178 – June 27
1 Samuel 2
12 Now Eli’s sons were despicable men who didn’t know the LORD. 13 This was how the priest was supposed to act with the people: Whenever anyone made a sacrifice, while the meat was boiling, the priest’s assistant would come with a three-pronged fork in hand. 14 He would thrust it into the cauldron or the pot. Whatever the fork brought up, the priest would take for himself. This is how it was done for all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.
15 But with Eli’s sons, even before the fat was burned, the priest’s assistant would come and say to the person offering the sacrifice, “Give the priest some meat to roast. He won’t accept boiled meat from you.” 16 If anyone said, “Let the fat be burned off first, as usual, then take whatever you like for yourself,” the assistant would reply, “No, hand it over now. If not, I’ll take it by force.” 17 The sin of these priestly assistants was very serious in the LORD’s sight because they were disrespecting the Lord’s own offering.
18 Now Samuel was serving the LORD. He was a young boy, clothed in a linen priestly vest.[f] 19 His mother would make a small robe for him and take it to him every year when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife: “May the LORD replace the child of this woman that you gave back to the LORD.” Then they would return home. 21 The LORD paid attention to Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the LORD’s service.
22 Eli was very old, but he heard everything his sons were doing to the Israelites, and how they had sex with the women who served at the meeting tent’s entrance. 23 Eli said to his sons, “Why are you doing these terrible things that I’m hearing about from everybody? 24 No, my sons. Don’t do this. The report I hear spreading among God’s people isn’t good. 25 If someone sins against someone else, God can intercede; but if someone sins against the LORD, who will intercede then?” But they wouldn’t obey their father because the LORD wanted to kill them. 26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel kept growing up and was more and more liked by both the LORD and the people.
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”
4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!” 5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”
6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)
9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”
Comment: ever feel like calling someone a whitewashed wall? The Lord comes to Paul with encouragement: take courage! He knows all about plots to kill the saints, but the Spirit keeps us sustained and on the road of mission.
17 I won’t die—no, I will live
and declare what the LORD has done.
18 Yes, the LORD definitely disciplined me,
but he didn’t hand me over to death.
19 Open the gates of righteousness for me
so I can come in and give thanks to the LORD!
20 This is the LORD’s gate;
those who are righteous enter through it.
21 I thank you because you answered me,
because you were my saving help.
22 The stone rejected by the builders
is now the main foundation stone!
23 This has happened because of the LORD;
it is astounding in our sight!
24 This is the day the LORD acted;
we will rejoice and celebrate in it!
25 LORD, please save us!
LORD, please let us succeed!
26 The one who enters in the LORD’s name is blessed;
we bless all of you from the LORD’s house.
27 The LORD is God!
He has shined a light on us!
So lead the festival offering with ropes
all the way to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God—I will give thanks to you!
You are my God—I will lift you up high!
29 Give thanks to the LORD because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever.
Comment: could this have been one of Paul’s prayers?
Prayer: You are my God! I will give thanks to you because you are good! Amen.