April 19

Read II Samuel 21 -- 22

In Today's Reading:

God punishes Israel with a 3-year famine; seven members of Saul's family put to death; victories over Philistine giants

The days of harvest had once again come, but there was nothing to eat because there was a famine for three successive years (II Samuel 21:1). The famine expressed the judgment of God: If you do not obey the LORDyour God by keeping and following all His commands. . . .The heavensabove your head will be bronze, and the earth beneath you will be iron (Deuteronomy 28:15,23).

It is assumed that this three-year famine occurred during the early years of David's reign, even though it is recorded here more than 25 years later. Recognizing the famine as the judgment of God, David inquired of the LORD. The LORDanswered, It is on account of Saul and his bloodguilty family because he killed the Gibeonites (II Samuel 21:1). Saul violated the covenant that Israel had made with the Gibeonites 400 years earlier. That treaty was still sacred because the covenant had been sworn to in the name of God (Joshua 9:3,27).

The surviving Gibeonites did not ask David for silver or gold to compensate for the murder of loved ones or for the loss of their property (II Samuel 21:4). From their many years of association with the Israelites, the Gibeonites knew the commandment of God. Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of a capital crime.He must surely be put to death (Numbers 35:31). Disobedience to this command meant Israel had been defiled.

The Gibeonites asked permission to hang seven men who were descendants of Saul. Therefore, David was responsible before God to deliver the seven men to the Gibeonites. An exception was made for Mephibosheth, the crippled 5-year-old grandson of Saul, the son of Jonathan (II Samuel 1:4; 4:4; 21:7; I Samuel 20:14-17; 23:16-18; I Chronicles 10).

Throughout the Old Testament, we learn the value God has placed on keeping our promises. Let us recognize the danger of disregarding our moral and spiritual responsibilities. In the eyes of God, not even the king of a nation is above its laws. The LORDwatches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin (see Psalms 1:1-6).

Christ Portrayed:

As the One we call upon for salvation (II Samuel 22:4).There is salvation in no one else: for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (FL) · Country: Albania (3 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Albanian and Greek · Newly opened to evangelism · 40% Muslim; 11% Albanian Orthodox; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Cry and pour out your soul in prayer in time of affliction (Isaiah 26:16).

Optional Reading: Acts 20

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:17