Wednesday, March 29, 2006

David and Jonathan

1st Samuel 20 to 1st Samuel 26

Saul sent soldiers to try to find and capture David, but they failed to find him. Jonathan meanwhile kept trying to save his friend. When Saul threw his spear at David in his anger, Jonathan realized that his efforts at pleading for David his friend were useless.

Jonathan and David bid each other farewell with a loving embrace. David went into the wilderness, where he soon gathered together a band of followers.

Saul continued his fierce pursuit of David, his life was twice in David's power, who refused to hurt Saul, though his followers urged him to kill the king. On one of these occasions, David, to prove how easily he might have killed Saul if he wanted to, cut off a piece of his robe when he was asleep.

When the king awoke, David showed it to him and told him that if he desired to take his life he could have. Saul's hard heart was softened by his appeal, and he said to David, "You are more righteous than I" because David had returned him good for evil he had shown him.

Saul told him that he knew David should be king after him. He begged that his sons would not be put to death when David came to the throne. David solemnly promised this. Saul stopped pursuing him but David, not daring to trust himself with him, went back to his stronghold in the wilderness.

Saul's reconciliation with David did not last long. He was soon hunting him again with an army of three thousand men. He had pitched his camp in the wilderness; and David, with Abishai, one of his followers, came down to it at night. The people were all asleep, and Saul's tent was set up in the midst of the encampment.

They sneaked to the place where Saul lay sleeping with his spear stuck into the ground by his pillow, surrounded by his guard. Abishai wanted to kill Saul but David would not allow him. To show Saul once again how completely he had been at his mercy, David took the spear and water-bottle away with him to his camp.

When David returned to his camp, he called out tauntingly to Abner the captain of Saul’s army, and the king's guard, asking them if they were not pretty defenders of their master. He told them to send someone to fetch the king's spear from him.

Saul knew the voice and when David complained to him of his merciless pursuit of one who had so often spared his life, he gave his word that he would do David no more harm.

Monday, March 27, 2006

David Plays For Saul

1st Samuel 18 to 1 Samuel 19

Saul and David, and the whole army returned home triumphant after the defeat of the Philistines. The women of Israel as they passed along came out of the cities to meet them with dances and songs of joy.

They danced and played on instruments singing "Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands!”

Saul was very displeased because they were giving more honor to David than they did to their king. From that day he began to treat David with jealousy and distrust.

From the time Saul had sinned against God as to cause Him to give the kingdom of Israel after his death to another, he had become liable to fits of sadness and severe gloom. God had withdrawn His Spirit from him, and he was miserable, almost mad. His servants, who were anxious to comfort him, thought that music would soothe the distressed mind of the king. David played skillfully upon the harp and they decided to have him play before Saul.

Whenever David played Saul was refreshed, and became cheerful again. He had grown envious of David's fame and when David was playing before him, he threw a spear at him to kill him. David, however, escaped unhurt. Saul then tried in various ways to destroy him by means of his enemies the Philistines, setting him on duties that seemed as if they must cost him his life.

God preserved David from the Philistines, and from Saul's own servant, whom the wicked king had commanded to put him to death. Jonathan, Saul's son, having sent David, whom he loved, to a place of safety, pleaded with his father for him, reminding Saul how faithful David had been to him, and what good service he had done the kingdom by killing the Philistine who had so frightened them all. Saul gave in to the pleading of his son, and promised that he would do David no harm.

David returned and served Saul as before.

War soon broke out again between the Israelites and the Philistines, and David again defeated them with great slaughter. This roused all Saul's ill-will against him. Saul was in one of his fits of gloom and David was trying to cheer him with his harp, rose and threw a spear at him with such force that, as David slipped aside, it stuck fast in the wall.

That night David escaped and never returned.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

David and Goliath

1st Samuel 17:1-54

The Israelites and the Philistines were now at war. The two armies were posted on two mountains, with a valley between them.

A giant, named Goliath of Gath, came out of the camp of the Philistines, and challenged any one of the Israelites to come and fight him. If he killed the Israelite, then the Israelites were to serve the Philistines, if the Israelite killed him, then the Philistines would serve them.

Goliath was a huge giant, nine or ten feet high and was covered from head to foot in heavy brazen armor. The staff of his spear was very thick. For forty days this terrible giant came out, defying all the Israelites. Even Saul, the king, who was a brave man, was afraid of him.

The three eldest sons of Jesse were in Saul's army; and their father told David, who was tending his sheep at Bethlehem to go to the camp with some parched corn, and bread for his brothers. He arrived there just as the two armies were advancing to battle. He was talking to his brothers when out came Goliath the giant, defying the Israelites, who ran away at the very sight of him.

David was angry seeing the armies of God's chosen people being mocked and taunted by a heathen. He asked those around him what should be done for the man who killed him. They told him that he would have honors and riches, and that he would marry the king's daughter.

Saul, heard what David had said and sent for him. David told the king that he would go and fight the giant.

Saul reminded him that he was very young, and that the Philistine had been a soldier all his life. David answered that he had killed a lion and a bear that had attacked his flock, and he knew that God would also help him to kill this great giant.

Saul agreed to allow David to fight Goliath. He gave him armor and a sword, but David refused them. He took only his staff and sling, with five smooth stones in his shepherd's bag, and went to meet the giant, who came on cursing and taunting him.

David, ran forward, took a stone from his bag, and slang it at the giant, whom it struck in the forehead! The great giant Goliath fell on his face to the ground, and David cut off his head with his own sword.

The Philistines took to flight when they saw that the giant was dead.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Story of Saul

1 Samuel 9 to 1 Samuel 10:25

Saul was the son of Kish. He was tall, handsome and well built. From his shoulders upward, he was bigger than any of his people.

One day the donkeys of Kish strayed away and were lost. Kish said to his son, "Take one of the servants with you and go find the donkeys." They searched and searched through the countryside but could not find the donkeys.

Saul began to think of returning home because they had been away for a long time, and he feared that his father would be anxious for their safety. The servant suggested that they go to see a wise man who lived in a city near by and who had foretold many things which had come to pass. Together they went to the city and they met some maidens who told them that a sacrifice was being made that day and that the prophet, whose name was Samuel, would be there to bless it.

The Lord had told Samuel that he would send him a man from the land of Benjamin to be the captain and king of all the people of Israel. When Saul appeared, Samuel pointed him out and said to the assembled people, "There is the man."

Saul said to Samuel, "Come up with me to the high place. You shall eat with me today, and tomorrow I will let you go and you shall tell me everything that is in your heart. As for the donkeys they were found three days ago."

Saul was puzzled because he could not understand the honor that was being bestowed upon him, but Samuel gave him no chance to protest. He took Saul and his servant to the feast, and gave Saul the choicest portion to eat.

The next morning Samuel anointed Saul, and led him before all the people and proclaimed him the new king. Saul tried to hide, but as he stood head and shoulders above all the other people, it was easy to see him. The people shouted for their King of Israel.

Friday, March 17, 2006

David Is Anointed King

1st Samuel 8 to 1st Samuel 16:13

When Samuel was very old, he made his sons judges, with himself, over Israel. But his sons took bribes, and did other things that they ought not to have done. The people of Israel became so unhappy that they came to Samuel and asked him to give them a king in place of him and his sons.

Samuel was grieved at this request, he prayed to God to know what he should do. God was displeased with the people for wishing to be governed by a king, like other nations, when He Himself was their king. God told Samuel whom he should choose. This was Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin.

Samuel anointed Saul King over Israel and when he was brought before them, all the people shouted, "God save the king!"

At first Saul was a good king, and did all that God commanded him. But he soon became disobedient; and as he turned away from God. For this God decided that a worthy king would be chosen after him and succeed to the throne in place of Saul's children.

God told Samuel to take a horn of oil, and go to Jesse, an Israelite who lived at Bethlehem, and anoint one of his sons, whom He would point out to him to be the future king over Israel.
Samuel was afraid of doing this because he thought that if Saul were to find out he would put him to death. God told him go and offer a sacrifice at Bethlehem, and He would show him what to do.

Samuel went and called the chief men of the town, together with Jesse and his family, to the sacrifice. Jesse made his sons pass before Samuel. When he saw the eldest son, Eliab, a tall, fine-looking man, he thought he must be the one whom God would choose to be anointed king. God said He would not have Eliab because He looked at the heart of man, not at his outward appearance. Seven of Jesse's sons one after another, came before Samuel, none of them were chosen by God.

Samuel asked if all Jesse's children were there. Jesse answered he had one more son, David, the youngest, who was away keeping sheep. Jesse sent for David. He was a handsome youth. As soon as he came, God told Samuel to anoint him because he was the one whom He had chosen.

Samuel anointed David king. The Spirit of God then came upon David, and remained with him from that day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Samuel's First Prophesy

1st Samuel 3 to 1st Samuel 4:18

The high priest Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and both were priests. They were very wicked men and when the people who came to worship complained to Eli of the wickedness of the young men, he reproved them so gently that they gave no heed to what he said. God was displeased with him for not using his authority to make them do better.

One night, when Samuel had laid down to sleep, he heard a voice calling him and thinking it was Eli, he got up and ran to him, to find out what he wanted with him. Eli told him to go and lie down again because he had not called him.

Again the voice called "Samuel," and again Samuel ran to Eli, who told him he had not called. The third time that Samuel heard the voice, and ran to Eli thinking it was he, Eli became aware that it was God Himself who was calling to the child.

Eli told him go and lie down again, and if the voice called him once more, to answer, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening." Then, when he was laid down again, the voice called as before, "Samuel, Samuel."

Samuel answered as Eli had told him, God told him that He was going to punish Eli and his sons in a fearful manner, because the sons had made themselves hated for their wickedness and profanity, and Eli had not prevented it as he should have done.

In the morning Samuel rose, and, as was his job, he opened the doors of the Temple. He did not tell Eli what God had said to him in the night, he was afraid of doing so, it was so very sad.

Eli, however, told him to come to him and tell him what God had told him. When the poor old man knew that it was God's will to destroy him and his family, he only said, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seems good."

Very soon after, the Israelites were fighting against the Philistines, and thinking they should be sure of victory if the ark of God were with them, they brought it into their camp from Shiloh. But for their sins God allowed them to be defeated, the ark was taken, and Hophni and Phinehas, together with thirty thousand of the Israelites, were slain. Poor old Eli meanwhile sat by the wayside, waiting for tidings of the battle.

When word was brought to him that his sons were killed and the ark been taken, he fell of his seat backward, and broke his neck. Some time after Eli's death, Samuel judged Israel in his place.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hannah Dedicates Samuel To God

1st Samuel 1 to 1st Samuel 2:21

Fifteen judges ruled the people of Israel during a period of four hundred and fifty years, from the death of Joshua, till Saul was chosen as their first king. Samuel was the last of these judges, he was a priest and a great prophet, as well as a ruler of the people. His father and mother were Elkanah and Hannah.

They were very good people, and year by year went up from the place where they lived to Shiloh, where the Tabernacle had been set up, to worship and offer sacrifice to God. This all the Israelites were obliged to do after they were settled in the Promised Land.

Hannah had no children and she was very sad, she prayed to God, when worshiping at Shiloh, to give her a son, promising that if He would, she would dedicate him (that is, give him up) to the Lord God, in the service of the Tabernacle, from his childhood.

God granted her request and when the child was born she called him Samuel (which means "Asked of God"), because he had been given to her in answer to her prayer.

The first time after his birth that Elkanah and his family went up, as usual, to worship at Shiloh, Hannah did not go with them. She told her husband should not do so till Samuel was weaned, and then she would take him with her, and leave him with the priests, who might train him to serve God in the Tabernacle.

Elkanah told her to do as she thought best in the matter. So when Samuel was weaned, she took him with her to Shiloh. When she had offered sacrifice to God, she told Eli the high-priest, who was also at that time judge in Israel, that she was the woman whom some time before he had seen praying in the Temple (as the Tabernacle was also called), and that Samuel was the child she had prayed for. And now, as she had promised, she was come to give him to God, that he might be His priest.

When Eli had given his blessing to Hannah and her husband, they returned home, leaving Samuel with him.

The child served in the ministry of the Temple, dressed in a white linen garment that the priests wore. It was called an ephod. Every year that his mother came up to worship at Shiloh, she brought him a little coat, that she had herself made for him.

As Samuel grew, God blessed him and Eli, who was very old and nearly blind, was fond of this good little child whom everybody loved because he was good.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Naomi and Ruth

Ruth 1-4

In the days when the Judges ruled over Israel, there was a famine in the land. A man named Elimelech, who lived at Bethlehem-Judah, together with his wife Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, left their home on account of it, and went to live in the country of the Moabites.

While they were there Elimelech died, leaving Naomi and her sons, who married two women of the country, named Orpah and Ruth. In about ten years the sons also died. Naomi hearing that the famine which had driven them from home had passed away, decided to return home with her daughters-in-law.

They had gone far before Naomi, remembering that she was now poor, as well as a widow, thought it would be better for her daughters-in-law to stay among their own people than to go with her to what was to them a strange land. She kissed them, and told them return to their mother's house, praying God to bless them for their kindness to her and her sons.

Her daughters wept, and refused to leave her, she urged them to do so, till Orpah yielded, and, bidding Naomi a loving farewell, went back to her own home in Moab.

Ruth, still clung to her mother-in-law; and when Naomi would have had her follow her sister-in-law, who was gone to her own people and the gods of her country (the Moabites where heathens, and worshiped the idol Baal), she answered her, " Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! for wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Wherever you die I will die, and there be buried.”

Naomi saw how steadfastly Ruth loved her, and she stopped trying to convince her to return. They went on together to Bethlehem-Judah. When they arrived there all the people of the place were surprised to see them, asking, "Is not this Naomi?" Naomi, full of sorrow for her dead husband and sons, and the poverty that had now fallen upon her, answered them, "Call me not Naomi (which signifies "Pleasant"), but Mara ( that is, "Bitterness"), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

It was the time of barley harvest when Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem. They were so very poor that Ruth went out into the fields to work with the reapers. Ruth happened to work in a field belonging to Boaz. He was a very rich man.

Boaz, seeing her, asked the man who was over the reapers who she was. The man answered that she was Ruth the Moabitess, who had come to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi, and that she had asked him to let her work in the field. Boaz then spoke kindly to Ruth, and told her not to go to any other fields to work. He told her, when she was thirsty, to help herself to the drink that was brought to refresh his servants.

Ruth felt grateful to Boaz, and asked him how it was that he showed so much kindness to a stranger. He told her that he had heard how good a daughter she had been to Naomi and that she had left her own father, and mother, and country, to come with her into a strange land. He prayed that the God of Israel would bless and reward her.

At meal-time he told her to eat and drink with the reapers. So she sat beside them and Boaz himself set food before her. When she returned to the fields to work he told the reapers to let some handfuls of grain fall on purpose for her, that she might gather the most.

Ruth went home in the evening and she gave her mother-in-law some of her own dinner, which she had kept for her and then she beat out the barley she had collected. There was so much barley that Naomi asked her where she had worked that day. Ruth answered, in the field of Boaz. Naomi was glad when she heard this. She told Ruth that he was their near relation and she must cleverly try to see the great man again, and make him understand that the poor gleaner was nearly related to him.

Ruth did as Naomi told her. Boaz knew who she was, he blessed her and said that he would do for her all that the law of the Israelites required from him as her nearest kinsman. He called together the chief men of the city, and before them, as witnesses, bought back the piece of land that had belonged to Elimelech, and Ruth, as the widow of his son, was the next heir.

He took Ruth for his wife and their son Obed was the grandfather of David, who was afterward the great King of Israel.

My Cataract Surgery