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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for April 25, 2018

<i>The Sin</i> and <i>Two Paths</i>, triptych by Julio Romero de Torres, ca. 1906.
The Sin and Two Paths, triptych by Julio Romero de Torres, ca. 1906. The symbolism of these three panels is complex and fascinating. The top right is a view, at sunset, of a church (Saint Hipólito in Córdoba) in the foreground and a great Spanish castle in the background.



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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.


Prayer for Obedience

Almighty God, who is the Father of lights and who has promised by your dear Son that all who do your will shall know your doctrine: Give me grace today, so to live that by obedience I may increase in faith and in the understanding of your Holy Word. Through Jesus Christ our Lord,


To Be Led by God’s Gifts

Heavenly Father, for the words of faith shared in devotionals, from the pulpit, in the sanctuary, in prayer, in song, that color my life so rich: I give thanks, and pray that they will enrich my journey of faith, sharing a bit of grace with other earlier saints.

For the sacrifice, the example, the gift of your Son; who came to earth and lived among us, who gave us words to guide us, who infused the law with Spirit and taught us the beauty of change within our hearts; for the loving way Christ showed us, I give thanks, and pray that His words may lead me to live life as your servant, as your disciple, today and forever.



[Clearing my thoughts during prayer.]

For Faith

Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my mind. Give me a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity, so that I may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will.


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.

<i>The Dweller Within</i> by George Frederic Watts, ca. 1883.
The Dweller Within by George Frederic Watts, ca. 1883. Watts was a member of the “Symbolist” school, which seems descriptive of this work.

2 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV)

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Blue Latin Cross

2 Samuel 1:1-16 (NLT)

David Hears that Saul Has Died

After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.

“Where have you come from?” David asked. “I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied.

“What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.” The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

“How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.

The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. When he turned and saw me, he . . . begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’ So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.”

David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.

Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”

And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.” . . . Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”

Notes on the Scripture


he peculiar situation between Saul and David continues even after Saul’s death. David offered to fight with the Philistines against Saul’s army (1 Sam. 29:2). This split among the Hebrews will become the rule, rather than an exceptional circumstance. David’s army is centered on the southern province of Judah, while Saul’s “Israelite” army, which considers itself opposed to both the Philistines and David, is centered on ten tribes in the north.

This inter-tribal war between “Israel” and Judah will cease, only temporarily, during the reigns of David and Solomon. After Solomon, for the rest of Hebrew history, the Kingdom of Judah will be the political entity more loyal to God, the one ruled by David’s heirs, and the one more favored by Him—although they will both end up apostate and conquered. But there is some oddness when we think of the Hebrew nation as “Israel.”

So it comes as no surprise that a warrior who escaped the Israelite camp might ran to David for sanctuary.

But the escapee is not a Philistine; he is an Amalekite, the one tribe against which the Hebrews have a real blood feud. One of Saul’s misdeeds, remember, was failing to kill every living creature in the Amalekite camp, as God commanded (1 Sam. 15). So even in the three-way confusion between Saul’s army, David’s army, and the Philistines, this poor Amalekite has no real friends. In fact, he has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, for David probably hates the Amelkites more than anyone else (1 Sam. 30).

The account of Saul’s death here is somewhat different from 1 Samuel 31, where we are told that Saul “fell on his sword.” Bible-bashers, naturally, want to tout this as an example of the Bible’s self-contradictions, but the accounts are entirely reconcilable. We don’t know whether the Amalekite is lying, or has gotten a detail wrong, or whether Saul impaled himself on his sword but did not die until the Amalekite discovered him.

It seems harsh that David should execute the man, simply because he ended Saul's life — it was no doubt a favor to Saul and certainly done at Saul's request. David is rigid in his stance: it is absolutely forbidden to kill anyone anointed by the Lord. He is, however, at least consistent. Remember, on several occasions David refused to strike down Saul when he had the chance, even though Saul was pursuing David to kill him.

endless knot

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