176 – June 25
1 Samuel 1:21-28
21 When Elkanah and all his household went up to make the annual sacrifice and keep his solemn promise, 22 Hannah didn’t go. “I’ll bring the boy when he is weaned,” she told her husband, “so he can be presented to the LORD and stay there permanently. I will offer him as a nazirite forever.”
23 “Do what seems best to you,” said her husband Elkanah. “Stay here until you’ve weaned him. But may the LORD bring to pass what you’ve promised.” So the woman stayed home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24 When he had been weaned and was still very young, Hannah took him, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a jar of wine, and brought him to the LORD’s house at Shiloh. 25 They slaughtered the bull, then brought the boy to Eli.
26 “Excuse me, sir!” Hannah said. “As surely as you live, sir, I am the woman who stood here next to you, praying to the LORD. 27 I prayed for this boy, and the LORD gave me what I asked from him. 28 So now I give this boy back to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is given to the LORD.” Then they worshipped there before the LORD.
1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” 2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ 8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. 10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’
19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr[a] Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
Comment: this is Paul’s version of his conversion experience. Compare it with Acts 9.
1 Praise the LORD, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
2 For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD!
Prayer: may Psalm 117 be my daily prayer. Amen.