Day 83 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue First Samuel and Psalms.
1 Samuel 18 – A question seldom asked is, “Where was Jonathan in chapter 17?” Surely, the brave warrior of chapter 14, David-like in his faith, was not shrinking back in fear before Goliath. Nor was he likely absent from the scene of battle, for he is on the scene immediately after David’s victory. Perhaps we are to assume that Jonathan, knowing that the house of Saul had been rejected, was hanging back, waiting to see if God’s new appointee, would show himself. If so, he was not disappointed.
David came, and won, and “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” Jonathan defers to David, makes a covenant with him, and even gives him the regalia that distinguished him as crown prince.
Such selflessness is possible only for those in sync with the purposes of God.
How are Believers today called to just this kind of selflessness? Hint: Philippians 2:3.
In his self-emptying, Jonathan anticipates the far greater act of love rendered by the Son of David to come.
How do we see this in Jesus? Hint: Philippians 2:6–7.
Like Jonathan, Saul senses that David is to replace him as king. But Saul’s reaction is the precise opposite: anger, aggression, fear, scheming, and enmity. Being at odds with God puts one at odds with God’s purpose in other people’s lives.
1 Samuel 19 & 20 – Earlier in this book, Eli set the pattern of how one is to respond to divine rejection from office—namely, give in. Saul refuses to give in to God, and this costs him dearly. He is progressively alienated from his family, from his supporters, and even from his own mental capacities.
With respect to the latter, Saul at first is willing to listen to Jonathan but ends up cursing him and even trying to kill him, hurling his spear at him. Consumed with fear, Saul can think of little else than killing David. But the Spirit of God prevents him, overwhelms him, divests him of his royal robe, and puts him on his face before Samuel. Saul is, we might say, out of his mind. Prophesying in a posture of worship is so out of character for Saul that the people, with considerable irony, again take up the saying of 10:11: “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
How different is the work of the Spirit on those who trust God. What spirit are we given as Believers? Hint: 2 Timothy 1:7.
Those, like Saul, who refuse to “humble [themselves] . . . under the mighty hand of God” soon find themselves under the sway of a very different spirit, one which “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:6-8).
Psalm 83 – God sometimes hides His face to draw His children closer to Himself. Asaph’s prayer is evidence that this divine strategy is effective. Jesus similarly tested His disciples’ faith when He slept during a storm (Luke 8:22–23).
In the case of this Psalm, God had another purpose for apparently withdrawing. God’s silence lured in ten nations, symbolizing all the opponents of God’s people, so that He might destroy them with one blow (2 Chronicles 20:13–23). Despite all efforts to wipe them out, God has always preserved His people (Romans 11:1–6). Grafted into their olive tree, Gentiles are now heirs to the same promises of protection (Romans 11:24). They are His “treasured” property (Romans 9:23).
Not only does God promise to preserve His disadvantaged people, He delights in prevailing over their opponents for the sake of His people’s deliverance.
The ultimate reason to live confidently in a hostile world is that Jesus has prevailed over our greatest enemies: sin, guilt, Satan, and death. In Jesus, we are invincible. For He was raised bodily, and we are now united to Him, by faith. Our future could not be brighter, whatever adversity washes over us in this fallen world.
How does this truth give you confidence to trust Jesus in the middle of today’s troubles?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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