Bible in 365 Days – Day 108

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Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Samuel 26
  • 1 Samuel 27:1-7
  • 1 Chronicles 12:1-7
  • 1 Samuel 27:8-12
  • 1 Samuel 28-29
  • 1 Chronicles 12:19
  • Psalms 56

 

Standout Verse(s):

1 Chronicles 12:1-2 NLT

The following men joined David at Ziklag while he was hiding from Saul son of Kish. They were among the warriors who fought beside David in battle. All of them were expert archers, and they could shoot arrows or sling stones with their left hand as well as their right. They were all relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin.

 

Observation (s):

  1. The additional men who joined David, while he was hiding from Saul at Ziklag, were relatives of Saul.

    The following men joined David at Ziklag while he was hiding from Saul son of Kish. They were all relatives of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin.

  2. The men were all skilled in warfare.

    The following men joined David at Ziklag while he was hiding from Saul son of Kish. They were among the warriors who fought beside David in battle. All of them were expert archers, and they could shoot arrows or sling stones with their left hand as well as their right.

Application:

It is the most incredible thing! David was Saul’s proclaimed enemy yet his relatives joined David’s camp. Saul’s own relatives defected to David’s camp! These were men skilled in warfare who went on to fight beside David in battle. Check this out! David did not have to lift a finger to convince them to join his army. Saul’s relatives sought him out and joined him voluntarily, without prompting! How amazing is that?!

When you are righteous and allow your steps to be ordered by the Lord, you will find even your enemy’s relatives in your corner, ready and willing to fight for your cause. Abide in God’s corner and watch His orchestrations.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 107

DAY 107.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Samuel 23:13-29
  • Psalms 54
  • 1 Samuel 24-25

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

1 Samuel 24:3-7 NLT

At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!

“Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.

But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

 

THE REACTION

1 Samuel 24:16-19 NLT

When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.

 

Observation (s):

  1. David faced peer pressure from his men when he got his first opportunity to kill Saul.

    Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’”

  2. Despite the peer pressure and the test (God placing Saul in David’s grasp), David did not believe in doing evil to the one that God has anointed. He refrained from killing Saul and was bothered by his act of cutting Saul’s robe.

    But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

  3. David’s actions towards Saul provoked Saul’s guilt. This led to Saul, David’s enemy, acknowledging his wrong and asking God to bless him.

    And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.

     

Application:

Our first reaction, when our enemy is in our power, is to retaliate. This is especially true when we are surrounded by our peers who are boosting us. We feel like we have something to prove. Negative peer pressure is a dangerous thing, especially when we yield to it. David had two choices:

  1. Yield to his peers and kill Saul; the Lord’s anointed.
  2. Yield to his belief and spare Saul; refraining from touching the Lord’s anointed.

Despite Saul’s evil acts towards him and his peers and society that dictated that he render “an eye for an eye”, David chose to stick with his beliefs and passed God’s test. Even his small action of cutting off a piece of Saul’s robe pricked his conscience.

Quite interesting is Saul’s reaction. Saul had been hunting down and trying to kill David for a long period. When he realizes the gravity of the situation he was in and David’s righteous actions, his conscience is pricked. He acknowledges that David is more righteous than he is and asks the Lord to bless him. Can you imagine that? Your enemy asking the Lord to bless you?

We are equipped with a keen sense of spiritual right and wrong that impacts our actions in the physical realm. When we are guided by that compass, amazing things can happen. Don’t allow negative peer pressure to rob you of those amazing things.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 104

DAY 104.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Samuel 17:32-58
  • 1 Samuel 18
  • 1 Samuel 19:1-17
  • Psalms 59
  • 1 Samuel 19:18-24

 

Standout Verse(s):

1 Samuel 17:38-40 NLT

Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Saul gave David battle equipment that he was not experienced with.

    Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before.

  2. David rejected Saul’s armour and chose to utilize the battle wear and tools that he was anointed to use.

    “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

Application:

There are different types of soldiers in an army. Each soldier has a weapon that he is equipped to carry and utilize effectively. For example, in the old times, you had men who rode on horseback and fought in armour with swords and shields, men who utilized heavy artillery, men who utilized bow and arrows and, in David’s case, men with skilled with a slingshot or club.

Saul offered David his armour. Saul’s armour was battle gear that David had never used and had no experience with. It would put him at a disadvantage in his upcoming fight with Goliath. Luckily David recognized the wisdom of entering a fight, prepared to use the gifts he was blessed with and the equipment he was anointed and appointed to use; his slingshot and stones or a club.

Oftentimes, we face the fights in our lives with battle armour that we are not anointed or appointed to use. In doing so, we compromise our ability to fight, giving our enemy the advantage. Our parents’ way of fighting and weapons are not necessarily the best way or weapons for us. There is no guarantee that the gifts and weapons that worked for our pastors and spiritual leaders will work for us. We must find our own. Therefore, it is our duty to discover the spiritual and physical weapons that we are anointed and appointed to use. With the correct weapons, we can confidently face our enemies, knowing we are putting the best foot, God has given us, forward.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 103

DAY 103.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Samuel 15-16
  • 1 Samuel 17:1-31

 

Standout Verse(s):

1 Samuel 15:24-26 NLT

Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded. But now, please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord.”

But Samuel replied, “I will not go back with you! Since you have rejected the Lord’s command, he has rejected you as king of Israel.”

 

Observation (s):

  1. Saul’s focus on pleasing his fellowmen led to his disobedience to God’s instructions.

    Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded. But now, please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord.”

  2. Eventually, Saul’s disobedience results in his rejection by God.

    But Samuel replied, “I will not go back with you! Since you have rejected the Lord’s command, he has rejected you as king of Israel.”

     

Application:

There is a popular story of the encounters of a man, his son and their donkey. Whilst on their journey to town, walking by foot, a villager suggested that the son should ride the donkey. The son complied until he came across another villager who denounced him as wicked for allowing his father to walk while he rode. The father and son switched positions until they came across another villager who suggested that they both ride the donkey. Again the man and his son complied until they passed another villager who denounced them for putting their weights on the donkey. This villager suggested that they carried the donkey. The man and his son complied. They entered town carrying the donkey much to the amusement and ridicule of the villagers. Everyone’s perspective is diferent. As such, you can’t please everyone.

Saul’s story shows the danger of being a people-pleaser. He focused on pleasing his fellow Israelites in the fear of their reaction if his actions raised their displeasure. In focusing on pleasing people, Saul ended up disobeying and displeasing God. The end result of his disobedience is that he was eventually rejected by God and his kingship given to another.

Check yourself. Where is the focus of your obedience? Is it on pleasing man or God? Focus on pleasing God. Pleasing God and not man is obedience well placed and worth the effort.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 102

DAY 102.png

Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Chronicles 9:35-39
  • 1 Samuel 13:1-5
  • 1 Samuel 13:19-23
  • 1 Samuel 13:6-18
  • 1 Samuel 14

 

Standout Verse(s):

1 Samuel 13:5-13, 14:6 NLT

The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore! They camped at Micmash east of Beth-aven. The men of Israel saw what a tight spot they were in; and because they were hard pressed by the enemy, they tried to hide in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and cisterns. Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead. Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 

Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.

Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”

“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.

“Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

 

Observation (s):

  1. When the Israelite army saw the situation that they were in, they allowed fear to consume them and some of them abandoned the pending fight.

    The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore! They camped at Micmash east of Beth-aven. The men of Israel saw what a tight spot they were in; and because they were hard pressed by the enemy, they tried to hide in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and cisterns. Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead. Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear.

  2. When Saul saw that his men were abandoning the army, instead of waiting for Samuel to offer the sacrifice, per God’s commands, he allowed fear and impatience to rule and offered the sacrifice himself.

    Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.

    Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

  3. Despite the men’s abandonment, Jonathan, Saul’s son, still believed that the Lord could win the battle.

    “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!”

     

Application:

God has proven to us that He did not require a large number of men or resources to win battles. When God is on your side, your victory is determined by the authority of God not the size of your army. There is no safety for your enemies in their large numbers.

Some of the men in Israel’s army forgot the times, like Gideon and the 300, when God proved himself. Instead, they focused on the Philistine numbers and the seemingly impossible situation. This focus stoked their fears and they deserted their brothers. Saul was also impacted negatively by the desertion of men. He placed his victory in the size of his army and so, when his men deserted, he switched to trying to rush God. His fear and disobedience cost him his throne. Unlike his father, Jonathan’s attitude to the desertion was different. He pressed on and kept his focus on God and His reputation, knowing that God can still provide a victory even with a few men.

Are you in a fight? Don’t focus on the enemy or the seemingly impossible situation. Don’t focus on the quantity of your resources. Be a Jonathan, focus on God. Nothing can hinder Him from gaining the victory.


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Bible in 365 Days – Day 101

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Focus Chapters:

  • 1 Samuel 9-12

 

Standout Verse(s):

1 Samuel 9:3-6, 14-17 NLT

One day Kish’s donkeys strayed away, and he told Saul, “Take a servant with you, and go look for the donkeys.” So Saul took one of the servants and traveled through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the Shaalim area, and the entire land of Benjamin, but they couldn’t find the donkeys anywhere.

Finally, they entered the region of Zuph, and Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go home. By now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!”

But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.”

So they entered the town, and as they passed through the gates, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the place of worship.

Now the Lord had told Samuel the previous day, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people, Israel. He will rescue them from the Philistines, for I have looked down on my people in mercy and have heard their cry.”

When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.”

 

Observation (s):

  1. Saul embarked on a journey to his destiny because of a simple thing. He was searching for lost donkeys.

    One day Kish’s donkeys strayed away, and he told Saul, “Take a servant with you, and go look for the donkeys.” So Saul took one of the servants and traveled through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the Shaalim area, and the entire land of Benjamin, but they couldn’t find the donkeys anywhere.

  2. At a point during his journey, Saul wanted to turn back.

    Finally, they entered the region of Zuph, and Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go home. By now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!”

  3. Saul’s servant influenced him into making a step that took him to the next stage of his journey. His servant reminded him to consult God before giving up.

    But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.”

     

Application:

The journey you are on is God’s way of getting you to where you are meant to be. Saul’s search to find his father’s donkeys led him on a journey that ended with him being crowned the first king of Israel. Every decision or move he made, during that journey, led him one step closer to God’s predestined end result. Equally worthy to note is that Saul’s decisions had the power to lead him away from his destiny. He got to his predestined end result because his servant, his companion and influencer, steered him in the direction he needed to go by reminding him of the importance of consulting God for directions.

Your journey, no matter how innocuous, brings you one step closer to your destiny. Similarly, your decisions has the potential of bringing you nearer or farther from that destiny. Mind the companions (influencers) you take along with you and don’t forget to consult God. Saul’s journey ended with him as king, where will yours take you?


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A Forgiveness That Healed

One of the persons, in the Bible, who I have a deep admiration for, is David. We all know the story of how David went from being a shepherd boy to king but many of us missed some of the small details that he went through to get there and even what he did, once he got there. In this post, I want to examine a story that has fascinated me in recent times. This is a story of relentless persecution and a forgiveness and mercy that healed all involved.

Many times when we mention forgiveness, we pull on the analogy of Christ’s forgiveness of our sins, yet there are men who had displayed measures of forgiveness that are truly admirable. The books of Samuel tell the stories of how King Saul persecuted David when he realised the glory of God that shined on David. The books tell of the many instances when Saul does everything in his power to kill David or cause him ill-will. These attempts included: 

  1. Throwing javelins at David while he played the harp to calm the evil spirit that had overtaken Saul.
  2. Sending David on dangerous missions in the hope that he would be killed.
  3. Giving David’s wife, his daughter Michal to another man after his threats to David’s life forced David to go on the run.
  4. Setting out with his soldiers to find and kill David.

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