Day 84 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue First Samuel and Psalms.
1 Samuel 21 – Taking one’s eyes off God invites fear to rush in, and fear can lead to desperate and dangerous actions. Fleeing from Saul, David not only deceives the Lord’s priest at Nob but, after receiving food and Goliath’s sword, goes to Goliath’s hometown! It seems an insane step—did David hope to enter the city unnoticed, with Goliath’s sword tucked under his belt? As it happens, David is quickly recognized as Israel’s “king” and escapes death only by feigning insanity. He flees into the wilderness, and there he begins a training course in trust.
In the life of a believer, the wilderness is often just the place to learn bedrock trust.
How does David reveal this is true? Hint: Psalm 56.
How does Paul remind us that this is true in our lives, as well? Hint: Romans 8:31-39.
1 Samuel 22 – Despite occasional lapses, David’s big view of God builds trust, even when David is on the run. Saul’s small-to-nonexistent concern for God, by contrast, leads only to paranoia, even on the throne.
One never sees life’s circumstances rightly when one’s view of God is too small. Defective theological vision can lead to alienation and sin, as we see in Saul.
By contrast, how does the hope and promise of the gospel, reveal the will of God to us? Hint: Romans 12:2.
For we are not who we once were. We have been adopted into God’s family, utterly by grace. We have been given a new identity as children of God.
A mark of someone for whom God carries weight and who has experienced God’s forgiveness is the ability to honestly admit failings. David readily admits that his own actions contributed to the massacre, and he offers Abiathar safe haven.
By the end of this section, David has been joined by both the prophet Gad, who guides him (22:5), and the priest Abiathar, who brought with him the priestly “ephod” (23:6), a further instrument of God’s guidance. Clearly, the Lord is providentially providing for David in the wilderness.
How are Believers assured that even “in the wilderness,” when we give God weight and seek His kingdom He will guide us and provide all we need? Hint: Matthew 6:31–33; Philippians 4:19.
How does Jesus‘ wilderness experience show us that all our wilderness experiences can be endured not as punishment but as the kind purposes of God to cultivate perseverance in His beloved children? Matthew 4:1–11; Romans 5:3–5.
1 Samuel 23 – A true friend does not minimize or make light of the sorrow or difficulty another may be experiencing but, rather, helps the other find strength in God. Jonathan’s encouragement of David in the present circumstances, “strengthening his hand in God”, helps prepare him for a later dire situation, where David will again find strength in God (30:6). “The sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (Proverbs 27:9).
Jonathan encourages David by reminding him of God’s purpose to make David king.
How much grander is the Believers hope based on what Jesus has done for us? Hint: Hebrews 6:19–20; see the broader context).
How are we called to encourage each other? Hint: 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
We do this ultimately because we have been befriended by God Himself in the person of Jesus. In Jesus we have a friend, the great friend, the friend of sinners (Luke 7:34). “No longer do I call you servants . . . but I have called you friends” (John 15:15).
1 Samuel 24 – The similar themes of chapters 24 and 26 are obvious—both recount episodes in which David has an opportunity to kill Saul but refuses to do so because Saul is the “Lord’s anointed”.
The clear teaching of both Old and New Testaments is that Believers should never exact a personal vengeance, but should “wait for the Lord, and He will deliver” (Proverbs 20:22). “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19; cf. Heb. 10:30; both citing Deuteronomy 32:35).
While “vengeance” can sound negative, in the Bible vengeance predominantly has to do with the establishment of lawful justice, and God is its rightful agent. The believer can have confidence that, at the right time and in the right way, the “God of vengeance” will “shine forth” (Psalm 94:1), and full justice will be achieved.
What situations in your life do you need to trust God will establish justice and how will you trust Him to do so?
Psalm 84 – When we trust the Lord of hosts, we are perfectly blessed with everything needed for human flourishing. The first two beatitudes of this psalm outline blessings of being. The first is what pragmatists think they can live without, what C. S. Lewis called the “fair beauty of the Lord.”
The second is the treasure of knowing that one belongs to God and is as safe as the sparrow in the shelter of the temple. The psalmists conclude, as later Jesus would teach his disciples, that if God can take notice of a sparrow, he can take care of his church (Matthew 10:29).
The last two beatitudes outline blessings of vocation. First the psalmists recount the joy of knowing there is a redemptive purpose in suffering. Jesus acknowledged troubles but explained that suffering confirms the reality of our faith (John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:7).
Finally, the Korahites rejoice in the dignity of their vocation as doorkeepers, regardless of its menial nature. God blesses His children with the dignity of causing His kingdom to advance through their individual callings. There are no little people in God’s family, and no small things in His redemptive plan.
How do we know that we are called to reflect Jesus by serving? Hint: Matthew 18:1–4; John 13:12–16; Philippians 2:6–11.
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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