180 – June 29
1 Samuel 3
Now the boy Samuel was serving the LORD under Eli. The LORD’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely known. 2 One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room. 3 God’s lamp hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the LORD’s temple, where God’s chest was.
4 The LORD called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said. 5 Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?” “I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did. 6 Again the LORD called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?” “I didn’t call, my son,” Eli replied. “Go and lie down.”
(7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know the LORD, and the LORD’s word hadn’t yet been revealed to him.) 8 A third time the LORD called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?” Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been.
10 Then the LORD came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”
11 The LORD said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of all who hear it tingle! 12 On that day, I will bring to pass against Eli everything I said about his household—every last bit of it! 13 I told him that I would punish his family forever because of the wrongdoing he knew about—how his sons were cursing God, but he wouldn’t stop them. 14 Because of that I swore about Eli’s household that his family’s wrongdoing will never be reconciled by sacrifice or by offering.”
15 Samuel lay there until morning, then opened the doors of the LORD’s house. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel, saying: “Samuel, my son!” “I’m here,” Samuel said.
17 “What did he say to you?” Eli asked. “Don’t hide anything from me. May God deal harshly with you and worse still if you hide from me a single word from everything he said to you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. “He is the LORD, ” Eli said. “He will do as he pleases.”
19 So Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not allowing any of his words to fail. 20 All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was trustworthy as the LORD’s prophet. 21 The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh because the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh through the LORD’s own word.
Comment: may each reader listen as Samuel did: “Speak Lord, I am listening.”
Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders brought their charges against Paul. They begged Festus 3 to do them the favor of having Paul come to Jerusalem, for they had made a plot to kill him on the way. 4 Festus answered, “Paul is being kept a prisoner in Caesarea, and I myself will be going back there soon. 5 Let your leaders go to Caesarea with me and accuse the man if he has done anything wrong.”
6 Festus spent another eight or ten days with them and then went to Caesarea. On the next day he sat down in the judgment court and ordered Paul to be brought in. 7 When Paul arrived, the Jews who had come from Jerusalem stood around him and started making many serious charges against him, which they were not able to prove. 8 But Paul defended himself: “I have done nothing wrong against the Law of the Jews or against the Temple or against the Roman Emperor.”
9 But Festus wanted to gain favor with the Jews, so he asked Paul, “Would you be willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried on these charges before me there?”
10 Paul said, “I am standing before the Emperor’s own judgment court, where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you yourself well know. 11 If I have broken the law and done something for which I deserve the death penalty, I do not ask to escape it. But if there is no truth in the charges they bring against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to the Emperor.”
12 Then Festus, after conferring with his advisers, answered, “You have appealed to the Emperor, so to the Emperor you will go.”
17 Be good to your servant so I can go on living
and keeping your word.
18 Open my eyes so I can examine
the wonders of your Instruction!
19 I’m an immigrant in the land.
Don’t hide your commandments from me!
20 I’m worn out by longing
every minute for your rules!
21 You rebuke the arrogant, accursed people
who stray from your commandments.
22 Take all their insults and contempt away from me
because I’ve kept your laws!
23 Even if rulers gather and scheme against me,
your servant will contemplate your statutes!
24 Yes, your laws are my joy—
they are my most trusted advisors!
25 My life is stuck in the dirt.
Now make me live again according to your promise!
26 I confessed my ways and you answered me.
Now teach me your statutes!
27 Help me understand what your precepts are about
so I can contemplate your wondrous works!
28 My spirit sags because of grief.
Now raise me up according to your promise!
29 Remove all false ways from me;
show mercy to me by means of your Instruction.
30 I’ve chosen the way of faithfulness;
I’m set on your rules.
31 I’m holding tight to your laws, LORD.
Please don’t let me be put to shame.
32 I run the same path as your commandments
because you give my heart insight.
Prayer: your path, O Lord, is the only one I want to take today and tomorrow. I delight in your ways. Amen.