-23

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Old Testament: 1 Samuel 26:1-28:25

For the second time Saul was in luck, again he was a sitting duck.

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1 Samuel 26:1-28:25   Saul Lucks Out for The Second Time

Saul took his 3K of troops out to hunt down David when he got a new report that he was hiding on Hachilah Hill.  David found Saul and his general sleeping one night inside a ring of soldiers.  David asked who might like to go down and spook Saul.  Abishai wasn’t shy about  volunteering.  They went down and found Saul sound asleep with his spear planted beside his head.  Abishai wasn’t shy about purposing a final solution for Saul.  He said he could “name that tune” in one note.

David appreciated his zeal but told him God would take care of Saul either now or later.  David didn’t want to kill God’s anointed king.  But he didn’t mind harassing him.  They took his spear and water jug and absconded.

When they were at a safe distance, David called out to Saul’s commander, “Hey, Abner!”  Abner came groggily awake.  David taunted him,”You’re quite the soldier, aren’t you?  It’s easy to see why Saul put you in charge [sarcasm]!  By the way, where is your king’s spear and jug?”

“Is that you, David?”  Abner asked?  “Duh!” David replied.  “What is with you guys anyway?  What have I done that you are spending so much time on me?  I’m no threat to you.  Doesn’t the king have anything better to do?”

Saul again confessed, “Sorry, David.  I’ve really messed again.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!  Come back home and I’ll leave you alone.”

David said, “OK, here’s your spear back.  Have one of your boys come and get it.  The Lord has blessed me and hopefully always will.”  “I hope so, too,” said Saul, “I believe He’s going to turn everything over to you and you’ll be famous forever.”

David and Saul again retreated to their respective corners.

1 Samuel 27:1-12   Snookering The King

David didn’t trust Saul and instead of checking with Yahweh as to what he should do, he came up with a plan by himself.  He decided it’d be prudent to camp out with the Philistines until Saul gave up trying to get him.  David took his 600 men and their families and went to live in Gath under the rulership of King Schish.  David took both his wives with him, Ahinoam and Abigail, formerly the wife of the Fool, Nabal.   Saul found out about David’s move and decided to leave him alone for a while.

After a while, David asked Achish if he could move out into the country.  So the king allowed him to move to Ziklag.  David lived there for a year and a third raiding the surrounding pagans including the Amalekites.  They slaughtered the people in those towns and took all the livestock and clothes for themselves.

When Achish would ask David where he’d been raiding, he’d always reply, “Oh, out on the southside somewhere.”   So Achish would think he was killing Israelites when he was really destroying the enemies of the Israelites!  David didn’t leave anyone alive in his attacks that could go back and “tell” on him.

1 Samuel 28:1-25   A Small Medium At Large

Achish and the Philistines began assembling their war machine to attack the Israelites.  “You can come and help us,” said Achish to David.  “Cool,” said David, “Then you can see how good my guys really are!”  Achish said, “If things work out, I’ll make you my ‘right hand man’ for life.”

This is about the time that Samuel went to Heaven.  All Israel mourned for Samuel.  He was buried in his hometown of Ramah.  It meant that Saul now definitely had no one to consult even though Samuel had already banned Saul from his presence.  And further, Saul had rightly banned all the mediums and wizards from Israel.

When Saul saw the gigantic Philistine army forming against him, he went nuts.  The Lord refused to give Saul direction through any of the normal means of priests or by dreams or prophets.  So he asked his consulting people to find him a medium.  They said they found a tiny lady at Endor that might fit the bill. She worked all over central Israel.  (Not true about her being tiny or working around central Israel.  I’m just setting up the joke in the subtitle.)  Saul put off his royal robes and wore the clothes of a commoner to disguise himself, going to the woman’s home at night with two of his guys.

“I need to talk to a dead guy,” he told the medium.  “Are you meshuga*?” the lady asked him.  “Don’t you know the king has closed down business on all the mediums and foretellers in the land?  I could get offed for that kind of thing!”  Saul took a oath that he wouldn’t turn her in.  “OK,” the woman said, “Whom do you want?”  [She had been a lit major in college.]

Saul said, “Hmmm.  Let me see.  How about Samuel?”  When the lady was able to actually pull up Samuel she shrieked a shriek that could be heard across the Jordan.  She was a phony, you see, and she wasn’t used to being able to pull up a real dead person.  “You snookered me!” she screamed,”You’re really Saul!”

“Chill out,” replied Saul, trying to calm the woman down, “tell me what you see.”  She said she saw a something like a ghost emanating from the earth with white hair [implied]and wearing a glorious robe (v. 13).  Saul knew it was Samuel and bowed before him.

“What are you bothering me for?” Samuel asked.  “I’m in some really deep poop,” Saul said.  “The entire Philistine army is coming at us and Yahweh and I are not on speaking terms.  So I thought I’d try to contact you.”

“Why are you contacting me since you know Yahweh doesn’t want to talk to you?  He has done what He said He’d do, yanking the kingdom from you and giving it to David.  You knew that would happen when you didn’t off all the Amalekites like you were supposed to do.  But if you really want to know what’s going to happen, tomorrow you will be vaporized by the Philies and by tomorrow you’ll be here with me along with all of your sons.”

Saul keeled over in shock after hearing Samuel’s words.  He hadn’t eaten much all day either so the medium told him he needed to eat if he was going to go home soon.

Saul refused to eat.  His aides keep encouraging him to eat something so he finally had some fattened calf and bread and headed out into the night.  Night is symbolic of darkness where Saul was ultimately headed the next day.* meshuga means “nuts or crazy” in Yiddish

New Testament: John 11:1-54

Jesus was the Only One to provide life to the living, it is because He is the Only One who is capable of forgiving.

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John 11:1-46  “I am the Resurrection”

One of the closest friends of Jesus, Lazarus, died.  We find another of the “I Am’s” in John indicating the deity of Christ.  We’ve already seen, “I am the Bread of Life (6:35),” ” I am the Light of the World (8:12),” I am the Door (10:9),” I am the Good Shepherd (10:11), ” and now, “I am the Resurrection and the Life (11:25-26).”

Strangely, when Jesus found out that Lazarus, his good friend, had died, He did not rush to the scene.  Instead, he remained where he was for two more days (v. 6)!  Jesus said that what had occurred was for the glory of God(v. 4).  He decided then to go back to Bethany where His life had already been threatened and the disciples were afraid for Him.  Jesus said He was working in the twelve hours of daylight and would be protected meaning no one and no thing can take a person in God’s will before their time.  Further, He pointed out that Lazarus was only sleeping.  The disciples, again not catching the spiritual overtones of Jesus’ words, said they really didn’t need to make the effort of going to Bethany since Lazarus would just wake up again.  Jesus had to put it to them straight, “He’s dead.”  Thomas, who would later be dubbed, “the doubter” (John 20:25) but then would believe (John 20:28), said, “what the heck, we might as well go with Him even though we’ll probably die.”

When Jesus finally arrived on the scene, Lazarus’s sister, Martha, was a little disappointed, “If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  But I know you can do whatever you want even now.”  Jesus said, “Lazarus will rise.”  Martha responded, “I know . . . on the last day.”  Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, anyone who believes in me will never die.  Do you understand what I’m telling you?”  Martha said, ” Yes.  I believe You are the Messiah sent from God to save everyone in the world.”

Martha’s sister was Mary, who had anointed Jesus with the expensive perfume.  Martha called her to tell her “the Teacher” was there and she jumped up to greet Him.

When Mary saw Jesus she said the same thing Martha had said, “If you had been here, this wouldn’t have happened!”  When Jesus saw everyone weeping around Him, He cried, too (v. 35).  “Where’d you put him,” Jesus asked.  Of course, some of the Jews starting whining about how Jesus could have prevented Lazarus death if He had wanted to since He was able to open the eyes of the blind.

When Jesus arrived at the tomb, He told the people to move the stone out of the way of the grave.  Martha objected, “He’s really going to smell.  He’s already been dead for four days!”  In a mild rebuke Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you you’d see the glory of God?”  Jesus prayed a prayer of thanks to the Father, out loud, so everyone could tell what was going on between Him and His Father.  Then Jesus yelled, “Lazarus, come on down!”  Lazarus came out looking a bit like a mummy with the wrappings hanging off of him.  Jesus told the people standing around to take off the clothes and let him go home.

A lot of people got saved after this incident.  But some just went to the religious leaders to stir things up.

John 11:47-54    An Inadvertant Prophecy

The brilliant guys who made up the council said, “Hey, we can’t let This Man roam all around the place doing miracles!  Everyone’s going to believe in Him!”  D’oh!  They were more worried about the Romans taking away their nation and their power than people going to Heaven.

However, God was a lot more concerned with people being saved.  God still went through the proper channels, making a pronouncement through the high priest who wasn’t even saved.  Caiaphas, who was the High Priest and later responsible for pronouncing a death sentence on Jesus said, ” . . .  it is expedient for [everyone] that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish” (v. 50).  It was a brilliant theological statement but Caiaphas didn’t have a clue what he was saying.  John explained that Caiaphas was actually predicting Jesus’s subsitutionary atonement for everyone, including non-Jews, to have access to Heaven.  

From that day on, the religious leaders really “put the pedal to the medal” to try to get the job done of getting rid of Jesus.

So Jesus no longer even taught amongst the Jewish people but went out into the country and stayed there with the disciples.

Psalm 117:1-2   A Hymn By Anonymous

All the nations should God laud, by His lovingkindness all peoples should be awed.

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Psalm 117:1-2   Millifulous Millennial Ecumenical Acclamations

The other day we looked at two psalms in one day.  Today we make up for it by only looking at two verses!   (I didn’t pick the readings!)

It is the shortest chapter of the Bible.  And it’s also plum dab in the middle of the Bible.

Psalm 117 is another Hallel psalm, though, obviously, a short one.  It was probably also sung after a meal.  Maybe a long meal.

The psalmist begins with a call to praise the Lord (v. 1a).  Who is supposed to worship Him?  All the nations (v. 1b).  Why would the psalmist call on all nations to worship the Lord?  He knew it wouldn’t happen.  Mostly Jews only would hear the call anyway.  So why did he exhort all the nations to praise the Lord?  Because this psalm looks forward to the end times and the millennial rule of Christ when all nations and all their leaders will bow to Christ.  All nations will ultimately worship Christ (cf. Isa. 18:7. Zech 14:16; see Addendum To The End)!

God’s hesed is massive (v. 2a, do you know what hesed is yet?).  He loves us a lot.  He loves His nation, Israel.

His unadulterated, pure veracity will last forever throughout eternity (v. 2b).   For that, He should be praised (v. 2c)!

Proverbs 15:22-23   Constantly Consulting Consultants

By wise person always consult, you will undoubtably love the result.

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If you don’t ask anyone for advice, you can fail miserably (v. 22a).  In fact, if you do ask for advice, you can still fail miserably but your chances are better for success.  Better to ask for a lot of advice (v. 22b).

If you are really looking for answers, use Google.  Well, they didn’t have Google or Bing or Yahoo in biblical times.  And it won’t always give you the most wise answer anyway.  But when you locate it, you are generally very happy.  Like when an author finds just the right designation, or appellation . . .  that is, word!  Later, we’ll learn that, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2).

Ronald Reagan was asked during a presidential debate if he was too old  to be president.  He answered, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience . . . .”  He won the election in a landslide.  That was “an apt answer” (v. 23a).  It caused joy even in his rival who laughed along with everyone else.

“How delightful is a timely word” (v. 23b).  Indeed.

By the way, it was Reagan’s chief consultant who wrote that line for him.

Choose Life: Scripture:   John 11:35    NASB    “Feeling Resurrected?”

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies . . . .”      John 11:35

Are you feeling resurrected today?  This verse says that if you have trusted Christ, you are resurrected already.  Well, basically.  Remember back in John 5: 24, Jesus said that whoever believed in Him had [already] passed from death to life (precisely, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life“).  I put the italics in for emphasis and the brackets to indicate what is implied, that we have already passed from death to life the moment we received Christ.  The verb “passed” is a perfect indicative active in the original Greek which means that there is an action at a particular point in time.  That particular time is the exact moment that we trust Christ.  And that particular action at that particular moment has continuing consequences.  The continuing consequences are that we don’t die.  Just like our verse today says.

I think when you shrink all that down, it means that we are already resurrected at the point in time we trust Christ.  At the point of our death we just change forms.  We take on a new body in a new environment: Heaven.  We may or not feel the change.  It doesn’t matter but it’s better to feel it.

So to paraphrase an old Clint Eastwood movie, “Are you feeling resurrected today?  Well, are you . . . ?”

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

Fun Application:   

We may or not feel the change of being born again.  It doesn’t matter but it’s better to just realize that’s it’s true.  Sanctification, the second stage of our Christian lives, despite the understanding of the majority, is a “head trip.”  Not that we do drugs, but our Christian lives on earth have to do with feeding our brains.  Look at Romans 12:2, ” . . . and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The best way to “feel” resurrected is to feed your head.  What are you doing to feed your head theses days?  One of the best things you can do is memorize Scripture.  Try using the Topical Memory System (probably the best price but most Christian bookstores and bookstore websites sell it).  You’ll thank me later.

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:   A Small Medium At Large

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