Bible Pathways Daily Bible Reading Devotional

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Bible Pathways 04/05/2003

April 5

Read I Samuel 14:24 -- 16

In Today's Reading:

Saul's foolish oath; Saul commanded to destroy all Amalekites; he sins by sparing the enemy king; David anointed Israel's next king; Saul rejected by God as king

Few kings in biblical history were blessed with as many advantages as Saul. But he soon forgot the source of his success. He became more concerned with impressing the people than with pleasing the Lord. It was not long before Saul exposed his true character when Samuel came to him and said: The LORD of Hosts says: I witnessedwhat the Amalekites did to the Israelites . . . as they were coming up from Egypt. . . . (You must) completely destroy everything they have. . . . Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys (I Samuel 15:2-3).

Saul defeated the Amalekites and then erected a memorial to himself at Carmel to commemorate his victory (15:12). He then returned. When Samuel met him, Saul responded to Samuel, But I did obey the LORD! . . . I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites (15:20). Although there had been a great victory, Saul had disobeyed the command of God by sparing the Amalekite king. He tried to shift the blame by saying: The troops took sheep and cattle . . . to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal (15:21). Saul seemed blind to his own disobedience. To utterly destroy would have been a true burnt offering to God. But, when people kept the best, it was for themselves to eat at their next festival.

Saul was more concerned about his public image before the elders of Israel than with his right relationship with God. Then Samuel said, Does the LORD take pleasure in . . . sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Know this:to obey is better than a sacrifice, to pay attention is betterthan the fat of rams. . . . Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king (15:22-23). Saul finally confessed his partial obedience, saying: I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. . . .I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders . . . and before Israel (15:24,30).

There is nothing so deceitful to one's heart than acknowledging Christ as Savior and Lord, while continuing a self-centered life of sin.

Jesus said . . . If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples (John 8:31).

Christ Revealed:

Through David's name (I Samuel 16:13), which means beloved. David is a type of Jesus, whom the heavenly Father called: My beloved Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Peter King (NY) and Sec. Colin Powell (Department of State) · Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula · Major languages: Arabic and Farsi · Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing · 95% Muslim; 4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Let your faith in the word of God overrule all fears (Proverbs 3:6).

Optional Reading: Acts 6

Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 2:2

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