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Bible Pathways - Apr. 6, 2008


April 6

1 Samuel 17

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Today we read one of the most heartening stories of the Bible — David and Goliath, who ridiculed David for showing up at the battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. Regardless of how well you know the events, you will be surprised by the indepth insight that God will give you. What weapon did David reject in this battle? Why is it so important to memorize 17:47?

David's popularity with the people began immediately following his victory over Goliath. David's advancement and King Saul's decline appear to simply be the outcome of human events, yet it is the hand of God working through the normal, everyday experiences of life. The basic differences between the two men are obvious. Saul allowed his own self-interest to destroy him, but David was concerned with glorifying the Lord when he said: All this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands (17:47). Jesus reminds us that this basic principle is still true today when He said: Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). Not by might, nor by power, But by My Spirit, saith the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).

David's victories were too much for the jealous, pride-filled heart of Saul. The deadly demon of jealousy had a firm grip on Saul. He was consumed with a bitter spirit as he recognized that this young shepherd boy was gradually displacing him from a position of influence and honor which was once exclusively his. Jealousy so ruled him that he even determined to murder David, although he knew David was honored and approved by God.

King Saul could have been the first to challenge and defeat Goliath and join the Hebrew heroes who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises (Hebrews 11:33). Instead, he is an example of failure to surrender to the will of God. In contrast, young David considered the giant insignificant compared to the ability of the living God to protect His people. We are warned: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (12:15). Faith is developed one day at a time as we continue to read all of His Word in order to obey the Lord and honor Him regardless of how it may affect our own interests or how powerful our opposing "giants" may appear.

There are many like Saul who are eager to destroy their competition if, in doing so, it advances their own agenda.

Murder is not the only means of destruction. Some have been destroyed as effectively by a slanderous tongue, a reminder that whenever God's servant is being used and blessed of the Lord, he may expect to be envied, slandered, and hated. Jesus said: Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

Thought for Today:

A raging fire can start with a small spark. In the same manner, a jealous thought can turn into raging hatred.

Christ Portrayed:

By Jonathan, who knew the will of God was to make David king and stripped himself of his royal robes and made a covenant promising all that he had to David (I Samuel 18:3-4). Jesus, knowing the will of God, cast off His heavenly robes and took upon Him the form of a servant . . . and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

Word Studies:

17:6 greaves =bronze leggings; 17:18 take their pledge =bring back news of how they are doing; 17:22 carriage =baggage; 17:39 assayed to go =was reluctant to go; proved =tested, tried; 17:40 a scrip =his small pouch; 17:43 staves =sticks; 17:53 spoiled their tents =rooted their tents; 17:56 stripling =youth; 18:9 eyed =kept his eye upon David with envy and jealousy; 18:11 avoided =escaped; 18:27 full tale =full number.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Thomas & Mary Beaghen • Government Officials: Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), Rep. Joseph Courtney (CT), and Rep. Timothy Walz (MN) • Country: Kazakhstan (15.4 million) central Asia • Major languages: Kazakh and Russian • Religious tolerance • 47% Muslim (largely Sunni); 25% Russian Orthodox; 2% Lutheran; 2% Catholic; ,1% Jewish; 2.3% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for a spirit of humility and submission before the Lord (John 3:30-31).

Optional Reading: Acts 7

Memory Verse for the Week: I Samuel 17:47

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