Daily Encouragement

May 21 – Twisted Loyalties

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 29:1-31:13
John 11:55-12:19
Psalm 118:1-18
Proverbs 15:24-26

1 Samuel 29:8 — Loyalty is good, but when the enemies of your boss are God’s people, there’s a problem. Thankfully God worked in the hearts of the Philistines to kick David out of the army (1 Samuel 29:4).

1 Samuel 30:9 — Thankfully David is back to talking to the LORD!

1 Samuel 30:23 — David reminds the troops that they didn’t get the victory by their own strength but by the LORD’s provision.

The Roman Ruins of Bet-Shean

1 Samuel 31:12 — Why did the men of Jabesh-Gilead rescue the bodies of Saul and his sons? In 1 Samuel 11:11, Saul delivered the men of Jabesh-Gilead from the Ammonites, who would only accept the surrender of the Israelites if they allowed their right eyes to be gouged out.

John 12:3 — Imagine if Mary said, “I can do this next time Jesus passes through town.” If God lays something on your heart, do it today!

John 12:10 — This is one of the funniest verses in the Bible … didn’t they think Jesus might raise him again?

Psalm 118:5 — Praise the LORD for when He has delivered you from distress.

Proverbs 15:26 — Are you getting the idea that God hates sin?

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Daily Encouragement

May 20 – The King Died for the Witch and the Man Who Died Walked Free

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 26:1-28:25
John 11:1-54
Psalm 117:1-2
Proverbs 15:22-23

1 Samuel 26:1 — The last time we saw Saul, he declared that David was more righteous than he (1 Samuel 24:17), that David would be king (1 Samuel 24:20), and he obtained from David a pledge to protect his descendants (1 Samuel 24:22). Now the Ziphites, who had been egging Saul on previously (1 Samuel 23:19), are egging him on again.

1 Samuel 26:6 — It’s interesting that while God would drive out the Hittite people, He speaks well of individual Hittites: Ephron (Genesis 23:10), Ahimelech (1 Samuel 26:6), and Uriah (2 Samuel 23:39).

1 Samuel 26:25 — While some of Saul’s benedictions were empty, this one is true.

1 Samuel 27:1 — Gad had previously warned David to remain in the land of Judah. David does not appear to have consulted the LORD about his decision to escape to the Philistines.

1 Samuel 28:10 — Ironic that the king who was commanded by the LORD to execute all the witches (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10) now swears by the LORD to protect a witch. Instead of the witch dying, Saul would die (1 Samuel 28:19).

John 11:35 — Nobody understood Jesus. His disciples forgot John 10:18 and were afraid of the Jews. They didn’t understand His sayings (John 11:12). They weren’t sure what to say, but that didn’t stop them from talking (John 11:16). Martha believed in the resurrection from afar, but did she really believe that Jesus was the resurrection (John 11:24)? Mary’s understanding was limited by her human knowledge that death was irreversible (John 11:32). Martha was trying to stop Jesus from working (John 11:39).

Painted tile detail from St Paul’s church in Knightsbridge which shows Jesus calling Lazarus from the grave. Because He is the Lord of Life, Lazarus – despite having been dead for 4 days – comes forth, and is given his life. Likewise, Jesus calls us from the living death of sin to new life in Him through the grace of baptism and the Holy Spirit.

John 11:53 — After Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, the religious leaders determined to put Jesus to death. Interestingly, what Caiaphas planned to happen was for a greater purpose that he didn’t know about (John 11:51).

Psalm 117:1 — My family had a Christmas tradition where each of us would recite a verse or passage of Scripture. We were surprised one Christmas when my grandfather asked, “What is the longest psalm in the Bible?” “Psalm 119” was the reply. He then started: “Psalm 117 …” and quoted the shortest psalm in the Bible. Just two verses, but they are calling us to praise the LORD because of His merciful kindness for us and His eternal Word.

Proverbs 15:22 — As someone would remind me on the importance of a second opinion, “wise is the counsel of many.”

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Daily Encouragement

May 19 – A Wise Woman Saves Her Husband and God Delivers Her

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 24:1-25:44
John 10:22-42
Psalm 116:1-19
Proverbs 15:20-21

1 Samuel 24:1 — En Gedi is a must see on your tour of Israel. The area contains a lot of dry cliffs, but the occasional waterfall amazes the senses!

1 Samuel 24:6 — Even when your cause seems justified – it’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right. Let God be judge (1 Samuel 24:15).

1 Samuel 25:18 — We’ve been reading in Proverbs about what wisdom looks like, now we see it in action. A wife interceding to save her husband by appeasing a wrathful adversary. God even delivered her from her unwise husband (1 Samuel 25:38). David waited until God dealt with Nabal. If only he did the same with Uriah …

John 10:28 — Want eternal life? Go to the Giver of Eternal Life!

Psalms 116:12 — What indeed! What is our reasonable service? Romans 12:1!

Psalm 116:15 — When an elderly relative of mine was about to pass away, one of the pastors who was with us reminded us of this verse.

Proverbs 15:21 — Relaxation and recreation are fine – but do you get your joy from folly?

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Daily Encouragement

May 18 – The Patience of the Lord!

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29
John 10:1-21
Psalm 115:1-18
Proverbs 15:18-19

The Cave of Adullam, from the Matson Photo Service

1 Samuel 22:5 — Sometimes you’re hurt by people who claim to be Christians, and as a result you want to swear off dealing with Christians ever again. Perhaps in response you just want to deal with “honest pagans.” But even though you can be hurt again, God calls us to fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:25) because no matter how much we think our situation is beyond hope, God is in control!

1 Samuel 22:8 — The King of Israel is sad that “there is none of you that is sorry for me.”

1 Samuel 22:18 — If Jesus was comparing the Pharisees to Doeg, Doeg had shed the blood of 85 priests who stood helplessly, as well as the entire city of Nob. What did the Pharisees do to the Son of God?

1 Samuel 23:4 — Notice the patience of the LORD. The same God who was so patient with Gideon, is also patient with David. God spoke to him and promised him victory twice, even though David was afraid.

1 Samuel 23:21 — Blessing people in the name of the LORD for helping you kill your loyal subject that you have made into an adversary … huh?

John 10:1-21 — Notice some of the characters in this parable:

  • The thief/robber – introduced in vs. 1
  • The hireling – introduced in vs. 12
  • The shepherd – introduced in vs. 2

Have you noticed the similarities between this and the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19)?

In John 10:10-11 we see the action. The hireling flees, the thief kills, and the Shepherd dies. Yet, unlike the other parables, we are told the end of the story: in John 10:17-18 the Shepherd rises again!

Some other takeaways from this passage:

  • John 10:8, 16 – Who you hear indicates what you are
  • John 10:9-10 – Who you follow indicates where you go

Mr. Rogers of PBS fame asked his wife before he died, “Am I a sheep?” On the internet you have two responses (notice which incorporates more Scripture):

John 10:4 — Young Samuel didn’t know God’s voice, but then he had a personal encounter with the LORD. Eventually, he was able to recognize His voice.

John 10:18 — Jesus is prophesying His death and resurrection, and yet the disciples that He loved did not realize this.

Psalm 115:1 — A good admonition against pride.

Psalm 115:13 — If I want God’s blessing, what should I do?

Proverbs 15:18 — Let’s be peacemakers!

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Daily Encouragement

May 17 – The Descent of Saul

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 20:1-21:15
John 9:1-41
Psalm 113:1-114:8
Proverbs 15:15-17

1 Samuel 20:13 — David’s son Solomon would discuss the behavior of kings often. Proverbs 16:14 encourages wise men to pacify their king’s wrath.

1 Samuel 20:30 — This is a very strong phrase (cuss-level) used by Saul against his own son.

1 Samuel 21:4 — Jesus cited this as justification for his disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-28). One theory advanced on StackExchange.com is that Jesus is comparing the Pharisees to Doeg the Edomite.

1 Samuel 21:10 — From Matthew Henry:

God’s persecuted people have often found better usage from Philistines than from Israelites. David had reason to put confidence in Achish, yet he began to be afraid. His conduct was degrading, and discovered wavering in his faith and courage. The more simply we depend on God, and obey him, the more comfortably and surely we shall walk through this troublesome world.

John 9:28 — We see the running line of authority contrast: the Jews claim Mosaic authority (which Jesus attacked by claiming Abrahamic authority). Jesus claims even greater authority (from God the Father), but the Jews claim not to know “from whence He is.”

Psalm 113:3 — How long are we to praise the LORD? All the time!

Psalm 113:9 — God is in control of everything!

Psalm 114:7 — People are nervous to meet a Governor, a President, or the King of England. How much more should we be nervous at the majesty of the Lord, the God of Jacob! How much more should we desire to spend time with Him who asked us to call upon Him!

Proverbs 15:16 — We’ve seen the fear of the Lord referenced before … but do we realize how valuable it is? Too often we have the wrong priorities.

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Daily Encouragement

May 16 – Are You a Real Follower of Jesus?

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 18:5-19:24
John 8:31-59
Psalm 112:1-10
Proverbs 15:12-14

1 Samuel 18:10 — Why is God sending an evil spirit? GotQuestions.org suggests it was part of God’s judgment on Saul.

First, the evil spirit was “from” the Lord in that it was allowed by God to harass Saul. Ultimately, all created things are under God’s control. It is likely that this evil spirit was part of God’s judgment upon Saul for his disobedience. Saul had directly disobeyed God on two occasions (1 Samuel 13:1–14 and 1 Samuel 15:1–35). Therefore, God removed His Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Likely, Satan and the demons had always wanted to attack Saul; God was now simply giving them permission to do so.

1 Samuel 18:14 — A great commendation for anyone.

Saul Throwing his Spear at David

1 Samuel 19:24 — The sad descent of Saul from humility:

  • to arrogant appropriation of the job of the priest
  • to hubris
  • to two attempted assassinations of David (1 Samuel 18:11)
  • to an assassination attempt using the Philistines (1 Samuel 18:17) – which sounds a bit like what David did to Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:15)
  • to a general assassination order (1 Samuel 19:1)
  • to another specific personal assassination attempt (1 Samuel 19:10)
  • to a delegated assassination attempt (1 Samuel 19:11)
  • to the four waves of assassins he sent to Ramah (1 Samuel 19:20-24).

John 8:31 — How can we be identified as disciples of Jesus? Paul reiterates the importance in 2 Corinthians 13:5. Not all who appear as real are actually real disciples:

My best friend in high school, we did gospel evangelism together as high school kids. Went away to college and declared himself an atheist. My best friend in college, we were co-captains of the football team, was headed for seminary. He essentially denied the faith and walked away. One of my best friends in seminary, his father was the dean of the seminary. After he graduated, he set up a Buddhist altar in his house. So we all deal with this. We all are asking the question all the time who is real? Who is genuine?

John MacArthur

By the way, notice that this antagonistic dialogue is with the Jews which believed on him. MacArthur quotes J.C. Ryle:

This is the most dangerous spiritual condition any person can ever be in where you’re halfway to Christ; inclined to Jesus, inclined to the truth about Jesus, wanting what Jesus provides and what He offers, but not willing to give in to the full demands that He lays on the sinner of repentance and faith in Him, declaration of His lordship, turning from sin toward righteousness

John MacArthur

John 8:48-51 — Also from John MacArthur:

Three phases appear in this dialog, and they flow through a kind of a consistent pattern. First comes blasphemy from them. Then Jesus speaks truth, and then He gives a gracious invitation. So the first one: blasphemy, truth, gracious invitation. Second one: blasphemy, truth, gracious invitation.

John MacArthur

Psalm 112:1 — Another blessing on those who obey the Lord! May you be one of those blessed!

Proverbs 15:14 — If you have free time, instead of turning on the TV set, grab a book!

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Daily Encouragement

May 15 – Put Your Trust in David’s God!

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 17:1-18:4
John 8:21-30
Psalm 111:1-10
Proverbs 15:11

Golden Treasury of Bible Stories by Arthur W Spalding copyright 1954. Copyright was held by Southern Publishing Association and was not renewed. The artist for “David Defeats the Giant” is Robert Temple Ayres. obituary – www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-robert-temple-ayres…

1 Samuel 17:37 — From our friend Patch the Pirate:

1 Samuel 18:1 — A good choice of friends for Jonathan (Proverbs 13:20). We will see that Rehoboam made the wrong choice of friends as a prince (1 Kings 12:8).

John 8:21 — A not so seeker-friendly message – “… ye shall die in your sins” repeated 3x (John 8:24). These statements echo Ezekiel’s warning that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 18:18, 18:20).

Psalm 111:1 — Why praise the LORD? His works are great (Psalm 111:2), honorable (Psalm 111:3), glorious (Psalm 111:3), memorable (Psalm 111:4), powerful (Psalm 111:6), verity (Psalm 111:7), and judgment (Psalm 111:7).

Psalm 111:10 — Echoed in Proverbs 9:10.

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Daily Encouragement

May 14 – What Did Jesus Write on the Ground?

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23
John 8:1-20
Psalm 110:1-7
Proverbs 15:8-10

1 Samuel 15:6 — Who were the Kenites?

This tribe, as may be inferred from the fact that Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, the priest of Midian (Exodus 3:1), is called a Kenite in Jdg 1:16, was an offshoot from the Midianites. The services done to Israel by Jethro and his son Hobab (Exodus 18; Numbers 10:29-32) led to a firm alliance. The Kenites accompanied the Israelites on their march as far as Jericho (Jdg 1:16), and then went and dwelt among the Amalekites in the desert to the south of Judah. They are mentioned again in 1 Samuel 27:10, 1 Samuel 30:29, as the friends of Israel. Famous among the Kenites was Jael, whose husband Heber had migrated into northern Palestine (Jdg 4:11); and the Rechabites who belonged to this tribe (1 Chronicles 2:55) long preserved the nomad habits of their ancestors (Jeremiah 35:7-10).

Cambridge Bible

1 Samuel 15:9 — Who was a descendant of Agag? Esther 3:1 says Haman was. Our good friend Dexter Penwell has these observations:

Saul’s failure to kill all the Amalekites resulted in many things later on. 1. The man who brought David the crown of Saul, and who falsely said he killed Saul was an Amalekite. 2. The men who burned Ziklag & took the families and goods of David’s men were Amalekites (there were 400 that even escaped David at that time (That was at the time of Saul’s death.) 3. Haman was an Agagite. So, he would not have been alive to try and kill all the Jews at the time of Esther.

1 Samuel 15:11 — That’s compassion … Samuel cried all night about Saul’s disobedience!

1 Samuel 15:13 — Saul insists he performed the LORD’s commands and again in 1 Samuel 15:20.

Rather than owning up to his sin, Saul tries to justify his actions. (1 Sam 15:15) … David took ownership of his sin rather than making excuses. However, David describes in detail the thoughts and emotions he was experiencing during this time in a beautiful song, Psalm 51.

Justin Deeter

1 Samuel 15:7 — Patch the Pirate wrote a song based on this verse, “God Sees the Heart“:

1 Samuel 15:22 — Here’s a memory verse song for this verse:

1 Samuel 16:18 — We think of David as a quiet shepherd boy, but he had a reputation for developing the talents that God had given him.

English: The Adulterous Woman–Christ Writing upon the Ground

John 8:6 — I believe it was Tony Evans who gave what I consider the best answer to what Jesus wrote in the ground. He thinks that Jesus wrote out Leviticus 20:10, which requires that the “adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” If they caught the adulteress “in the very act” (John 8:4) then there must have been an adulterer there in the very act as well. Jesus is essentially saying, “Why are we stoning the woman but not the man?” Obviously, they knew who the man was! So, Jesus says to the Pharisees, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7).” Was He referring to sin in general? Maybe. But we know that they left not in mass, but “one by one” from the eldest to the youngest (John 8:9). Why would they leave one by one? They came in one group, but leave individually? What did Jesus do that changed their behavior? He wrote on the ground (John 8:8). Was He writing out all their sins? Possibly, but that would take a while. Or was He just writing down something that would stick out strongly? Perhaps names like Sapphira, Berenice, and Salome. The names of the women that they had committed adultery with. By John 8:10, there were no witnesses to the crime which broke the requirement of Deuteronomy 17:6 (two witnesses were necessary, a fact that Jesus reiterates in John 8:17). And the witness must be the first one to cast a stone (Deuteronomy 17:7). Jesus was not abrogating Mosaic Law – He was fulfilling Mosaic Law. As a non-witness, He was forbidden under Mosaic Law to stone her.

John 8:12 — This is the second “I AM” saying of John. From Earl Martin:

John 8:20 — The Pharisees were a bit gun shy after He exposed them (John 8:9).

Psalm 110:1 — Who is David’s Lord? He’s different from the LORD being addressed (Matthew 22:44)? Who is the priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 7:17)?

Proverbs 15:8 — This echoes what we read today in 1 Samuel 15:22.

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Daily Encouragement

May 13 – Springs of Living Water!

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 14:1-52
John 7:31-53
Psalm 109:1-31
Proverbs 15:5-7

1 Samuel 14:3 — The High Priest’s Uncle Ichabod – we’ve met him earlier.

1 Samuel 14:6 — This is an incredible verse – the king’s son decides to go rogue. He invites his bodyguard, and the bodyguard isn’t afraid to die (1 Samuel 14:7). Is it faith in the LORD or just loyalty to his liege? Maybe just the latter but the bodyguard would see how God would provide! Can God provide?

1 Samuel 14:24 — While Saul had good intentions, his actions made it easier for Israel to commit a worse sin (1 Samuel 14:32). We’ve seen earlier that eating blood was forbidden for the Israelites!

Where can we find springs of living water? Only thru Jesus!

John 7:45 — “Why have you not brought Him?” Jesus is superior to the plans and schemes of man. He willingly laid down His life.

Psalm 109:22 — Deliverance is available only to those who acknowledge they are poor and needy.

Psalm 109:27 — Deliverance is soli deo gloria (glory to God alone)!

Proverbs 15:6 — True treasure is found in the house of the righteous!

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Daily Encouragement

May 12 – Obey the Lord, Serve the Lord, Keep His Law

TODAY’S BIBLE READING CHALLENGE:
1 Samuel 12:1-13:23
John 7:1-30
Psalm 108:1-13
Proverbs 15:4

1 Samuel 12:5 — If we are going to speak for God, we must make sure that nobody can accuse us of wrong.

1 Samuel 12:14 — Thirty-eight times in the Old Testament we see emphasized the need to obey the voice of the LORD. Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience brings judgment. If you don’t know what God wants you to do, memorizing the Ten Commandments is a great way to start!

1 Samuel 12:20 — Obedience not only conveys a parent-child relationship, but it also implies a master-slave relationship. Sixty-eight times in the Old Testament it refers to serving the LORD. The name Adonai (Hebrew) or Kurios (Greek) that’s translated “Lord” (lower case) in our English versions actually means “Master.” While He has adopted us as sons (Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5), sonship is only for those who have called upon Him as their Lord/Master (Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21). Samuel reiterates this in 1 Samuel 12:24.

English: Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984. Released under new license, CC-BY-SA 3.0

1 Samuel 12:24 — Here’s a memory song to help you memorize this verse!

1 Samuel 13:14 — Just a seemingly slight disobedience (and completely rational), but it cost Saul the kingdom. How much does your sin cost you?

1 Samuel 13:16 — Interesting that Saul followed Samuel to Gibeah.

John 7:19 — Jesus uses the phrase “keep the Law.” In addition to obeying the Lord and serving the Lord, we have twenty-five references in the Old Testament about keeping the Law.

Psalm 108:2 — This is a difficult command for me – to awake early. But there is blessing to those who arise early to seek the Lord (Psalm 63:1)!

Psalm 108:5 — This is the fourth time in the Psalms we see this phrase (Psalm 21:13, Psalm 57:5, Psalm 57:11). May we sing “Be Thou Exalted, Forever and Ever!”

Proverbs 15:4 — Yet another verse about the tongue – and we’re not even to James!

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