March 21, 2023
1 SAMUEL 6-10
DAY 80 JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
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Focus Verses For Today: 1 Samuel 8:6-9
Today’s journey begins with the Philistines returning the ark of the Lord to Israel. After the ark is returned, Samuel leads Israel against the Philistines, defeating them at Mitzpah. The Israelites ask Samuel for a king.
Take some time to pray for God’s guidance as we study 1 Samuel 6-10. While you are in prayer you may have something you want to share with the Lord or maybe seek His help for someone. Read 1 Samuel 6-10. Let’s begin.
1 Samuel 6-10: The Philistines wanted to return the ark of the Lord to Israel, as the five leaders of the Philistines and their cities were suffering. To prove that the suffering was caused by the God of Israel, they placed the ark on a wooden cart, along with golden and silver gifts, drawn by two cows who had young calves penned up. If the cows went to Beth Shemesh (Israel), rather than their calves, the Philistines would know their afflictions were caused by the God of Israel. The cows delivered the ark of the Lord to Beth Shemesh. God struck down 70 inhabitants of Beth Shemesh for mishandling the ark of the Lord, and the ark and sent it on to Kiriath Jearim, where it remained for 20 years. Samuel encouraged the people of Israel to forsake the false gods they worshiped and give all of themselves to the true God, the God of Israel. The people confessed their sins to God and put away their idol worship. Samuel leads them against, and defeats, the Philistines at Mitzpah. Israel was at peace throughout Samuel’s lifetime. As Samuel grew old, the true heart of many, maybe most, of the people of Israel were revealed. Rather than rejoice and serve the Lord honorably in the positions He had given them, Joel and Abijah, the sons of Samuel, used their positions to steal from the people the Lord had selected them to serve. Samuel, at the Lord’s direction, anoints Saul as King of Israel. Some people of Israel were unhappy with God’s selection of Saul as their king. Saul remained silent even though he knew of some were unhappy with his selection as king. (1 Samuel 6:1-10:27)
Our focus verses for today:
6But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
(1 Samuel 8:6-9, NIV)
Our focus verses reveal that the people of Samuel’s time had a real struggle, as we do today, of separating themselves from the things that are displeasing to God. The people, like us today, had forgotten that God had delivered them time and time again from their captors and restored them to a nation, a people, who were ruled by God. The elders of Israel came to Samuel and said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.” (1 Samuel 8:5,NIV) What were they saying to Samuel? Were they claiming that only he, Samuel, had a meaningful relationship with the Lord? Were they merely using Samuel’s son’s actions as an excuse for wanting a king? Was the truth that they had succumbed to the enticement of sin? The people of Israel had chosen to follow the path of Adam and Eve: they chose to reject the King of Kings, the Creator of all things, the God of Israel. Why?
As we contemplate the question why? Why would they reject the God of Israel who repeatedly delivered them from their enemies? As we contemplate their shortcomings, it is to contemplate our own shortcomings. What sin do we allow in our lives? What sin do you welcome into your life? Every time we embrace sin, we reject God.
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