Spiritual Rants: May 12 “State of the Union Address” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Samuel 12:1-13:23 John 7:1-30 Psalm 108:1-13 Proverbs 15:4

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Old Testament: 1 Samuel 12:1-13:23

Is there really in Scripture any mistake? There could not or else in the cosmos there would be a quake.

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1 Samuel 12:1-24  State of the Union Address

Samuel gave a State of the Union address.  He said, “Have I cheated any of you?  Haven’t I done a good job?”   The people said he hadn’t cheated any of them.  Samuel continued, “The Lord was good to you but you didn’t  return the favor.  In fact, you rebelled and sinned and had to cry out to the Lord to save you and He did.  Right?”

It’s always good to review what God has already done in your life.  It will pick you up when times are rough (cf. Psa. 143:5, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands,” also Ps. 77:5, 11-12).

Samuel went on and recounted the story of Nahash coming against them and how they had asked for king.  He was implying he had warned them about having a king in the place of Yahweh.  He said they would have to obey the voice of the king  but he made it known that they were “wicked” for having asked for a king (v. 17).  Samuel called got thunder and rain to confirm what he was saying.  And it thundered and rained.  And it was the dry season!  The people feared the Lord and Samuel (v. 18).

The people replied, “Whoops.  Pray for us.”  Samuel said, “Don’t worry.  Just stay the course and you’ll be OK.  The Lord won’t abandon you.”  Samuel told them he wouldn’t leave them either and would keep praying for them.  Samuel told them “to serve the Lord with all their heart” (v. 24).  He also warned them, “If you goof up again and do ‘wickedly,’ your king is going to go down” (v. 25).

1 Samuel 13:1-23  A Mistake In The Bible

I love this verse, verse 1.  It’s a mistake in the Bible.  I always love to point it out.  Check it with Acts 13:21.  Almost no matter what translation you use, the number of years Saul reigned differs with whatever they translate 1 Samuel 13:1.  In the NASB which we use, it says Saul reigned forty-two years but in Acts it says forty years.  NIV has the same as the NASB.  ESV says, “Saul lived for one year and then became king, and when he had reigned for two years over Israel.”  Go figure that one out.  The NT also has forty years.  KJV is  about the same as the ESV.  The RSV is fun.  Look at this, “Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign; and he reigned . . . and two years over Israel.”  HCSB has forty-two and forty.

Boy, are Christians idiots to believe that stuff!  An outright mistake!

OK, here’s the real deal.  There are absolutely no mistakes in the Scripture.  None.  Nada.  Not one single mistake.  The Scripture is perfect.

So how do we account for the discrepancies between 1 Samuel and Acts?  Damaged manuscripts.  RSV is probably the most honest by leaving the numbers out.  When we talk about the Scriptures being perfect, we are talking about the original manuscripts.  Of course, we don’t have the originals so scholars have to do the best with what we have.  How much does the deterioration of the manuscripts effect what we have?  Well, the manuscripts we have are 99.9% pure.  That’s better than Ivory soap one of my professors used to say.  Ivory soap is only advertised as 99.44% pure.

Now back to our story.  Saul chose 3K men to fight the Philistines but only brought 2K with him to battle.  Jonathan, Saul’s son, led the forces to victory.  Saul took the credit.  Nice Dad.

Next the Philistines assembled 30K to fight Israel.  The Israelites hid wherever they could find cover.  Samuel told Saul to wait seven days for him to come and meet up with him.  Saul violated the law of Moses and offered an offering, something only a priest was supposed to do.  When Samuel finally arrived, he asked Saul what he had done.  Saul said he “forced” himself and offered a sacrifice (v. 12).  Samuel told him, “That was pretty dumb.  Now the kingdom is going to be yanked from you and Yahweh had come up with a better choice for king” (v. 14).

Samuel took about 600,000 men and absconded.  The Israelites didn’t have the best weapons because they didn’t have any blacksmiths to work the iron weapons. Saul and Jonathan were the only two in the whole army who had a swords and a spear.  The Philistines went out to prepare for battle.

New Testament: John 7:1-30

If anyone doesn’t know His will, that person can just ask and will get a thrill.

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John 7:1-30 Feasting On The Word

Jesus was ministering in his home area of Galilee.  He knew there were Jews in Judea that wanted to kill Him so He stayed in Galilee.  It was near the time of the Feast of Booths.  Jesus’ natural half-brothers told Him to go to Judea to get more publicity.  His brothers were not believers at that time (v. 5).  Jesus told Him that it wasn’t a good time to go to Judea but they sure could.  No one was going to hurt them there.

Jesus went up to Judea anyway but in secret (v. 10).  People were talking about Jesus at the feast and had differing opinions.  Some thought He was only a trouble-maker but some thought He was possibly a good man.

In the middle of the feast Jesus started teaching in the Temple.  People were astonished at Him since He hadn’t been to seminary or Bible college.  Jesus told them that He learned things directly from His Father.  Jesus said something we should keep in mind whenever trying to figure out God’s will or if a given teaching is from God.  He said, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (v. 17).  Jesus was saying that if someone really wanted to know something, God would make sure that person would find out (cf. Jer. 29:13, ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” and James 1:5, ” But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him”).  Jesus said you could tell the truth about a speaker by whose glory he was seeking.

Jesus went on to ask the people why they didn’t follow the Mosaic law and why they were trying to kill Him.  They said He must be demon-possessed to say a thing like that.  Jesus pointed out that no one had a problem with circumcising a baby on the eight day if it fell on a Saturday (Sabbath).  But they had problems with Him healing someone on the day of rest.  He told them to wise up (v. 24).

Some of the Jews were confused since Jesus was teaching publicly but they had heard the leaders were trying to kill Him.  Jesus told everyone that knew Who He was.  The leaders wanted to get rid of him all the more but His time hadn’t come yet so no one was able to lay a hand on Him.

Psalm 108:1-13     A Lament By David

God will to all His enemies subdue, all His glory throughout time grew.

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Psalm 108:1-13   A Rum Cake Of A Psalm

I love David’s writings.  Don’t you?  This psalm is a like a collection of his greatest hits.  The first part (vv. 1-5) is a reiteration of Ps. 57: 7-11 (see A Day In The Life) and the end of it (vv. 6-13) is the same as Ps. 60:5-12 (see Scraping Enemies . . . ).

Some have denigrated this psalm for being a type of rum cake of a poem, throwing leftovers together to make another psalm.  But God must had had a reason.  I believe it is the song of the redeemed Israelites going into the Millennium.

They begin by stating that their heart is steadfast (v. 1)  That makes sense if they had just made it through the rigors of the tribulation.

The most solid Christians set aside time to worship the Lord, pray, and study the Bible.  This often happens in the morning before they do anything else (v. 2).

Their hearts are filled with thanksgiving (1 Thess. 5:18; Eph. 5:20) for God’s hesed (v. 4, His binding, covenantal love).  Their lives are lived for His glory (v. 5).

When God “measures” a nation, it’s usually not a good thing.  Shechem was a city west of the Jordan River near the valley of Succoth (v. 7). Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah were all tribal areas threatened by attack (vv. 8).  These nations are all called by name indicating that God knew what they had done in threatening his people the Jews.

To Yahweh, Moab is just a bowl to wash His hands in and Edom is only a servant to take care of His shoes (v. 9). He will sing a victory song over the Philistines (v. 9c).

David may have felt that God had abandoned him and his people but he still expected Yahweh would lead him to victory (vv. 10-11).  The Israelites may have felt rejected during the Tribulation but will still trust Him to keep His covenant and establish His kingdom.  Do you ever feel like God has left you?  Read the promises in the Bible to get your head straight again.  He will never leave you or forsake you (cf. Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5).

David asks God for deliverance against His adversaries (v. 12).  He trusts that God will trample all that oppose Him.  David realized that victory could not be achieved in his own power apart from God.  So did the prophet Zechariah (cf. Zech. 4:6) and so did the Apostle Paul (cf. 2 Cor. 12:10).

Of course, that is just what God did in the time of David (v. 13, cf. ) but in a grander way will subdue His enemies throughout the Tribulation and throughout the Millennium (see Addendum To The End).

Proverbs 15:4   A Blessing Or A Curse?

With the tongue can issue a blessing, speaking coarsely can result in relationships stressing.

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There used to be a good mystery program on TV called Monk.  It was about an obsessive-compulsive detective whose last name was Monk.  He had a special ability of observation.  He was, in fact, a criminological genius.  When people noted his propensity to be able to observe details, he would often reply, “It’s a blessing . . .  and a curse.”  

Our mouths and language are the same way.  Jesus’ half-brother, James, put it this way, ” . . . but no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing” (James 3:8-10).

Solomon notes that when we speak, we can be a blessing to people (v. 4a) or just the opposite, we can hurt people deeply (v. 4b).

How are you speaking to people (cf. Col. 4:6)?  When you walk into a room, do people consider you a blessing or a curse?

Choose Life: Scripture:  John 7:17    NASB    “Want To Know God’s Will?”

“‘If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.'”         John 7:17

Our verse today is very important.  James told us that no matter what, we could have wisdom from God if we really wanted it (cf. James 1:5).  In today’s verse, Jesus tells us that if we really want to know God’s will about something, we first have to be willing to do God’s will.  Why would God want to waste time explaining His will to someone that doesn’t want to do it?  Jesus told us not to throw our pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6).  You might say that God has done that since anyone can walk into a book store and buy a Bible or even take one out of a hotel.  However, we need the Holy Spirit to understand it (cf. John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:12; 1 John 2:27).

Are you wondering what God wants you to do?  Are you willing to do it?

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

Fun Application:   

Is there something you want to understand?  Some doctrine?  Something God may want you do?  Today’s reading contains a good verse about prayer, 1 Sam. 12:19.  It says that the people of Israel asked the prophet Samuel to pray for them.  Then in verse 23 of that chapter, Samuel said he would pray for them.  If you are stuck trying to figure out God’s will, ask someone more mature in the Lord than you to pray for you.  They may even have a good suggestion as to an answer to your question.  (For more on God’s will, check out these explicit commands:  Eph. 5:18; 1 Thes. 4: 3; 1 Thess. 5:18; 1 Pet. 2:15;  1 Pet. 4:19.)

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 Mistake In The Bible?

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