A Happy Saturday to you.
This morning's reading from the Old Testament begins the study of Second Samuel. Samuel himself has already passed on, what we are getting into here is David's ascension to the kingship. The passage for today is Second Samuel, chapters 1, 2, and 3. David's start as king is filled with intrigue and murder and blood, primarily on the part of his ''friends''.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, verses 1 through 17. This is a short section with several strong teachings in it, each of which has spawned countless sermons and lessons. Consider,
1 - 8, the ''Parable of the Importunate Widow''. God hears our cry.
10 - 14, the prayers of the repenting sinner and the self-righteous compared
15 - 17 , God loves the little children
Tomorrow is Sunday, the Lord's day. Remember it.
21 April 2007
A Happy Saturday to you.
20 April 2007
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, is in First Samuel, chapters 30 and 31.
Chapter 30 recounts the return of David to his town of Ziklag, only to find the town had been attacked by the Amalekites, all the people carried off captive and the town burned. He was, to put it mildly, in great distress. But, in one of the great verses in Scripture,
6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God
Good advice for us as well.
Chapter 31 recounts the death of Saul in battle. You knew this was coming, but it to this day it bothers me each time I read it. His fall was not unjust, but it is still tragic. Not least because, while Saul may have ''had it coming'', others died too. Like, for instance, the three sons of Saul. The evil that we do affects others as well.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, is the Gospel of Luke, chapter 17, verses 20 through 37. This includes some teaching on the End Times:
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
19 April 2007
This morning's Old Testament continues in the book of First Samuel, chapters 27, 28, and 29. The conflict between Saul and David draws closer to the end. David takes refuge with, of all people, the Philistines. Saul goes to war, towards his final battle, and as he accelerates his downward slide he stoops to consult a medium, the witch at Endor. Nothing good comes of this. (hint to nominal Christians who still, ''for amusement'', consult the horoscope in the local paper. Don't.) The fateful battle is near Jezreel. If you have a map, or can look one up on the Internet, you may be interested to know that the Plain of Jezreel is essentially the same place as the plain of Megiddo. Otherwise known as Armageddon. Just a thought.
The evening reading from the New Testament continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 17, verses 1 through 19. Jesus heals ten lepers. Only one comes back to thank him. And he was a Samaritan. Do we thank Him, enough?
18 April 2007
Good morning. Pre-dawn here, and one can not help being mindful of the families and friends of those who were murdered in Virginia on Monday. There are those who believe that humans are good by nature. Scripture does not teach that. Neither does history. On occasion, we are reminded of the fact that all of us can do great evil, and most of us do so regularly but on a smaller scale.
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, continues in First Samuel, chapters 25 and 26.
In chapter 25 is the account of David's dealings with the arrogant Nabal, his death, and ends with David taking Abigail to wife.
In chapter 26. David has an opportunity to kill Saul. Saul has, after all, been industriously trying to kill David for some time. Yet David refuses the opportunity, as he still regards Saul as the Lord's anointed.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 16, verses 19 through 31. This is Jesus teaching using the illustration of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus.
17 April 2007
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, continues in First Samuel, chapters 22, 23, and 24. Saul continues to seek the life of David. As part of this, an entire town, Nob, is put to the sword. Men, women, children, livestock. And note, that this was perpetrated for Saul by an Edomite, a member of a group that was supposed to have been wiped out earlier.
This afternoon's passage, from the New Testament, comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 16, verses 1 through 18. Jesus continues to teach, and to get the Pharisees upset with Him.
16 April 2007
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, is in First Samuel, chapters 19,20, and 21.
The friction between Saul, current king of the united kingdom of Israel, and David, that anointed future king, is out in the open. While the deep friendship between David and Jonathon, Saul's son and putative heir, remains strong, Saul is determined to kill David and remove the threat to his line. Worldly wisdom would dictate this. David finds himself running for his life and the subject of a serious manhunt. God does not leave him helpless, and thwarts some of Saul's plots in ways that should have been a clear sign that David was under His protection. Yet David is not exactly in a comfortable situation. Happens to us too - carrying out the will of the Almighty sometimes puts us in difficult situations.
The afternoon reading, from the New Testament, is in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, verses 11 through 32.
This is the story we often call the parable of the Prodigal Son.
15 April 2007
This morning's reading, from the Old Testament, continues in First Samuel, chapters 17 and 18.
Chapter 17 is the story of David and Goliath. Most of us are familiar with it, somewhat. It's worth a second look.
Chapter 18 is a bit ''icky''. David's been offered the hand of Saul's daughter Michal. The bride-price is a bit awful, the foreskin's of 100 Philistines. The visual image of what it took to achieve this is not something that most of us want to imagine. But it does say something about the ferocity of the warfare of the time.
This evening's reading, from the New Testament, continues in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15 , verses 1 through 10. The parable of the ninety and nine.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
And that is still the case.