1 Samuel: Saul sent David out to do battle and he was successful. Women sang a song that attributed thousands of kills to Saul and ten thousands to David. This made Saul angry and jealous. He worried David would take over the kingdom. One day he tried to spear David as the evil spirit came up on him and David was playing the lyre. He became afraid of David and made him a commander of thousands. Again, David was successful in his battles.
Saul offered his daughter to David in marriage if he would fight Saul’s battles. Saul hoped the Philistines would kill him. David told Saul he wasn’t worthy to be the king’s son-in-law. Saul gave his daughter to another.
Michal, Saul’s other daughter loved David so Saul set up some servants to convince David to marry her. David didn’t have money for a dowry so Saul let him know it would only cost him a hundred Philistine foreskins. He again thought David would die trying to get them. David and his men got two hundred foreskins. David married Michal and Saul was even more afraid of him.
Saul told his servants and Jonathan to kill David but Jonathan warned David. Jonathan then reasoned with Saul and he changed his mind. David continued to defeat Philistines and Saul again tried to kill David with a spear. David went home but Saul’s servants watched his house. Michal helped him escape and he went to Ramah where Samuel lived.
Saul sent messengers to bring back David but they prophesied along with the prophets who were with Samuel. He tried again but the same thing happened. Finally, Saul went and he too, prophesied.
Psalm: The Psalmist praises the Lord because a person is blessed when he fears the Lord. He has multiple blessings in descendants, wealth, riches, and righteousness forever. He is kind, gracious, generous, just, and fair. His righteousness will never fail and he will be remembered forever. He isn’t afraid of bad news or enemies because he trusts in the Lord. He will give to the poor and he will be exalted. The wicked person sees it and becomes angry. All he desires will perish.
Proverbs: Scoffers don’t look for advice because they don’t want to be proved wrong. A happy heart shows up on your face but heartache shows up in depression. Unlike a scoffer, a person with understanding looks for confirmation but fools just seek fake news.
John: Jesus is talking to the Jews who believed in him. He tells them his disciples abide in his word and it sets them free. They reply they are Abrahams offspring and have never been enslaved. Jesus answers that anyone who sins is a slave to sin and will not live forever. Therefore, if the Son sets them free they will be free because the Son lives forever. He then says they are trying to kill him because his word isn’t in them and that is what their father wants them to do.
They get upset and say that Abraham is their father. Jesus tells them Abraham would never want Jesus killed for telling the truth. They say they are not illegitimate but God is their Father. Jesus tells them that the devil is their father because he is a liar and murderer. He says they can’t convict him of sin and they don’t hear from God because they don’t belong to God.
The Jews accused Jesus of having a demon and being a Samaritan. But Jesus says he honors his Father and whoever keeps his word will have eternal life. They respond by saying that everyone dies, even Abraham. They ask if he is greater than Abraham. Jesus tells them that God glorifies him and that Abraham rejoiced to see his day and that before Abraham existed, Jesus exists. Then they tried to stone Jesus.
What Stood Out
1 Samuel: “And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him” (1 Sam 18:15).
Psalm: “His righteousness endures forever” (Ps 112:3, 9).
Proverbs: “A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise” (Prov 15:12).
John: “If God were your Father, you would love me” (John 8:42).
1 Samuel: Saul is caught in a downward spiral of sin and David is caught in an upward spiral of exaltation. Saul sought to honor himself by building a monument for himself (1 Sam 15:12) but David didn’t consider himself worth of being the king’s son-in-law. The Lord was with David and that caused Saul to be even more afraid of him.
When we want to be better than other, we are working against Jesus’s command to be a servant first. The sinful attitude can influence us do sinful things to get the attention we think we deserve. Saul’s obsession became so great that he even tried to kill David. However, when we seek to be a servant, as David did, the Lord will exalt us.
Psalm: A person who fears the Lord is indeed blessed. His wealth and riches in this world, which may not be great, are only temporal, but his righteousness will endure forever. That is a promise we can take wherever we go. Another big blessing is never being afraid of circumstances or adversaries. Just like Saul and David, Saul couldn’t stand to see David exalted while he was humbled. David’s fortunes didn’t turn around all at once, they got worse. We sometimes need to wait for the blessings to appear but we don’t have to be afraid. Our future is secure.
Proverbs: I heard a person say that they never check things out on Snopes because they are biased. Unfortunately, this is the attitude of many people on both sides of liberalism or conservativism. They don’t look for understanding or check out the facts. They only look for the things that confirm their bias. Proverbs calls them fools and scoffers. I would rather be knowledgeable and if I can’t find the facts, I’ll wait and see the results. One thing I can trust is the Bible and that points to Jesus for salvation. Scoffers and fools don’t like that either.
John: Jesus drills down to the very basic nature of sinful mankind. They don’t belong to God, they belong to Satan. Don’t let anyone tell you we are all God’s children. Yes, Paul said we are all God’s offspring but he was quoting a pagan poet (Acts 17:28-29) and saying everyone is God’s offspring only in the sense that he created us. The people Jesus addressed were looking for salvation in their heritage instead of their faith. Jesus is pointing out that everyone is a sinner and therefore unable to come to him unless it is the Father’s will. Anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus doesn’t have eternal life. That is the context of the last few daily readings in John.
Note that Jesus is talking to Jews who believed in him (John 8:31). They may have claimed they believed in Jesus but their belief didn’t include the ability to admit to their sinfulness. Jesus led them right down a logical path to proclaiming their father is the devil. They had belief, but it wasn’t saving belief. James says that even demons believe (James 2:19) but what good does that do them? I’ve been saying it in many ways because Jesus said it in many ways. Belief that saves is more than mental agreement to a set of principles or even who Jesus is. It means knowing who Jesus is and trusting him completely for salvation instead of self (ability to perform rituals, good works, etc.) or others false messiahs (Buddha, Muhammad, etc). It means obedience and repenting from sins. It means knowing Jesus is God and that he is eternal.
It is very easy for someone to function in a religious atmosphere of a Christian church and think he’s saved but isn’t. That’s what some of Jesus’ disciples were doing. He weeded them out.
We don’t want to be scoffers who don’t check things out. That is why we need to test ourselves and make sure our faith in Jesus is genuine. That means always checking our teachers against the Bible to see if what they say is true or not. That means checking out myself.