Ponder the Loving Deeds of the Lord

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1 SAMUEL 10:1-11:15 | JOHN 6:43-71 | PSALM 107:1-43 | PROVERBS 15:1-3

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“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans.”  

These are Samuel’s words to the people just before he prepares to formally anoint Saul as king.  The very first king of Israel, Saul is a young man from the tribe of Benjamin who to begin with is a good young man heeding the advice of his elders—first his fathers, then Samuel’s.  But not everyone is happy for there were some naysayers as well. 

Saul, however, proves himself as a worthy king when he commands a large army of people, and goes out to battle with the Ammonites, and emerges a victor.  This seals the deal, and following this victory, Saul’s kingship is confirmed by the people.

Turning now to our reading in the gospel of John, we find Jesus speaking to the people.  He says, 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

These appear to be strange and tough words to swallow, incomprehensible at best, and so many of the faithful begin to desert Jesus.  Jesus asks his inner core of twelve disciples—the twelve—if they also wish to leave him.  And Peter answers with these famous words “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Turning our attention now to the book of psalms, we find in our psalm for the day a very detailed reckoning of the great history of the children of Israel, and throughout this lengthy telling, David interjects the exhortation to give praise to the Lord for his “unfailing love” and“loving deeds of the Lord.”

Some of the verses from the psalm, I wish to reproduce here for our benefit:

8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.

19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.

43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.

Finally, a few verses from the book of Proverbs.  Verses that we would serve us well to recount everyday of our lives:

1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere,
   keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

2 thoughts on “Ponder the Loving Deeds of the Lord

  1. Very interesting debate between the pro-king and anti-king sides in ancient Israel. So much of their identity prior to this had been in being different from the nations, with God as their king. But here, as you point out, the king side prevails and Israel becomes like the dreaded “other nations.” It raises some good questions about how much a religious group should conform to the world – and, theoretically, attract more followers – and how much it should stand apart and remain faithful to the founding ideals. TFS, my friend, and happy Mother’s Day! I hope you and your family have a wonderful day.

    1. Many thanks for your insightful observations, as always!

      And may I also extend warm wishes to all the women in your life who are most deserving of having this second Sunday in the month of May dedicated to them.

      God bless you! > >

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