May 20, 2021

1 Samuel 26:1-28:25

Again the Ziphites report to Saul that David is in their vicinity.

Again Saul gathers his 3,000 soldiers to hunt David down.

And again, David spares Saul’s life.

This time the situation is that Saul is sleeping (maybe even snoring) in the camp at night and so are the guards (including Saul’s general, Abner). As a matter of fact, the Bible says that a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen on them (1 Samuel 26:12). Why did God do this? To prove to Saul, once again, that David did not intend to kill him or take away his kingdom. Can you believe that David and Abishai were able to enter their camp, and take Saul’s spear and jug, which were next to his head?

David valued the life of Saul, acknowledging him as God’s anointed. Abishai tries hard, he tells David, I can do this fast and easy, I’ll only have to strike him once. 

1 Samuel 26:9 (NKJV) “But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?’”

David called to Saul with spear and jug in hand – why are you wasting your time with me? Why are you opposing me? What evil have I done? David shares reasonably, and faithfully (he trusted God). Saul again responds, appropriately, but also superficially.

If only. If only…if only he assessed the situation without that fear of David, without that pride inside, without that fight against God to insist on having his own way, I wonder what would have happened. Genuine repentance is powerful and God is always ready to forgive. God help us to truly turn from our sin and surrender to Him…every area of our lives.

In 1 Samuel 27 it’s David’s turn (yes, the best of men are men at best). David has a serious lapse of faith and backslides for 16 months! After God faithfully has protected him over the years, David starts talking to himself and convinces himself he’s going to die; this leads him to defect to the Philistines, Israel’s archenemy. During that time, David convinces Achish, the king of the Philistines that he’s anti-Israel, even invading them, and their allies, when in all reality David raided the people of other nations. David was somewhere in the middle at this point. He was heartless in killing innocent people. It was definitely a low point in his life, that almost cost him everything.

It’s all about to come to a head, as the Philistines and Israelites prepare to fight in battle. Was David really going to fight FOR the Philistines AGAINST Israel? Jesus did say, you’re either for me or against Me, there is not neutral ground (Matthew 12:30).

Saul – again – inquires of the LORD but hears nothing (that seemed to be a pattern in his life, a stark contrast with David). Saul is so dark and desperate that he seeks out a medium to conjure up the dead. God makes an exception and allows it (usually these types of things are purely demonic), but God had a judgment to declare, again, through the lips of Samuel. Nothing new for Saul, he was about to be judged because he simply refused to repent.

I remember there was a time when someone asked Pastor Raul Ries why his message seemed to be the same for a number of weeks. And Pastor Raul responded, because the churches behavior was the same, God would change the message when the people change, when there was true and genuine repentance, something Saul refused to do.

John 11:1-54

Jesus was close to the family of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. He would sometimes stay with them when He was in Bethany. So one would assume that the moment Jesus was informed of Lazarus’ sickness, that He would have immediacy departed to healed him, but that’s not the way it is in God’s kingdom. Warren Wiersbe put it this way, “We think that love must act immediately, but sometimes delay brings a greater blessing: ‘God’s delays are not God’s denials.’”

When the time was right, Jesus traveled to Bethany which is near Jerusalem, even though it was dangerous for Him and would be instrumental in His death. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had already been dead four days, it seems as if He’s too late. Martha came to meet Him and expresses her faith in Him. “Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died, but even now…” (John 11:22).

As we read the text, we see that Jesus experienced all the different emotions along the way, even though He knew what He was ultimately going to do. Martha mentions the Resurrection at the Last Day, and Jesus reveals to her (and us) that the Resurrection is not just a Day, it’s a Person, Jesus Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. If we believe in Him, we may die physically, but we won’t die spiritually.

Jesus asks Martha if she believes. I love the way Martha affirmed her faith, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)

Have you affirmed your faith lately?

Next on the scene is Mary, whom Jesus calls for. She came with the same words as her sister, that if Jesus had been there, her brother would not have died. Jesus saw Mary’s grief, heartache, and tears, as well as those who had accompanied her…and then a flood of emotions swept over Him, and we read those poignant words in John 11:35, the shortest and yet deepest words in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” 

He knows how it feels when a loved one passes. He’s entered into our sorrows.

Jesus went on to gut the grave, conquer the coffin, and defeat death. He raised Lazarus, even after four days, proving His power to all people. It makes sense that after this many more believed in Him. In the near future He Himself would rise from the dead, giving to us the most significant sign of all! This is the one I want to follow, the Resurrection and the Life. The life our Lord gives is not just physical life, but spiritual life, and Jesus does this daily, as souls get saved.

When Lazarus came forth, he was bound in grave clothes, so Jesus told the people to loose him, to unwrap him. Sandy Adams comments, “New believers are raised from spiritual death in much the same manner. They come to life still bound in the trappings of the past. Habits must be undressed, just as the layers of the shroud were unwrapped from Lazarus’ body. Jesus gives life, but it is the job of the Church to help remove the grave clothes.”

It’s hard to believe that some still did not believe in Jesus, that they even plotted to kill Him, but man’s heart can grow so hard that even great truth and love won’t penetrate. When the High Priest Caiaphas considered it expedient (convenient and practical although quite possibly improper or immoral) for one man to die for the nation, he was thinking of Israel only in a political and national sense, but God meant it in a spiritual and eternal sense. We know it don’t we? God can speak through anyone if He pleases, even a stubborn donkey.

Psalm 117:1-2

One wonders why some of the Jews became so exclusive. There were some Rabbi’s who believe that the Gentiles were only created to fuel the fires of hell.

But here we read in God’s Word about the Gentiles praising the LORD. Many of you are Gentiles (non-Jews).  To laud God means to praise Him publicly and the Psalmist mentions two reasons why we should:

God’s mercy and God’s truth.

Aren’t you grateful that He has shown us mercy? That He has NOT dealt with us according to our sins. One of my favorite passages is:

Psalms 103:10-11 (NKJV) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.”

And we should praise Him for His truth, His Word, the Bible. Where would we be without it? Lost, lied to, in deep darkness. Here we are reading, studying, meditating on, and trying to live out God’s truth; I commend you, keep it up!

These things (as the Psalmist says) endure forever (Psalm 117:2).

Proverbs 15:22-23

V. 22 – Awry means away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course; amiss. Without Godly counsel we’ll go off track, off course; we may even miss out on God’s plans for our lives, But in a multitude of counselors there’s that spiritual success.

Be wise, not only in the decisions you make, but in the people you converse and counsel with, while making those decisions.

I have my wife, and my children (both give good counsel – they know me, and they know God’s Word). I also have my friends – the pastors here at CCEM, and other Calvary pastors. We discuss what’s going on, what the Lord is showing us individually. In a multitude of counselors there’s success and safety (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6).

V. 23 – The right response at the right time is both joyful and good.

“In due season…” Have we learned the importance of timing when we talk?

It might not be a good time to talk when your husband or wife is tired; or your teenager just woke up; probably not when you’re upset, or angry, or hurt, in such cases it’s probably better to talk to God first. As a matter of fact that’s the most important thing about timing, it’s when God says it’s time.

It is possible to be too late, or too early and therefore ineffective.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b (NKJV) “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

You can ask, answer, or say the same thing, in the same way, but if it’s the wrong season, there will not be joy, and it will not be good.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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