Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 04/04/2003

April 4

Read I Samuel 12 -- 14:23

In Today's Reading:

The people have their king; other battles with the Philistines; office of the priesthood usurped by Saul

Saul, the first king of Israel, was a man of great ability, but he had a fatal flaw. Perhaps three years after Saul became king, his first great failure occurred when he trusted his own judgment and not the Lord. The Philistines had gathered to fight against Israel (with) 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and troops as numerous as the sand on the seashore (I Samuel 13:5). The Israelites were greatly outnumbered and, humanly speaking, they appeared doomed to defeat.

Realizing the military might of the Philistines, the majority of Saul's army hid themselves in caves. . . . Saul registered the troopswho were with him about 600 men (13:6,15). Saul realized that their only hope was in God. He waited seven days . . . but Samuel didn't come. . . . So Saul. . . . offered the burnt offering.Just as he finished . . . Samuel arrived (13:8-10). Saul's decision to assume the role of priest violated the word of God. Saul first made an excuse: When I saw that the troops were deserting me . . .I thought, the Philistines will now descend on me . . . and I haven't sought the LORD's favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering (13:11-12).

The burnt offering symbolized surrender to God; but, when Saul assumed the position of priest, the sacrifice became an abomination to the Lord (15:22-23; see Numbers 16:1-40; Proverbs 21:27).What seemed to Saul a tardiness in Samuel's arrival was, in reality, a test by God of Saul's obedience to Him. Samuel spoke bluntly to Saul, You've been foolish. You have not kept the command which the LORD your God gave you (I Samuel 13:13-14).

Though we may consider Saul's disobedience of little consequence, the Lord said that what Saul did was a sin. How easily we can deceive ourselves into believing that God will be pleased with our accomplishments for Him even though we obey only what pleases us.

We are all tempted at times to disregard what the Bible states is wrong, assuming that circumstances justify us. Saul's presumption demonstrates the importance of always obeying God's word. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

Christ Portrayed:

By Samuel the intercessor (I Samuel 12:23). Right now Jesus is interceding for believers. Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Katherine Harris (FL), Rep. Melissa Hart (PA), Rep. Darlene Hooley (OR), and Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) · Country: Ukraine (52 million) east-central Europe · Major languages: Ukrainian and Russian · Religious freedom · 55% Ukrainian/Autocephalous/Old Believers/Armenian Orthodox; 15% Catholic; 3% Protestant; 1% Jews; .5% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 2:1-6).

Optional Reading: Acts 5

Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 2:2

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