1 SAMUEL 12:1-13:23 | JOHN 7:1-30 | PSALM 108:1-13 | PROVERBS 15:4
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Samuel is getting old and gray, and he has served as Israel’s judge/leader/priest for many years. Upon the people’s pleading, he even appoints one as king over them.
But now, Samuel exhorts the people in this way: 20 “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”
Saul reigns as king for forty-two years, but he starts out in a bad way: by not heeding the explicit instruction of Samuel to wait for him for seven days at Gilgal after he is anointed as king before he goes out to battle, Saul jeopardizes his future. The sin of disobedience is indeed a grave one, and we find that Samuel rebukes Saul for his haste in doing what it is that Samuel was to come out and do on behalf of the entire people of Israel– offer up gifts of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord.
But the story continues, and we fast-forward a bit to when we learn of Jonathan, Saul’s son who is now a strapping young man and who now fights alongside his father. There comes a time when Israel is without any weapons and they are forced to go down to their enemies camps to sharpen their own weapons. These were indeed interesting times in the history of Israel.
Turning now to our reading in the book of John, we find Jesus engaged in his mission of preaching and teaching. There are times when Jesus speaks in the most straight-forward manner, and then there are other times when his words are most perplexing. I almost pity the people who were trying to fully understand and decipher the true meanings of Jesus’ words.
For instance, here was one such time when Jesus seemed to sound very vague in establishing an identity. With our hindsight, it is most easy for us to know exactly what Jesus means, but for those around him in that day, they wondered if it would be quite as easy to identify the Messiah. They did believe in the coming of the Messiah (as they do even to this day), but how could they be sure…?
Jesus says this, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
In our psalm for the day, we find David the Psalmist, continue to reaffirm the Lord’s might in delivering him from his enemies, and cannot cease to praise the Lord for his love and faithfulness. David says:
4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Finally, in the book of Proverbs, we find yet another verse exhorting us on the good use of our tongue. Solomon, the wise king of Israel, says this:
4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.