Day 195 July 14
1 Samuel 13:1-14
Saul was 30 years old when he became king, and he ruled over Israel forty-two years. 2 Saul selected three thousand men from Israel. Two thousand of those were with Saul at Michmash in the hills near Bethel, and one thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. He sent the remaining men home. 3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine fort at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. So Saul sounded the alarm throughout the land and said, “Hebrews! Listen up!” 4 When all Israel heard that Saul had attacked the Philistine fort and that Israel was hated by the Philistines, the troops were called to Saul’s side at Gilgal. 5 The Philistines also were gathered to fight against Israel. They brought thirty thousand chariots with them, six thousand cavalry, and as many soldiers as there is sand on the seashore to fight Israel. They marched up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that they were in trouble and that their troops were threatened, they hid in caves, in thickets, among rocks, in tunnels, and in cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan River, going into the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul stayed at Gilgal, and the troops followed him anxiously. 8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel, but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal, and his troops began to desert. 9 So Saul ordered, “Bring me the entirely burned offering and the well-being sacrifices.” Then he offered the entirely burned offering.
10 The very moment Saul finished offering up the entirely burned offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet him and welcome him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?”
“I saw that my troops were deserting,” Saul replied. “You hadn’t arrived by the appointed time, and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash. 12 I thought, The Philistines are about to march against me at Gilgal and I haven’t yet sought the LORD’s favor. So I took control of myself and offered the entirely burned offering.”
13 “How stupid of you to have broken the commands the LORD your God gave you!” Samuel told Saul. “The LORD would have established your rule over Israel forever, 14 but now your rule won’t last. The LORD will search for a man following the Lord’s own heart, and the LORD will commission him as leader over God’s people, because you didn’t keep the LORD’s command.”
1 Corinthians 4:14-21
14 I am not writing this to shame you. You are my dear children, and I want to warn you. 15 You may have 10,000 believers in Christ watching over you. But you don’t have many fathers. I became your father by serving Christ Jesus and telling you the good news. 16 So I’m asking you to follow my example.
17 That’s the reason I’m sending Timothy to you. He is like a son to me, and I love him. He is faithful in serving the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in serving Christ Jesus. And that agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become proud. You act as if I weren’t coming to you. 19 But I will come very soon, if that’s what the Lord wants. Then I will find out how those proud people are talking. I will also find out what power they have. 20 The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk. It is a matter of power.
21 Which do you want? Should I come to you with a whip? Or should I come in love and with a gentle spirit?
Comment: too often we think of Paul as a theologian or brilliant writer, when he was a mere pastor trying to motivate Jesus’ church to be more like Jesus.
1-4 “They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young”—this is how Israel tells it— “They’ve kicked me around ever since I was young, but they never could keep me down. Their plowmen plowed long furrows up and down my back; Then God ripped the harnesses of the evil plowmen to shreds.”
5-8 Oh, let all those who hate Zion grovel in humiliation; Let them be like grass in shallow ground that withers before the harvest, Before the farmhands can gather it in, the harvesters get in the crop, Before the neighbors have a chance to call out, “Congratulations on your wonderful crop! We bless you in God’s name!”
Prayer: Lord, our God, lead us in the ways of compassion, justice, and peace. Amen.