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Day 85 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue First Samuel and Psalms.
1 Samuel 25 & 26 – Remember 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”.
But what about chapter 25? Here David has cause and opportunity to avenge himself on the wicked Nabal, a man much like Saul in some respects but not enjoying anointed status. Only by the intervention of a wise woman, Abigail, is David prevented from bloodying his hands. In due course, “the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.”
Recall 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).
While we won’t likely wrestle with actually killing someone, there are many opportunities for us to trust God with a difficult situation or relationship. How will you remind yourself to trust God in these moments?
1 Samuel 27 – Even men and women of great faith can falter. David’s regular practice in the books of Samuel is to turn to God for guidance, to trust him, and to obey him. But in this episode, we hear nothing of David seeking God’s guidance through prayer or any other means. Despite recent assurances by Abigail and even by Saul, David turns inward, his faith falters, and he heads for Philistine territory! During his 16 months there, he engages in dubious activities, lying to his Philistine benefactor, Achish, and massacring whole populations in non-Israelite villages in the Negeb.
The biblical writers are not in the business of sugar-coating even their more laudable human characters. David was a sinner, as will become much more painfully evident in 2 Samuel 11 and following. But David was also a man in honest relationship with God and capable of genuine repentance.
God’s desire for his people is that we lean not on our own understanding but, rather, get to know and trust Him with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5–6). But even when we fail, the good news is that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
How does this truth give you confidence, not in your own abilities, but in God’s unfailing grace?
Psalm 85 – God reveals His glory through mercy (Ephesians 1:6). While God expresses “anger” toward His people when they turn aside to idols, He promises to “restore” their “fortunes” if they repent. And He did so, time and again. Remembering God’s mercy in the past inspires these worshipers to plead for the completion of His redemptive work in the future, in this case the blessings of temple worship.
Love and peace form the bookends of God’s qualities that express His compassion on sinners. However, the middle characteristics—faithfulness and righteousness—demand punishment of sin. God’s harmonizing grace is represented as a “kiss”. He is at harmony with Himself because He righteously deals with our sin by carrying it away and covering it.
Where do we ultimately see this “kiss” take place? Hint: Romans 3:25–26.
God is at harmony with His people by bringing a grace-based salvation “near” in Immanuel (Matthew 1:23).
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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