Day 113 (April 23): Ark on the move, Michal upset at David’s behavior, Ark rests in tent, David’s Song of Praise, Michal punished for attitude

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleImages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s reading:
2 Samuel 6:12
1 Chronicles 15:1-28
2 Samuel 6:12-16
1 Chronicles 15:29
2 Samuel 6:17-19
1 Chronicles 16
2 Samuel 6:19-23
(1000-998 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Chronicles 15:1): Are we seeing David getting egotistical here, building his empire?

A. I would say he is, but he has earned it.  He will realize his mistake and honor God in our subsequent story.

Q. (2 Samuel 6:14): David is praising God with dancing and orchestrating music.  Is this appropriate since God didn’t order this kind of celebrating?

A. I suspect God was greatly pleased with this display.  His people were celebrating victory that He had given them.

Q. (6:16): Why was Michal filled with contempt?  Maybe she is having an emotional struggle with seeing her husband who left her and married others and her feelings for her father?

A. Because David was dancing and celebrating in a way that she deemed not worthy of a king.  She thought he should be too good for such a “vulgar” display.

Q. (16:37): The Ark was so central to the Israelites from Moses’ all through Joshua’s reign.  How or why did the Israelites let it fall from their priority?

A. It was no longer the focus of the story, but it clearly remained a part of the religious ritual of the people.  It was still manned by the priesthood, but it does appear that the writers focused on it less as the people settled into the various parts of the Promised Land.  I’m honestly not sure why that is.

Q. (16:39): I thought the Ark always had a place inside the Tabernacle, but here it sounds as if they have been separated.

A. The old tent was probably discarded, as it probably fell apart after so many years of use — several hundred.  The story mentioned that David created a new tent for its resting place, so that it was properly housed in the way we saw described by Moses.  It will come into play under David’s son Solomon’s plans, so watch for that.

Q. (2 Samuel 6:22-23): David is showing off here, talking about girls noticing him to his wife.  And, Michal is to remain childless.  This could be because she is so disgusted with David that she keeps her distance from him?

A. The implication of the story is that God is not pleased with her rebuke of David, who was worshipping Him with all of his heart, and renders her barren as punishment.

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Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Samuel 7:1-17
— 1 Chronicles 17:1-15
— 2 Samuel 7:18-29
— 1 Chronicles 17:16-27
— 2 Samuel 8:1-14
— 1 Chronicles 18:1-13
— Psalm 60

David Ark Jerusalem The Ark of the Covenant is on the move

Day 112 (April 22): David is Israel’s king, conquers Philistines, takes Jerusalem, builds palace, tries to move Ark, Israel punished for Ark treatment

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org.

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
2 Samuel 5:1-3
1 Chronicles 11:1-3
1 Chronicles 12:23-40
2 Samuel 5:17-25
1 Chronicles 14:8-17
2 Samuel 5:6-10
1 Chronicles 11:4-9
1 Chronicles 3:4b
2 Samuel 5:13
2 Samuel 5:4-5
2 Samuel 5:11-12
1 Chronicles 14:1-2
1 Chronicles 13:1-5
2 Samuel 6:1-11
1 Chronicles 13:6-14
(1003-1000 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 5:3): We have seen “the elders of Israel” many times, but who are they?

A. They would be the leaders of each of the thirteen tribes (including the Levites and two half tribes).  They most likely were the heads of each of the major families, and most likely the most powerful men from each region of Israel.

O. (1 Chronicles 12:38-40): These verses provide a wonderful picture of all of Israel pouring in to Hebron to see David become king.  They brought provisions to share with all their kin.  This must have been the largest family reunion ever — a wonderful sight, especially after all the years of unrest because of the conflict between David and Saul (mostly brought on by Saul).

Q. (2 Samuel 5:21): I see a problem on the rise here.  David and his men confiscated the Philistines idols.  But, in 1 Chronicles 14:12, David gave orders to burn the Philistine gods.

A. It is probably both (they were taken and then later burned).  The Samuel story tells us that the Philistines brought images of their gods into battle in hopes of assuring victory — in the same way we saw Israel lose the Ark in 1 Samuel 4.  The story tells us that when defeated, they left the idols, so part of the process of spoiling the battlefield would be to collect them.  When in doubt, the Chronicler ALWAYS tries to show David in a better light (that’s the nature of Chronicles, written later as a way to memorialize Israel’s great leaders).  So it is unsurprising to me that Samuel would tell us that they collected the idols — without implying they burned them later, though they may have — while Chronicles tells us that David had them destroyed.

Q. (1 Chronicles 11:6): I thought Joab and his family were struck with leprosy as a punishment for killing Abner.  How could he be David’s army commander if he had this disease?

A. He was (Joab is David’s nephew by the way).  Don’t forget that leprosy would have meant a variety of skin diseases, and it was spread over an entire family, and not necessarily lethal.  Joab apparently did not suffer much under this curse, because he will play a huge role in the rest of the story.

Q. (1 Chronicles 3:4b, 2 Samuel 5:13): Why did David move to Jerusalem?

A. Jerusalem was the central point for that area of Israel — it was at a high elevation and very useful strategically.  It was also along the border of Judah, David’s tribe, and Benjamin’s territory, so making that his capital would allow David to smooth over relations with the “rogue” nation.

Q. (2 Samuel 6:6-7, 9-11, 1 Chronicles 13:9-10, 12-14): So, I guess Uzzah was supposed to have power over his natural reflexes of catching something that is falling?  Maybe David and the Israelites were singing and dancing too much, and not showing God reverence?  So, this mishap may have been a reminder to get them in the right frame of mind?  Do I have this right?  And, can you explain verses 9-11?  I find it strange that the Ark would reside in someone’s house.

A. OK, the deal here is that David is cheating by using a cart to move the Ark.  Remember the way it was supposed to be moved: by having the priests carry it on poles?  Uzzah died because of his lack of reverence for the Ark, but mostly because David was being irresponsible in his movement of it.  David will correct this mistake in our next reading.  My notes indicate that the Ark resided at the home of a priest, and “house” is probably a loose term for property.  The Ark was secured on the property of a proper guardian to await God and David’s next move.  The blessing on Obed-Edom’s house is an indication that the anger of God had subsided.

For further study: God’s presence and the Ark, https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/ark-covenant-and-gods-presence-us

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Samuel 6:12a
— 1 Chronicles 15:1-28
— 2 Samuel 6:12b-16
— 1 Chronicles 15:29
— 2 Samuel 6:17-19a
— 1 Chronicles 16
— 2 Samuel 6:19b-23

Abner David Joab map David moves capital from Hebron to Jerusalem

Day 111 (April 21): Ishbosheth accuses Abner, Abner joins David, Joab’s revenge on Abner, David sings at funeral, Ishbosheth murdered, murderers killed

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
2 Samuel 3:6-4:12
(1006-1004 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 3:6-21): I am surprised that Abner is aligning with David after being at Saul’s right hand for so many years.  Being at the helm with Saul, Abner should know everything that went on between Saul and David.  He should know both of their motives.  Maybe he could see that David was the more righteous and Ishbosheth’s accusation of Abner sleeping with one of Saul’s concubines was the last straw?  It’s nice to see Michal back, but it would be nice if she could choose whom she wants to call her husband.  No. 2 obviously cared for her deeply.

A. We can certainly read into the story that tensions between Ishbosheth and Abner rose, and this was a breaking point.  Ishbosheth accusation is a strong one: it would have been a great insult to Saul’s memory for one of his generals/leaders to sleep with one of his wives/concubines.  So it is unsurprising that Abner reacts the way he does.  Regarding Michal, we don’t know much about her situation, but I can tell you the next time she appears on the scene, it will not be a pleasant encounter with David.  Perhaps she really did miss hubby No. 2.

Q. (3:30): So, all is fair in war, but killing someone after the fact is not?  Sounds good to me, but I’m sure that Joab still felt a lot of anger toward Abner for killing his brother.

A. Joab is acting as a family avenger for his brother, which was the reality of the world that the ancient Israelites lived in.  David obviously does not approve of this action, even though Joab is acting in what would have been seen as a proper incidence of the taking of vengeance.  It was a brutal world, and in many places, it still is.

Q. (3:31): David is called king now?

A. David has been king of Judah for some time; we saw reference to it in our reading from yesterday (2 Samuel 2:4).  And though God has declared him king of all Israel, it is clear that the entire nation is not ready to follow him yet, but it won’t take long.

Q. (4:1-3): I don’t know what “paralyzed with fear” means.

A. Oftentimes the writer of these volumes — and ancient societies in general — will use actions of one person — in this case the king — to describe the situation for an entire group of people (Israel).  So basically, the writer is referring to Ishbosheth’s fear and using the image as a representation of the mindset of the entire people.  Ishbosheth is greatly fearful after Abner’s death — don’t forget it was Abner who put him on his throne — and like his father, Ishbosheth appears to be succumbing to fear-based decision making — in this case, making no decisions.  Ishbosheth was so fearful that he could not decide how to act, so in this sense he was “paralyzed” with fear.

Q. (4:5-12): And we think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are bad.  I think David needs to make an order that there will be no more killing out of vengeance.  I’ve read about enough decapitations for a while.

A. Um, don’t hold your breath that the killing will stop.  David’s rule will be peaceful for a while, but will quickly turn bloody, even within his own house.

For further study: The significance of Jerusalem to Christianity, https://www.icej.org/blog/the-significance-of-jerusalem-to-christians/

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Samuel 5:1-3
— 1 Chronicles 11:1-3
— 1 Chronicles 12:23-40
— 2 Samuel 5:17-25
— 1 Chronicles 14:8-17
— 2 Samuel 5:6-10
— 1 Chronicles 11:4-9
— 1 Chronicles 3:4b
— 2 Samuel 5:13
— 2 Samuel 5:4-5
— 2 Samuel 5:11-12
— 1 Chronicles 14:1-2
— 1 Chronicles 13:1-5
— 2 Samuel 6:1-11
— 1 Chronicles 13:6-14

David's kingdom David anointed king of Judah

Day 110 (April 20): Judah anoints David, Saul’s son declared king, Israel v. Judah, Abner kills Asahel, David’s sons, David’s descendants, David’s warriors heralded

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s reading
2 Samuel 2-3:5
1 Chronicles 3:1-4a
2 Samuel 23:8-17
1 Chronicles 11:10-19
2 Samuel 23:18-39
1 Chronicles 11:20-47
(1010-1003, 970 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 2:31): It seems that the tribe of Benjamin keeps taking a beating.  They were the ones that went to war with the rest of Israel in a reading a week or two ago, right?  Is Benjamin cursed?

A. Yes, they were involved in the war against the other tribes (Judges 20, Day 96).  I would not say they were cursed, but rather they are making bad choices.  They sided against the other tribes in the previous story, and they have sided with Saul’s side (the losing side) in this current battle.  The reason in this case is obvious: Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, and it is unsurprising that his tribe would “lead” the fighting on behalf of Saul’s son, who in their eyes is the rightful heir to the throne.  Don’t worry too much about Benjamin, they will be on the right side of the conflict that will really have a lasting impact.  You’ll see.

O. (3:2-5): David has added to his wives collection.

Q. (23:8) What was the significance of the Three?

A. I wouldn’t read anything more into it then the story presents: David had an “inner circle” of warriors, his very best men.  These men had such impressive records of war, that they actually warrant mentioning THEIR exploits in the midst of David’s story.  The writer is giving some love to normally unsung heroes.  David will be in some hairy situations — some of which he causes — in the next few chapters, and these men will go a long way toward bailing him out.

O. (23:15-17): How awesome that although David was thirsty and longed for water, he gave it to the Lord.

For further study: Sacrificing your desires for the good of others gives glory to God.  There are many verses in the Bible about sacrificial giving, https://www.pureflix.com/insider/10-bible-verses-about-sacrifice-and-jesus-love

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading: 2 Samuel 3:6-4:12

Saul Jonathan die Just as Samuel said, the Philistines defeated the Israelites the next day. Many Israelites were killed and the rest fled. The enemy captured Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, and killed them.

Day 109 (April 19): David takes revenge on Amalekites, Saul and sons die, David wrote a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 30
1 Chronicles 12:20-22
1 Samuel 31
1 Chronicles 10
1 Chronicles 9:40-44
2 Samuel 4:4
2 Samuel 1
(1010-1002 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 30:1,7): I am surprised that David and his men had left their town without protection.  The area is full of war, volatility and uncertainty.  Why would they leave their town unprotected?  I do understand that David had to leave or Saul would have captured him.

A.  Most likely because the king David was “working for” compelled him to take all of his men into battle.  I’m not saying it was a wise decision, just most likely the reason.

Q. (30:7) What ephod are we talking about here?  Is it the one way back from Moses’ days?

A. Yep.  That’s the one.  It is actually part of the reason Saul couldn’t consult God, because after he killed the priests, the one remaining priest escaped with the ephod.  Just one more way that God favored David over Saul in the midst of this story.

Q. (30:21-25): Giving handouts to those who don’t bother working is always something I have had trouble with.  I don’t believe in the welfare program because of the stories like comedian Adam Carolla tells where his mom didn’t get a job so she could keep getting food stamps.  I do believe in helping those in need, but not sure if that should be a government function or just a service of churches and charities.  In this story, 200 men were fatigued.  We don’t know if that means they really were or just whining.  Regardless, what does the Bible say about giving to everyone, including those who live off the “system”?  Here, I do see that David recognized the victory and wanted to give the glory to God.  By following the suggestions of the sour-grape soldiers, he would have put a blemish on the celebration, and thus disrespected God.

A. We’re blurring some lines when we consider government assistance in a modern sense to making provision for soldiers who lived thousands of years ago.  I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from this story and our modern welfare system.  In fact, one of the problems we run into as Christians is when we attempt to pigeonhole biblical concepts in a modern setting.  It just doesn’t work, and makes us look petty or foolish.  Be careful about that!  Now having said that, there’s two things I think the Bible has to say about laziness (we will see this described in Proverbs).  First, DON’T BE LAZY!  Second, be generous to all who have need — and don’t make consideration of motive, like someone mooching off of you.  When those two things are put together, you have yourself and your neighbor pretty much taken care of.

O. (1 Chronicles 12:20-22): This David-and-Saul story is a quite unusual.  Here you have Israel, God’s chosen people, led by King Saul, who was anointed but fell from God’s grace, yet still rules over his people.  Then, you have David, also anointed and in God’s favor, who now leads soldiers, referred to in verse 22 as “the army of God.”

Q. (1 Samuel 31:6): So, David promised to not kill Saul’s family (1 Samuel 24:21-22), a promise that he easily kept as we see here.  However, I am sad that Jonathan was killed.

A. Saul’s poor decisions got his heir (Jonathan) killed and his family line cut off.  It is tragic all around.

Q. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14): These two verses say that Saul disobeyed God by consulting a medium.  1 Samuel 28:6 says that Saul did ask God, but because he didn’t answer, Saul consulted a medium.

A. That’s not so hard to reconcile: rather than seeking to, for example, make peace with David and get the ephod back so that he could seek God’s will via the priest, or continue asking God for direction — just because God didn’t answer for a period of time doesn’t mean God would NEVER answer him again — Saul takes the easy and forbidden road of seeking a medium.  That would be my guess on how to reconcile these two versions.

Q. (2 Samuel 1:1-16): Rob, you’ve got this one. I’m not sure who’s right and who’s wrong here.  David has feared Saul, but also loves and respects him.  This dichotomy is hard to accept.  David seems to empathize with Saul and honors him with full respect.

A. I don’t think that David ever lost respect for Saul, and he greatly mourned his passing, especially since, though corrupt, he was God’s anointed king of Israel (as David alludes to).  David desired to make peace, but he would have been a fool to trust Saul very far.  I think a lot of the problems the two of them had were because of the evil spirit that tormented Saul: it appears that the king was never the same after this spirit began to torment him.

Q. (2 Sam 1:19-27): This song sounds like David is putting shame on the Israelites.

A. It certainly does.  David will begin working on turning that shame around in our next reading.

For further study: As Jonathan showed us, life is full of tough decisions, https://www.learnreligions.com/jonathan-in-the-bible-701186

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Samuel 2-3:5
— 1 Chronicles 3:1-4a
— 2 Samuel 23:8-17
— 1 Chronicles 11:10-19
— 2 Samuel 23:18-39
— 1 Chronicles 11:20-47

David Saul drama Samuel the prophet

Day 108 (April 18): David spares Saul again, Philistine refuge, two tribes join David, Saul talks to Samuel … who is dead, Philistines reject David

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 26:1-27:7
1 Chronicles 12:1-7
1 Samuel 27:8-29:11
1 Chronicles 12:19
Psalm 56
(1011-1002 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 26:1-25): Why is Saul after David when they’ve been through this cat-and-mouse chase and after David won, they made peace where Saul acknowledged David’s grace and David agreed to not harm Saul’s family.  Although, I didn’t mention it in yesterday’s reading, when I looked back, a verse stuck out.  1 Samuel 24:22 says that Saul went home, but David stayed in the wilderness.  If the fighting was truly over, why would David stay hidden?

A. Because he still didn’t trust Saul is the only reason I can give you.  It appears his instinct not to trust Saul was proven correct.

Q. (26:16): David keeps referring to Saul as “the Lord’s anointed” almost in jest.  So, does everyone know that David is anointed or is it to be revealed to all at a later time?

A. God has made David His king, but he will not become Israel’s king until Saul is dead.  It appears that God’s selection of David was not a secret at this point, so perhaps Samuel talked about it before he died.

Q. (27:8-12): Do I have this right that David and his soldiers and their families were living among the Philistines?  David would go on raids of whom and why?  David was aligning with King Achish, a Philistine.  I don’t get this.

A. He did so to move out of Saul’s territory, since this appears to be the only place where Saul would not pursue him — probably because he did not have the military strength.  That is probably your answer as to why he allied himself with the Philistines: because they were the only nation strong enough to protect David.  It seems to fit under the rule of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Q. (28:8-19): We haven’t seen anyone talk to anyone in heaven besides God.  I always thought that mediums, fortune tellers, witches, whatever they are called were a farce.  Apparently not?  Again, this is the OT.  Are these people just present in the OT times or are they really here now?  This reminds me of my questions when the Egyptian “magicians” replicated the staff-to-snake trick of Aaron and Moses (Exodus 7:8-13).  I have never believed that magic or possessions exist today.  Maybe they do?  But, in the staff-to-snake miracle, could God have made the magicians able to do this trick just so he could finish it off with his snake eating their snakes?  I was shocked to read Samuel talking again!

A. First, let’s clear something up: it does not appear that Samuel is in “heaven” in the sense that we would understand it.  Samuel is in the realm of the dead, Sheol, which is NEITHER heaven nor hell.  Much of the OT refers to it as a place of rest for the dead (akin to the Greek concept of Hades), while awaiting judgment at a future date — we will see this referred to as the Day of the Lord in future volumes, so watch for that term.  This is why Samuel tells Saul that he will be “with me” in 28:19.  Samuel is certainly NOT telling Saul that he is going to heaven when he dies “tomorrow.”  So, to get a clear picture of what is going on, you’ve got to remove the simple notion of heaven and hell: eternal judgment in the Bible is not cut and dry at this point in the story (though it will be later!)

In addition to your questions about Egyptian magic, back on Day 76 (when reading Deuteronomy 18), we discussed the issue of communication with the dead, and I mentioned then this story as a forthcoming example, so here’s your pay off.  The implication of the story, to me, is that in this era — I couldn’t tell you whether or not you can still do so today — it was possible for certain people to communicate with the dead.  They did so using what we would call occult practices today — and they surely still exist. We usually call them Wicca or similar names today.  The issue here is not whether or not one can communicate with the dead.  This story surely tells us that we COULD, if not can, but rather that God strictly forbids such an act.  The reason: consulting the dead, called necromancy, always involves an attempt to learn about or control the future, as Saul is doing here.  When we do that, we are no longer trusting God to provide for our future.  Now in Saul’s case you can understand his desperation: his prophet is dead, the priesthood has allied itself with David, or been killed by Saul himself, and he appears to have no way to communicate with God.  He has painted himself into this corner, but we can certainly sympathize with his plight.  It’s going to get bad for Saul and his family.

Q. (29:6): So, Achish acknowledges the Lord here.  Are the Philistines just fickle and go back and forth between following the true Lord and idols?  Or, was he just simply acknowledging the Lord’s power, even though the Lord is not his God?  Another question this brings up is swearing.  We may have talked about it before, but it’s worth exploring again.  We have read about many of God’s followers — most recently, Jonathan and David and Abigail — swear by God.  One of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:7 says, “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”  I certainly don’t think any of the three I mentioned are misusing God’s name.  But, I thought it was a great time to bring the subject up.  I have the feeling that whenever I mention the Lord, I have to make sure he would approve of it.  I don’t say He said something He didn’t, nor do I use his name casually in blame or whatever.  It jabs me when I hear someone say, “God this” or “Jesus that” or “Oh my God,” especially Christians.  As I pull the knife out of me, I would like to call the person on it, but never do.  What do you say about this, Rob?  I found a great paper on this subject.  See if you think it’s worth mentioning. http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2007/06/what-does-it-really-mean-to-take-the-lords-name-in-vein/

A. Okay, you went a bit stream of consciousness on me, but let’s see if we can untangle this.  I think the Philistines recognized David’s God, but they would not have acknowledged Him as the God of the whole world, merely Israel.  In this era, it was common thinking that the gods had what we might call territories: so the Philistine god watched over his kingdom, the God of Israel watched over Israel, etc.  They would have seen the battles between human kings and soldiers as acting out struggles between the various gods.  If your army won, it was because your nation’s god was more powerful than your enemies.  The Israelites speak of a radical departure for this: only their God exists, and He rules the whole world.  This concept would surely have been lost on the Philistine king, and he likely was speaking of the Lord out of his own understanding of gods.

I agree with you that David and the others are not misusing God’s name in the stories you mentioned, and it does come down to casual use of God’s name when His name ALWAYS deserves to be revered.  I read on someone’s blog where the writer warned that real danger of violating this commandment is not lightning, i.e. being struck dead, but lightening.  When we misuse a name — any name — we cause that name to lose significance: we take it lightly.  That might be okay with people, but if we begin to take God lightly — and surely we do that in our society today! — the entire fabric of our relationship with God begins to fall apart.  In the end, that only costs us — God does not need us, but we NEED Him.  Much that takes place in our world today — the glorification of sin, the loss of morality, etc. — can be traced to the fact that, ultimately, we take God lightly.  What better example can there be then in how we show a lack of reverence for the name of God!  It can be tricky to get people to see this point of view, but I think with people that we have relationship with; it would be a worthwhile endeavor.  Respect for God is surely worth our time.

O. (Psalm 56) This Psalm reminds me of when Jesus feels the doom of his enemies creeping up on Him.  David says God is protecting him.  He is his shield.  Yet, in verse 11, he says “I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?”  I know the feeling.  I know God is real — I have always felt it, but after seeing how undeniably true the Bible is — I have real proof of God’s existence.  Yet, there is always the doubt that if I ask God for something, I won’t get it … that it’s just an empty wish.  I’m working on it.  David admitting his fear and doubts helps me personalize this story.  Verses 12-13 give David’s reason for his faith.  This feels like when David ever has his fear, he can refer to this verse to bolster his faith.

For further study: Samuel’s place in God’s plan, https://www.pray.com/articles/who-was-samuel-in-the-bible

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Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 30
— 1 Chronicles 12:20-22
— 1 Samuel 31
— 1 Chronicles 10
— 1 Chronicles 9:40-44
— 2 Samuel 4:4
— 2 Samuel 1

David v. Saul Instead of killing Saul, David cut off the edge of his robe without his noticing it. ‘The Lord forbid that I lay my hands on the King He has anointed,’ he told his men. And he stopped them attempting to kill Saul.

Day 107 (April 17): Saul hunts for David, David praises God, David spares Saul, Samuel dies, Nabal’s stubborness, Abigail intercedes, David marries Abigail

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 23:13-29
Psalm 54
1 Samuel 24-25
(1011 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 23:16): We can obviously see that Jonathan and David had a super-close relationship and that it’s base was a love of God.  It’s so nice to have close friends encourage one another to stay strong in their faith.  If there is faith, there is love and that love is binding.  Since I have become a stronger Christian, it is definitely easier to talk about God, especially with those who know me.  But, I have to admit, that if someone I don’t know at all or a little talks to me about my faith or encourages me, I can be offended.  I feel like they are saying that my faith isn’t strong, when they don’t even know me.  But now, maybe that I’m wearing my faith more, they will notice and I won’t get those questions.  So, here’s the question.  We all want to proclaim God and tell others, but when is it the right time?  Do we wait for the Spirit?  There are many times when I want to bring up my love for God/Jesus/Spirit, but I feel that if I do, I would turn that person away from me and thus, lose the opportunity to eventually bring up God.  So, do we wait for the Spirit to show us the right time, or open our mouths as soon as our brain says we want to share or proclaim?

A. 1 Peter 3:15 talks about being “ready” to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ.  That, I think, is a good summary of what is expected of us.  When asked, we must be willing to boldly defend the faith that we have.  But to me, that is as far as the ABSOLUTE requirement goes.  Stay with me: I’m not saying that we are not commanded to share the Gospel — we are! — but rather what I’m saying is that beyond our requirement to answer those who would question our faith, we are NOT required to share the Gospel 24/7.  We can discern, with the Spirit’s help, when is a good time to share, and when to keep silent.  Ideally for me, I like for the other person to broach the subject — and yes, I realize that life is not always ideal — and bring up the conversation.  That, in my mind, goes a long way toward preventing us being a burden on others, especially if they do not react well to our message.  No one wants to be that person who drives people further away from the Gospel (even the ones who actually DO drive people away think they are bringing people to Christ).  I wouldn’t make sharing your faith the first part of every conversation with a stranger — you’ll surely turn some people off that way — but I would also say that if you are presented a good opportunity, it is your responsibly to God to be His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Being in relationship with non-Christians will go a long way toward affording you opportunities to share your message, and believe me, if you take the Gospel seriously, you will get some funny looks and be asked by others.  Besides all of this, Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount that our good deeds are to be done for the glory of God, that others will see this and realize the truth about God as well (Matthew 5:16).

So to sum up: get to know people before you share, if you can; wait for them to ask you; be discerning about when is a good time to share; be sure you are doing good works (and you are crediting God for inspiring them), and be willing to answer challenges that are put to you.  I hope that’s helpful.

Q. (24:3): I take it that “relieve himself” means sleep and not needing to urinate?  As I recall, Saul falls asleep, and that’s how David cuts his robe.

A. Nope.  The Hebrew translates as “cover his feet” (which is actually what the say in the King James), but it’s a euphemism for using the bathroom (the same phrase is used in Judges 3:24 if you’re interested, and I know you are…).  I’m going to just stop there.

Q. (24:16-21): Saul does a nice 180° turn of attitude.  Any comments, Rob?

A. Sure.  Saul is given a moment of humanity here, and he becomes aware of how faithful David has been to him, even in the midst of Saul’s attempts to kill him.  It is obviously a very emotional scene.  Pay close attention to that request in verse 21, it will be very important to the subsequent story of David’s rule, and it leads to one of my favorite stories in all of Scripture.

Q. (25:1b-22): Isn’t David using God here?  I didn’t read that God commanded him to approach Nabal.  Obviously, David and his men are very hungry.

A. I wouldn’t say David is using God; he is trying to gain provisions for his men, but reacts quite poorly to Nabal’s rebuke.  I actually think that lack of reference to God in this story is quite telling.  Unlike the last chapter, he certainly did not consult with God before moving to slaughter Nabal and his family.  Good thing Abigail smooths things over.

O. (25:23-38): This is a WOW story for me.  There are so many interesting things here.

No. 1 is how God tactfully uses women in a man’s world to do His work.  We see here the differences in men’s and women’s temperament.  When David is rejected, his response is vengeance.  The wife, Abigail, knows that men can be foolish, especially her husband, and make rash decisions without thinking of the consequences (I’m not knocking men, more underscoring women’s intuition).  She thinks of an alternate, peaceful plan to this hostility.  In my experience, a woman’s instinct, sixth sense, empathy — whatever you want to call it — is super strong.  But, in the same frame, women can overthink and never act.  Thus, comes a man.  They make a great pair … if they work together.

No. 2: What a difference one person can make.  Here, Abigail made a huge save.  But also, the servant who told Abigail of the fiasco was a hero.  If he didn’t have the courage to counter the king, he and all of his friends would be dead.

No. 3.  I love how Nabal’s name means “fool.”  Who would name their kid that?

No. 4. Abigail says that David’s “enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling!”  And, ta-da, Nabal was paralyzed like a stone and died.

This is my favorite story thus far.

Q. (25:39-44): Yeah!  We have a love story.  What a great ending.  But, then, David has left behind his first wife, Saul’s daughter Michal, and lost her to someone else.  I guess this is just something that goes with the territory of being on the run.  And, I would guess that it would be awkward to be married to a daughter of someone who wanted to kill you, even if they vowed not to be a threat any longer.  But, why does David marry again?  God has established that a marriage should be between one man and one woman.  And, David is the anointed one.  I do believe that we will learn that David has a weakness for women.  This was the flaw that ruined Samson.  As a woman, I don’t understand this strong desire and wild instinct men have toward women.  I do understand that for those who strive to be righteous, that lusting after women is a huge struggle.  Do you believe that this is a way God tests the strength of a man’s will?

A. David certainly does have a way with the ladies, doesn’t he?  Just kidding.  Okay, so here’s the deal, even though God created man and woman to be in relationship together — one at a time in other words — the reality of this society at this time did not live up to God’s standard, and this includes David.  Marriage, at this point, was not selected out of love, but rather political expediency: Saul gave Michal to David in marriage to unite the families and gain David’s political alliance.  Society, especially royalty, continued to operate in this way until the middle of the last century.  Women were, and frankly, used by men to create political alliances, strengthen old ones, etc.  So we must be very careful about applying 21st Century cultural norms — whatever those are these days — to an ancient passage.  David saw a valuable resource in Abigail, so while he may have been attracted to her, at least part of the reason he married her was to benefit himself.  Abigail didn’t exactly lose out on the bargain either — she was very unlikely to have good protection without her foolish husband, so she definitely moved up in the world as well.

David will take several other wives — we will even see Michal again — so don’t let that be a surprise to you.  I’m not going to excuse their actions, especially since God is clear that this “big love” idea is not His desire.  Regardless of God’s ideal, and even the warnings He issues about having multiple wives (Deuteronomy 17:17 SPECIFICALLY says for kings not to!), David and Solomon will not listen to this order.  And please note that the law is there for a reason: we will see how polygamy will be extremely costly in both the lives and rules of David and Solomon, David’s son and successor.  This sin — that is what it is — will truly haunt both of these men.  In David’s case, the children of these wives, and the wives themselves, will become petty and jealous of each other.  It will lead to terrible consequences: rape and incest, murder, and the rebellion of one of David’s sons.  It sounds like a soap opera to me, something to watch for in 2 Samuel.  In Solomon’s case, his many (many many many…) wives will undercut his walk with God, and bring about not only his downfall, but the downfall of the united nation.  So don’t make the mistake of thinking that God is just going to “allow” these men to do whatever they want when it comes to wives.  There will be a severe penalty for each of them.  Polygamy is not God’s ideal for a reason.  It has dire consequences for both genders, and ultimately leads people away from God, not closer to Him.

Tomorrow, the David and Saul story continues.

For further interest: The roots of coronating kings are in this Old Testament account of Samuel, Saul and David. https://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/oxford-people/George-Garnett

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 26-27:7
— 1 Chronicles 12:1-7
— 1 Samuel 27:8-29:11
— 1 Chronicles 12:19
— Psalm 56

God instructs Davd to save the people of Keilah from the Philistines.

Day 106 (April 16): David hides in cave, pleads to God for protection, Gad joins David, Saul orders priests killed, David loyal to God, David protects Keilah

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 22:1-2
Psalm 57
Psalm 142
1 Chronicles 12:8-18
1 Samuel 22:3-23
Psalm 52
1 Samuel 23:1-12
(1012-1002 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 57:1-11): David is crying out for protection from the evil that lurks around him.  I like the chronological Bible in that it puts each of the Psalms with the story that it’s talking about.  Why don’t most versions of the Bible group them together?

A. Because of the way that the different books are classified if you will in the OT.  The Psalms were compiled into one volume (150 in all) and commemorate various important points in the life of its writers (some are from David, but others from other sources as we will see as they come up).  Since 1 Samuel is a history volume, and Psalms is a poetic volume (in Jewish literature, Psalms is classified as a “writing”), they are not found together.  They were written to serve different purposes.  Psalms has its own ebbs and flows as the reader moves through the various poems, which surely was the intent of the editor/editors that compiled them.  The Psalms were put together in a way that would only be recognized if you read them straight through (there are five volumes or “books” of the poems within the book of Psalms itself).  So there are pros and cons to reading the Psalms in this way: we gain an emotional connection to the story, but we also miss out on being able to see the way that the creator of the book, not the individual writers, desired to move his audience through the various emotions and highs and lows of the nation’s walk with God.

Q. (1 Samuel 22:3-4): I guess Israel and Moab are on good terms now?

A. Not necessarily.  Don’t forget that David, and therefore his father, are related to the Moabite Ruth.  The king might be allowing David’s family to stay only because of their family connection.  It may have nothing to do with how the king feels about Saul and Israel at the moment.

Q. (22:16-19): So, the priesthood can be a dangerous choice of careers.  I am surprised that God didn’t provide some protection for the priests.  Is this a coincidence that Saul asked an Edomite to kill the priests and he did it?  Rob, you told us at the reunion of Jacob and Esau and then the parting that their descendants would be enemies.

A. This is certainly an example of the animosity between Israel and Edom, and this will be an event that David remembers.  We don’t really have any information on why God chose not to spare His priests.  But no doubt that those who died in faithful service to Him were surely welcomed into His Kingdom.  This certainly seems unjust, but don’t forget that life is not always just on this side of death.  God never promises to prevent all hardship — quite the opposite, John 16:33 — but rather that we can trust in Him to make things right in the end.  This is a big reason that belief in an afterlife is such a huge part of the writings of Scripture: without an afterlife, there is too often injustice.

Q. (23:10-12): So God’s protection of David in this story isn’t a miraculous one, but instead, is just foresight of what Saul and the people of Keilah will do.  And thus, David and his men will leave, as we see in the next day’s reading?

A. Yep.  Don’t forget that it specifically says that David sought the Lord on the matter, and God was free to respond how He pleased.  In this case, we will see that God will continue to delay a battle between Saul and David, for reasons that, I promise, are coming.

Video: See the cave where David hid from Saul! https://www.google.com/search?q=hiding+in+caves+bible&oq=caves+in+Bible&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqCAgBEAAYFhgeMgcIABAAGIAEMggIARAAGBYYHjIICAIQABgWGB4yDQgDEAAYhgMYgAQYigUyDQgEEAAYhgMYgAQYigUyDQgFEAAYhgMYgAQYigUyDQgGEAAYhgMYgAQYigUyDQgHEAAYhgMYgAQYigXSAQkxOTE1MWowajeoAgCwAgA&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:20875975,vid:OYQ-AeHCdgQ,st:0 

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 23:13-29
— Psalm 54
— 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44

 

David and King Saul's son, Jonathan, are best friends. Jonathan helps protect David from being killed by his father.

Day 105 (April 15): Jonathan helps David escape, David seeks shelter with Ahimelech in Nob, David’s psalm boasts of God

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 20-21
Psalm 34
(1013-1012 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 20:3): God was with David when he faced Goliath.  He showed no fear.  But, now, in the face of Saul, he is scared and wants to run.  Why is he not confident like he was with Goliath?

A. David did not fear Goliath because he knew that God was displeased by Goliath’s blaspheming, and desired a brave warrior to conquer in His name.  My suspicion is that God told David to run from Saul in this case because the time was not right for David to challenge the king.  He will get his chance.

Q. (20:5-23) This whole scheme on both parts, Saul’s and David’s, sounds deceptive.  Is David’s deception of Saul OK in God’s eyes: he’s breaking the “Do not lie” Commandment.  At first, it seems that David and Jonathan are leaving God out of their plan.  In verses 11-17, Jonathan refers to God several times, but it sounds like he’s assuming he can command God.

A. David is asking Jonathan to lie to his father, and there certainly could have been a way for Jonathan to find out his father’s motives without lying to him.  I’m not going to try and defend the action itself.  But I think that these men were concerned that Saul was getting a little crazy regarding David, and so perhaps they were really convinced that deceiving the king was the best course of action to prevent David’s murder or repercussions to Jonathan.  I don’t think that David is trying to control God, but rather that he is trusting God to tell him when to “move” if you will.  In this case, God appeared to be telling him that it would be best to get out of town for a while.

O. (20:26): This verse tells us that anyone, including someone with the respect of David, can become unclean.  It was nothing uncommon.  When I read the verses about the Israelites traveling with the Tabernacle and all of the rules that went with it, I would think that it would be unfair for someone, for no fault of their own, to be prohibited from taking part in a sacrifice because he or she was ceremonially unclean.  We don’t need to rehash all of that again.  Rob told us that it was a way of respect for God and a way to keep germs at bay, maintaining a healthier camp.

O. (20:30-31): And there’s the king’s answer to David’s question if Saul wants to kill David.

Q. (20:41,42): Is there anything wrong here with David bowing to Jonathan.  This friendship is truly deep.  Maybe too deep, where it takes the place of God?  Verse 42 shows their shared reverence for God.

A. David and Jonathan both appear to have good relationships with God, and it appears there was nothing to fear about their relationship replacing their walk with God.  David is bowing to show his thanks to Jonathan for saving his life and out of respect for him as the prince of the nation.

Q. (21:1-15): I have questions here, but I think they may be answered in subsequent verses.  I would think that the Bread of Presence would not be up for grabs.  I take it was for David to eat?  He obviously wanted a weapon to protect himself.  But, why did he seek King Achish?

A. The bread was for David and his men.  Technically, the bread was not “up for grabs” because the men were not priests, but as the story points out, they didn’t have any other food, so the bread was God’s provision for them.  This story will actually come up again, in the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 12), and Jesus will discuss the ethics of the situation.

We don’t know exactly why David went to Achish specifically, since it appears he was a Philistine king.  It may have been the closest kingdom in proximity to Israel, so it may have been as simple as a distance consideration.  He actually won’t stay there long, and you might recognize were he goes next.

Q. (Psalm 34:7,9): Can you explain having “the fear” of God?

A. Sure.  I would say that the “fear of God” in this context is a proper understanding of the relationship between God and ourselves.  God loves us and cares for our needs, but we must never forget that God is set apart from us, and we must be respectful of Him.

If we would (crudely) compare God to a loving but firm parent, we can get just a glimpse of the concept.  A parent who truly loves a child does not only provide for the needs of the child, but also must dole out discipline when needed, as we have seen God do to this point in the story … and that will continue.  You don’t want your child to live in paralyzing fear of you — that is ultimately unhelpful and will push the child away.  But, you SHOULD desire that your child know who is in charge (you), and in that regard, a reasonable level of respect/fear is important for a good parent-child relationship.  That, I think is at the heart of what God desires us to understand about fearing Him.  If we do not show proper reverence/fear for God, we are more likely to make poor and sinful decisions, such as the ones Saul is making and many others will follow.  But by starting our walk with God in right relationship with Him, He will guide us in right relationship.  Watch for more verses, especially in the Psalms, that continue the thinking on this concept of fearing God.

Q. (Psalm 34:12,13): Since I have become more aware of being judgmental, it has really helped me.  Judging is to be left up to God.  But, so many times it’s hard not to judge.  For instance, I have worked with young children in a school.  We see some of them who are tired or don’t get enough food packed in their lunch among other things.  And, it’s very easy to make judgments of the parents based on the children’s condition.  If we do finally mention something to the parents about their child’s lunch, we either find out the reasons why and are enlightened, the parents are appreciative and make the appropriate changes, or we look like a fool for assuming we know more than they do.  So, when should we make judgments and act on them and when should we leave them to God?

A. I would say one of the hardest things to do in life is discern when to act and when to leave it to God, so there’s not going to be a cut and dry answer to this question.  Sorry!  I would say that generally you should lean in to God and ask for His guidance on when the time is to speak, or to keep silent (Ecclesiastes 3:7).  If you lean in to God and trust His Spirit to guide you, I believe that you will be able to make more informed decisions about judgment verses waiting on God.  That doesn’t mean you’ll never confuse the two, but if you are trusting God with the results, you will generally find that He is able to bring good out of situations even if you mess things up.

Q. (Psalm 34:19-22): I am still confused about God being sorrowful for choosing Saul as a king (1 Samuel 15:35).  Saul pleads for forgiveness, so why didn’t God give him another chance?  Here in Psalms, it says that God will redeem those who serve Him.  Maybe God knew Saul’s heart?  I can think that maybe Saul is being used as an example of what happens to people when they disobey the Lord’s commands.

A. Part of what the writer is doing here with Saul’s story is setting up the inevitable comparisons with David, the king who will follow him.  The writer clearly desires to make David look good, and part of the way he does so is by showing the comparisons with Saul.  Regarding Saul’s seeking forgiveness from God: I think part of the problem is that Saul is very reluctant to take responsibly for his own failings.  In the stories, we read such as the failure to completely destroy the Amalekites’ livestock, Saul takes almost no responsibility for his personal stake as the leader: he attempts to blame his soldiers and also make excuses for the reason God’s specific commands were not carried out.

To me, Saul got several chances to redeem his rule, and the story certainly does not tell us that Saul was completely unsuccessful as king.  He had his moments, but ultimately, he falls short because of his fear, disobedience, and excuses.  The king that God desired was to be an EXAMPLE to the entire nation of a right relationship with God, and Saul did not even come close on this scale.  Even if God had granted Saul forgiveness and gave him more chances, he was still not being a good leader for his people.  That, I think, is ultimately the reason that God rejected him.  He did not have the heart of the king God desired.

For further study: A collection of Bible verses about friendship, https://www.jesusfilm.org/blog/friendship-bible-verses/ 

Shop: Jesus is the best friend anyone could EVER have! https://livinlight.org/product/my-kings-crown-t-shirt/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 22:1-2
— Psalm 57
— Psalm 142
— 1 Chronicles 12:8-18
— 1 Samuel 22:3-23
— Psalm 52
— 1 Samuel 23:1-12

David kills Goliath David, the shepherd kills Goliath the Philistine with a slingshot and stone

Day 104 (April 14): David proclaims God, David kills Goliath, marries Saul’s daughter, Saul jealous of David, tries to kill him, wife protects him, trusts God

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 17:32-58
1 Samuel 18:17-19:17
Psalm 59
1 Samuel 19:18-24
(1024, 1015, 1013, 1014 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 17:45): I find it so hard to let go of control like David and give it all over to God.  We are surely trying to raise our children like this, but letting God guide me — and most Christians, I would think — was not something I was taught growing up.  I was raised in the church and definitely taught the major Bible stories.  But, I don’t recall talking about asking for God’s guidance in everything I did.  Now, I am doing that more and more, but I feel like I am a long way off from giving up control of my life to God.  Reading the Bible has definitely shown me that I need Him in all realms of life and my life will be more fulfilling if I let Him in.  Rob, any tips on letting God take control of my (and others) life, as David did?

A. Well, I would say you’re off to a good start.  One of the best ways to give control over to God is to KNOW what the Bible teaches about Him and His will.  This can only come by reading the scriptures.  Once you have become more immersed into the will and desires that God has for your life and the lives of those around you — especially your children — you will find it easier to follow these desires, or at least be aware when you are making a mistake.  Giving more of yourself over to God is one of the roles that the Holy Spirit plays in your life, if that makes sense: He is the one who convicts the hearts of believers to do the will of God the Father and follow Him more closely.  Being focused on the words of God in reading and prayer, or even prayerful reading, is a great way to give control over to God.

One other note might be worth mentioning here: many Christians seem willing to put their faith in God and trust Him with their eternal destiny, but somehow think He is wrong when He attempts to instruct us on how to live RIGHT NOW.  I think that’s a pretty foolish notion if you think about it.  Part of our proclamation as Christians is not just that Jesus/God is our savior, but also that He is our LORD.  If we are unwilling to listen to what God desires to teach us as our sovereign Lord, we have little chance of giving God more control over our life.  Let’s touch on this again way down the road, when we look at the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew 5-7.

Q. (18:14-16): Saul was selfish and disobeyed one time.  Is there anything he could have done to redeem himself?  From this passage, he may as well hand David the crown.  Also, Saul’s jealousy of David is obvious.  Can we draw a parallel from David and Saul to Jesus and the Pharisees?

A. Well, he keeps making actions that are selfish and prideful, so stopping that would be a good start. (But, he won’t.  In fact he makes it worse, if you can believe it).  David still has a long way to go, however to get the crown, for reasons that we will continue to see.  While the Pharisees were certainly jealous of Jesus, I think the circumstances are quite different in the two scenarios, so I wouldn’t draw too many parallels from the two.

Q. (18:26): I wish I could read a book — fiction or nonfiction — that would tell about the life and times of the Bible years.  There are so many customs I don’t understand, like this foreskin request.  I’m sure there isn’t any literature describing customs, because it would be just like the Bible, translated from ancient scrolls.

A. The foreskin request is for “trophies,” like the thumb/toe effort we read about earlier.  There are two reasons Saul requests it: first, only the Israelites would have been circumcised, so the Philistines would not have been marked in this way, ensuring that David really did kill the number requested or fake it in some way.  The other thing Saul is requesting David to do is to humiliate the surviving Philistines, by making the bodies “join Israel” in death.  Lovely, isn’t it?

Q. (Psalm 59:4): David is asking God to “wake up?”

A. We will see this referred to sometimes in the Psalms.  The writer is ascribing human qualities (in this case the need for sleep) to God as a way of saying, “if You were paying attention to my circumstances, You would be doing something.”  Since God is not responding in the way that the writer requests, he is accusing God of sleeping on the job.  We will see some very heartfelt pleas in the Psalms that, frankly, I love reading.  It tells me about the cries that these people made to God for the injustices they see in the world, and they really bear raw emotion in the writings: joy, pain, anguish, depression, etc.  So it is little surprise that the Psalmist is accusing God of sleeping on the job, he is pouring out his heart, and God is not, in his mind, responding.

Q. (Psalm 59): David’s song tells about evil lurking around the Israelites and the enemy surrounds them. But, when David — or anyone — trusts in the Lord, He will protect them from the evil.  I am eager to read more of Psalms.  This chapter just brings calm to my heart.  Is there anything else to glean from this passage?

A. I think you’ve got it.  Oppression and being surrounded by enemies are common themes of certain Psalms, so you’ll get some more chances to look at the way the writer expresses his apprehension at the circumstances God has placed them in.

O. (19:18-24): God provides the humor.

For further reading: Ways I can do all things, through Jesus — even confronting the Goliath of problems, https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/explore-the-bible/3-surprising-ways-i-can-do-all-things-through-christ-who-strengthens-me.html

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Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 20-21
— Psalm 34