Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20: 1 Samuel 26 – 28; Psalm 117; Proverbs 15:22-23; John 11:1-53


            1 Samuel: The Ziphites told Saul where David was hiding so he took 3,000 men to hunt him. David saw where Saul camped and went down inside the camp at night. The Lord kept everyone in a deep sleep. Abishai went with him. They were able to sneak to where Saul was sleeping. Abishai wanted to kill Saul but David said he could not kill the Lord’s anointed and remain guiltless. David said the Lord would kill him or he would die in battle. They took his spear and water jug.
            Outside the camp, David called to Abner, who should have been protecting Saul. He taunted him about his lack of protection. Saul heard David and David again asked why he was coming after him. Saul admitted his sin and they both went their ways.
            However, David realized that Saul would continue to hunt him if he remained in Israel. So, he went to Gath with his men. They lived in Ziklag and would go out and raid other nationalities. When the king of Gath, Achish, asked where he went to raid, he told him different places in Israel. He gained Achish’s trust.
            The Philistines gathered to fight Israel and Achish made David his bodyguard. David agreed to go into battle with him.
            Saul was afraid of the Philistine army and hadn’t heard from God either through prophets, dreams, or Urim. So, he went to a medium and had her call up Samuel. Samuel reminded Saul that the Lord had become his enemy. He also told Saul that he and his sons would be killed tomorrow and Israel’s army defeated by the Philistines. The medium then fed Saul because he hadn’t eaten all day and was in distress.
            Psalm: All nations and people are to praise the Lord because of his love and faithfulness that endures forever.
            Proverbs: Plans work out better with advisors than without. Thoughtful and well timed words bring joy.
            John: Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, became ill so they sent for Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus delayed and then told his disciples he wanted to go to Judah. They protested that the Jews wanted to stone him. He told them there was still time to walk in the light. He was going to wake up Lazarus. They thought Jesus was talking literal sleep but Jesus explained Lazarus had died.
            When he arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Martha came to him and said that if he had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus told her he would rise again and she thought it was at the resurrection. Jesus explained he is the resurrection and life. Anyone who believes in Jesus will never die. She then said she believed Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
            Marth then told Mary Jesus was there and she went out to meet him. She said the same thing to Jesus, that Lazarus would not have died had he been there. Jesus was moved by her weeping and the others also. He asked to see where Lazarus was buried. They took Jesus to the tomb and Jesus asked them to roll the rock away. Martha protested that by now he would stink.
            Jesus reminded her that if she believed she would see God’s glory. Jesus prayed for the sake of the people around him and then called Lazarus out of the tomb.
            Many people believed but some told the Pharisees. The chief priests and Pharisees were alarmed that if people kept believing in him, the Romans would come and take away all they had, they would lose their nation. The chief priest said it was better for one man to die for the people than the whole nation perishes. It was a prophecy that Jesus would die for the nation and all God’s children.

What Stood Out

            1 Samuel: “He said, ‘Bring up Samuel for me.’ When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice” (1 Sam 28:11-12).
            Psalm: “For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (Ps 117:2).
            Proverbs: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Prov 15:22).
            John: “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).


            1 Samuel: The Lord has prohibited his people from using mediums to learn the future as well as other kinds of sorcery, witchcraft, and other occult devices. What is amazing in Saul’s attempt to contact Samuel is that the Lord actually allowed it to happen. It reveals that these powers are very real. There is a vast spiritual realm and we know virtually nothing about it. The woman screamed when she saw Samuel. Why was that? It was probably because she didn’t expect to actually see Samuel. It was likely she was expecting to see her demon contact and they would deceive Saul into thinking she saw Samuel. But the Lord made sure she was really talking to Samuel.
            This reveals that demons do have powers to bring the spirits of dead people or they deceive their clients into thinking they are speaking to the dead person. The latter is the most likely. This also reveals that there is life beyond the grave. Samuel was recognizable and was able to remember the past and communicate. It also reveals that he was with God because he was able to tell Saul what was going to happen. This does not condone or encourage believers to attempt to gain future knowledge by any method other than the Lord.
            Psalm: When we stop and meditate on the Lord’s love and his faithfulness, we should always praise him. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are in our lives or the ones we love. God’s unchanging attributes are always there and that is reason to praise him.
            Proverbs: God has given us wise people to help us make good decisions. They provide thoughtful advice at the right time. We shouldn’t overlook what they say and we should learn to seek their advice before making major decisions.        
            John: Jesus’ interaction with Marth and Mary is significant. Martha’s statement that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there seems almost like a complaint. Jesus had to explain to her that he was the resurrection and life. She didn’t comprehend that he had the ability to raise Lazarus. Even in her confession of Jesus as the Messiah, she still didn’t get the picture. She protested that Lazarus stunk and they shouldn’t open the tomb.
            On the other hand, Jesus didn’t say anything to Mary. The only reason I can think of is that Mary’s faith and belief in Jesus was solid and didn’t need any explanations. After all, she was the one who had sat at his feet as he taught while Martha was busy with preparations for dinner. Her comment that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been there must have been more a statement of faith in him than a complaint because Jesus didn’t have to make a response to her. He knew what she needed and he knew what Marth needed, so he responded differently to each.


            When life happens, how do we respond? Do we have the faith to know that God is in control, or do we complain? Has our walk with the Lord been close enough that we don’t need more explanations or do we watch to see how God will work it out? I want to be more like Mary.

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