1 Samuel 31
Joshua 3 – Israel Crosses the Jordan River. Shittim or Abel-Shittim was located at the foothill of Mount Pisgah was the last stop before crossing the river Jordan into their inheritance (1, ). Three days later, the people were told to pack their stuff and prepare to break camp. The people were instructed to stay back about 3000’ from the Ark which would go ahead of them (2-4). The reason the people were told to consecrate themselves was that the Lord will not dwell where there is sin; without the Lord, the people would never make it across the Jordan much less attack Jericho (5). The Levitical Priests and the Ark were to go first (6). Crossing the river would be a defining time for Joshua that would turn him from the “newbie Commander” to the “Lord’s anointed” in the eyes of the people (7-8). From this day forward Israel would no longer be “former slaves” but “conquerors” (9-11). When the Priests stood in the water, the river parted allowing the people to cross on dry land. Finally, the people were to chose one man from each of the 12 tribes to pick out a rock from the Jordan and bring with them to the opposite side (12-17). Personal Notes: The number 3 is a perfect numeral in scripture and is used 567 times in scripture (Number 3). Everything Joshua did was directed by the Lord. This is important because conquering an ancient land was difficult enough if experienced but is compounded when inexperienced. The Lord seemingly chooses the inexperienced and uneducated because the experienced become proud whereas the inexperienced remain humble.
Psalms 59 – Deliver Me From My Enemies. David is teaching his reader from the viewpoint of when he was being watched by Saul. David was a constant reminder to Saul about the precious gift he lost due to unfaithfulness. David was enjoying the success brought on by obedience and Saul was losing due to disobedience. For that reason, David became Saul’s target (1-2). From his youth, David had been watched over by the Lord and especially during the time Saul (3-5). Because of the struggles with Saul’s violence, David had to keep a careful watch at all times (6-7). In the end, Saul would lose everything and his son and grandson would never see a day when they would rule Israel (8-10). Having an opposition, while sometimes uncomfortable, does serve a purpose. First, the opposition keeps us on our toes, keeps us humble, and focused (11). Second, the opposition has its ways but we do not need to be worried or anxious about them, we need to serve the Lord faithfully (12-17). Personal Notes: Serving the Lord is easier when we are in darkness because it compels us to trust what we cannot see. When the darkness turns to light, we tend to become proud and boastful.
Proverbs 21:1-15 – Proverbs For Life. Whatever we do in life the outcome is in the hands of the Lord and He will channel the plans for His glory. The thing is, we may have our plans whether they be good or bad and we believe we know the outcome (1). It is easy to be become blind to our faults so overlook the problems we cause and blame them on society (2-3). For mankind, it is difficult to conceive the possibility of being wrong or that our actions are wrong until we see the outcome (4-7). Today, as it has been for a long time, the lines between right and wrong are often blurred as we rely on Popularity polls (8-10). Punishing the violator is not well received in our society because it means the punishment is limited to “justice”. The part that is often overlooked is that those who do not receive justice will become the trouble-maker in the next round (11-13). Giving justice to the victim of a crime is not just “good for the person” it is good for society as a whole (14-15). Personal Notes: The reason our society and nation are constantly dealing with the levels of violence is that the offender is glorified on the front pages of the News. Kids take guns to school and deal with the people that have hurt them because nobody does anything. Befriending the unpopular and being a faithful ally will cost us our popularity.
Acts 25 – Paul Appeals to Caesar. Paul was detained at Caesarea by Felix. The Jews wanted to ambush Paul and kill him. Remember, the charges against Paul were limited to breaking Jewish law and so he should have been released without further action. The problem was that he appealed to Caesar which is the right of all Roman citizens (1-5). Porcius Festus would have gladly turned Paul over to the Jews if Paul had not stood on his rights (6-12). King Julius Marcus Agrippa and his Jewish wife Bernice arrived from Rome to hear Paul’s case (13-27). Personal Notes: King Agrippa II was the son of King Agrippa and the great-grandson of Herod the Great. The Herodian dynasty which existed from 55 BCE to 93 CE, knew about Jewish customs and beliefs which is why Paul was glad to see the King. The Herodians were from the Edomites which were relatives of Esau.
1 Samuel 31 – The Death of Saul. Samuel’s prophecy to Saul was fulfilled (1 Samuel 28:19). The battle had turned against Israel and the final stand was on Mount Gilboa which is located in lower Galilee (Mount Gilboa). The remaining Israeli soldiers tried to escape but were killed. In the final moments of the battle, Saul had requested that his armor-bearer run him through which would have denied the Philistines the glory of killing their enemy. In saying the young man “feared greatly”, I think it implied that he feared touching the Lord’s anointed. So Saul did the honorable thing and fell on his sword and the armor-bearer followed suit (1-5). Falling on one’s sword is an idiom for accepting responsibility for something that has gone wrong (Idiom). In Saul’s case, the whole battle was a mistake in judgment and being unfaithful to the Lord. After the battle, the Israelites in the surrounding cities ran for their lives (6-7). Saul’s death was a boon for the Philistines and they celebrated by taking Saul’s body and his armor and offering them to their god (8-10). The men of Jabesh-Gilead of the tribe of Benjamin took their lives in their hands to rescue Saul’s body and armor and burned the body which is an honorable tradition (11-12). Saul’s burial plot was under a (13).