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Friday, December 14, 2018

Daily Devotion for April 14, 2018


<i>David and Saul</i> by Philippe Lejeune, contemporary.
David and Saul by Philippe Lejeune, contemporary.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

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.

Amen.

Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins, all riding to glory.



For a Steady Mind While at Prayer

O  Lord, take from me idleness of spirit, which destroys time; and vanity of thought, which hinders Your presence and distracts my attention to prayer. And if, while in prayer, I turn away from You in my thoughts, help me to return to my purpose; so that I might not avert my heart from You, during the few precious moments I dedicate to talking with You.

And grant me this day, dear Lord, that You may never be completely out of my thoughts. Let me carry you as a voice to guide my every step as I slip down the path of this precious day, that I might always remember Your will, and lighten the world around me. Help me to make every moment of my day, every word from my mouth, a prayer, that I might live in Your presence.

Amen.

Praise to the Power of God

How great and how close art Thou in the powerful track of the storm! How mighty Thy right arm in the blinding flash of the lightning! How awesome Thy majesty! The voice of the Lord fills the fields, it speaks in the rustling of the trees. The voice of the Lord is in the thunder and the downpour. The voice of the Lord is heard above the waters. Praise be to Thee in the roar of mountains ablaze. Thou dost shake the earth like a garment; Thou dost pile up to the sky the waves of the sea. Praise be to Thee, bringing low the pride of man. Thou dost bring from his heart a cry of Penitence: Alleluia!

The dark storm clouds of life bring no terror to those in whose hearts Thy fire is burning brightly. Outside is the darkness of the whirlwind, the terror and howling of the storm, but in the heart, in the presence of Christ, there is light and peace, silence: Alleluia!

Amen.

Dedication

I  dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.

Amen.


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

How do we know that God has plans for us, and that they are for our good, even if things seem to be going badly?

Answer: Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”



Ancient stained glass of the Holy Trinity, Hessen, @ 1250 A.D.
Try to guess where and when this stained glass depiction of the Holy Trinity was made before you read on. . . . What looks like a modern African work is actually an ancient stained glass window created in Hessen, Germany, around 1250 A.D.


Blue Latin Cross

1 Samuel 26 (abridged) (NLT)

David Again Spares Saul’s Life

Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. David sent out spies, and understood that Saul had indeed come.

So David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”

David steal Sauls spear

But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got away; and no man saw or knew it or awoke.

Now David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great distance being between them, and called out to the people. Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is that your voice, my son David?”

David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” And he said, “Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand? So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.”

Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.


Notes on the Scripture

The length of 1 Samuel is a drawback to enjoying it fully, in the fast-paced hubbub of modern life; but this very drawback makes an important point in these chapters. God works in His own time, and the period of time in which God works can seem quite long in human terms.

If we look at the past three chapters, we see a very slow progression in David’s growth and ascension to the throne. He has done almost the same thing, at length, three times. He was anointed by Samuel, at God’s direction, way back in Chapter 16. So why doesn’t God just go ahead and make David the king?

I don't know. I could make something up. I could say, “God gives David time to grow morally and intellectually,” or, “God wants the Hebrews to come to David willingly,” but that would be me talking, not the Bible. The Bible does not give us a reason. We must simply read the story and learn.

D

avid does grow in many ways over the course of the book. There are differences, subtle but important, between this episode and the similar episode in 1 Samuel 24. For example, in Chap. 24, David cuts off a piece of Saul’s robe. “And afterward David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe.” (1 Sam. 24:5) In a way, David has violated the king’s person, by taking a knife to his garment. But he has learned. In today’s lesson, he does not repeat his mistake.

And in Chap. 25, God instructs David, by sending the marvelous Abigail to explain to him the consequences of killing Nabal and his men. It would, in a word, make David like the fool Nabal.

So we do see movement, be it ever so slow. Today, David takes Saul’s sword and water jug. We might see these as symbols of a king’s power. The sword might represent military power, and the water, ability to supply survival in nature. Moreover, David displays them to the army. He shows them that God has delivered Saul’s power, in both war and peace, to David.

But through all of this, David does not suffer from the hastiness of modernity. If David has faults, lack of faith is not one of them. He knows God’s will is that he be king, but he does not rush the matter. He has faith that God’s plan will prevail when God deems it time.

This is as important for us to understand as it was for David. The media seem to have no time reference other than today. If something is not “breaking news,” if it is not happening right now, it is not going to appear on the nightly news. Twitter will ignore it. But we do not conform ourselves to Twitter or CBS or the New York Times. (Romans 12:2) We have faith that God will accomplish His plan; and we have faith that the timing of God’s plan is somehow important in a way that we, with our childish attention spans, cannot fathom.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“The Kingdom of God”

Current Memory Verse     Remember the Bible

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Matthew 5:39: I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. . . . [L]ove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.


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Daily Quiz

Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Apr 14, 2018 were:
Norman Daniels (12)
CHARLES CLOWES (11)
Tom Kraft (11)


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