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Daily Devotion for February 20, 2018
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The text of Kim Hill’s song is Psalm 1, which is our first Scripture for today.
Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester (1230 A.D.)
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits thou hast won for me,
For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly
For ever and ever.
Thanks for Grace
O Lord God, I know you demand my complete and perfect submission and obedience; and I have never given it to you, except perhaps in brief moments of prayer. But I know you do not command obedience because you just enjoy telling me what to do. It is because you want to bless me completely, and you cannot bless what you do not have. You claim me only out of love, because you want to bless me with all goodness, with perfect goodness, with all abundance and all happiness, to take away my pain forever. I cannot do this, Lord, but I know that you can, by Your grace.
I pray thus for grace, to make me your own even in my imperfection, through the miracle you gave us in the life and death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I give you all my love and thanks for stooping to remember me, to rescue me, and to make me perfect that I may have your blessing. And it is in His name that I pray,
Walk with me, dear Lord, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may reflect the light of your truth, to inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What verse tells us not to pass judgment on our fellow Christians, regarding disagreements over words?
Psalm 1:1-4 (ESV)
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
1 Samuel 11:12-15; 1 Samuel 12:1-6 (abridged) (ESV)
Saul Confirmed as King
(Saul has just routed the great Ammonite army.) The people then said to Samuel, “Who was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring these men to us and we will put them to death.’’ But Saul said, “No one shall be put to death today, for this day the Lord has rescued Israel.’’
Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there reaffirm the kingship.’’ So all the people went to Gilgal and confirmed Saul as king in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right.’’
“You have not cheated or oppressed us,’’ they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.’’
Samuel said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.’’ “He is witness,’’ they said.
Notes on the Scripture
aul has now been confirmed as king by his military victory, and Samuel, the last of the judges, is able to pass power to him. An era has come to an end. Political scientists would see this as an evolution into a more modern and efficient form of government, the creation of a nation from a coalition of tribes.
Samuel’s odd defensiveness may seem puzzling, or even vain, as if he wants to go on the record about what a good job he has done, but he is actually getting at something else. You may remember that he warned that the selection of a king was not God’s wish for Israel, and he is beginning a final warning to the Israelites about their relationship to God. He starts in today’s lesson by establishing that, unlike the period under Eli and his sons, the Hebrew people now have no cause for grievance against the system of judges. If Israel suffers under the king or kings to come, as Samuel has cautioned, the people cannot hold anyone accountable except themselves.