Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 14:46 – 1 Samuel 15
Highlights – The end of chapter 14 describes Saul’s military endeavors against the Philistines and also tells about his family. In Chapter 15 God tells Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites. He does defeat the Amalekites but allows king Agag to live as well as some of the best sheep and oxen. God tells Samuel about Saul’s disobedience and Samuel confronts Saul and informs him a second time that he is being rejected as King.
Comparing 15:3 and 15:9 we see it was a simple case of disobedience. What was the real problem with Saul? What is hinted at in 15:12, 15:17, 15:30?
Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 13 – 14:45
In today’s reading: Israel battles with the Philistines early in the reign of Saul. Saul’s son Jonathan proves to be more courageous than his father: “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6). Saul unlawfully offers a sacrifice before battle and for this Samuel says his kingdom will not continue. Saul’s weakness is also seen when Jonathan unknowingly disobeys a vow Saul had made and the king is unable to punish him because of the popular support for Jonathan.
Perhaps most significant in today’s reading is the pronouncement that Saul will ultimately be rejected as King. Saul disobeyed the the law by presumptuously offering a sacrifice (not being a priest). According to 1 Samuel 13:12 he said he didn’t want to go into battle without seeking the Lord’s blessing and he “felt compelled” to make an offering to God, but ultimately it was disobedience. What should we learn from this case?
Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 8-12
Highlights: In chapter 8 the people demand that Samuel give them a king like the other nations had kings. Samuel is displeased, but God tells him “they have not rejected you, but me that I should rule over them”, and tells Samuel to grant their request. In chapters 9 and 10 Saul is chosen to the the first king. In chapter 11 he solidifies his leadership with a victory over Nahash the Ammonite. In chapter 12 Samuel urges the nation to be faithful.
Saul is an ideal king from a worldly perspective: tall and handsome and a good soldier. What are some other good qualities he possessed early in his reign? For help see 9:21, 10:27, 11:12-13.
Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 3-7
Highlights: God appears to Samuel and tells him that He is going to perform judgment against the family of Eli. The Israelites are defeated by the Philistines. 30,000 Israelites die, including the sons of Eli, and the Ark is captured. Eli dies when he hears the Ark has been captured. The Philistines cities that posses the Ark are cursed by God and they seek to return it to Israel. Samuel teaches the nation to repent, which they do and they are then able to subdue the Philistines. Samuel serves Israel as a judge, prophet, and priest.
After being defeated by the Philistines the first time, the Israelites tried a new tactic. What did they bring to battle the second time? Why did they do this? Why were they still not successful? What could we learn from this?
Note: though not stated in 1 Samuel, according to 1 Chronicles 6:33, 34 Samuel was of the tribe of Levi. 1 Samuel 1:1 leaves the impression his family were Ephraimites but that may refer to where they lived.
Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 1, 2
Highlights: Hannah, a godly woman, makes a vow to God that if she will have a son she will “give Him to the Lord”. The Lord grants her prayer, she gives birth to Samuel, and when he is weaned she takes him to serve with the priests in Shiloh. This takes place during the days of the priesthood of Eli. Eli’s sons “were corrupt and did not know the Lord” (2:12) and were guilty of many sins. Because of this God decrees their rejection.
Chapter 2:1-10 is a beautiful prayer of Hannah spoken on what we would think would be a very painful day – the day she gives her son to Eli to help in ministering before the Lord. What faith do you see in her prayer that indicates how she found comfort in what must have been a difficult time?
Today’s Reading: Judges 19-21
Today’s Reading concludes the book of Judges. Chapter 19 tells about a horrible crime committed by men of the tribe of Benjamin in the city of Gibeah. They abuse the concubine of a Levite who was staying in their town. In chapter 20 the nation comes together to avenge the deed done and the tribe of Benjamin is almost wiped out completely.
In yesterday’s reading we saw that there were pockets of idolatry being practiced in Israel. Today we see the men of Gibeah practicing homosexuality very similar to what we saw in Sodom (19:22). Does it surprise you that at this time there are those in the nation practicing these sins? What does 21:25, the last verse in the Bible, say again about their standard of morality?
Today’s Reading: Judges 17-18
Highlights: These chapters contain thievery, bribery, idolatry, and a weak Levite who sells himself out to be priest to the highest bidder! We see there was a problem with idolatry in the nation of Israel, practiced first by a man named Micah, then later by a group from the tribe of Dan.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6). We certainly see that in today’s reading. Was there really no king? What happens when man follows his own ideas and inclinations?
Today’s Reading: Judges 13 – 16
Highlights: Today we read the story of Samson. Israel is evil again and being oppressed by the Philistines. God raises up Samson as the deliverer. He has great physical strength but a weakness for women that gets him into trouble. God uses these events to give Israel victory over the Philistines.
Do you consider Samson a strong man? Is there anything to admire in his character in the the story of his death?
Today’s Reading: Joshua 18-21
Highlights: Chapters 18 and 19 continue the division of the land. The details of the boundaries are tedious to read but we should be impressed by the reality of the event – the tribes are finally settling in Canaan . 6 cities of refuge cities are appointed in chapter 20, just as Moses had instructed. In chapter 21, 48 cities throughout the entire nation are appointed for the Levites.
This reading concludes by saying, “So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.” “Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass” (21:43, 45).
God has really set the table for them. He gave them the land. I think we all know whats coming, but how should they have responded to God after all He had done for them? Also, hasn’t God set the table for us spiritually? How should we respond?
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- Sunday we begin a new period of the Bible story – The story of Joshua and the taking of the land of Canaan.
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