1 Samuel: Samuel poured oil over Saul’s head and told him the Lord had anointed him prince over his people. He told Saul that three signs would confirm this. On the way home, he would meet two men who would tell him the donkeys were found and his father was concerned about him. He would meet three men and they would give him two loaves of bread. The Spirit would come upon him and he would meet a company of prophets. He was then to do what he finds to do. He was to go to Gilgal and wait seven days for Samuel When Saul left Samuel, the Lord gave him a new heart. It happened just as Samuel said. When he met the prophets, the Spirit rushed upon him and he also prophesied.
When he arrived home, his uncle asked where he was. Saul replied they went to Samuel and he told them the donkeys were found but didn’t say anything more.
Samuel called the people to Mizpah. He told them they had rejected God by asking for a king. They presented themselves to Samuel by tribe and Benjamin on down to Saul as they were selected by lot. They couldn’t find him so they asked the Lord and he told them Saul was hiding in the baggage. They got him and proclaimed him king.
Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the king and wrote them in a book. Everyone went home. Some men of valor followed Saul but some worthless men despised him.
The Ammonites besieged Jabesh-gilead but gave them seven days to send for help. When the messengers came to Saul, he was coming from the field with the oxen he was using. When he heard the message, the Spirit rushed upon him, he became angry and cut his oxen into pieces and sent them throughout Israel threatening to do the same to anyone who didn’t follow him and Samuel. Everyone came and they defeated the Ammonites.
Some of the people wanted to kill the worthless men who didn’t want Saul as king. Saul stopped them and they went to Gilgal and renewed the kingdom.
Psalm: We are to give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, love, and redemption. He has redeemed those in trouble from all ends of the earth. He works wonders for those who are in desert places by leading them to a city. He satisfies their souls. Some were imprisoned with hard labor because they rejected God but he redeemed them when they bowed before him and cried to him. Some were fools in their sin and even came close to death. But the Lord redeemed them when they cried to him. All these are to thank the Lord, offer sacrifices, and tell of deeds with joyful songs.
The Psalmist talks of God delivering sailors from the harsh storms that threaten them. God provides fruitful land for some but the opposite for evil people. He brings contempt on princes who oppress with evil and sorrows. He raises up the needy and afflicted. All who are wise should consider the steadfast love of the Lord.Proverbs: You can use your mouth to sooth anger or stir it up. You can use it to speak wisely or foolishly. The Lord sees everything and watches both good and evil.
John: Jesus tells the grumblers that no one can come to him unless the Father draws him and Jesus will raise him on the last day. Those are the people who have learned from the Father. Jesus says that anyone who believes has eternal life and that he is the bread of life. If anyone eats this bread they will live forever, not like the manna that came and the people still died. The bread he gives for the life of the world is his flesh.
The Jews didn’t understand this so Jesus said that the only way to have life is to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Whoever does this abides in Jesus and he in them. Jesus lives because the Father sent him and whoever feeds on Jesus will live because of Jesus.
Some of his disciples also grumbled because it was a hard saying. Jesus knew it, so he asked them what they would do if they saw him ascend back to heaven. The Spirit gives life and Jesus’ words are life and spirit. But some of his disciples didn’t believe and he knew who it was. Again, he says that no one can come to him unless the Father grants it.
Many of the disciples turned away at that time. Jesus asked the twelve if they wanted to leave. Peter asked where else they could go since Jesus had the words of eternal life. He believed Jesus was the Holy One of God. Jesus answered that he had chosen them but one was a devil, the one to betray him.
What Stood Out
1 Samuel: “The Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you” (1 Sam 10:6). “God gave him another heart” (1 Sam 10:9).
Psalm: “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men” (Ps 107:7)!
Proverbs: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Prov 15:3).
John: “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” (John 6:65).
1 Samuel: When Saul was first anointed as king over Israel, God changed his heart. Yet, he didn’t say anything about it to his uncle when he was questioned. When it was time to present him to Israel, he hid among the baggage. Was this just being humble or was he afraid, even though his heart was changed? Saul didn’t really act any differently except when the Spirit rushed upon him. Once he prophesied and once he was moved to action. Saul demonstrated his new heart when he didn’t immediately quell the mini rebellion at his first presentation as king and when he didn’t let the people kill those who initially didn’t want to serve him.
We know that the Holy Spirit didn’t come upon people in the Old Testament in the same way he does now. He empowered for a specific time and then apparently left. We saw that with Samson. Now, we have the Holy Spirit as our seal and guarantee of our salvation and he doesn’t leave us. However, our changed hearts still have the ability to sin and keep us from listening to the Holy Spirit. As we continue to follow Saul, we will see the same battles with sin that we face. He started well but finished poorly. We don’t have to be that way. We usually start poorly but over time learn to walk by the Spirit.
Psalm: The beginning of the Psalm appears to set its writing after the return of Israel from the Babylonian captivity. The people are gathered from all corners of the world. But there is nothing in the rest of the Psalm that specifically identifies Israel. The Psalm is written not just for them but for “the children of men” (Ps 107:7). God treats three different classes of sinners the same way.
The first are those who are looking for a city. They are hungry and thirsty but they are wandering. God redeems them and give them a city. We get an eternal city when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. Their souls are satisfied. We can be satisfied in Jesus.
The second class are rebels. They reject God and as a result are in a prison. They have physical afflictions because of their sin. Many of us were this kind of sinners before we were saved. We were trapped in prisons of sin when God redeemed us. Jesus brings us out of darkness into his wonderful light.
The third class of sinners are fools. Their problem is trying to work for salvation. They loathed food, they thought that ritualistic fasting and other physical self-affliction would get them saved. But salvation doesn’t come until we cry out to God for his redemption and stop working for our own. Then, we can offer sacrifices, not for salvation, but for joy and thanksgiving. In all three cases, it is the Lord who does the work to redeem us.
Proverbs: We are accountable to the Lord for everything we do, especially what we say. Since he is omniscient and omnipresent, we can’t hide anything from him. So, it is important to make sure our speech is in accordance with his will. When in difficult situations, we can either speak wisely so that anger is turned away or we can be foolish and stir up anger.
John: When it comes down to believing in Jesus, he doesn’t make it easier when people don’t get it. There was a lot of grumbling from both the Jews and his own disciples when he started talking about being the bread of life. When he said that he would give his flesh as bread for the life of the world, we can understand that he was talking about going to the cross. But They didn’t know it at that time. If they had learned from the Father, they may not have clearly understood, but they wouldn’t be like those whom the Father had not drawn to Jesus. The ones that the Father hadn’t given to Jesus could not focus on heavenly things but earthly. They thought only of cannibalism.
Eleven of the twelve didn’t understand much but they understood enough to know that Jesus had the words of eternal life and that there wasn’t anyone else who did. We can’t fathom the depth of God, but we can understand two things from this passage. We must believe Jesus gives us eternal life when we believe in him and that we can only believe when that is granted to us from the Father. We are not saved by our own ability to understand. Just like Saul, God gives us a new heart and we also get the Holy Spirit so we can be saved.
I need to pay attention to the Spirit so that even in my new heart, I don’t sin. One of the biggest areas is with the words I use. I can use them for hurt or healing, peace or anger.