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Daily Devotion for March 1, 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.
Prayer for Renewal in Christ
My Father, if Your mercy had boundaries, where would be my refuge from just wrath? But Your love for me in Christ is without measure. Thus, I present myself to You with sins of commission and omission, against You, my Father, against You, Adorable Redeemer, against You and Your stirrings, O Holy Spirit, against the dictates of my conscience, against the precepts of Your Word, against my neighbours and myself.
Enter not into judgment with me, I pray, for I plead no righteousness of my own, and have no place to hide my iniquity. Pardon my day dark with evil.
This morning I renew my repentance. I vow to love You more fervently, to serve You more sincerely, to be more devoted in my life, to be completely Yours; Yet I soon stumble, backslide, and have to confess my weakness, misery and sin. But I bless You that the finished work of Jesus needs no addition from my doings, that His atonement is sufficient satisfaction for my sins.
If future days be mine, help me to amend my life, to hate and abhor evil, to flee the sins I confess. Make me more resolute, more watchful, more prayerful. Let no evil fruit spring from evil seeds my hands have sown; Let no neighbour be hardened in vanity and folly by my want of watchfulness.
If this day I be ashamed of Christ and His Word, or show unkindness, malice, envy, lack of love, unadvised speech, hasty temper, let it be no stumbling block to others, or dishonour to Your name. O, help me to set an upright example that will ever rebuke vice, appeal to goodness, and evidence that lovely are the ways of Christ.
For Those Who Suffer
God of time and of eternity, in your hands you hold the souls of the righteous, and in your heart there is room for all people; shine forth upon all who are tried in the furnace of suffering and illness, and especially on those for whom I pray today; in your grace and mercy may we know that you watch over us; bring us at the last to abide with you in love; I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.]
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
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.
James 4:7-8 (ESV)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
1 Samuel 13:15-22 (NLT)
The Israelites Unarmed
Samuel then left Gilgal and went on his way, but the rest of the troops went with Saul to meet the army. They went up from Gilgal to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. When Saul counted the men who were still with him, he found only 600 were left!
Saul and Jonathan and the troops with them were staying at Geba in the land of Benjamin. The Philistines set up their camp at Micmash. Three raiding parties soon left the camp of the Philistines. One went north toward Ophrah in the land of Shual, another went west to Beth-horon, and the third moved toward the border above the valley of Zeboim near the wilderness.
There were no blacksmiths in the land of Israel in those days. The Philistines wouldn’t allow them for fear they would make swords and spears for the Hebrews. So whenever the Israelites needed to sharpen their plowshares, picks, axes, or sickles, they had to take them to a Philistine blacksmith. The charges were as follows: a quarter of an ounce of silver for sharpening a plowshare or a pick, and an eighth of an ounce for sharpening an ax or making the point of an ox goad. So on the day of the battle none of the people of Israel had a sword or spear, except for Saul and Jonathan.
Notes on the Scripture
hings keep getting worse for Saul, who must be regretting that he ever agreed to be king. He was already stuck out in the middle of nowhere, facing a Philistine army many times larger than his own, his men hiding in cisterns and caves to avoid the enemy. Now, he is down to six hundred men; the Philistines who are hunting him have perhaps fifty times that many.
And even worse, his little company does not even have weapons; they apparently have farming implements that need to be sharpened, and the Philistines have apparently killed or neutralized all the Jewish blacksmiths. They can’t even get their sickles and mattocks sharpened unless they pay a Philistine blacksmith an exorbitant amount.
On top of all that, Samuel has disavowed Saul and basically cursed his kingship.
The last sentence promises us a battle tomorrow. Is this the end of Saul’s brief reign?
It is impossible not to notice how far Israel has sunk since the days of Joshua. The Hebrews are so thoroughly dominated by the Philistines that they need permission to have blacksmiths — which the Philistines deny them. They cannot sharpen a plow without paying hard cash to a foreigner.
The number of men at arms is pitifully small. Nevertheless, anyone who has read the Book of Judges must remember Gideon and realize that the size of an army might not be determinative of its strength! God might well intend that Saul’s army be small and weak.