Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18: 1 Samuel 22 – 23; Psalm 115; Proverbs 15:18-19; John 10:1-21



Overview

            1 Samuel: David fled to the cave of Adullam. His father and brothers joined him as well as other men who were had troubles or were discontent. There were about 400 men and David became their captain. He took his father and mother to the king of Moab and left them there while on the run. The prophet Gad told David not to stay in the stronghold but to go to Judah.
            In the meantime, Saul asked his officers why they didn’t tell him that David and Jonathan made a covenant with each other. Doeg told about David getting supplies from Ahimelech. Saul sent for Ahimelech and the priests of Nob. Saul accused him of conspiracy. Ahimelech defended himself because David was a trusted servant of Saul and had previously inquired of the Lord for him. Saul didn’t listen and had Doeg kill Ahimelech and 85 other priest as well as everyone in Nob.
            Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech escaped and went to David. David knew Doeg would tell Saul so he blamed himself for the tragedy. He kept Abiathar with him.
            David heard that the Philistines were attacking Keilah so he asked the Lord if he should go and fight them. The Lord said go but some of the men were afraid while in Judah and it would be worse going against the Philistines. David asked the Lord again and he told them to go. They did and saved the city.
            Saul then planned to go to Keilah and trap David. But David asked the Lord if the people of Keilah would give them up to Saul and the Lord answered that they would. So David and 600 men escaped to the wilderness of Ziph.
            Jonathan came and encouraged David telling him Saul would not find him and he would be the king of Israel.
            The Ziphites also told Saul where David was. Saul and his army pursued David, but Saul received a message that Philistines were raiding the land. Saul turned and went after the Philistines.
            Psalm: We are not to take any glory for ourselves, it belongs to God because of his love and faithfulness. Others don’t know about God who is in the heavens and does as he pleases. Their gods are all images that have features of men but no functionality. People who make them and trust them become like them.
            God is different. He helps those who trust and fear him. He remembers and blesses them. He is the maker of heaven and earth and gives increase to us. The heavens belong to him and he has given the earth to us. The dead don’t praise him, but we do, now and forever.
            Proverbs: Angry people end up in fights but cool headed people calm problems. Lazy people get hung up on life’s problems but the upright can navigate them like a smooth highway.
            John: Jesus starts telling the people around him, including the Pharisees about sheep, shepherds, and gatekeepers. Thieves don’t go through the gate, only the shepherd. The shepherd calls his sheep and they follow him. They don’t follow strangers. The people didn’t understand. So, Jesus explains that he is the door of the sheep. Thieve are the only ones who came before him. If people enter by him, they will be saved and have good pasture.
            Thieves come to destroy. Jesus is also the good shepherd. He gives abundant life to his sheep and lays down his life for them. He will protect his sheep but hirelings will not. He knows his sheep and they know him just as he and the father know each other. He has sheep of another flock also and they will listen to him just as this flock does.
            The Father loves him because he lays down his life for the sheep. No one takes his life from him. He has the authority to lay it down and take it up again.
            The Jews were divide about this. Some said he was insane or had a demon. Others said he couldn’t heal a blind man if he were any of those.

What Stood Out

            1 Samuel: “’Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?’ And the Lord said, ‘They will surrender you’” (1 Sam 23:12).
            Psalm: “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them” (Ps 115:8).
            Proverbs: “The path of the upright is a level highway” (Prov 15:19).
            John: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:18).

Insight

            1 Samuel: Saul’s downward spiral of jealousy and anger reaches it depth when he murders all the priest because Ahimelech unknowingly aided David against Saul’s will. Saul shows no mercy and even worse, kills everyone associated with Ahimelech. It shows what happens in our lives when we get on that slippery slope of sin. We will do just about anything to protect our position or to achieve the ungodly goal that we want so much more badly than pleasing God.
            One the other hand, we now find David asking God at every turn of events what he should do. Even though his men are a bunch of misfits, he is able to lead them because of his trust in the Lord. All during this time, the Lord is preparing David to become king. Even when David rescues the city of Keilah and he discovers that they weren’t thankful enough to return the favor, his integrity is shown by his retreat. Rather than endanger the city or his men, he moves out. Notice that now he has 200 more men with him than before.
            Trusting God during difficult times is difficult. We see in David’s case it just seems to get worse. That steadfast trust is what gets us through these times. Regardless of outward appearances, God is using them for a future good.
            Psalm: In the U.S. and most western nations, we don’t often think about idols in our lives in the form of images that we physically worship. So, this Psalm may not appear to be very practical, except to say that giving glory to God and trusting him results in blessings. Looking back on David in the wilderness being chased by Saul, we might even wonder about that.
            However, westerners have our own idols of self, power, sex, materialism, just to mention a few. This Psalm says that when we make them or trust in them, we become like them (Ps 115:8). Saul is a good example even back then. He stated trusting in himself, his own ability, and his own reasoning power. That ends poorly for him. All these things are temporal and we end up dead to God and unable to praise him.
            Proverbs: Life has a lot of problems. When we are lazy, we don’t attack them the way we should. Instead, we complain and grumble. We let them become larger than they really are. However, the one who is upright, the person who is trusting in the Lord and being obedient can navigate those problems in life like traveling on a highway. That doesn’t mean the problems don’t occur, but it means we have the resources to do it in God’s strength. We don’t get sidetracked or detoured. We are always on God’s path and plan for our lives.
            John: Jesus tells us that he is going to die for the those who listen to his voice, his sheep. We are part of that other flock Jesus was talking about We must be clear that this isn’t just anyone. He laid down his life for those the Father gave him. They are the ones the Father draws. They are the ones that know him and he knows them. This is not talking about universal salvation. It is only for those who are selected.
            It is obvious after Jesus’ statements that there were many who weren’t listening. Some didn’t understand and other thought he was crazy or demon-possessed. They didn’t recognize Jesus’ voice as the only one who could save them.
            We still see some people who can’t accept Jesus’ teaching. Cults often have a Jesus, who really is a thief, who claims to be the way of salvation but who isn’t God. He is a son of God, an angel, or only a prophet. Jesus’ claim to be able to take up his life after laying it down is a stumbling block for them. They can’t fathom how Jesus could die and then participate in his own resurrection. They can’t understand because they don’t belong to him. They aren’t his sheep. So, they deny his deity and for that reason they are promoting a thief and robber who is only out to divert souls from salvation and keep them in Satan’s kingdom.

Application

            There are many things that can distract me from the Lord. It could be the trials of life. It could be the abundance of life or idols in my heart. But trusting that Jesus is exactly who he said he is and focusing on him keeps me from going astray.

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