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May 10: God the Stronghold

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 21-23, Psalm 104, Mark 12:28-34, 2 Corinthians 9 1 Samuel 21-23: David is now on the run, and remarkable stories of God’s rescue of David are told. First of all, David takes the bread of the Presence, the special consecrated bread (21:3-6)—an event referenced by Jesus in support of his disciples (Mt. 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5). He also takes Goliath’s sword (21:8-9). However, one of Saul’s servants is there, sees David (21:7), will report this to Saul (22:9-10), and Saul (through his servant Doeg) will enact fearful vengeance on the priest, and the priesthood, who had thus helped David (22:11-19). When one priest escapes and comes to David, by great contrast with Saul, David protects the priest (22:20-23). While Saul had alienated the prophetic class and the priestly class, claiming authority over these realms in addition to his kingly role, David recognizes and honors these appointments of...

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May 9: On the Run

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 19-20, Psalm 103, Mark 12:13-27, 2 Corinthians 8 1 Samuel 19-20: Saul is determined to kill David (19:1)—jealous of him, and suspecting that God had called David to be king in his place. Jonathan, however, is best of friends with David, and has made a covenant of support for David. This situation set up, the drama unfolds. First, Jonathan persuades his father to relent from his jealousy towards David (19:4-6). But then the jealousy returns, and Michal (David’s wife) lets David escape through their bedroom window in the middle of the night (19:12). David has become a fugitive. Saul pursues him and then—in a truly bizarre set of miraculous circumstances—David is protected by the soldiers in pursuit of him falling into a prophetic worship experience of some kind (19:20-21). Even Saul has the same experience when he pursues David (19:22-24). This, if nothing else, is proof that gifts of...

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May 8: God Wins

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 17-18, Psalm 102, Mark 12:1-12, 2 Corinthians 7 1 Samuel 17-18: One of the most famous stories in the Bible—David and Goliath—is about to ensue (1 Samuel 17). The basics of the narrative are familiar enough to many: a young sheep boy stands up against the enemy of God’s people, a giant of a man called Goliath, and defeats him. What is sometimes less well understood is the intended lesson. In fact, though, the narrator makes the point of the story crystal clear himself through the words of David: ...

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May 7: Obey God

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 15-16, Psalm 101, Mark 11:27-33, 2 Corinthians 6 1 Samuel 15-16: Samuel gives Saul fresh instructions from God (15:1-3). Saul performs these instructions—to a point. But then he and the people keep back the best of the spoil along with Agag, the king (15:7-9). Was Agag spared because he cut some kind of deal which led to more spoil? At any rate, God’s people as an agent of divine vengeance in this Old Testament theocratic system did not act according to what God had commanded (15:10-11). Saul blames the people (15:15). He excuses his action by the fact that he is going to have a sacrificial feast to God. Samuel, warned already by God, and having spent a night interceding for Saul, cannot believe his ears and replies with the famous words: “to obey is better than sacrifice” (15:22). Saul says, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the...

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May 6: Follow God

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 14, Psalm 100, Mark 11:12-26, 2 Corinthians 5 1 Samuel 14: Jonathan, Saul’s son, decides to take matters into his own hands (v. 1). He is a man of initiative and of faith, and decides that the right policy at this time, where it appears that Saul and the other leaders are being passive, was to beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission. Saul is “staying in the outskirts” with some of the other leaders, talking, thinking (v. 2-3); Jonathan takes a risk. Jonathan and his armor bearer have a “sign” that they think up for discerning whether God will be with them in their bold endeavor (v. 8-10)—they know they need God’s support (if not that of the leaders who are not doing anything about the enemy). Discerning God’s support (v. 12), they boldly attack. And the suddenness of their onslaught, like a pebble beginning a landslide, starts...

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May 5: Fear God

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 11-13, Psalm 99, Mark 11:1-11, 2 Corinthians 4 1 Samuel 11-13: Saul’s first steps now as king begin to go better. When he hears the threats coming from the Ammonites (11:5), the Spirit of God comes upon Saul (11:6), and he rallies Israel to his standard, marches against the Ammonites and defeats them (11:7-11). Having won this battle, Saul has also won the popularity conquest (momentarily), and the people then suggest he kills those who had not supported Saul initially when he became king (11:12). Saul, wisely it seems, will have none of that for that was the day when the LORD had worked salvation (11:13). Samuel takes the people to Gilgal to renew the kingdom, to renew their commitment to the king (11:14-15). Samuel, with the kingdom now it appears established, gives his farewell address where he “calls the question” as to whether he has ever behaved reprehensibly...

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May 4: Hiding

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 9-10, Psalm 98, Mark 10:35-52, 2 Corinthians 3 1 Samuel 9-10: We now meet Saul (9:1-2). His father is rich, and he is handsome and taller than anyone else (9:2). What could possibly go wrong? From the beginning we get the sense that externally he was the “obvious” king type. But was his heart with God? We are introduced to Saul as he is on an errand which has gone wrong (9:3-4). He cannot find the donkeys. Saul does not appear to be the sort of person who knows how to find his way. He meets Samuel, and Samuel has been told before by God that he will arrive (9:15-17). And Samuel anoints him king (10:1). The Spirit of God comes upon Saul (10:10), according to Samuel’s signs (10:6-7), and the famous question is asked, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (10:11). Saul is now not an externally impressive leader;...

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May 3: Rejecting God

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 6-8, Psalm 97, Mark 10:17-34, 2 Corinthians 2 1 Samuel 6-8: To show that God’s presence and power is not only capable of being violated by pagans, that God does not play “favorites,” the people of Beth-shemesh, to whom the ark had gone, were also struck down when they violated the holiness of God (6:19-20). Just because someone grows up in a church or has Christian parents or knows about the Bible does not mean that sinning against God is less reprehensible. God is a holy God, and the only recourse to be peaceably in his presence is the atoning blood of Christ. The people return to God. And Samuel, wisely, strikes while the iron is hot and calls on them to get rid of their idolatry (7:3). This they do (7:4), and Samuel cries out to God, and the Lord answered him (7:9). Note how much Samuel is characterized...

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May 2: Handy

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 3-5, Psalm 96, Mark 10:1-16, 2 Corinthians 1:12-24 1 Samuel 3-5: God’s intervention is picking up pace. First, we have the background. The word of the LORD was rare (3:1). As by illustration, Eli, the one who should have been “seeing” God’s word, has eyes that are physically failing (3:2). There is a blindness, spiritually and physically. Samuel, however, is able to hear and see God’s word (3:3-10). Eli is so unaccustomed to God speaking that he does not recognize when God addresses Samuel and cannot give him appropriate advice to begin with (3:5-6). When Samuel sees the vision and hears God’s judgment on Eli (3:11-14), Eli insists that Samuel tell him what God has said (3:16-18). Still, there seems no change of heart regarding the behavior of his children. By contrast, the Lord is with Samuel and lets none of his words fall to the ground (3:19). And through...

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May 1: God Is on the Move

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 1-2, Psalm 95, Mark 9:33-50, 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 1 Samuel 1-2: God is on the move. It starts in a surprising place, in weakness. A man had two wives (1:2). Immediately we know something is not right, either with him or his family or the center of worship to which he nonetheless attended. Not only did he have two wives, but he foolishly overtly favored one over the other, stoking jealously (1:5-6). When Hannah could not conceive, Elkanah, with an extraordinary touch of double insensitivity, attempted to comfort her by saying that surely he was worth more than many sons (1:8)! This is not an auspicious beginning to a new move of God. But Hannah prays (1:10). O pray! Pray! Pray! Her prayers are answered (1:20), but not before we sense how much her prayers need to be answered not just for herself but for all God’s people. Eli, the...

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