Day 199 July 18
1 Samuel 14:31-52
31 That day, after they had fought the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, the troops were completely exhausted. 32 So the troops tore into the plunder, taking sheep, cattle, and calves. They slaughtered them right on the ground and devoured them with the blood still in them. 33 When it was reported to Saul, “The troops are sinning against the LORD by eating meat with blood in it,” Saul said, “All of you are traitors! Roll a large stone over here right now. 34 Go among the troops and say to them, ‘Everyone must bring their ox or sheep, and slaughter them here with me. Don’t sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.’” So everyone brought whatever they had and slaughtered it there.[i] 35 And Saul built an altar to the LORD. It was the first altar he had built to the LORD.
36 “Let’s go after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until morning,” Saul said. “We won’t leave them a single survivor!” “Do whatever you think is best,” the troops replied. But the priest said, “Let’s ask God first.” 37 So Saul questioned God: “Should I go after the Philistines? Will you hand them over to Israel?” But God did not answer him that day.
38 Then Saul said, “All you officers in the army, come forward! Let’s find out what sin was committed today. 39 As surely as the LORD lives—the one who has saved Israel—even if it’s my own son Jonathan, that person will be executed.” Not one of the soldiers answered him. 40 So Saul said to all Israel, “You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will be on the other.” “Do whatever you think is best,” the troops said.
41 Then Saul asked the LORD God of Israel, “Why haven’t you answered your servant today? If the wrongdoing is mine or my son Jonathan’s, respond with Urim, but if the wrongdoing belongs to your people Israel, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the troops were cleared.
42 Then Saul said, “Decide between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was selected. 43 “Tell me what you’ve done,” Saul said to Jonathan. So Jonathan told him. “I only took a very small taste of honey on the end of my staff,” he said. “And now I’m supposed to die?” 44 “May God deal harshly with me and worse still if you don’t die today!” Saul swore.
45 But the troops said to Saul, “Why should Jonathan die when he has won this great victory for Israel? No way! As surely as the LORD lives, not one hair off his head will fall to the ground, because he did this today with God’s help.” So the troops rescued Jonathan, and he wasn’t executed.
46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines went back to their own country.
47 Saul secured his kingship over Israel. He fought against his enemies on every side: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the king of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he was victorious. 48 He acted heroically, defeating the Amalekites and rescuing Israel from the power of any who had plundered them.
49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were Merab, the oldest, and Michal, the younger daughter. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, Ahimaaz’s daughter. The name of his general was Abner, Ner’s son, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish, Saul’s father, and Ner, Abner’s father, were Abiel’s sons.
52 There was fierce warfare against the Philistines throughout Saul’s lifetime. So whenever Saul saw any strong or heroic man, he would add him to his troops.
1 Corinthians 7:25-31
25 Now, concerning what you wrote about unmarried people: I do not have a command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is worthy of trust.
26 Considering the present distress, I think it is better for a man to stay as he is. 27 Do you have a wife? Then don’t try to get rid of her. Are you unmarried? Then don’t look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you haven’t committed a sin; and if an unmarried woman marries, she hasn’t committed a sin. But I would rather spare you the everyday troubles that married people will have.
29 What I mean, my friends, is this: there is not much time left, and from now on married people should live as though they were not married; 30 those who weep, as though they were not sad; those who laugh, as though they were not happy; those who buy, as though they did not own what they bought; 31 those who deal in material goods, as though they were not fully occupied with them. For this world, as it is now, will not last much longer.
Comment: Paul is writing at a time when he, and the Church, expected the return of Jesus to be “any day now.” So it was natural that he thought marriage – a life long partnership – would not be necessary. It would be preferable, as he says, that people just focus on the Lord’s ways (which seedy Corinth had a hard enough time doing anyway.)
11 The LORD swore an oath to David,
a sure oath he will not revoke:
“One of your own descendants
I will place on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and the statutes I teach them,
then their sons will sit
on your throne for ever and ever.”
13 For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
her poor I will satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.
17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”
Prayer: we remember your promises to David, dear Lord, and trust in you. Amen.