Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17: 1 Samuel 20 – 21; Psalm 113 – 114; Proverbs 15:15-17; John 9



Overview

            1 Samuel: David meets Jonathan and asks what wrong he has done that Saul is seeking his life. Jonathan doesn’t believe the father is trying to kill David, but he will investigate. The two concoct a plan to reveal Saul’s intent. The two make a covenant with each other. Jonathan will support David and David won’t kill him or his family. David will hide out when he should be eating at the king’s table. If Saul accepts Jonathan’s explanation, there is no problem but if he doesn’t, then Jonathan will know Saul’s intent and warn David.
            When Saul question’s David’s absence and Jonathan explains he is with family, Saul curses Jonathan and tries to kill him. Jonathan then warns David. David went to Nob and asked the priest, Ahimelech, for food and weapons. Ahimelech asked what David was doing alone and David made up a story about being on the king’s urgent business. Ahimelech gave him the show-bread and Goliath’s sword. One of Saul’s servants was there before the Lord.
            David then fled to Achish, king of Gath. The people there knew David from the songs about him killing ten thousands. When David heard that, he was afraid of Achish. He pretended to be crazy so they let him leave.
            Psalm 113: God is to be praised by all his servants. His name is to be praised forever and all day long. He is praised because he is sovereign over nations and everything in heaven. There is no one like him. He sees all things in heaven and on the earth. He is sovereign over the lives of people exalting the poor and giving the barren woman children.
            Psalm 114: Judah is the sanctuary of God when Israel left Egypt. The sea and Jordan parted. The mountains shook. Why did the these happen? It was the presence of the Lord who provided water out of rocks.
            Proverbs: Even if the days are oppressive and evil, life is a continual feast for those with a cheerful heart. Fearing the Lord when poor is better than having a lot and the troubles it brings without the Lord. Eating only vegetables with loved ones is better than the best steak with animosity at the table.
            John: Jesus walks by a man born blind and his disciples want to know who sinned to cause this, the man or his parents. Jesus tells them neither, but it was to show God’s work in him. He then spat in the dirt, made mud out of it and put it on his eyes. He told the man to wash in the pool of Siloam. He came back seeing.
            People asked how he was healed and he said the man Jesus did it. They took him to the Pharisees and they said Jesus couldn’t be from God because he healed on the Sabbath. The man said Jesus is a prophet. The Pharisees didn’t believe he was blind so they brought his parents who verified he was born blind. When asked how he now sees, the parents told the Pharisees to ask the man.
            They asked again and the man got snarky asking the Pharisees why they were asking again, he already told them. He also asked if they wanted to become Jesus’ disciples. The Pharisees said they were Moses’ disciples and God spoke to Moses but they didn’t know where Jesus came from. The man continues being snarky explaining to them that no one born blind had ever been healed and God doesn’t listen to sinners so Jesus must be from God. The Pharisees say he was born in sin and tossed him out.
            Jesus finds the man and asks if he believes in the Son of Man. His response is to ask who the Son of Man is so he can believe in him. Jesus says he is. The man then worships Jesus. Jesus announces that he came into the world so that the blind can see and the seeing will become blind. Some Pharisees hear that and ask if they are blind. Jesus understands they are claiming to be seeing and says they are guilty.

What Stood Out

            1 Samuel: “If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan’” (1 Sam 20:6).
            Psalm: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised” (Ps 113:3)!
            Proverbs: “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast” (Prov 15:15).
            John: “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (John 9:38).

Insight

            1 Samuel: David and Jonathan conspire to lie to Saul to find out if Saul is still trying to kill David. David lies to the priest at Nob to acquire food and a sword. David deceives the king of Gath by pretending to be crazy so he can escape. The story takes on a different life when we use words like lie and deceive. The long-term outcome would probably not have been different had they been honest because God is in control. We can only guess how the conversation would have gone with Saul and Jonathan had he said, “David was afraid to come to the meal because he believes you are trying to kill him.” Jonathan had already talked his father out of trying to kill David. Why did he not use the honest approach again?
            This points out how people often depart from honesty when they are afraid. The consequences aren’t always seen immediately. It doesn’t appear that David faced any unfortunate consequences because of his lies, but we’ll find out later that other people suffered because of them.
            Psalm: There is no excuse for not praising the Lord. It is a command for all who claim to be his servants. We really need to have an attitude of praise that lasts forever. In the here and now, we should be praising him all day long. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. We should be praising God and we can only do that when we look beyond the circumstances to our great God who has all things under control.
            Proverbs: When I think of praising God in all circumstances, Proverbs 15:15 makes perfect sense. I can be cheerful because of who God is. It doesn’t matter what the outward problems of life are because God is in control. He is above all other gods. He is sovereign over me, nations, and everything in heaven.
            John: Back when I wrote about the paralytic who was healed at the pool of Bethseda, I said we should compare him to this blind man Jesus healed. The paralytic was a case study in how not to respond to healing and a man who was healed and didn’t exhibit faith before or after his healing. This blind man started out in the same faith condition as the paralytic but ended on a vastly different note.
            He never saw Jesus but only heard his name. After he was healed, he was asked how it happened. He only identified Jesus as a man. He had no indication of who he was. When pressed by the Pharisees and hearing their comments, some saying he was a sinner and others that only a man from God could do these signs, the man said Jesus is a prophet. Then he has some time to think as they send for his parents. After his parents cop out, the Pharisees unite calling Jesus a sinner. That’s when the man puts two and two together and confronts the Pharisees in their illogical assertion. He now is positive that Jesus came from God.
            Then Jesus finds him and asks him the very important question, does he believe in the Son of Man. When Jesus says that he is the Son of Man, the man confesses his belief and worships Jesus.
            This is the road map of faith that we all travel. We hear about Jesus and then assemble the facts about him. He is a man but more than a man. He is a prophet sent from God, but he is more than that. He is the Son of Man, the Messiah and he is worthy of worship. We then have to make a decision. Do we worship him or not? If we don’t then we are lost and blind even though we know the facts. If we worship him, then we are able to see and are no longer blind.

Application

            Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth. My fears can cause me to want to lie and then say it was only to spare someone’s feeling or make some other excuse. Where would the blind man have been had he lied because he feared the Pharisees? Some lies have eternal consequences. I would rather tell the truth. Praising God in all circumstances is one way to reduce that fear and tell the truth

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