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Bible Pathways 04/09/2002

April 09

Read 1 Samuel 25 -- 27

In Today's Reading:

The nation mourns as Samuel dies and is laid to rest in his small village of Ramah l David takes his men into the wilderness where Nabal, a wicked landowner, is insulting to David's men l Nabal dies in his sleep l David marries Nabal's lovely wife Abigail l Saul continues his relentless pursuit of David l Once again David spares Saul as he and his men enter Saul's sleeping camp l David escapes into the land of the Philistines.

Verse for Today:

And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in (near) his house at Ramah (1 Samuel 25:1).

Samuel was one of the greatest spiritual giants in Israel's history and is listed as one of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32); but just one sentence records the death of this grand old prophet. During this tumultuous time in Israel's history it would seem that, of all people, Samuel was most needed in Israel. However, the all-wise God, Who controls the universe, knew what was best.

No one was in greater need of comfort and encouragement by Samuel than David or of guidance than King Saul. Samuel had remained faithful to God and His people: God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way (1 Samuel 12:23).

Comfort and guidance is something we all crave and need. This is especially true in the trying experiences of sorrow, distress, and grief that we face when a loved one dies. Those of us who have lost loved ones know what a word of compassion can mean in those difficult hours. As we see others suffering, our Heavenly Father has said: Comfort My people, saith . . . God (Isaiah 40:1).

We are tempted at times to think that death has come to the wrong person or has come at the wrong time, especially when a child is left without a mother who was taken by death. It seems that life should have been prolonged until the teenager became an adult. We also may not understand why so many older Christians suffer so long day after day or why children die at such a young age. Familiar as we are with death, the ways of God regarding it may seem strange to us. But, without a doubt, God comforts the brokenhearted. Because of His inexhaustible love we are enabled to endure all difficulties. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me (Psalms 23:4). In our sufferings, sorrows, and shattered dreams, the Lord is ever present within us. God never abandons His children but leads them to look beyond their grief and trust in His tender love to comfort our broken spirits. Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). For we [do not have a] high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. . . . Let us therefore come boldly [to] the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Death for the Christian is an entrance into the fullness of eternal life, a promotion from this world's suffering, and a welcome home by our wonderful Lord. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Revelation 21:4).

Last, but not least, the death of loved ones makes Heaven all the more desirable for those who remain. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalms 116:15).

Christ Revealed:

By Abigail's efforts to make peace between David and Nabal (1 Samuel 25:21-28). God was in Christ, reconciling the world [to] Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Word Studies:

25:3 churlish = rude, ill-mannered; 25:14 railed = insulted; 25:15 conversant with = associated with; 25:21 requited = returned; 25:28 a sure house = a lasting dynasty; 25:29 bound in the bundle of life = protected in the cave of the living; 26:7 bolster = pillow; 27:10 road = raid i.e. fighting; 27:11 so will be his manner = was his custom or policy.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Earl Hilliard (AL) and Rep. Joe Scarborough (FL) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Barbados (259,000) on the island farthest east in the West Indies · Major language: English · Religious freedom · 79% Protestant; 8% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Rise early in the morning to lift up your prayers to God and hope in His Word (Psalms 119:147).

Optional Reading: Acts 10

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 John 2:5

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