1 Samuel 19 & 20: A Step Between Me And Death
Verse of the Day: (20:3) And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
1. Salvation (19:1-24)
For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause? (19:5)
True love extends beyond one’s family. Jonathan truly loved David, as he patiently explained to his father, King Saul, who sought after David’s life, that the God of Israel through David had performed a great salvation for Israel in delivering them from the Philistines. Indeed our salvation is of the LORD as we fully trust and obey Him. (Jonah 2)
2. Step (20:1-40)
And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. (20:33)
What a contrast between the father and his son! Saul was full of hatred and murder, while Jonathan, his son, was full of love and sacrifice. Saul found David a threat to his throne and tried all means to kill him, while Jonathan had a covenant with David to love and cherish their friendship, and did all he could to save David from being killed by his father. In fact, Jonathan and David arranged a secret plan that David would leave the palace and hid in the field, and if Saul was determined to kill David, then Jonathan would shoot his arrow beyond where David was hiding. Jonathan shot beyond David, and David knew that it was time for him to leave the service of King Saul. Subsequently, God judged Saul and replaced him with David. Indeed, let us love and serve God and others, knowing that His richest blessings and rewards shall be upon us now and forever. (Revelation 22:12-15)
3. Swear (20:41-42)
And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city. (20:42)
Indeed, David honoured his promise to Jonathan that he would take care of Jonathan’s descendants, as later in his reign as the King of Israel, and after Jonathan’s promotion to heaven, he sought for Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan. David then invited Mephibosheth to his palace to be one of his royal family. (2 Samuel 9) Indeed, let us do good to all, especially to our loved ones, while we can as life is short. (Galatians 6:7-10)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You for my life as it is only a step before my promotion.
1 Samuel 17 & 18: Is There Not A Cause?
Verse of the Day: (17:29) And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
1. Cause (17:1-58)
Then said David to the Philistines, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. (17:45)
When you truly love God and what you do for Him, you will do your very utmost best, even to sacrifice your life for Him. This was David’s cause for fighting Goliath when everyone including King Saul feared him. David believed that the God of Israel shall surely overcome Goliath as he had not only defied Him but shame His people. Though David’s brothers and Israel discouraged him from fighting against Goliath, nevertheless, he kept insisting on facing off with him. Indeed, God knows the end from the beginning, as He already prepared David in the wilderness, while protecting his father’s sheep, in overcoming a lion and a bear, not with a sword or a spear, but with a sling and a stone in His Name, in order that he would eventually overcome a giant. It was indeed great victory for David, Israel, and above all, the God of Israel, as Goliath and the Philistines were resoundingly defeated. Let us therefore make sure that we have a real cause to love and serve God and others in His Name, because He first loves us. (1 John 4:19-21)
2. Covenant (18:1-4)
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. (18:3)
It may not be always true of the saying, “Like father, like son.” Unlike Saul, who hated David, yet his son, Jonathan, loved David, and even made a covenant with him that they would love and lay down their lives for each other. Indeed, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, loves us so much that He makes an everlasting covenant with us that whoever believes in Him shall never perish in hell, but have eternal life with Him in heaven. Let us therefore love one another, even as Jesus first loved us, and gave His life for us. (1 John 3:16-24)
3. Continually (18:5-30)
And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually. (18:29)
When we reject God and worship ourselves, we will never be able to love others. Saul rejected God, as his idol was himself, and used only people to achieve his end. This was why he sought to kill David, because David was a real threat to his throne. Instead of being grateful to God and David, for overcoming Goliath, and delivering Israel from the Philistines, Saul became David’s enemy continually. Indeed, let us believe in and worship God, and love and serve all, and flee from idols and self-worship. (1 John 5:21)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that my cause of loving You is because You first love me.
1 Samuel 15 & 16: The Voice Of The LORD
Verse of the Day: (15:22) And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
1. The Voice Of The LORD (15:1-22)
It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. (15:10)
The voice of the people may not be the voice of God. God through Samuel commanded Saul to destroy all the Amalekites and their livestock, because they were truly wicked people. (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) However, Saul disobeyed God, and destroyed all except king Agag and the best livestock. Saul and the people kept Agag for political reason, and the best livestock for better breeding of their own livestock. Unlike Samuel, who loved both God and Saul, and even mourned for Saul when he was removed from the throne, Saul only loved himself, and was rebellious against God. Indeed, God’s richest blessings shall only be upon us, when we truly love and obey Him and His voice. (Hebrews 5:1-10)
2. The Word Of The LORD (15:23-35)
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (15:23)
God is not mocked, as we shall reap His judgment and punishment when we disobey Him and His Word. Saul was disobedient to God, and it caused him his throne, as subsequently Samuel anointed David to be the next king of Israel. Let us obey God and His Word, and hide it in our hearts, that we may not sin against Him. (Psalms 119:1-11)
3. The Spirit Of The LORD (16:1-23)
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. (16:13)
Many times, man only looks on the outward appearance or personality, but God looks into the very heart and character of man. God commanded Samuel to go to Jesse’s family to anoint David, his youngest son, as the next king. Little did they expect God to choose David, as he was only a shepherd boy, the least qualified of all Jesse’s children in terms of wisdom, strength and experience. However, when God’s Spirit was upon David, only he, among all Israel, could cast out Saul’s evil spirit with the music from his skilful performance on the harp. Indeed, man’s heart is wicked, and the only way for him to be righteous before God, is to repent his sins, and walk in God’s Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to only love and obey Your voice, Word and Spirit.
1 Samuel 13 & 14: The LORD Saved Israel
Verse of the Day: (14:23) So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.
1. Seek (13:1-23)
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. (13:14)
A moment of folly a lifetime or even an eternity of regret. King Saul was to ask counsel of God through Prophet Samuel at the appointed time as to how he would overcome the Philistines who completely outnumbered Israel. However, Samuel turned up late, and Saul disobeyed God by sacrificing the burnt offering himself, without waiting for Samuel, who was the only one able to offer the sacrifice to God. Samuel then prophesied that God shall remove Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, from the throne, and shall replace him with David, of the tribe of Judah, whom God had sought him because his heart was after God’s own heart. David shall not only be the king of Israel, but more importantly, he shall be the ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Indeed, let us truly believe in Jesus, and we shall have everlasting life with Him for all eternity. (Acts 13:21-24)
2. Save (14:1-35)
And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. (14:14)
Jonathan, Saul’s son, fully trusted God, and was wiser and braver than Saul, as he made successful exploits over the Philistines. However, Saul made several blunders and one of them was during the battle with the Philistines, when he ordered Israel to fast otherwise they would be cursed. Little did he know that it was his son who was cursed. Let us fully trust God, and know that only He can save us from hell to heaven. (Romans 10:8-10)
3. Salvation (14:36-52)
And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not. (14:45)
If not for Israel pleading with Saul to spare Jonathan, who was instrumental in the great victory over the Philistines, he would have killed his own son. This demonstrated the character of Saul that he was a ruthless and selfish man even though he was the king. Indeed, salvation is only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, and just like He saved Jonathan from the curse, He shall also save us from Satan’s curse. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You for saving my soul from fiery hell to glorious heaven.
1 Samuel 11 & 12: The Fear Of The LORD
Verse of the Day: (11:7) And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.
1. Fear (11:1-15)
And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. (11:15)
The heart of man is indeed desperately wicked, and only God can change it to the heart of righteousness. Israel’s enemies, the Ammonites, invaded them, and would only make a peace covenant with them, namely, the men of Jabesh, if they would blind their right eyes to shame Israel. The leaders of Jabesh then went to Saul who being led by God’s Spirit killed a yoke of oxen, and sent the cut pieces to all the land of Israel challenging them to follow him and Prophet Samuel. The fear of the LORD came upon all Israel, and they agreed to follow Saul and Samuel and fight against the Ammonites. This was the historic moment that Israel made Saul their first king at Gilgal to lead them to battles, after Samuel had earlier anointed him. (1 Samuel 10:1) Let us repent of our wickedness, and turn to God, and fear and serve Him, as He is our LORD and King. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
2. Forget (12:1-12)
And when they forgat the LORD their God, he sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. (12:9)
The choice of the people may not be the voice of God. Though Israel chose Saul as their king, yet God only allowed it because they stubbornly refused to obey and submit to Him. Throughout the history of Israel, almost all their kings were evil and wicked, as they led their people in worshipping false gods and idols, and committing immorality and corruption. As Saul was made the first king of Israel, Samuel handed his leadership to him reminding Israel to submit to Saul, and most importantly to their only God and King. Indeed, God is longsuffering, as He desires all to come to His saving grace. (2 Peter 3:9)
3. Forsake (12:13-25)
For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. (12:22)
The reason why God never forsakes us, and keeps on loving and forgiving us, even though time and again we sin against Him, is because He has made us His chosen people to fear, praise and serve Him when we truly believe and trust in Him. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to fear and serve You as You are my LORD and King.
1 Samuel 9 & 10: The Man Of God
Verse of the Day: (9:6) And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.
1. The Man Of God (9:1-24)
And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? (9:21)
We will rather be a man of God than a man of power or popularity or fame or fortune, as the best thing in life is truly to please God, and have a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Prophet Samuel was indeed a man of God, as he was honoured throughout all Israel for all his prophesies came to pass. While looking for his father’s lost asses, Saul visited Samuel who not only prophesied to him the place where his missing asses were, but more importantly he prophesied to him that he shall be the first king of Israel. Saul doubted Samuel, and told him that he was not only the least in his family, but his Benjamite tribe was the smallest of all the tribes of Israel. Though Samuel subsequently anointed Saul as the first king of Israel, yet Saul eventually sinned against God because of his pride. Indeed, let us be a man of God who only seek to please and serve Him. (Galatians 1:10)
2. The Word Of God (7:25-27)
And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God. (9:27)
God’s man always reads and shares God’s Word because it is his heart’s desire. Before Samuel anointed Saul as the king of Israel, he shared God’s Word to him to prepare his heart to be the king after God’s heart and Word. However, Saul failed God, and instead it was his successor, King David, whom God commended him as a man after His own heart, and from his lineage came forth Jesus, the Saviour. (Acts 13:16-23) Indeed, let us read and share God’s Word that all may know Him, and sin not against Him. (Psalms 119:11)
3. The Hill Of God (10:1-27)
After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: (10:5)
Everything belongs to God. Not only Samuel was God’s man and prophesied God’s Word, but even the place where he and his prophets gathered to meet Saul was called the hill of God. Indeed, let us let go, and let God have His way in everything. (Job 1:21-22)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to be a man of God who loves, fears and serves You.
1 Samuel 7 & 8: Serve The LORD Only
Verse of the Day: (7:4) Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
1. Serve (7:1-4)
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. (7:3)
We can only serve one Master who is none other than the living and true God. Time and again, Israel failed God, as they doubted and disobeyed Him, and thus face His judgment and condemnation. Finally, after 20 years, God’s ark returned to Israel. God’s first prophet and priest, Samuel, challenged them to turn away from their false gods and idols, and worship and serve the LORD only. Let us indeed serve God only! (Matthew 6:24-34)
2. Sin (7:5-17)
And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. (7:6)
Either we serve God only or we sin against Him. If we are God’s children we shall serve Him only. Indeed there are many Christians who seemingly serve God but are actually serving themselves. Samuel challenged Israel to confess and repent their sins, fast and pray, and offer a young lamb as burnt offering to God. God answered them with a great thunder destroying the Philistines. Indeed, let us repent our sins, and serve God only with our work of faith, labour of love and patience of hope in Him. (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10)
3. Samuel (8:1-22)
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (8:7)
Israel asked for a king just like all the nations of the world, but Samuel rebuked them that they must look to God as their only King. However, Israel insisted on having a king, and Samuel explained to them that their king would not only take their sons as soldiers, and their daughters as cooks, but he will also take their fields as well as the tenth of all their livestock. However, Israel still insisted on having a king, and God then told Samuel that they shall surely reap the consequences of having a king. This was why subsequently God only spoke to Israel through His prophets and not kings. (Hosea 13:9-11) Indeed, let us be like Christ who was obedient to God, His Father, even in death, as He willingly left heaven to come to earth, and to live and die for the sins of the world. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to serve You only as You are my King and everything.
1 Samuel 5 & 6: The Hand Of The LORD
Verse of the Day: (5:6) But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
1. Hand (5:1-12)
So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. (5:11)
The hand of the LORD can do anything and there is nothing that He cannot do. God can save every man made in His image yet He makes man to decide for himself his own destiny. If man chooses to believe in his Creator, then his soul shall live forever with Him in glorious heaven, however, if man rejects Him, then his soul shall be cast into fiery hell. God uses His believers to share His salvation plan so that all may come to know Him. God’s ark was now with the Philistines because Israel had rejected Him, and therefore He allowed the Philistines to overcome them and took His ark to their own city. There the Philistines set God’s ark beside their god, Dagon, thinking that Dagon was greater than God’s ark. However, the hand of the LORD not only destroyed Dagon leaving it a stump, but He also destroyed many Philistines, and inflicted the rest with tumours. (Luke 1:37)
2. Heal (6:1-18)
And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. (6:3)
The Philistines’ priests commanded the Philistines to return God’s ark to Israel, together with jewels of gold in a new cart pulled by 2 female cows when normally it was pulled by the male ones, so that they would be healed of their tumours. Subsequently, the hand of God miraculously moved His ark, pulled by the cows, toward Israel, and away from their own calves at home, and against their maternal instincts. When Israel saw God’s ark, they celebrated with great joy. Indeed, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
3. Holy (6:19-21)
And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us? (6:20)
Not only God destroyed the Philistines, He also took the lives of 50,070 men of Bethshemesh because they looked at His ark when only the High Priest could look at. (Leviticus 16). Though we can never fully understand why God slayed the multitude in one day, yet we believe that He is a holy God, and He shall judge the sins of man. Indeed, we are only saved by God’s grace when we believe in Him by faith. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, thank You that Your hand protects me until the day You promote me.
1 Samuel 3 & 4: Ichabod
Verse of the Day: (4:21) And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.
1. I (3:1-21)
That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. (3:4)
God calls those whose hearts are willing to serve Him, rather than those who are qualified in the eyes of the world. Hannah prayed to God that if He would give her a male child, she would dedicate to Him. God indeed answered her with a male child named Samuel, who became His first prophet of Israel. Samuel’s heart was responsive as 3 times he answered God, Here am I, although he thought that the voice was from Eli, the priest. Before the Bible, God’s Word, was written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, He would directly speak to men or used His creation or creatures such as the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6) or even an ass (Numbers 22:21-35). Today, God only speaks to men through the Bible, and let us read, study and meditate it, as it is His holy Word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
2. Israel (4:1-18)
And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he judged Israel forty years. (4:18)
There will always be enemies or oppositions in our lives, and it is really how we overcome them with God’s glory and grace. Israel’s long time enemy was the Philistines, and they were the toughest, and this time, they managed not only to defeat Israel, but took their ark of God, which represented God’s glory and grace. God allowed the Philistines to punish Israel because of their rebellion, as even Eli, the priest, had failed to lead Israel in serving God. Eli, who judged Israel for 40 years, fell off his seat and died, when he heard that the Philistines had taken God’s ark. For whom God loves, He disciplines them, so that they repent of their sins, and turn to Him. (Hebrews 12:1-11)
3. Ichabod (4:19-22)
And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken. (4:22)
The worst for Christians is that God’s glory is far from us, while the best for us is that God’s glory is with and in us. Ichabod means God’s glory is departed, and His glory was indeed departed from Israel as they had sinned against Him. Except for Prophet Samuel, the rest of Israel, including Eli, the priest, sinned against God. This was why God allowed the Philistines not only to defeat them, but even took God’s ark from them. Let us hence grieve not God and the Holy Spirit in us once we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, but repent our sins, and please God and the Holy Spirit in us. (Ephesians 4:30-32)
Prayer of the Day:
Dearest God, please help me to always have Your glory and grace with and in me.