Highlights In Today's Reading:
After Saul rashly blunders through 2-3 years (13:1), he finally builds an altar and seeks the direction of the Lord (14:35)! Full of self-will, his incomplete obedience in chapter 15 is disobedience. We all need to take Samuel's advice to heart (15:22-23). God replaces Saul the king with David the shepherd boy who becomes the God-ordained King David. (15:35; 16:1,12-13). He foreshadows the Savior God promised — our High Priest, Prophet, and King. Don't miss the "rags to riches" account of the lowly shepherd boy.
The Law given to Israel at Mount Sinai forbade everyone from making sacrifices unto God except the priests (Num. 3:10,38; 18:1-7). But, Saul disobeyed the Word of God, fearing the armies of the Philistines, and offered the burnt offering (sacrifice) (I Sam. 13:9,12). Later, after more disobedience, Samuel rebuked him, saying: Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice . . . Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king (15:22-23).
God knew the faithful character and loyalty of the one He could call a man after His own heart (13:14; Acts 13:22). He instructed Samuel to go to the family of Jesse in Bethlehem and anoint the son to whom the Lord would direct him (I Sam. 16:3). Samuel promptly obeyed the command of God — even risking his life by going to Bethlehem and arranging a sacrifice to God with Jesse and his sons. He knew that if King Saul found out what he was doing, he would be put to death (16:1-5).
Samuel was impressed by the appearance of Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse, and said to himself: Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (16:6-7).
Finally David, the youngest and a shepherd, was called and the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he . . . and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. . . . But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (16:12-14).
It is human nature to base our opinions on what we see or hear, or to be influenced by prejudice, social pressure, or personal desires. Our judgment is, at best, imperfect. God often honors and blesses those who are least esteemed by others.
We can learn much from the prophet who prayed: Oh Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23).
Thought for Today:
Our circumstances can quickly change for the best when we obey the Word of God.
Through David's name (I Sam. 16:13) which means beloved. David is a type of Jesus, whom the Heavenly Father called: My beloved Son (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35).
14:24 adjured =b> threatened under oath; 14:31 smote =b> struck down; 14:41 perfect lot =b> right answer; 14:47 took the kingdom =b> took possession; vexed =b> harassed; 14:52 sore =b> fierce, severe; 15:29 repent =b> change His mind; 15:32 delicately =b> fearfully; 16:18 comely =b> handsome.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka Shortwave Broadcasts for the week sponsored by Mr. Gerald H. Murphy • Government Official: Rep. Peter King (NY) • Country: Greece (10.5 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Greek and English • Government restrictions on witnessing to others about Christ • 87% Orthodox; 8% Old Calendar Orthodox; 2% Catholic; 1.2% Muslim; .5% Jehovah's Witness; .3% Protestant; 1% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and fast in secret so that only the Lord knows (Acts 10:30).
Optional Reading: Acts 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:9-10