Spiritual Rants: May 11 “The Best Way To Loaf” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Samuel 10:1-11:15 John 6:43-71 Psalm 107:1-43 Proverbs 15:1-3

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Old Testament: 1 Samuel 10:1-11:15

To install their new king for the nation, they had a gigantic celebration.

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1 Samuel 10:1-16  Making A Prophet

Samuel told Saul to go back home and he’d be greeted by a bunch of prophets with tambourines and flutes and prophesying.  He told Saul that he’d start prophesying, too.  After that Saul was supposed to wait seven days for Samuel to come and tell him what to do.

So Saul went back and sure enough a bunch of prophets met him with tambourines and flutes and prophesying.  And sure enough, Saul also started prophesying.  Later a proverb was coined, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (v. 12).

Saul’s uncle asked Saul what had happened and Saul told him but left out the part about his becoming king.

1 Samuel 10:17-27  Making A Claim

Samuel had all the people come to him at Mizpah to rebuke them for asking for a King and for rejecting Yahweh from over them.  He also announced who was going to be the new king.  The tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot and specifically the family of Matrite and even more specifically Saul, the son of Kish.  But when his name was announced, Saul was nowhere to be found!  Yahweh told Samuel that Saul was hiding in the baggage claim.  He was brought forward and everyone could see he was a head taller than everyone else.  All the people yelled, “Long live the King!”  But a bunch of “worthless men” (NASB, “scoundrels,” NIV, “children of Belial,” KJV) didn’t think things were going to work out and didn’t bring Saul any presents.

1 Samuel 11:1-15  A Nutty Situation

The Ammonites (“sometimes you feel like a nut”) came to battle the men of Jabesh.  The man of Jabesh asked the Ammonites for a treaty and in exchange they were to serve them.  The head Ammonite, Nahash, said, “OK, we’ll make a treaty with you but first you have to gouge out all your right eyes.  The elders of Jabesh replied back to Nahash, “well, give us a few days to think about it.  We need to send out messengers to the rest of Israel and if no one comes to help us then we’ll let you gouge out our eyes” (v. 2-4).

The messengers arrived in Gibeah where Saul lived and starting weeping through both eye balls which were still intact.  Saul came down and asked why everyone was crying.  He was told what had happened and he got really ticked.  Then the Spirit of the Lord came on him and he took a couple of oxen and cut them in pieces.  Then he sent the pieces out all over Israel saying everyone who didn’t come out to help him fight the Ammonites would have their oxen cut up in the same way.

Three hundred thousand and thirty thousand soldiers showed up for the attack.  He sent word to the men of Jabesh that he was on his way.

So the men of Jabesh told Nahash and company that they’d be ready for them the next day.  The next day Saul and his men slaughtered the Ammonites so that there was not two men left standing together.   Then the people wanted the “worthless men,” “the scoundrels,” “the children of Belial” brought up and executed for not supporting Saul.  But Saul was feeling magnanimous that day and said no one would be executed because they were celebrating Yahweh’s deliverance.  Then they went up to Gilgal and renewed the covenant there.  Everybody was really happy.

New Testament: John 6:43-71

The Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb but John explained that He was the Great “I Am.”

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John 6:43-58  The Best Way To Loaf

The people started “grumbling” (v. 43) when they heard what Jesus was saying about believing in Him.  He said no one could come to Him without the help of the Father.  He again repeated that He was the One responsible for raising people up on the last day.  He said He was the only one who had seen the Father.

There are seven “I Am’s” in the book of John.  Here is one of them, “I am the bread of life” (v. 48).  He then compared Himself to the manna that the Israelites were fed in the wilderness with the exception that He was spiritual bread that would sustain people eternally.  All the manna-eaters had perished in time.

Now the Jews went from “grumbling” to arguing (v. 52).  They didn’t understand how they were supposed to eat Jesus.  Jesus mentioned the “last day” thing again telling them His flesh and blood were true good and true drink.  He said someone who feasts in this way would have life and have it eternally (v. 57-58).

John 6:59-71  Gere-ing Up

His disciples said they didn’t understand what He was saying either.  He asked if His words were causing them to stumble (v. 61).  He asked if it would help if they could see Him going up to Heaven.  He told them the problem for some of them was their unbelief.  It turns out that Jesus knew who believed and who didn’t and also who would betray Him.

All kinds of churches are doing all they can to get more and more people to come to services.  However, after Jesus had drawn an enormous crowd, what did He do?  He grossed them out and caused them to scatter!  Even some of his disciples peeled off.  Jesus turned to the the twelve and asked if they wanted to peel off, too.   Peter, doing his best Richard Gere imitation from An Officer and A Gentleman, weepingly cried out, “Where are we going to go?  You alone have the Words of Life!”  Jesus said He wasn’t the One who had chosen the twelve, but He said one of them was the Devil’s representative (v. 70).  He meant Judas because He knew Judas was going to betray Him.

Psalm 107:1-43     A Song Of Thanksgiving By Anonymous

Despite their blindness, God always showed His lovingkindness.

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Psalm 107:1-43   Sightseers, Subjugated, Sick, and Sailors

Psalm 107 begins the fifth and final book of psalms.  It begins with this psalm and runs to the last psalm, 150.  It divides naturally into four sections.  It begins with three verses of praise and thanksgiving because God has been good to the Israelites (vv. 1-3, cf. James 1:17).

A refrain is repeated four times in vv. 8, 21, and 31, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!”  It is the theme of the psalm.

The psalmist displays the nation in four ways.

Section One:  Travelers Guided To A City (vv. 4-9)

A Challenge:  The Israelites were wandering  (vv. 4-5)

They prayed (v. 6a)

God delivered them (vv. 6b-7)

The Israelites praised Him for His deliverance (vv. 8-9)

Section Two:  Prisoners Bound In Chains   (vv. 10-16)

The Challenge:  The Israelites were like bound captives  (vv. 10-12)

They prayed (v. 13a)

God delivered them (vv. 13b-14)

The Israelites praised Him for His deliverance (vv. 15-16)

Section Three: Sick Men Brought Back To Health  (vv. 17-22)

The Challenge:  The Israelites were like bound captives  (vv. 17-18)

They prayed (v. 19a)

God delivered them (vv. 19b-20)

The Israelites praised Him for His deliverance (vv. 21-22)

Section Four:  Seamen Reaching Their Destination  (vv. 23-32)

The Challenge:  The Israelites were like lost sailors  (vv. 23-27)

They prayed (v. 28a)

God delivered them (vv. 28b-30)

The Israelites praised Him for His deliverance (vv. 31-32)

The psalm concludes with a hymn of God’s sovereignty and provision for all His creation (vv. 33-38).  Although God now provides for all His creatures, He will provide for everyone and everything in a perfect way in the Millennium and into eternity.  These verses apply to everything that anyone could need today but in a special way applies to the time after the Messiah returns.  Today, even unbelievers are supplied with what they need to live (cf. Matt. 5:45).

At that time, all creation will bow down and worship the Lord (vv. 39-43).  All government rulers will be subservient to Him and will bring Him gifts (cf. Isa. 18:7; Zech. 14:16).  Since He will rule with a “rod of iron,” we can infer that judgment and justice will be swift (cf. Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).

If we are smart, we will study these things and meditate on them (v. 43).  If we are astute, we will mediate on God’s binding, covenantal love, His hesed and lovingkindness (v. 43b).

Are you wandering in life, feeling like you are bound up like a prisoner, feeling sick, and adrift at sea?  Follow the pattern of the Israelites and pray.  Then look for God’s deliverance.  Then, like the psalmist, give thanks!

Proverbs 15:1-3   You Can’t Fool God

A word that is gentle will be keen and more effective than speech that is mean.

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I saw a political candidate recently confront a protestor at one of his rallies.  He walked right down into the crowd and began a dialogue with a person that sounded like he wanted to kill the candidate.  The politician stayed calm and and was actually able to discuss issues with the man for about seven minutes.  I think the protestor was stunned that the candidate could remain unperturbed.

The situation was a good example of how a “gentle answer” can dispel someone’s wrath (v. 15a).  If you’ve ever seen a session of the House of Commons in England, you’d see how a “harsh word” can ignite things (v. 15b).  They seem to always be yelling at each other.

A wise person will find a way to communicate (v. 2a).  Unbelievers, aka “fools” in the book of Proverbs, say things that really just can’t be understood (v. 2b).

When I was attending Charles Stanley’s church a long time ago, he told us his method of raising children.  He told us that he taught them that even if they were away from home that God could see everything they were doing.  That is good advice for everyone.

One of the children in the old Little Rascals program paraphrased Abraham Lincoln by saying, “you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool Mom (see video).  We might say that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool God!  That is the essence of verse 3.

Choose Life Scripture:  John 6:55    NASB    “Accept No Substitutes”

“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.”    John 6:55

Jesus said we had to eat his flesh and drink His blood if we want to have His life and be resurrected on Resurrection Day (cf. v. 54).  Some have taken this statement completely literally.  They take it to mean that we have to take communion repeatedly if we want to live spiritually.  Of course, the verb in the Greek indicates a one time event.  And the theologian who developed the idea that this verse refers to communion added the ideas of the philosopher Aristotle to the words of Jesus.  That is how theologian Thomas Aquinas could understand in any way that Jesus was talking about communion.  Most people who believe in communion this way probably have no idea that they are following Aristotle more than Jesus.

In v. 63, Jesus makes it pretty clear that He is using a metaphor to explain that people have to believe in Him and His sacrifice of his body and blood to have life.

Communion is a good ritual of remembrance (cf. 1 Cor. 11) but it is completely unnecessary to have Jesus’ life.  We have His life by faith (cf. John 5:24).

1 John 2:27 says that we don’t need a teacher to teach us.  We already have the Anointing, the Holy Spirit to guide us.  This doesn’t mean that teachers aren’t helpful but it is God Himself who is our ultimate guide.  If you have the Spirit as your Guide, you will also be taking in the true good of Jesus’ flesh and blood.

Are you communing with Jesus daily through His Spirit?

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

Fun Application:   

False doctrine leads ultimately to depression and unhappiness.  The Bereans checked out the apostles’ teaching every day to see if it was from the Lord.  Do not trust philosophers and theologians over God’s Word and His Spirit.  Acts 17:11 speaks of the “noble” Berea’s, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily [to see] whether these things were so.”  Are you checking the Scriptures every day to learn and check out your teachers and books you are reading?

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:   Making A Prophet

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