Day 188 July 7
1 Samuel 9:1-11
There was a wealthy man from the tribe of Benjamin named Kish. He was the son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite. 2 He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. No one in Israel was more handsome than Saul, and he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.
3 When the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servant boys with you and go look for the donkeys.” 4 So he traveled through the highlands of Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, but they didn’t find anything. They traveled through the land of Shaalim, but still found nothing, so they crossed back into the land of Benjamin, but they still couldn’t find the donkeys. 5 When they came to the territory of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, “Let’s go back before my father stops worrying about the donkeys and starts worrying about us.”
6 But the boy said to him, “Listen, there’s a man of God in this town. He’s famous—everything he says actually happens! So let’s go there. Maybe he’ll be able to tell us which way we should go.”
7 Saul said to his young boy, “But if we go, what should we bring to the man? The food in our bags is all gone. We don’t have any gift to offer the man of God. Do we have anything?”
8 “Here,” the boy answered Saul, “I’ve got a quarter-shekel of silver. I’ll give that to the man of God so he tells us which way to go.” (9 Earlier in Israel, someone going to consult with God would say, “Let’s go to the seer,” because the people who are called prophets today were previously called seers.)
10 Saul said to the boy, “Great idea! Let’s go.” So they went into the town where the man of God lived. 11 They were going up the hill to the town when they met some young women coming out to draw water. “Is the seer here?” they asked them.
11 After three months we sailed away on a ship from Alexandria, called “The Twin Gods,” which had spent the winter in the island. 12 We arrived in the city of Syracuse and stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed on and arrived in the city of Rhegium. The next day a wind began to blow from the south, and in two days we came to the town of Puteoli. 14 We found some believers there who asked us to stay with them a week. And so we came to Rome. 15 The believers in Rome heard about us and came as far as the towns of Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and was greatly encouraged.
16 When we arrived in Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with a soldier guarding him. 17 After three days Paul called the local Jewish leaders to a meeting. When they had gathered, he said to them, “My fellow Israelites, even though I did nothing against our people or the customs that we received from our ancestors, I was made a prisoner in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 After questioning me, the Romans wanted to release me, because they found that I had done nothing for which I deserved to die. 19 But when the Jews opposed this, I was forced to appeal to the Emperor, even though I had no accusation to make against my own people. 20 That is why I asked to see you and talk with you. As a matter of fact, I am bound in chains like this for the sake of him for whom the people of Israel hope.”
21 They said to him, “We have not received any letters from Judea about you, nor have any of our people come from there with any news or anything bad to say about you. 22 But we would like to hear your ideas, because we know that everywhere people speak against this party to which you belong.”
23 So they set a date with Paul, and a large number of them came that day to the place where Paul was staying. From morning till night he explained to them his message about the Kingdom of God, and he tried to convince them about Jesus by quoting from the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets. 24 Some of them were convinced by his words, but others would not believe. 25 So they left, disagreeing among themselves, after Paul had said this one thing: “How well the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah to your ancestors! 26 For he said,
‘Go and say to this people: You will listen and listen, but not understand; you will look and look, but not see,27 because this people’s minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and closed their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes would see, their ears would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.’” 28 And Paul concluded: “You are to know, then, that God’s message of salvation has been sent to the Gentiles. They will listen!” 29
30 For two years Paul lived in a place he rented for himself, and there he welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He preached about the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking with all boldness and freedom.
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2 Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do your good.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we will remain faithful to you and seek to do your good. Amen.