Day 182 July 1
1 Samuel 4:14-22
14 Eli heard the sound of the cry and said, “What’s all this noise about?” The man hurriedly went and told Eli the news. (15 Now Eli was 98 years old, and his eyes stared straight ahead, unable to see.) 16 The man told Eli, “I’m the one who just came from the battle. I fled from the battle today.” “What’s the report, my son?” Eli asked.
17 The messenger answered, “Israel has fled from the Philistines. The army has suffered a massive defeat. Also, your own two sons Hophni and Phinehas have died, and God’s chest has been taken!” 18 At the mention of God’s chest, Eli fell backward off the chair beside the gate. His neck broke, and he died because he was an old man and overweight. Eli had judged Israel for forty years.
19 Now Eli’s daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant and about to give birth. When she heard the news that God’s chest had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she doubled over and gave birth because her labor pains overwhelmed her. 20 As she was about to die, the women standing by helping her said, “Don’t be afraid. You’ve given birth to a son!” But she didn’t answer or pay them any attention. 21 She named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has left Israel,” referring to the capture of God’s chest and the death of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 “The glory has left Israel because God’s chest has been taken,” she said.
Comment: the Ark of the Covenant, God’s chest, was the sign of God’s presence and approval. To live outside of God’s approval was unthinkable.
26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and began to defend himself:
2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg of you to listen to me patiently.
4 “All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 7 a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this hope, your Excellency, that I am accused by Jews! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
9 “Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. 11 By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.
12 “With this in mind, I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 when at midday along the road, your Excellency,[c] I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew[d] language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.’ 15 I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me[e] and to those in which I will appear to you. 17 I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
57 The Lord is my possession. I promise to do what you have said.
58 I’ve sought your favor with all my heart; I have mercy on me according to your word.
59 I’ve considered my ways and turned my feet back to your laws.
60 I hurry to keep your commandments— I never put it off!
61 Though the wicked have surrounded me with their ropes, I haven’t forgotten your Instruction
62 I get up in the middle of the night to give thanks to you because of your righteous rules.
63 I’m a friend to everyone who honors you and to all who keep your precepts.
64 Lord, the world is full of your faithful love! Teach me your statutes!
81 My whole being yearns for your saving help! I wait for your promise.
82 My eyes are worn out looking for your word. “When will you comfort me?” I ask,
83 because I’ve become like a bottle dried up by smoke, though I haven’t forgotten your statutes.
84 How much more time does your servant have?When will you bring my oppressors to justice?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me—those people who act against your Instruction.
86 All your commandments are true, but people harass me for no reason. Help me!
87 They’ve almost wiped me off the face of the earth! Meanwhile, I haven’t abandoned your precepts!
88 Make me live again according to your faithful love so I can keep the law you’ve given!
Comment: Eli and his son’s lost sight of all that Psalm 119 reminds us.
Prayer: May the words of my mouth and medications of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. Amen