Thursday 20 August, 2020

1 Samuel 22:1-23

22 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. 3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” 4 So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold. 5 But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth. 6 Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side. 7 He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8 Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.” 9 But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. 10 Ahimelek inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” 11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelek son of Ahitub and all the men of his family, who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” “Yes, my lord,” he answered. 13 Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?” 14 Ahimelek answered the king, “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household? 15 Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father’s family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair.” 16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelek, you and your whole family.” 17 Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.” But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep. 20 But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family. 23 Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”

King Saul sees David as the enemy despite him marrying his daughter, being trustworthy and honourable in all his dealings with him. Saul is absolutely paranoid about David so much so that he arranges to have the priest, Ahimelech and his entire family killed because they were seen as David supporters.  This passage of Scripture says much about the character of the four men it mentions, David, Ahimelech the priest, Doeg the Edomite and King Saul.

In looking at Ahimelech the priest we can see that he is a man of integrity. The priest respected both Saul and David.  Ahimelech was not afraid to call Saul out on his misgivings regarding David. He wasn’t to know how Saul would respond but he and his family ended up losing their lives.  This man of God lost his life for speaking the truth, a truth that King Saul did not want to hear let alone acknowledge. As people of God we too need to be speakers of truth and this may not always be well received.  It may have consequences that we could never have anticipated, nonetheless we are carriers and speakers of God’s truth – his word.  Ahimelech seemed beyond reproach and I am inspired by his example.

Dear Lord, help me to represent you well like the priest Ahimelech did. Help me to speak your truth and not just what people want to hear. Amen

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Wednesday 19 August, 2020

1 Samuel 21:1-15

21 David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” 2 David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.” 4 But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.” 5 David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” 6 So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away. 7 Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd. 8 David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.” 9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” 10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

Today I am primarily looking at the first part of this passage where David and his men are hungry and David persuades the priest to feed them the consecrated bread.

Jesus actually refers to this story in the New Testament when the Pharisees are trying to accuse His disciples of violating the Sabbath law by eating some wheat as they pass through a field. He says “Don’t you remember what David did when he was hungry, how he went in and ate the bread which was not lawful for a man to eat?”

Basically what Jesus and David are saying here is the same thing – human hunger is more important than religious laws and traditions.

God’s heart is to care for our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs. God is concerned about every aspect of our lives – no matter how small.

Don’t be afraid to ask God to supply your needs. He is able and willing!

Lord, we thank you that you are our provider of every good thing and that you promise you will not withhold any good thing from Your people if we ask. Help us to ask!

Written by Shelley Witt

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Tuesday 18 August, 2020

1 Samuel 20:1-42

20 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?” 2 “Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!” 3 But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.” 4 Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.” 5 So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6 If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. 8 As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?” 9 “Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?” 10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 “Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together. 12 Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. 18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.” 24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan,[a] and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.” 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.” 30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” 32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. 34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David. 35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.” 41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

Jonathan had a tough decision to make.

Did he help David who has been anointed as the next King of Israel? Or did he betray him so that he could be the next King of Israel? For Jonathan, this was actually a life or death choice. But Jonathan trusted God, that no matter what happens, God would look after him and his children if he did die.

I don’t think that I will ever face those kinds of life or death choices, but for all my decisions, I can trust God to look after me and my family just as Jonathan did.

What’s interesting is that Jonathan didn’t have all the facts. He didn’t believe it when David said that he was afraid for his life, he didn’t believe that his father, King Saul, wanted David dead. He didn’t believe that his father would keep secrets from him.

For me, Jonathan demonstrates what trusting God looks like. His future was in God’s hands, he didn’t have all the details, and some things didn’t make sense. But really, it doesn’t have to. Trusting God is real when things don’t make sense. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.

Father, I thank you that I can trust you. Even when I don’t know all the details and get worried about things out of my control, thank you that my “things” are in your control.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Monday 17 August, 2020

1 Samuel 19:18-24

18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said. 23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

This must have been a desperately confusing time for David. Samuel has anointed him as king of Israel while Saul, also anointed as king, is still ruling. The more faithfully David serves Saul, the more Saul hates him and tries to kill him. I can imagine the questions that must have been in David’s heart as he escapes. “What on earth are you doing, God?”

David runs to Samuel, famous for hearing and speaking for God, and lays the whole confusing mess out to him. In response, Samuel took David to live with him. I’m guessing that his (and God’s) answer was not a simple quick fix.

Saul sends soldiers and finally comes himself, but not to seek wisdom. God gives it anyway. The word translated as “prophesy” (hitpa“el) spans everything from an ecstatic experience to teaching God’s word to speaking for God about the future. Whatever form it took, they are all overcome by God’s presence – first lesson: God rules, even over kings; Saul strips off his royal robes – second warning: God gave Saul the kingship and God will strip it away; and Saul lies there naked and humiliated before Samuel (and God) – a final lesson in humility and repentance that Saul refuses to receive.

Some obvious lessons here for me too. When I’m confused and fearful, it’s so important to seek God and his wisdom, and its highly probable I will need Godly people to help me do that. When I’m in the wrong, I need to strip off my pretence and pride and humble myself before God in repentance. I’m so blessed when Godly people speak wisdom into my life, especially when they tell me when I’m wrong. I’m so foolish when I think I can cope on my own.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, when you speak into my life, and when you correct me. Thank you for your fabulous, wise, faithful people you put around me.

Written by David Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Sue says:

    Wonderful reflection David.
    Wonderful imagery – In “nakedness” nothing is hidden – humility is the way of the cross.

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Sunday 16 August, 2020

1 Samuel 19:8-17

8 Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him. 9 But an evil[a] spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape. 11 Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head. 14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.” 15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” 16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair. 17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’”

Here, we have a great warrior in David, serving his King with courage and boldness. And we have this King, King Saul, plotting in jealous envy and with evil intent to destroy this courageous young warrior. 

And we have Michal, Saul’s daughter – saying one thing to David, her husband (“escape or they’ll kill you”) and another thing to Saul her father (“David threatened me, so I let him go”). 

I’ve got hung up so many times on vs 9. But Michal sheds new light on this story. Everyone has heard the cultural proverb, “what walks in fathers runs in sons (and daughters)”. Here, Michals deception gives me insight into what walked in her father, Saul, and possibly led to his twisted and distressing approach to being King. 

Evil does not start with the murderous intent towards David. It starts with the lack of integrity which says – in order to preserve my life and relationship, I will say what is safe, rather than what is true. This self and other deception is a slippery slope. 

The challenge for me is this – don’t just look for the big flaws in me. Be sensitive to the little things I do that lack integrity. These are the slippery slopes that can lead to much more distressing (and evil) fruit if left unchecked before the Lord. 

Lord, help me walk in integrity in the little things, for it is the little things that building into big things in this life. Amen. 

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Saturday 15 August, 2020

1 Samuel 19:1-7

19 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David 2 and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. 3 I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.” 4 Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. 5 He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?” 6 Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.” 7 So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.

Previously King Saul – jealous, disturbed and vicious – tried to manipulate circumstances around David so that he might die ‘by someone else’s hand’. This passage begins and the pussyfooting has ended, Saul out-rightly commands David’s death. But Jonathan…

Wise, insightful, committed to David, a servant heart, someone who pleases God – Jonathan intervenes. David is safe again because of Jonathan.

I am reminded that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. Romans 8:25-27 and Hebrews 7:25 states this explicitly but today’s passage implies a different direction of activity. Like Jonathan to David, God guides us, shapes circumstances around our lives, keeps us safe, does us favours – God participates in our lives, God is our friend. Like Jonathan, God knows what challenges we face. We can rest assured that God knows our burdens, God knows our lives, God knows what spiritual forces are set against us. We are safe because of Him.

Lord, I acknowledge your goodness in my life. Thank you for being my friend, thank you for being close with me in my life’s journey. Amen.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Friday 14 August, 2020

1 Samuel 18:10-30

10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns. 17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” 18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So[b] when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah. 20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.” 22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’” 23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.” 24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines. 26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. 28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. 30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

How confused must David have felt. God had used him to defeat the giant, had placed him in the trusted special position of the king’s armour bearer and given him the ability to calm the king through his music. But now that very king was trying to kill him. He had been very nearly killed by the king using him as target practice, and then inexplicably he was sent to lead 1000 men. It was enough to make your average young man afraid, but David loyally served his king. These situations could have generated anger or fear in David, however his behaviour was characterised by humility and service.

What a contrast to Saul – full of fear, jealousy and paranoia.

David knew God was with him, so he continued to honour Saul. I am reminded of God’s promise of protection in Isaiah 43 v 2 – “When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you, when you walk through the fire you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Was the key to David’s response humility (verses 18 and 23)? David was right to think himself special, but God had blessed him with a humble heart, which made him trust God and not his own achievements. God achieved great things through David as a result.

I need a humble heart to shape me into a vessel God can use. A heart that means I can see the needs of others and be available to serve, not expecting to be served; to give, not expecting to receive; to walk alongside others, even when my energy seems completely exhausted. Humility is so far removed from weakness.

Dear Lord Jesus, your servant David walked in your steps of humility and service, in submission to our Father God. Give me a servant heart I pray. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Thursday 13 August, 2020

1 Samuel 18:1-9

18 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well. 6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

The story of the relationship between David and Saul is complex. David goes from just another person in the country of which Saul is king to the harp player that helps him manage his rage, to the only man willing to stand up to Goliath then to a member of Saul’s household and the best friend of Saul’s son – amazing for an ordinary person like David.

At the beginning Saul was very appreciative and then he was not. He just got mad.

Sometimes that happens for us. We think we are working hard and being supportive in our workplace or our family or with friends but it starts seeming like no one appreciates our efforts. It doesn’t seem like we can do anything right.

It might be that something else is going on for the person who is getting mad. Something that may have nothing really to do with you. It’s just that what you are doing reminds them of what they don’t like about their lives or themselves or their circumstances.

Rather than get down about things, talk to God about what is going on. Ask for some insight into what is driving things. Know that you are loved beyond imagining and that the situation you are in will get better if everyone can get to know that love. Usually we just get mad back or we feel miserable.

Dear Lord, thank you that you are by our side all the time. That we just need to reach out to you and you are there ready to assist. Help us to recognise that not everything that happens is about us. Help us to choose to try and walk in someone else’s shoes, to try and understand what is driving a particular situation. Help us to be curious and help us to bring love and grace into every situation.

Amen

Written by Therese Manning

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Wednesday 12 August, 2020

1 Samuel 17:31-58

31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” 38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. 51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath[a] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent. 55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.” 56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.” 57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. 58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

I feel so sorry for David in this story.  The youngest son of Jesse, the shepherd, who endures the humiliation and hatred of his eldest brother Eliab, in front of other soldiers.  You can hear the question in David’s voice “what have I done, can’t I even ask a question?”

David “sees” Goliath with God’s eyes, with fresh eyes.  He has not lost heart in the unending battle against the Philistines.   He is uncircumcised (unclean) and he defies God Himself.  David has been trained caring for His Father’s sheep.  He has killed every lion and bear (enemy) in that role, he can easily kill this Philistine, an enemy of God.  He sees the God who is with Him (whose he is), more than the circumstance.  He never looks at what he is NOT.  He is unafraid.  He doesn’t put his faith in his lack of training, his lack of armour, his inexperience or his age.

His eyes are fixed on this enemy of God.  His heart is fixed on how large His God is and that His God can do anything.

This unknown young man, to King Saul and Abner (commander of the army), is the rescuer of Israel.

He has a destiny ordained by God and it starts with David’s faithful care of his father’s sheep which brings him a revelation and experience of WHO God is for Him.  This humble training ground holds his future.

Where are you at?  Do you feel you are in a humble training ground?  God has more for you and me.  We need to be faithful with what He has asked us to do.  We need to be willing to take care of the Father’s sheep (church).  We need to defeat the enemies within us (fear, doubt, selfishness, bitterness, jealousy, etc..) and allow God to work on us.  This passage assured me that for each one of us, He has a much bigger future for us all.

Father, help us to keep our eyes on you and become all you have intended for us to be.  We are your “sheep”, your people.  Help us to care and love for your people and in this journey teach us how to wrestle the “lions and bears” so that we are prepared for what you have for us in our future.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    That’s an insightful blog Ps Sue thank you. Taking time during the humble training ground rather than rushing into life. And having strength and confidence to “fight”for Jesus, because he is God. I will not fear

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Tuesday 11 August, 2020

1 Samuel 17:12-30

12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. 17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance[b] from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.” 20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. 25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” 26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.” 28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” 29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.

From the previous chapter, we learn that David had been anointed to be the next King of Israel and “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power” (16:12-13). But what does that power look like in David’s everyday life? I think this passage shows us.

Here, we read that David tends to his father’s sheep and tends to Saul when he becomes unsettled by an evil spirit. David also tends to the whole Israelite army when they become filled with fear after hearing Goliath’s taunts (v24).

It doesn’t seem to matter what the scale of the problem was – sheep, king or nation – David was equipped for any situation because the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. David was able to do what needed to be done because he was filled by God’s very presence.

It’s not so much about what David does, but Who empowers him to do it. This infilling of the Spirit was God’s equipping, an inner strength in David from the Lord that enabled him to face evil spirits and Goliaths.

Father God, I thank you that You fill us with Your Spirit and it’s Your power that resides in us. May we live mindfully of how You have equipped us so that we can serve and be a blessing to those around us.

Written by Gab Martin

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