David and Stephen

1 Samuel 23-24 and Acts 6

Today’s Old Testament reading includes strong, powerful David sparing King Saul’s life in a cave when he could have easily taken revenge and killed the king, clearing the way for his own rule and prosperity. Strong, bold, but full of mercy and God-fearing appreciation for those God had placed in power.

Today’s New Testament reading tells of Stephen, “a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). But, not everyone was a fan. Just as David and Jesus had run into opposition, now it was Stephen’s turn. Jealousy, arguing, false witnesses ensued. Stephen remained steadfast. I love the descriptions of this man. Those who argued against Stephen, “could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.” (Acts 6:10) and even the Sanhedrin saw that, “his face was like the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15). We will read more of Stephen’s story tomorrow.

Motherhood is on my mind today. The characteristics displayed in today’s reading of both David and Stephen are characteristics I want to help develop in my children. Strong, bold, full of grace and wisdom and the Spirit of God, also able to face opposition and remain steadfast and godly.

We do not hear anything about Stephan’s family or mother. We know very little of David’s mother – though in yesterday’s reading we learned that he cared for and provided for the safety of his mother and father when Saul was seeking to kill David (1 Samuel 22:3). Just like the Disney princesses (and princes), they seem to have grown and developed with no maternal influence mentioned. But, we know, for better or worse every child ever born has had a mother. It is perhaps a good reminder to me that God doesn’t NEED me to grow my children into the Davids or Stephens or Hannahs or Marys he wants them to be. But, what a privilege to get that opportunity to do my best in His Spirit to develop those characteristics in my children. And, I am so thankful for the mother who did that for me.

-Marcia Railton

Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – 1 Samuel 23-24 and Acts 6

A Perfect Opportunity for Revenge

1st Samuel 21-24

1 Samuel 24 12 NIV

In today’s reading, we see more examples of Saul’s rebellion against God and his hatred of David.  Ahimelech the priest had inquired of the Lord for David. In his rage, Saul ordered that not only Ahimelech, but all the priests must be killed – so Doeg the Edomite, one of Saul’s goons, killed 85 priests, then went to their town and killed every man, woman, and child (and its cattle, donkeys, and sheep).  In chapter 23, Saul chased David and tried to kill him multiple times.

 

In chapter 24, David finally has his opportunity for revenge.  Saul was again chasing David. David and his men were hiding in the Desert of En Gedi.  Saul and 3000 chosen troops were in hot pursuit. Along the way, Saul needed to go to the bathroom.  He wanted a little privacy, so he stepped into a cave to relieve himself. Little did he know that David and his men were hiding further back in that very cave.

 

If you were David, what would you have done?  Would you have eliminated the threat to your life, and ushered in your reign as king?  To be perfectly honest, I think that’s exactly what I would have done. David’s men encouraged David to kill Saul, but instead, David crept up to Saul, and cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

 

Afterward, David was conscience stricken and said, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.”

 

Wow!  Clearly Saul was a scoundrel, but David spared his life because God had made him king.  I think we can learn a lesson or two from David’s respect for the office of authority, even when the man in the office wasn’t worthy of respect.

 

This is exactly what we’re told to do in 1 Peter 2:13-14 – “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.”

 

David’s actions also remind me of Romans 12:17-18 – “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

 

So too, we need to submit to authority, even when we don’t like the person in authority, or what they are doing.  Also, we need to be intentional about never repaying evil for evil.

 

To finish today’s story, because David had spared Saul’s life, Saul promised to leave David alone, and returned home (for now).  David and his men went up to their stronghold. God had protected David yet again.

Steve Mattison

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+21-24&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Psalm 7,27,31, 34 and 52 on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan