1 SAMUEL 14:1-52 | JOHN 7:31-53 | PSALM 109:1-31 | PROVERBS 15:5-7
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We see a glimpse of the reign of the very first king of Israel, Saul. Saul’s reign is marked by much tumult due to frequent battles with the neighboring natives. The Philistines, in particular, seem to give Saul and his armies a lot of action.
There is a curious story of Jonathon, Saul’s son, who unknowingly gives himself a death sentence by virtue of not adhering to an oath of fasting for the day imposed by his father. Saul intends to be true to his word to put anyone to death including his own son Jonathan, but his men intervene to stop him from doing so.
We also learn a little about Saul’s family. Jonathan was evidently one of five children. There’s mention of a wife, an uncle, and a cousin who is chief of his armies. But Saul’s long tenure is a bloody one and the text tells us this: 52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.
Turning to our reading in the book of John, we continue with the account of Jesus preaching in the public places. Yesterday, the people were confused and wondering about what Jesus’ words meant when he said that he was the bread of life, and today, Jesus says this: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
But the people remain even more confused. Could it be that this is the Messiah?
And all this talk is causing the Pharisees and the elders of the Temple to take great offense. How could it be that this young man claims the Messiahship? This is blasphemy, this is sacrilege! They must take action, and they must take it immediately! They must have him arrested!
But even the guards that the Pharisees send for this task return without arresting Jesus, so captivated are they by the words of Jesus. They plaintively reply, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.”
Nicodemus, however, one of the elders of the Temple asks a pertinent question: 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find that Psalm 109 is one in which David, the psalmist and king of Israel is in his darkest hour, and he certainly knows how to curse his enemies! He spares nothing in evoking every possible curse upon those who have wronged him—for the first nineteen verses of this psalm he puts forth a long list of ways in which his enemies may be cursed, and in the 20th verse he says this: 20 May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
I would not wish to have ever been on David’s bad side! But who among us has not felt this way at some time or another? It is almost as if David is speaking the words that have originally formed in your own mouth when he says:
21 But you, Sovereign LORD,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, LORD my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, LORD, have done it.
Finally, three verses from the book of Proverbs that are worthy of record and rumination:
5 A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
6 The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
but the income of the wicked brings ruin.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
but the hearts of fools are not upright.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.