Saul is a conflicted leader. He seems like the answer to the people’s demands for a strong king. God even allows Samuel to anoint him. The problems start after that. He serves as a king, but he can’t seem to trust God. He can’t leave things well enough alone. He keeps getting in the way with his own ideas about what he’s supposed to do. He sacrifices and offers worship to God when all the Lord wants is for him to be faithful.
When we bargain with God, do we do the same thing? Do we THINK God wants one thing when in reality God desires not fancy clothes, good church services and giving away a lot of money – God wants us to change our hearts, not our appearance, to give well, not necessary to give a lot. Something to think about, I guess. On to 1 Samuel!
- “Here I am…” Is there any more powerful words of acceptance in the Bible? Samuel is eager to serve, to help, and to be the minister/prophet he was dedicated to be. The problem with that? He’s going to get a tough prophetic assignment. Careful what you wish for, I guess.
- What a turn of events – The Israelites look like they’re going to lose, so they bring out their secret weapon: the ark of the covenant. This very presence of God will surely turn the tide…until it doesn’t. Israel still loses and now the ark is captured. Way to go, guys.
- Poor Eli. He falls over from the bad news and breaks his neck?
- Ichabod means “The glory has departed from Israel.” I never knew that one. So, why would you name your son Icahbod? Mr. and Mrs. Crane must not have thought too fondly about the good news of becoming parents.
- Is there anyone over the age of 12 who doesn’t see this picture when they think of the power of the ark of the covenant? I’ll spare the face melting stuff but you know you remember it.
- Everybody seems to want a king. Why? What is it about doing things your neighbors are doing that makes it so attractive? I love that Samuel warns them over and over again, but they still choose monarchy. How’s that gonna work out? Let’s go find a king!
- Hello, Saul.
- Qualifications for Saul as king? 1 Samuel 9:2 – “There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders about everyone else.” So, he’s good looking and really tall. That makes sense. Maybe that’s how I’ll vote in the next election.
- “Is Saul also among the prophets?” That became a proverb…or so we are told in 1 Samuel 10:12. This march toward the throne is certainly less traditional than one would expect. Still, here comes the handsome, tall, prophesying Saul, ready to take charge.
- 1 Samuel 13 begins with a very curious verse that is missing words. The length of Saul’s reign is unknown in this verse. Acts 13:21 notes Saul reigned for 40 years.
- Saul loses his kingdom when he sacrifices to God, rather than trusting God would fulfill the promises made to Saul. Trust and faith…that’s more important here than right worship.
- Much like Saul, Jonathan’s introduction includes him traveling with an unknown companion. Who are these people?
- It seems like Saul has been at war since he first came on the scene. Rough time to be the kind, I’d say.
Posted in Bible in 90 Days
Tagged 1 Samuel, Ark of the Covenant, Bargaining with God, Better Call Saul, Ichabod Crane, Jonathan, King, Monarchy, Philistines, Prophecy, Samuel, Saul
Probably a weird thing to say, but Judges is my favorite book in the OT. It feels like the Wild West. There is a sense of law vs. lawlessness in the claiming of this new land. And much like the European visitors who tried to take the land from the Native Americans, the would-be settlers were not always behaving as though they were righteous or just. Judges gives us a picture of people vacillating between right and wrong. It feels real, gritty, and more relatable than the wanderings in the desert we’ve been dealing with the last couple of weeks. Still, this book also contains some HORRIFIC passages, and none are worse than the Jephthah’s daughter debacle. What a disaster of a promise Jephthah makes and what an awful result.
On to the notes!
- Judges 1 – Here’s the first reference to Jerusalem (I think?). Amazing to see this important city enter through violence. It is still such a divided place today and it began as a divided place in Judges. Just a preview of what’s to come…
- Funny how just a generation after Joshua dies, the people forget the Lord. Do we have the same problem? Do we take for granted the exploits and sacrifices of our parents? Grandparents and beyond?
- “Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…” We run into this phrase an awful lot over the next 20+ chapters, don’t we?
- Othniel doesn’t get very much of a story, just a short paragraph in chapter 3. I wish there was more to his backstory.
- Judges 3:12-30 – WOW that’s a lot of violence all of the sudden. Killing a guy in the bathroom? Again, best book in the OT. Wild stories.
- I love the introduction of Deborah. Here we have a very strong female leader who takes up the mantle when the male general is unwilling to do so alone. If this isn’t great rationale for female leadership and ordination, then I don’t know what is. Deborah is called by God to lead the people with her gifts, talents, and faith. I want my daughter to know this story. I want my son to know this story. I want all people to read the scripture with an eye toward the whole – what is God’s ultimate message about our relationships with one another, strangers, friends, and even our enemies.
- Judges 6 – The Sign of the Fleece – Gideon may be blessed, anointed, and touched by God, but he doesn’t have a ton of trust in God, does he? It’s funny how he test God once and when God passes, he decides to retest God. What does he think, the first time was a fluke? God got lucky?
- And the very next chapter we get an army chosen because they drink like dogs? This stuff is hilarious, awesome, fantastic, and hopeful. I really, really enjoy this book.
- Judges 11 – Jephthah’s vow feels like the beginning of the end for the book. Why do we make deals with God that God does not ask us to make? Why would you bargain with God when there is no need to bargain? This poor girl. What an awful story…
- And onto the scene burst Samson! Here is yet another child of promise, born to a previously barren mother. There will be many more of these individuals in the scriptures that follow. My favorite Grateful Dead song? “Samson and Delilah” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQXv4JL0Fzg
- The Samson chronicles are great to teach kids…until everybody starts dying…and we have to deal with the weird sexual stuff…and the genocide…and animal abuse…and blindings…and, well, I’ll take back my previous statement.
- And after Samson comes another passage I didn’t really learn in Sunday School. Judges 19 describes the horrible rape of two women and the civil war that follows between the various tribes involved in the incident. You’ll notice that God is absent from this section. The people were without any clear leadership, faith, or hope.
- Ruth was one of the first books I preached on when I became thepastor at The Peoples church. I love the way this book provides a hope that was missing in Judges. It’s kind of a palate cleanser for the end of the last book. Now THIS is a story you can teach to all ages. After the NC-17 Judges, we have the more digestible PG Ruth…with a few scenes of adult situations (threashing room floor comes to mind).
- Who are the people picking up the sheaves in our culture? Do we leave the sheaves out for them?
- Names are important.
- Everyone has the responsibility for another person. We are all called to take care of others, aren’t we?
- Boaz and Ruth are part of the lineage of David, and a little farther down the line, the genealogy of Jesus. Makes you start to wonder about all the questionable characters in Jesus’ background.
- We’re just starting this book today.
- We encounter yet another child of promise. Hannah prays for a child and is eventually rewarded. So what does she do with her new baby? Gives him away to the temple.
Posted in Bible in 90 Days
Tagged 1 Samuel, Bible, Bible in 90 Days, Boaz, Confusing, Deborah, Difficult, Gideon, Grateful Dead, Hannah, Jephthah, Jephthah's Daughter, Joshua, Judges, OT, Reading, Ruth, Samson, Samson and Delialah