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Today’s readings are 1 Samuel 28-31
Today we finish up the book of 1 Samuel and tomorrow we move on to 2 Samuel. However, keep in mind that these were originally one book so it really isn’t so much beginning a new story as it is turning a page. In fact, the whole Bible can be accurately seen that way.
There is some behavior by key characters in today’s readings which conflicts with and outright goes against YHWH’s teachings so you will likely have some things stand out to you after having built that foundational knowledge by reading the first five books of the Bible. Recall that just because we see something in the Bible does not mean that the behavior was condoned by YHWH or in line with His will.
Saul, Saul… Deut 18:9-12 (and other passages in Scripture as well) warn us against seeking out mediums and consulting with the dead but Saul marches right up and does just that, only to be told that YHWH has already passed sentence on him and nothing can be done to stop what has been set into motion. We are told that this is part of what contributed to his death in 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
What prompted Saul to go to these desperate measures to begin with?
6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. 1 Samuel 28:6
Saul had been cut off from YHWH. He was living in a state of spiritual darkness and isolation. How did he go from being the anointed king of YHWH’s chosen people to being a person YHWH would not even answer no matter how he cried out? Where David will continue to show himself a man after YHWH’s own heart (that doesn’t mean he doesn’t stumble, but when he does he is repentant and returns to YHWH), Saul has shown himself to be a man who feels he is above the accountability required of everyone else. “Surely the God of Israel will not rebuke the king of Israel!” is his attitude. More than that, even, he seems to justify his own sin by his own heart and thoughts. Not only is he not repentant, he does not see anything he needs to repent from.
In short, he is an antinomian. An antinomian is someone who recognizes the law but feels it does not apply to them. Word time! The key concepts we need to understand are: Nomos, Anomos, and Antinomos. Nomos means law, in our case we can think of it as YHWH’s commandments. Anomos is someone who is unaware of the law. Antinomos is someone who is aware of the law but chooses not to obey it. Usually this is because they either feel they don’t have to obey it or that it does not apply to them. In other words, they are above the law. Saul is an antinomian, along with most people in the world today.
When a Father tells a child not to touch the hot stove, it is not because they want to inflict a burden upon them. It is out of love. The Father is sharing His wisdom so that they may live a better life. This comic strip depicts it perfectly.
Saul laments to this visage of Samuel “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. ..” He easily discerns his state and asks a pointed question that really underlines the place Saul is “Why then do you ask me, since YHWH has turned from you and become your enemy?” Samuel goes on to remind Saul that the reason this has happened is because he did not obey the voice of YHWH. (All of this takes place in 1 Samuel 28:15-19)
Something a lot of folks overlook is that, through a careful reading of the text it is clear that no one actually saw Samuel except for the medium. Notice twice Saul asks what he looks like. 1 Samuel 28:13-14
1 Samuel 28: 19 When Samuel tells Saul that he and his sons will be with him by tomorrow, he is not referring to the heaven. At this time, Samuel was residing in Sheol, this means the grave. In some translations and at some places, Sheol is replaced with “hell” but in the original text it still means grave.
We don’t have to know everything when we trust in the one who does.
1 Samuel 28:20 we see that Saul had not eaten. The text mentions that more than once and even with offering him food, for a time Saul resists. It is a common belief that he was actually fasting in hope of gaining favor with the Father or of making himself clean so that he could approach and hopefully hear from the Father.
1 Samuel 29 has something really neat taking place if you step back and look at the big picture. Here Achish is about to go to battle with Israel and David is all set to go – but a series of circumstances meet up at a pivotal point (David’s fame, his past conquests, his lineage, etc) and David is denied the right to go into battle with the Philistines. Do you see what YHWH just did? He prevented David from fighting against what would one day be the kingdom he ruled over. Grace upon grace, even when we don’t recognize it.
And here is something else, in 1 Samuel 29:6 when the king of the Philistines tells David he can’t go fight with him, he praises David by using the name of YHWH, David’s God. Wow. Keep in mind the Philistines were idolaters, worshipping multiple gods and not believing in a single, omnipotent God. Not only is this a show of kindness to David but it also shows David’s influence on Achish. May the Father surround us all with people who remind us who He is and who we are in Him!
1 Samuel 30:1-5 David and his men return to find that the Amalekites have taken all their women and children. The text explicitly states that they had killed no one but taken them captive. Why is this? In 1 Samuel 27:8-9 we see that David and his men had repeatedly raided the Amalekites and their neighbors and killed all they encountered. As a result, the women and children were needed to replenish their tribe.
David’s people immediately become enraged and blame him for this, even going so far as to threaten to stone hime. Now this is key:
And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in YHWH his God. 1 Samuel 30:6
Wow. That is huge. “BUT”. What is your “but”? In that same situation, I think most of us would have tried to apologize to the people, tried to appease them, tried to make it up to them or come up with some way we could right the wrong they felt we had committed. Most of us, in most situations loosely equated to this one, would immediately seek some sort of compromise or sacrifice to appease the people according to their desire.
BUT when they came to David, he immediately turned to YHWH.
As a result of David’s obedience and reliance on YHWH, they were able to reclaim everything that was taken from them and then some. Not only did the Father fully restore, He gave them more than they had before. 1 Samuel 30:”19-20
And of course, the men grumbled when they realized that David was going to share the spoil with the men who had not been able to join them. David sets them straight.
For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays with the baggage.
As someone who has been in a more traditional role of being a stay at home wife, I totally relate and really appreciate this.
Towards the end of our reading today, after some missteps, we see David begin to step up to the plate and act more in line with a king and Godly leader of people. And although he was correct to consult YHWH before this battle to rescue the wives and children, it does appear to be a Holy victory and therefore first fruits of the spoils should have gone to the Father rather than be divided among his men, BUT there may be details we are unaware of that justify his behavior or it may have simply been that the Father decided, in His wisdom and according to His purpose, to show David grace. Perhaps the Philistine commanders were onto him and he did plan on sabotaging the battle in the Israelite’s favor. We can only guess at this point.
We have seen already in our readings, multiple times, that Grace from YHWH is a concept and action that has been around since the beginning of time. He has always been a God of grace and He said it perfectly in Malachi 3:6
“I am God, I do not change.”
HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A GOD OF GRACE
Check out David’s kingly behavior in 1 Samuel 30:26
BE ENCOURAGED! I know you get tired. I know you have a lot going on, but when we set a date with the Father and make Him a priority (not just something we do IF we have a little time left at the end of the day) EVERYTHING CHANGES! There are so many unimaginable blessings in just taking the time to get to know Him, to study His Word, and to seek His face.
Make a date with the Father and don’t stand Him up.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!