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Bible Pathways 04/06/2002

April 06

Read 1 Samuel 17 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

David confronts a Philistine giant with only a sling l David kills Goliath l David marries Saul's daughter Michal l Jonathan's loyalty to David l What one word explains Saul's attitude toward David, do we face the same temptation?

Verse for Today:

Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. . . . And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. . . . David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him (1 Samuel 18:7).

The Philistines were a continual threat to the Kingdom of Israel all the days of Saul (1 Samuel 14:52). Early in Saul's reign, the giant champion-warrior Goliath challenged the Israelite army to send a man to fight him and let the outcome of their fight decide the war. There is no indication that Saul was willing to accept the challenge.

For 40 days and nights (17:16), Saul and his army cowered while Goliath belittled them. But, when young David came into the camp, without hesitation, he confidently faced Goliath and said: I come to [you] in the Name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom [you have] defied. This day [the Lord will] deliver [you] into [my] hand; and I will [slay] you . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel (17:45-46).

Following his spectacular victory over Goliath, David was welcomed into the palace of King Saul and was made his trusted armor bearer, captain of the guard, and a son-in-law through marriage to Saul's daughter Michal (18:27). We are not told how many years passed until Saul heard women singing David's praises. Saul eventually became exceedingly jealous and attempted to kill David by throwing a javelin at him as he was playing his harp (18:10-11).

The difficulties and handicaps that we face, no matter how severe, are permitted by the Lord to help us develop godly character and become the person whom God can use to accomplish His purposes. As He did with David, God first assures us of His blessings and then we are put to the test to see if we will remain faithful and prove worthy of our high calling. We can be sure that, as long as we remain faithful, no person or combination of circumstances can keep us from being exactly what the Lord wants us to be.

The kind of person we are is not determined by our successes, but by how we react as we face disappointments, trials, suffering, and handicaps. We can let them be used to develop our dependence on the Lord; or we can become bitter, resentful, and revengeful, blaming God and others for our troubles.

The Apostle Paul said that he experienced a painful thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me (2 Corinthians 12:7). He prayed three times that it might depart (12:8). But God replied: My grace is sufficient for [you] (12:9). Paul didn't become critical and say, "Why me? I don't deserve to suffer." Instead, he replied: Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities. . . . I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jonathan, who knew the will of God to make David king and stripped himself of his royal robes and made a covenant promising all that he had to David (1 Samuel 18:3-4). Jesus, knowing the will of God, loved us so much that He cast off His heavenly robes and made a new covenant with man which He sealed in His own blood. Jesus: Who, being in the form of God . . . took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men . . . He humbled Himself, and became obedient [to] death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

Word Studies:

17:6 greaves = leggings; 17:12 went for an old man = was advanced in years; 17:18 take their pledge = bring back news; 17:22 carriage = baggage; 17:39 assayed to go = reluctant to go; proved = tested, tried; 17:40 a scrip = his pouch; 17:43 staves = sticks; 17:52 until = as far as; 17:53 spoiled their tents = looted their tents; 17:56 stripling = youth; 18:9 eyed = viewed with envy and jealousy; 18:11 avoided = escaped; 18:27 full tale = full number.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Edward Schrock (VA) · Pray for your Church · Country: Bahamas (284,000) in the northern portion of the West Indies · Major languages: English and some Creole · Religious freedom · 72% Protestant; 26% Roman Catholic; 1% Afro-American spiritist · Prayer Suggestion: In times of trouble, pray and seek comfort in the Word of God (Psalms 119:50).

Optional Reading: Acts 7

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 2:2

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