Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 9 May 18:
1. 1 Samuel 19:6 – “And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, ‘As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.’” With a selfish, self-centered person, a vow made before God is easily broken. In the end, the idol of self is worshipped by this person more than God is, regardless of how much the name of God is used to justify ungodly decision-making.
2. 1 Samuel 19:17 – “Saul said to Michal, ‘Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?’ And Michal answered Saul, ‘He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’’ There was no trust in Saul’s house between Saul and his children, and deception went both ways.
3. 1 Samuel 19:18-24 — Saul had lost all respect for the “church” and was prepared to use force against it.
4. 1 Samuel 19:18-24 — God can easily control the hearts and souls of men in order to protect His servants. If He doesn’t, then there is a reason.
5. 1 Samuel 20:1, 2, 8 — In a love relationship with God, you are willing and eager to admit your faults and try to correct them.
6. 1 Samuel 20:3 – “But David vowed again, saying, ‘Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.’” The human way is to cover up bad news and try not to hurt the other person’s feelings.
7. 1 Samuel 20:4 – “Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you say, I will do for you.’” A covenant love relationship with God makes you want to do whatever another person wants or needs.
8. 1 Samuel 20:17 – “And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” A covenant love relationship means loving another as yourself.
9. 1 Samuel 20:22 — “…for the Lord has sent you away.” Jonathan understood that all circumstances were orchestrated by God for His purposes; we are not merely victims of uncontrolled events.
10. 1 Samuel 20:23, 31 — A love relationship with God extends to an unselfish love relationship with believers in which you are willing give up life’s dreams to help the other.
11. 1 Samuel 20:34 – “And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.” A love relationship for God’s sake may disrupt family relationships.
12. Proverbs 9:1, 2 – “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.” Wisdom is orderly, productive, and bountiful.
13. Proverbs 9:8, 9 – “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser.” God calls us to avoid needless arguments.
14. Proverbs 9:12 – “If you are wise, you are wise for yourself; if you scoff, you alone will bear it.” We will bear the consequences of our actions, whether good or bad. We reap what we sow.
15. Proverbs 9:17 — “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” What we do in secret reveals who we really are, and the truth of who we really are will determine our destiny.
16. 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2 – “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” To tolerate or make light of sexual sin, something God abhors and has strictly forbidden, is the very highest form of arrogance.
17. 1 Corinthians 5:1-3 — Paul was surprised by sexual immorality within the church and expected that there would be great grief and shame.
18. 1 Corinthians 5:3, 12 — “I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing…. Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” Paul judged the behavior of other Christians and expected judgement to occur within the church. This is not the form of judgment that Jesus condemned, which judgment with spite. This was a judgment that challenged the behavior in hopes that the sinner would repent and be brought to reconciliation with God and with others.
19. 1 Corinthians 5:8 – “Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” We must worship God in “truth” by obeying His commands.
20. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 — God expects us to hold other Christians to a standard of obedience, purity, and holiness.
21. 1 Corinthians 5:11 — “I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one…. Purge the evil person from among you.” How many Christians do you know who practice this guidance? Do you?
22. 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 — “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’” One of the reasons the Church in America has lost much of its influence is because it has lost its integrity. While Christians are to expect (not approve of or condone) sin from unbelievers, Christians are not to tolerate unrepentant sin from those who call themselves believers and claim to be Christ’s ambassadors. We are not even to associate with unrepentant Christians. The Bible offers clear guidance for the appropriate way to administer church admonishment and discipline, but it is practiced very, very rarely. “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” The church today is very confused about how to respond to sin, hence the deafening silence from the church during this latest sexual revolution. As a result of our confusion and syncretism, the church has largely lost its holiness, its power, and its witness. The problems we have in society are a reflection of a church whose “light” has dimmed and whose “salt” has lost its saltiness. The incredible loss of power did not occur over night but rather occurred over decades as the church allowed sin to creep in, it has been an erosion. As Paul explains today, our response to sin within the church, with those who bear the name of Christ, is to be far different than our response to unbelievers who, by virtue of their unbelief, are trapped in sin. Through compromise, the church has lost its moral authority, and we now worship largely in a state of anarchy, lawlessness. Today, not only does the church ignore internal sin, it is now starting to legitimize it. We desperately need revival and renewal within the church. Jesus began his public ministry, not with the population of unbelievers but rather to the “lost sheep” within the church, and his message was “Repent.” He called the believers to return to God’s authority as KING. Yes, Jesus ate with the “tax collectors,” but a close examination of those verses reveals that these were tax collectors who had repented and who were ready and willing to make restitution for the sins that they had committed. Having repented, now they needed discipleship – “teach them to obey all that I have commanded.” Review the Great Commission: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).” Many churches today are preaching to “all nations,” and baptizing, but they are not discipling – “teaching them to observe all that [God] has commanded.” Many within the church are lamenting over the state of our nation, but we need to be lamenting over the state of the church. How does your church deal with sin from within the congregation?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 9 May: Before you blame others, consider how you might have contributed to the problem, and do whatever you can to correct the issue (1 Sam 20:1, 2, 8).