Category: 1st and 2nd Samuel-BibleTrekToday

Trek through 1st and 2nd Samuel

God sees our heart!

Scripture reading for March 20: 1st Samuel 16-19

Our culture prizes youth, beauty, intelligence, power, and money!  We tend to judge people by what we see or know about their life.  Where do they live?  What kind of car do they drive?  Are they handsome or beautiful?  What position do they hold?  Who are their friends?  We are very driven by our senses and peer pressure.  But God sees things differently!

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance, or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1st Samuel 16:7)

God is looking for a heart after God, a heart that will trust God and live by faith in His Word! (2nd Chronicles 16:9)  When we put God first, and not our “self”, He is pleased!   He is looking for a “humble and contrite” heart. (Isaiah 66:2)  He needs a heart that can be taught, corrected, and shaped for His habitation.  Jesus taught that only those who are pure in heart can see God.  (Matthew 5:8

Jesus Christ had the perfect heart!  He was fully sold out to God, his Father.  He did only what he saw His Father do and said only what He heard His father say!(John 5:19-20)  Jesus was humble of heart–and wants to teach us the same!  (Matthew 11:28-32)  Jesus was pure of heart–completely without sin!  He offered His own life on our behalf!  If we confess our sins to Him, He will cleanse us of our sins and all unrighteousness!  (1st John 1:9)  We can have a pure heart too!  We can learn from Him by receiving the Holy Spirit of Truth. 

Praise the Lord, God still looks at the heart!  Does He see Jesus Christ as Lord in your heart today?  How would you evaluate the state of your heart for being humble and teachable?

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”  (John 3:35-36)

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Rebellion, witchcraft, and arrogance

Scripture reading for March 19: 1st Samuel 13-15

“But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination (witchcraft-KJV)  and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (1st Samuel 15:22-23)

When we think about witchcraft and the occult, we tend to think about men and women dressed in black, bats, curses, and evil including violence, blood and death.  Our modern culture promotes the occult through television and movies that are watched by millions.  Children’s books, like ‘Harry Potter’ introduce the young to occult teaching as entertainment. Games like dungeons and dragons are used by the naive promoting the occult. God’s Word is clear, participation in the occult is rebellion against His Word.

Saul was anointed and empowered to lead the nation.  He was the answer to the people’s cry for a king who would protect them.  The Philistines prepared a huge army with horses and chariots to attack Israel. Samuel, the prophet, had told Saul to wait for him to come and sacrifice to the Lord in order to seek God for direction . Saul waited but grew impatient and although not a priest, decided to offer the sacrifice himself.  Samuel returned just after Saul completed the offering, and rebuked him.  (1st Samuel 13:13-14) 

Samuel then instructed Saul to attack the Amalekites and destroy everything as punishment from the Lord for their attacking Israel on their way from Egypt.   Saul obeyed, but only partially!  He kept back the best sheep and goats for sacrifice and let King Agag live.  The Word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” (1st Samuel 15:10-11)  We must take note that partial obedience is not obedience!

God hates rebellion and stubbornness!  We can call it entertainment, but God still calls it sin!  These sins don’t entertain God and should not be entertained in our lives or homes!   Are you in ‘partial’ obedience in any of these areas of sinful behavior? What actions can you take today to bring God’s grace?

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Give me a King!

Scripture reading for March 18: 1st Samuel 8-12

1Samuel 8:5,7 “. . .and they said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” . . .”and the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”

Although they already had God as King, the Israelites had demanded a king like the other nations.  (1st Samuel 8:4-5) God already knew this would happen.  He had told Moses about it! (Deuteronomy 16:14-20)  God knows man’s deepest need is for a relationship Him.  To help us know Him, He sometimes lets us have what we want in order to help us learn what we really need.

God chose Saul, a person who stood above all the others, as Israel’s first king. (1st Samuel 10:23-24)  As Samuel anointed him, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he began prophesying. (1st Samuel 10:1, 9-11)  Samuel introduced him to the nation and the people shouted,  “Long live the king!”  But this king would not satisfy the people’s need, but would help them to learn that they needed their real King more than ever!  This first king would soon fail to obey and honor the Lord and fall under God’s judgment.  The people would suffer under his leadership! He would not deliver them from their enemies.

Tomorrow happens to be my 77th birthday.  I lived for a few years without a King!  As a early teen I invited the King Jesus to rule my life, but did not really let Him have complete say over everything.  I am thankful that my King was patient with me.  He let me have what I initially wanted, success in farming, to show me that it did not satisfy.  My birthday request is that my family would all willingly serve Jesus.  A further request would be that all my friends and neighbors would also know this King as Lord, Savior, and Friend! Jesus is patiently waiting for all to acknowledge Him as Lord and King! He meets our deepest need eternally!

“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.”  That is the word of faith that we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:8-11)

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Sunday rest and reflection

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Judges 21:25

Reading through the book of Judges, I am impressed with how much it describes our contemporary culture and the world view of secular humanism.  When people have no king or supreme authority in their lives, they become the authority themselves.  This was the original lie of the serpent: “You can be as God.” The result is catastrophic!  Society becomes full of sin, immorality, and rebellion.  Our enemies enslave us and blind us with lies. God, our Father, longs to intervene. Passionate prayer is required!

In the time of Judges, the ministry of the priesthood was also corrupt.  Ministers were often hirelings.  (John 10:11-13)  Many have positions and go through the motions, but do not really care for the people.  They tickle ears and tell their people what they want to hear.  (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)  Some love money and use God’s people to line their own pockets.  We must be discerning of the same idolatry and religious scams in our world today!

God’s remedy for the people caught in religion has always been the same.  He listens for His people to cry out to Him in prayer!  When they do, He begins to act.  (Psalm 50:14-15)  He raises up a person who will walk with Him by faith and preach the Word of God.   When these people preach the uncompromising Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, then healing, restoration, and deliverance takes place.  (see Judges 4:1-11 for an example)  How God longs to be our King and lead us into the abundant life!  Call out to Him in passionate prayer. Allow Him to touch your heart today!  God bless you and your family!  Pastor John

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Respecting God’s Presence!

Scripture reading for March 16: 1st Samuel 4-7

I love the presence of the Lord.  I almost always experience tears or feel all my senses are alive and awake. I am often speechless–not wanting to violate His holiness but wanting to hear His voice. Although God’s presence was present with the Israelites in the Ark of the Covenant, they sought to use the Ark as an object instead of honoring God’s presence.  

1 Samuel 4:3 “And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”

The Israelites had just lost four thousand men in battle and were asking why the Lord had allowed the defeat. The elders suggested bringing the Ark to lead them in battle. When the Ark was brought into the camp by Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s two wicked sons, the camp erupted in shouting!  The enemy heard the commotion, and it ignited a desire to fight extra hard!  The Philistines whipped the Israelites and 30,000 more Israelites died in the ensuing battle!  Hophni and Phinehas were killed and the Ark of God was captured!  Eli died at this news and his daughter-in-law died in childbirth! 

God had warned Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas about their wickedness and about His coming judgment! (1st Samuel 2:16-22) Treating God’s Presence as something to be used or manipulated for advantage is not allowed.  Disregarding prophetic warning leads to disaster. Hophni and Phinehas had been dishonoring God, their father, and the nation by eating the fat portion belonging to God!  They had been having sex with the women who served at the temple.  But God will not be mocked!  (Galatians 6:7) Living in rebellion to God as a leader is never wise.  

What caused these Israelites to drift into a form of religion instead of a true relationship? Have you ever tried to use God or symbols of faith instead of walking in relationship? Are you filled with God’s Holy Spirit, the Father’s personal present of His presence?

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False accusations

Scripture reading for March 15: 1st Samuel 1-3

1 Samuel 1:13-15 “Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you. But Hannah answered, No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring my soul out before the Lord.”

Have you ever been falsely accused of doing something wicked?  How would you feel about a false accusation coming from a man or woman of God?  The temptation would be strong to get angry at the person or worse yet, to get angry at God!  Our journey in 1 Samuel begins with such an opportunity!

Hannah was barren and sought God for a child .  Her husband, Elkanah, had two wives.  His other wife had children but Hannah cried out to God for a child.    The Scripture specifically stated that “the Lord had closed her womb”.  (1st Samuel 1:6)  There was also strife between the two women over this issue. Hannah took her case before the Lord in Shiloh where Eli was priest.

As Hannah is praying desperately for a child at the temple at Shiloh, weeping and crying out to the Lord, Eli thought that she has had too much wine and was drunk!  He told her not to come drunk and to give up the wine! (1st Samuel 1:12-16)  To her credit, she did not become angry or disrespect him.  She patiently explained her dilemma and Eli blessed her.   God answered her prayer and she got her child!  She promised to dedicate him to the Lord. She named him ‘Samuel’ who became a prophet of God.

How should we handle false accusations? How should we treat those in authority who may also jump to wrong conclusions? How did Jesus handle false accusations and reviling words? 1 Peter 2:22-23

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Sunday rest and reflection-a house for God.

Greetings on this day of rest!  May the peace of Jesus Christ fill your heart today as you rest in His love and kindness!

As I stopped to ponder the reading of this past week, I thought of King David’s desire to build a house for the Lord. (2nd Samuel 7:1)  This is one of the most important conversations found in the Old Testament pointing to Jesus Christ.  King David had rest from his battles and had built himself a palace of cedar.  He realized that God was living in a tent and wanted something better for God.  He shared his desire with Nathan the Prophet who encouraged him to do whatever was on his heart.(2nd Samuel 7:3)

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. (Psalms 37:4)  David was a man who delighted himself in the Lord.  As he put his faith and trust in God, God gave him desires that flowed from His heart!   God did want to build a house for Himself.  The house God desired was not made of wood or stone or overlaid with silver and gold.  The house that the Lord wanted built would have to come from the most precious of materials:  His own Son’s Blood and Body!  David was granted grace to become a part of God’s greater plan to build the ultimate house–a people from every tribe, tongue and nation who would believe on Him!

As you gather today to worship the Lord with others of like precious faith, remember that you are the living stones of that House for the Lord! (1st Peter 2:4-10)  You are a royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to the One who gave His own son as the foundation–God your Father!  Delight yourself in Him today, and He will surely give you the desires of your heart!

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Faith counted as righteousness!

Scripture reading for May 27th: 2nd Samuel 24, 1st Chronicles 21, Romans 4

Romans 4:1-5 “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in Him Who justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, . .””

Paul was explaining the amazing truth of justification by faith to Gentile believers as well as Jews. Here he showed how God used Abraham’s faith to call him ‘righteous’ before the law or circumcision was given. This man Abraham simply believed God’s promise that he would become the father of many nations, even when his wife Sarah had been barren for many years. Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 90 and beyond the years of childbirth, but by faith they conceived and Sarah had a child as God had promised. This child and his offspring would become a nation, Israel, that would be marked by God’s presence in their midst. However, Abraham’s simple faith made him the ‘father’ of all from every nation who will believe and received the gift of righteousness! Amen!

Romans 4:16-17 “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”–in the presence of the God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for giving all who believe in You and Your Son, Jesus Christ, the gift of Your righteousness and the forgiveness of our sins, guilt and shame. I am humbled and grateful to be filled with Your Presence. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and power to declare this “good news” to all people, nations, tribes and tongues that all might enjoy grace and eternal life in Your presence.

2nd Samuel 22:24-25 “But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.”

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Justified by Faith in Jesus Christ!

Scripture reading for May 26th: 2nd Samuel 21-23, Psalm 18, Romans 3

Romans 3:21-26 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Paul taught the Romans about justification through faith. God can declare us righteous because of the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. All who believe on Jesus have received mercy through His shed blood. We receive justification–God declaring us righteous in His sight through the gift of His grace by our faith. Because of God’s divine forbearance through Christ, He has blotted out our sins and remembers them no more. Now by Jesus Christ we can say with King David, “By Him I can run through a troop, by Him, I can leap over a wall!” God’s Word is indeed true! Christ is our shield of refuge and worthy of all praise in that He has saved us from all our enemies and accusers!

Psalm 18:29-30 “For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God–His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true. He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for covering over and removing our sins by the blood of Your Son. Thank You for justifying me and all who call upon You through faith in Jesus Christ. I proclaim Your praise and call upon You to pour out Your grace on the lost as Your Gospel is preached and people are set free from their enemies!

2nd Samuel 22:2-3 “He said, “The Lord is my rock and my deliverer, my God my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge, my Savior; You save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.””

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God is impartial!

Scripture reading for May 25th: 2nd Samuel 18-20, Psalm 34, Romans 2

Romans 2:6-11 “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

Paul explained to the Roman believers that faith must have accompanying works. Those who were patiently doing good works and serving God through their relationship with Jesus Christ would receive eternal life. Those that lived for themselves and lived in rebellion to God’s truth would receive only wrath and the fury of God’s anger at the judgment. The psalmist stated that God sees the righteous and listens for their cries but stands against those who are evil to eliminate them from the earth! God is impartial! But it is not God’s will that any should be cut off or perish. King David’s cry over Absalom, his rebellious son, shares the heart of God in that he would rather have died instead of the son.

Psalm 34: 15-16 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.”

Prayer: Father God, I am thankful that Your eyes are upon the righteous and Your ears listen for our cry! I am thankful that You would rather show mercy and sent Your Son to take the place of rebellious sinners like me. Lord give me Your heart and help me to live reflecting Your impartiality and grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2nd Samuel 18:33 “And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

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