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July 2024 Devotions


July 1

1 Samuel 1:1-8


The Book of 1 Samuel begins during the closing years of the era of the judges, following naturally the Book of Judges and the Book of Ruth.  This was a time of great spiritual confusion, for “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25)  A reading of the Book of Judges makes this confusion very obvious.  The time of the judges officially ended with the crowning of Saul as the first king of Israel.

Much of 1 Samuel is concerned with the ministry of Samuel, one of Israel’s greatest prophets.  It is said of him, “…and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.”  This is an amazing statement which we will examine in greater detail later.  Samuel was a descendant of Ephraim, the second son of Joseph, born in Egypt.  The family of Samuel lived in “Ramathaimzophim,” the hill country that was found in the part of Canaan that had been allotted to the tribe of Ephraim.  According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “The central mountainous district of Palestine occupied by the tribe of Ephraim extending from Bethel to the plain of Jezreel.  In Joshua’s time these hills were densely wooded.  They were intersected by well-watered, fertile valleys….  Joshua was buried at Timnath-heres among the mountains of Ephraim….”

The setting of Samuel’s early life is established in Chapter 1.  His father, “Elkanah” had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah.  While God permitted the practice of polygamy, this was never His perfect plan or will for humanity.  See Genesis 2:20-25; Matthew 19:3-9.  This violation of God’s perfect plan for the family caused this family great difficulties.  See Verses 1-8.  Compare this with an examination of Genesis 29:25-35.


Lessons gleaned from 1 Samuel 1:1-8:

1.  When we deviate from God’s perfect plan found in Scripture, the result is a less-than-desirable situation in our lives.  The commands, restrictions and guidance found in God’s Word is for our benefit and for our blessing, and our lives will much more meaningful and enjoyable if we endeavor through His strength to be obedient to His Word.

2.  When we do that which is right in our own eyes, the result will ever be confusion, heartache and disappointment.

3.  Home should ever be a place of harmony, peace and love.  God’s Word will forever be our greatest aid in giving us homes that are so blessed.


July 2

1 Samuel 1:9-20


Hannah was miserable.  She wanted a child.  God created in women this natural desire to mother, and only Satan and his deception distorts that God-given trait.  When Hannah continued in a state of barrenness, every aspect of her life was colored by bitterness and sorrow.  Even though Elkanah treated her with tenderness and love, her sorrow was overwhelming.  What was she to do?  How was she to face this trauma in her life?  Where could she turn in her time of crushing sorrow?  The song we sing says, “Leave it there, leave it there.  Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”  That is exactly what Hannah did with her sorrowful burden.  Her response to her burden was thoroughly Scriptural.  See the following passages:  1 Peter 5:7; Psalms 27:13-14; 37:5; 55:22; 56:3-4; Philippians 4:6.


Lessons:

1.  God is honored when we long to fulfill His ordained plan for our lives as His creatures and as His children.  See Romans 12:1-2   

2.  Life brings us heartaches and difficulties.  When these times come, and they will, we must learn to bring these to God in prayer.

3.  Like Hannah, we should trust the Lord when we seek His face in prayer, and walk in faith believing He hears and answers prayer.  See Verse 18.


July 3

1 Samuel 1:21-28


Elkanah, the father of Samuel, referred to as an Ephrathite, was actually a Levite, a descendant of the priestly tribe. (See 1 Chronicles 6:22-28; compare with Joshua 21:20)  While the Tribe of Levi was not given an allotment of land in Canaan, they were given cities to inhabit within the various tribes’ territories.  Thus, Elkanah, a descendant of Kohath, the son of Levi, was of the priestly tribe, making Samuel a Levite.

As she had promised to do, Hannah presented Samuel to the High Priest when she had weaned him.  Accordingly, Samuel spent the rest of his formative years living in the Tabernacle and serving the Lord there.  Jewish children were weaned around the age of three, which would put Samuel under the care of the priests in the Tabernacle at a very young age.  It is possible, however, that this presentation of Samuel to the Tabernacle took place when he was around 12 to 13 years of age, for Jewish custom placed the responsibility of training young men with their mothers until the age of their bar mitzvah.  The key thought is expressed in Hannah’s own words, “…I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.”  While Christian parents should not take their children to the front steps of the church and leave them there, they must dedicate their children to God and His service, and do their best to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  That is their greatest hope of having children that serve the Lord throughout their lives as did Samuel.


Lessons:

1.  “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalms 127:3 (Compare with 1 Samuel 1:27)

2.  Like Hannah and Elkanah, we must bring our children to God’s house, and we must present them to the Lord through prayer and through godly upbringing. (See Proverbs 22:6)


July 4

1 Samuel 2:1-10


There are many prayers recorded in Scripture, this prayer of Hannah’s being one of the longest.  This prayer was born out a heart filled with gratitude to God for His bountiful blessings.  Hannah had prayed to God for a child, and God heard and answered her prayer.  Thus, throughout eternity, this prayer of Hannah will stand as an example of a prayer of thanksgiving produced by the praises of a thankful heart.

During the earthly ministry of our Lord, ten lepers presented themselves to Him for healing. (Luke 17:12-19)  He sent them to the priests as commanded in the law, and as they went they were all cleansed.  One of the ten, a Samaritan, when he realized that he had been cleansed turned back to give the Lord thanks for his healing.  “And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”  O, beloved, how we ought to express our gratitude to God for His goodness, and for the prayers He has answered through His power and grace!


Lessons:

1.  Prayer is one of the greatest privileges we are afforded as being children of God.  Throughout Scripture were are commanded and encouraged to bring our needs to our Lord in prayer.  Hannah did, and God honored her faith with an answer to her prayer.

2.  “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men….” (1 Timothy 2:1)  One of the main topics of our praying should be the giving of thanks to God for His goodness to us.


July 5

1 Samuel 2:11-17


Should we assume that all that call themselves men of God are in reality men of God?  Should we assume that all “pastors, evangelists, missionaries,  etc.” are all genuine, Christ-honoring servants of our Lord?  When one who claims to be a servant of Christ is in reality a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” (Matthew 7:15) how does this effect the cause of Christ?

Eli’s sons were the priests in the Tabernacle, serving under their father, Eli, the high priest.  These men “knew not the Lord.”  Not only did these men not know the Lord, they were “sons of Belial,” or of wickedness and ungodliness.  Their actions in the Tabernacle were unthinkable and almost unmentionable.  What was the result of that?  “…men abhorred the offering of the Lord.”

What is the result of godless and wicked pastors, evangelists and so on?  People develop an abhorrence for the things of God.  We have all witnessed that very thing, and are witnessing it this very day.  This is one reason that there is such animosity toward church and the things of God in the hearts of many.


Lessons:

  1.  As children of God, we are admonished in Scripture to “try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

  2. We are also commanded to be learned in the Word of God, to study to shew ourselves approved unto God, (2 Timothy 2:15) for in so doing we will be able to identify error and falsehood, especially in those who profess to be spiritual leaders.


July 6

1 Samuel 2:18-21


God blesses faithfulness in His followers, both young and old.  In our passage, we read that God blessed Hannah for her faithfulness to her promise to God, her faithfulness as a mother and her faithfulness to the worship services of the Tabernacle.  As a result of her prayer of faith and her faithfulness, God “visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters.”

Our Lord still blesses faithfulness today.  The challenge and command given to the saved in Revelation 2:10 is, “be thou faithful unto death,” and this is followed by, “and I will give thee a crown of life.”  Faithfulness is defined as believing, confiding and trusting.  It also speaks of being consistent and steadfast in the faith and in obeying and serving the Lord.  Hannah was faithful.  We will find that Samuel will be a faithful priest and prophet of God.  There are many examples of those who were faithful in the Biblical record.  Our challenge in these trying times is to be a faithful follower of Christ.


Lessons:

  1.  So far in 1 Samuel, we have read of faithlessness and of faithfulness.  Hophni and Phinehas were faithless, wicked “sons of Belial.”  Hannah was faithful.  We will see that faithlessness leads to a bitter end, but faithfulness is blessed of God.  Spiritual dividends are paid for both faithlessness and faithfulness.  Which payment would you prefer?

  2. The seed of faithfulness was sown in the heart of Samuel from a very young age.  See 2:18, 21 and 26.  He saw this in the lives of his parents.  May the Lord help us to sow such seeds of faithfulness in the hearts of the young around us.


July 7

1 Samuel 2:22-36


Sin is an awful thing.  It never goes unnoticed by the Lord, and is never overlooked.  God hates sin, and He judges sin.  This is especially so when sin is found unchecked in the lives of those who claim to know and serve the Lord.  When it comes to sin, the more grievous the sin, the greater the condemnation of God.  See that in the life of Eli, and of his wicked sons.

An unnamed “man of God” came to Eli with a hard message; a message of harsh rebuke and of pending judgment.  We will see the fulfillment of that predicted judgment later.  There is to me an interesting observation to be made; Eli heard the message, surely believing the man of God, but he did not respond to that message by repenting or by changing what needed to be changed.  Eli had rebuked his sons earlier, but did not remove them from their position as priests, which he certainly should have done.  Eli would soon see the fulfillment of this man of God’s prophecy, and seemed to do so unprepared.


Lessons:

  1.  See Numbers 32:23

  2. Ignorance of Divine truth is one thing, but refusing to respond to Divine truth when it is known is a totally different thing altogether.  See Romans 1:20.  “Without excuse” is an awful thought when it comes to Divine judgment for sin.


July 8

2 Samuel 3:1-14


“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord….”


As great a man of God as Samuel became, there was a time when he “did not yet know the Lord.”  Did you know that could be said of every human that has ever lived, or ever will live?  Of course, this could never have been said of the Lord Jesus, but can about all others.  There was a time when Moses did not know the Lord, when Joshua did not know the Lord, or when Paul did not know the Lord.

Samuel heard the Lord calling and it was his responsibility to answer that call.  The same is true with all.  They may not hear the audible voice of the Lord as did Samuel, but they do hear His call nonetheless.  See John 10:27.  For me, that hearing of the call of the Savior came when I was 12 years old.  I heard that call in my heart, and I responded to that call through faith.  As a result for that I was saved.  Something similar happened to all who now “know the Lord.”

Do you know the Lord?  Has there been a time in your life when He called you to Himself, and you responded to that call through faith?  If not, do so today!


Lessons:

  1.  The words written of Samuel could be written of all who have not yet responded to the call of salvation, “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord.”  None are born into this life as believers and followers of the Lord Jesus.  That Samuel’s mother did know the Lord did not automatically mean that he knew the Lord.  That he was spending his days in the Tabernacle did not mean that he knew the Lord.

  2. To “know the Lord” one must have a personal encounter with the Lord.

  3. To “know the Lord” one must answer the call of the Lord through faith.  See Romans 10:13 and compare that with 1 Samuel 3:10.


July 9

1 Samuel 3:15-21


Samuel had an unusual experience in his relationship with the Lord.  On the day he answered the Lord’s call to Himself, he was also called into the prophetic ministry.  God revealed to Samuel that which He was about to do with Eli and his two sons.  When asked of Eli concerning the vision he saw the previous evening, Samuel did not mince words.  He told Eli the entire message of pending judgment God had given him.  It must remembered that, while we are not sure of Samuel’s age at this time, it is obvious that he was still quite young.  Although young, this “child” spoke the entire message of condemnation and pending judgment to Eli.  This probably was not an easy task, but it was performed without hesitance.

When we end this chapter, we learn that Samuel now did “know the Lord,” that “the Lord was with him,” and that the Lord “did not let any of his words fall to the ground.”  We also read that “all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.”


Lesson:

  1.  Serving God is a privilege, and all the saved are called to service.  Not all are called into the ministry as such, but all are called to serve.  All the saved are called to serve the Lord in their church attendance, in their giving of themselves and of their finances and in their witness to others.

  2. As with Samuel, when God’s people faithfully serve Him, it is a blessing to the Lord and to others around them.

  3. Just as it could be said, “And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh” because of the faithfulness of Samuel, the Lord can be seen in the lives and witness of the faithful in our day.


July 10

1 Samuel 4:1-11


A crucifix worn around the neck is no guarantee of the Lord’s blessing on a life.  A cross mounted on a church steeple is no guarantee of the Lord’s presence and power in the church.  The cross mounted on the wall in the baptistry of Good News is no guarantee of the Lord’s presence and blessings upon our church.  When the Ark of the Covenant was carried into battle against the Philistines, it was no guarantee that the Lord was in their midst and was going to be fighting for Israel.  They were treating that sacred piece of furniture of the Tabernacle as some superstitious trinket, and it cost them dearly.  It cost the battle and the loss of the Ark.

This loss was a Divine judgment on Israel for their lack of faith and faithfulness to God, and it was a judgment against the current status of the priesthood.  Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were both slain just as had been prophesied. (See 2:34 and 3:12)


Lessons:

  1.  Our relationship with Christ is a faith, it is the faith and not a superstition.  Therefore, the articles and emblems of our faith should not be used as superstitious trinkets.

  2. Israel assumed the Lord would assure them the victory simply because they carried the Ark into battle.  It did not work then, and it will not work now.   

  3. Just as the prophesied judgment against the house of Eli was fulfilled as predicted, all of God’s Word is true and will see complete fulfillment.


July 11

1 Samuel 4:12-22


Hophni and Phinehas were unsaved men, “they knew not the Lord.”  Eli, their father, was the high priest in that day, and it was his responsibility to make sure that the service of the Tabernacle was being conducted Scripturally.  It was not.  Eli was not doing his job; a job that would have required stern action against his own sons.  His failing to fulfill his responsibility to God resulted in the death of his sons, the death of his daughter-in-law, and in the loss of the Ark of the Covenant.  Ultimately it resulted in his own death.

Hindsight is also crystal clear, and had Eli dealt Scripturally with his sons, the end result could have been far different.  It’s possible that those sons could have been turned around had their father dealt with them according to God’s Word.  It may not have made much difference in their lives, but it sure could have made a difference for the Tabernacle and for the work of God among the children of Israel.


Lessons:

  1.  While Scriptural training and discipline may at times seem difficult, the lack of such will definitely cause greater difficulties later.

  2. Violated Scriptural commands will result in an abhorrence of the things of God, and will eventually result in unthinkable destruction.  That was true in Samuel’s day, and it is true in our day.


July 12

1 Samuel 5


Dagon was the national god of the Philistines.  According to the Ugaritic tablets, Dagon was the mythical father of Baal.  He was the “fish god,” represented as a half-man, half-fish creature.  The false gods of this world are the fabrications of human imagination and the deceptive influence of Satan and demonic beings.  Scripture speaks of “doctrines of devils,” (1 Timothy 4:1)  That there was, as is, a spiritual power behind the false gods of this world is without question when their origin is considered.

The scene of Chapter 5 is somewhat comical.  The Philistines conquered the Israelis, and thought they were capturing the God of Israel when they brought the Ark of the Covenant back to the house of Dagon.  It is somewhat humorous to see the result.  Not only did their false god, Dagon, fall before the Ark, they found that the Ark was an item they could not handle, and soon wished that they had never seen.  Wouldn’t one think that when they saw the results of their desecration of the Ark, they would have sought the God of that Ark in repentance and faith?


Lessons:

  1.  The false gods of this world are not gods at all, and they that worship the false gods of this world are in the grasp of Satanic deception.  For those we should pray for Divine light to direct their souls to Christ.

  2. Just as Dagon fell before the Ark, every knee will one day bow before the Lord Jesus and declare the He is Lord of All. (See Philippians 2:5-11)


July 13

1 Samuel 6:1-12


God was actually most merciful to the Philistine when they took His Ark and treated it so shamefully.  He could have slain them all in Divine judgment.  We will later witness the death of nearly 51 thousand Israelis for they “looked into the ark of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 6:19)  The Philistines, because they were not God’s people in possession of His laws, were judged with painful boils, but were actually treated very leniently by the Almighty.

The priests and diviners of the Philistines devised a plan whereby they might return the Ark to Israel, using a new cart pulled by two “milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke,” adding 5 “emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines.”  This new cart pulled by the “milch kine” was headed toward Bethshemesh, thus freeing the Philistines of this holy piece of furniture that belonged in the Tabernacle’s Holy of Holies.


Lessons:

  1.  Unsaved humanity treats the holy things of God with disrespect and disdain.  While the Lord is merciful, these unholy actions will someday be faced in judgment.

  2. We witness in our day a lack of respect toward our God among those who claim to know Him through the Lord Jesus.  None should speak of God, or of the things of God, with disrespect.  This is especially true of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.  I heard one speaking recently of our Blessed Redeemer as “the main guy.”  God forbid, beloved, that we should be so disrespectful of our Holy God.


July 14

1 Samuel 6:13-21


Back on Israeli soil, the Ark of God was not yet in the place that God had ordained; the Tabernacle, which was located in Shiloh.  In fact, it would be twenty years in Kirjathjearim. (1 Samuel 7:1-2)  To understand the plight of the people of Bethshemesh found in our passage, see the following passage: Numbers 4:1-20.  The holy articles and utensils of the Tabernacle were to be treated with the utmost reverence and honor, for they represented our Blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His great work for our redemption.  The men of Bethshemesh violated the Ark by disobeying the law’s restrictions, and the cost of that disobedience was extremely high.

Just a thought about the law: it was hard and harsh.  The early church struggled with mixing law and grace, to which Paul reasoned, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)  The law condemned, pointing out sin and its consequences.  Thank God for His amazing grace that brought salvation through the Lord Jesus.


Lessons:

  1.  The law condemns, pointing out sin and death by sin.  Romans 3:20

  2.  Grace pardons, and provides cleansing through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  John 1:14-17; Ephesians 2:8-9


July 15

1 Samuel 7


The key to victory over sin and the flesh for God’s people is a right relationship with their God.  For Israel, it was time for revival; time for laying aside the things that had hindered them and of a renewing of their commitment to their God.  The man of God preached and the people responded to the word of God.  The meeting at Mizpeh was a call from Samuel to the people to do business with God, and at the same time an invitation to the Philistines to come and do business with them.  Mizpeh was a battlefield, and it was time for the yoke of the Philistines to be broken.  Look at the result of this battle in Verses 13-14.

Beloved, don’t miss the personal application of the truths taught in this chapter.  We, too, can have victory, but it requires regular trips to our Mizpah to do business with our God.  Revival comes when God’s people turn from their backsliding ways and renew their commitment to their Savior and His Word.  Amen!


Lessons:

  1.  Israel needed a “Mizpah” experience!  So do we!  See 1 Chronicles 7:14.

  2.  God’s people today need to “put away” (Verse 4) some things, “gather” together before the Lord and “pray.” (Verse 5)  In doing so, we will see victory over our Philistines. (See Hebrews 12:1-2)


July 16

1 Samuel 8


Samuel served Israel faithfully all of his days.  His sons were not so faithful as their father.  Their lack of faithfulness stirred a discontentment in the hearts of the people, causing them to long for something different in their leadership.  Rather than seeking God and His guidance, they looked around at the other nations about them, and decided what they needed was a king. (See Verse 5)  In essence, they were rejecting the Theocracy that God had ordained, and sought to have as their government a monarchy. (See Verse 7)  Thus began the era of the kings in Israel, an era that God had actually prophesied would take place. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)

While God instructed Samuel to hearken to the people in giving them a king, the prophet was to explain the costs and demands of a monarchy as a form of government.  Government was ordained of God, (Genesis 9:5-6) and the best form of government is one ruled by God as a theocracy.    When this was explained by Samuel, “the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations….”

Of all the forms of government existing today, the democratic form of government is the most equitable.  It does have issues, however, that can be, and have proven to be, detrimental.  Like the Children of Israel, those living under a democratic form of government can cry out, we long to be “like all the nations,” thus demanding benefits and government programs that can literally bankrupt the nation.  Add to this politicians that literally buy their votes by costly government programs, and the result can be - well, it can be exactly what we are seeing in our country today: a national debt that is going to bankrupt our entire system for future generations.


Lessons:

  1.  God’s governmental plans will forever be what is best suited to meet man’s needs.

  2.  Human government will forever fail.  Only when our Lord reigns on this earth will humanity experience a truly perfectly system of governance.   


July 17

1 Samuel 9:1 - 10:1


In this chapter, the Lord directed Samuel to that man He had chosen to be Israel’s first king.  Remember this, God was providing for Israel what they had requested; indeed, what they had demanded of Samuel.  From all appearances, Saul should have been the ideal king.  His outward appearance was stately, just as one might expect from someone who was to be a leader.  At this point, Saul seemed to possess all the traits of a natural born leader, one just as Israel had sought.

As we read further into Saul’s life and tenure as Israel’s first king, we will find that he was sorely lacking.  We won’t have read far into his kingship when we will hear the prophet condemning the first king, and prophesying that the kingdom will be taken from him and given to another.  In other words, there will never by a dynasty that rules Israel from the house of Saul.


Lessons:

  1.  Things are not always as they appear.  This is an important lesson that God’s people must learn.  The following verses attest to that fact:  1 Timothy 3:10; 5:22; 1 John 4:1.

  2. God gave Israel what they longed for and sought, which was not what they truly needed.  There are times the Lord will give people their wishes, even if those wishes are detrimental to their well being.


July 18

1 Samuel 10:2-27


“And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.”


There are several things said of Saul that should have guaranteed that he was to be a great and successful king.  First, it was said that “God gave him another heart.”  Then we read that “God is with thee.”  We also find that, “the Spirit of God came upon him.”

We are currently being called upon to endure an election year, but Saul never campaigned for the office of Israel’s king.  In fact, his hiding of himself “among the stuff” revealed his reticence in becoming Israel’s first king.  However, had Saul been a man of faith and obedience, his success as Israel’s king was guaranteed, for “God was with him.”  Despite all those positive and hopeful things said of Saul, he failed as a king.  How many times do you suppose this pattern has been repeated throughout man’s history?


Lessons:

  1.  Even though God provides all that we need to be successful in our lives as Christians, there are demands of us that must be met in order for us to overcome flesh, the world and Satan.  God provides, but requires that His people do their part in faithfulness and obedience.

  2.  Just as Saul required God’s assistance in fulfilling his duties as Israel’s         first king, none of us are sufficient to live lives successfully in this sinful world.  But as Paul said, “our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)  While the context of that statement was concerned with ministry, it is applicable to all believers in every walk of life.


July 19

1 Samuel 11


Something was needed to solidify the nation behind Saul as their king.  That something was the events recorded in Chapter 11.  The Ammonites attacked Jabeshgilead, overpowered them and then negotiated an unthinkable demand for their surrender; all of their right eyes were to be “thrust out.”  When they heard the demand, the men of Jabesh stalled for time and sent out a call for help to the rest of Israel.  Once this cry was made known to Saul, he literally demanded a response from the rest for the country.  His demand was met and Jabeshgilead was saved.  It was through this great victory that Saul was officially recognized by the entire nation as the king that God had appointed.


Lessons:

  1.  The Lord allowed the attack from the Ammonites to solidify His plan in making Saul the first king of Israel.  He sometimes allows things to come into our lives to facilitate His plans for us.  See Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Deuteronomy 8:2-3; James 1:3-4.

  2. When God’s people work together through faith and obedience in serving Him, the result is positive and uplifting.  We see this in the last phrase of this chapter: “…and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.”


July 20

1 Samuel 12


“…God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you….”


When Samuel took the demands of the people concerning a king, the Lord spoke to Samuel saying, “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)  Why do you suppose the Lord mentioned that they had not rejected Samuel?  Samuel certainly felt that they had rejected him, and he had dedicated his entire life to the service of his people.  In our reading today, he pointed out to the people that he had never taken bribes, and had never defrauded anyone in his years of judging Israel.  To this they agreed.  Obviously realizing the implications of their demands and its effect on the prophet, they made the request, “Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God….”  To this the prophet replied, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you….”


Lessons:

  1.  How we respond to individuals actions toward us is of the utmost importance.  Should we be vengeful toward those who wrong us?  Should we retaliate when mistreated?  Should we strike back when smitten, either verbally or literally?  Allow the Lord to answer such questions by reading the following passages: Matthew 5:38-42; Romans 12:19.

  2. Jesus instructed us to “pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:28)  He wasn’t instructing us to pray that God would judge them harshly for their actions, but that He would be merciful and longsuffering, and that He would bring them to a place of repentance and faith.  Samuel was assuring the people that he would pray for their blessings and Divine favor.                             


July 21

1 Samuel 13


“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly….”


The people had preconceived ideas in their minds about what kind of leader they wanted so that they could be like all the others lands.  Saul was exactly what they wanted.  He had the royal appearance of a king.  There were probably no kings of the nations around Israel with a more stately appearance than Saul, but he was poor leader.  He did not instill confidence in those he ruled.  While it was said that the Lord was with him, Saul did not place his kingdom in God’s hands, trusting in the Lord to meet his needs.  When faced with a large Philistine army, and the people of Israel filled with fear at the prospects of battling such an army, Saul was incapable of rallying the people together through faith in God.

In this chapter, in an effort to overcome his own deficiencies, Saul offered burnt and peace offerings before the Lord.  The problem with that was that Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and only the Levites had been chosen for priestly service.  When Samuel arrived, his response was a harsh rebuke of King Saul.  Not only did he charge the king with foolishness, he pronounced that Saul’s kingdom would not be allowed to continue.  God had sought for a man after His own heart to rule His people, and Saul was simply not that man.  While he would continue to be the king of Israel for thirty-eight more years, there would be no dynasty of the family of Saul continuing on Israel’s throne.


Lessons:

  1.  Only the Tribe of Levi was chosen by God to be the priestly tribe, with the responsibilities of the Tabernacle and its offerings.  Although the king of God’s chosen people, Saul was not qualified to offer sacrifices and offerings.  Not only was he not qualified, his making of these offerings was an act of disobedience to God’s law, an offense to God and was most detrimental to God’s people.

  2. The service of the Lord must be done God’s way.  That was true in the days of Samuel and Saul, and it is still true today.  The Church must be directed according to God’s Word, and its service conducted according to His dictates.  Anything short of this is unacceptable and not honoring to our Lord.


July 22

1 Samuel 14:1-23


Have you ever heard the saying, “Like father, like son?”  Or, perhaps you have heard it like this, “He’s a chip off the old block.”  That was not the case with Jonathan.  He was really nothing like his father.  Jonathan revealed a character and a faith that was never really seen in Saul.

Observe his faith in Verses 6-10.  Jonathan knew that he was greatly out numbered, and that humanly speaking, it would have been foolish for he and his armor bearer to chance confronting these Philistine soldiers.  But Jonathan was not being guided by human reason, but by faith.  His mindset was clearly seen in the words, “it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.”

The Lord did work for these two men against the Philistines, and a great victory there inspired an even greater victory later.  The song says, “Little is much when God is in it.”  How true!


Lessons:

  1.  “Faith is the victory,  Faith is the victory, “O glorious victory that overcomes the world.”  Faith caused Jonathan to look more to the Lord and less at the imposing and formidable foes that stood opposite him.

  2. Faith must be followed by action.  Jonathan’s faith was put into motion and God blessed his faith and his actions motivated by faith.


July 23

1 Samuel 14:24-52


Saul’s charge to the people was foolish.  Soldiers in battle need sustenance, and his command for his army to fast was an invitation to disaster, and that was exactly the result.  One foolish command only led to another when Jonathan was sentenced to die for eating honey he had found upon the ground.  These commands were not given by a man who was being led by God’s Spirit or by His Word.  Thankfully the people were adamant that Jonathan was not to be executed, and their standing strong against the king’s commandment spared his life.


Lessons:

1.  Poor leadership results in “distressed” followers.  As followers of       the Lord Jesus Christ, we should never be “distressed,” for He is       an all-knowing, all-powerful and caring Shepherd.  When our       political leaders make decisions like Saul, we must keep our eyes       on our Shepherd.

2.  Jonathan was right, and his father was wrong.  That is a difficult       place to be, and a difficult situation to face.  As a Christian, you       very well could be put into a similar situation with unsaved family       members.  If so, believers must always follow the rule of Scripture,       but do so with hearts filled with love and grace.


July 24

1 Samuel 15


“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”


This is one of those passages of Scripture that stand out as being great wisdom contained in just a few profound words.  Saul’s actions were inexcusable, and very contrary to the clear demands of God’s Word.  Consequently, the decree made earlier about Saul’s kingdom was reiterated in the strongest of terms.  Saul would not have a dynasty of kings from his descendants on the throne of Israel.  His disobedience to God’s command concerning the Amalekites caused the Lord God to express His dissatisfaction in the following words; “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,”


Lessons:

  1.  The sacrifices and offerings, which were foreshadowing of the coming Christ, were God’s temporary remedy for sin.  However, His heart toward His people revealed that He preferred their obedience over their sacrifices.  The children’s song says, “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.”  Amen!

  2. The Lord uses language to express Himself in terms that we can have an understanding of Him.  You will see that it Verse 15 where He speaks of repenting.  Compare that with Genesis 6:6.  In reality, the All-knowing God fully knew Saul’s flaws and failures before He led Samuel to anoint him to be Israel’s first king.


July 25

1 Samuel 16


“…the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”


Please get this message clearly!  Saul had every appearance of a natural born leader of men.  He was not!  He was a miserable failure as a king.  David did not possess such outward characteristics as to identify him as a great king, but God saw what others could not.  God was looking for a man after His own heart, and David was God’s man for the kingship.  While David was not a perfect man, and we will see that as we continue through this book, he was a man of faith.  He loved God, and the Lord chose Him to be Israel’s second king. He will prove to be their greatest king.


Lessons:

  1.  God sees and knows all.  This is a lesson we learned early as children, but it is one that we must constantly remind ourselves of.

  2. Man’s judgments and opinions are marred and flawed by sin.  For this cause, believers must be careful not to allow popular opinion to influence their walk of faith.


July 26

1 Samuel 17


“…the battle is the Lord’s….”


This battle between David and Goliath is the most famous battle of Scripture.  It has been used countless times over the centuries as an allegory, or as an illustration of overcoming insurmountable odds or facing enemies that seemingly cannot be defeated.

David’s faith as a young man was expressed in the words mentioned above.  He knew that challenge facing him of the giant.  He knew that humanly speaking he did not stand a chance against the Philistine’s champion, but he also knew God.  He saw this battle as the Lord’s, and not his own.  In so seeing it that way, David was able to face the giant armed with His faith in the Almighty God of Israel.


Lesson:

  1.  We all face giants in our lives; situations that we simply cannot overcome in our own strength.  We must walk by faith, and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

  2. It is one thing to speak of faith, it is another thing altogether to step out on a battle field opposite a giant over 9 feet tall.  Talk can come easily, actions are not always so easy.  Let us walk by faith!  Let us live by faith, and let us face our giants by faith!  Amen!


July 27

1 Samuel 18


Saul’s jealousy seemed to be born of his insecurity.  That jealousy marred any sense of sound judgment he might have had.  Left unchecked, Saul’s jealousy led to hatred and fear.  He found himself seeking the death of the young man that would one day be Israel’s king, his replacement that had been chosen by God.

The insecurity that led to this further decline in the character and actions of Saul came from his lack of a right relationship with the Lord.  What we are witnessing in the life of Israel’s first king are the results of his disobedience to God and his rebellion against the will of God.  It will not get better, only worse.


Lessons:

  1.  When one lacks in the area of a right relationship with God, that lack effects every aspect of that individual’s life.

  2. When faith in God is lacking, insecurity and a host of other negative mental and social ills can be the result.  One of the greatest guarantees of a sound mind and heart is a right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. (See 2 Timothy 1:7)


July 28

1 Samuel 19 - 20


David and Jonathan’s hearts were knit together in a true and strong friendship.  Their friendship began early on when David was first introduced to the royal family, and only grew stronger through the passage of time.  Jonathan knew that David would some day be the king of Israel, (See 23:17) but he wasn’t driven mad with the jealousy that had so effected Saul, his father.

The scene depicted in Chapter 20 is a touching one.  Jonathan had come to the realization that his father’s feelings toward David could not be changed; he was intent on David’s death.  He knew that David could no longer be associated with Saul.  He and David, his brother-in-law, would be separated and only connected through their love for God.  His last words to his friend were, “The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.”


Lessons:

  1.  See the following verses on the subject of friendship:  Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:6, 17; John 15:13-15.

  2. Friends in Christ are a great blessing, but believers have been brought into a relationship with Jesus Christ wherein He has called them His “friends.”  “What a friend we have in Jesus!”  Amen!


July 29

1 Samuel 21


In Chapter 21, David began his time as a fugitive, running for his life from the threat of Saul.  Over the next years, David, along with many men that gathered to him as their leader, wandered through the land of Israel, hiding in caves from the threat of Saul.  These were formative years for David, preparing him for that calling in his life to be Israel’s king.

David’s request of Ahimelech, which was given in a less than honest way, occasioned the death of many of the Lord’s priests.   He told Ahimelech that he was on a mission for Saul, and that because he had left hastily he had failed to bring weapons, neither of which was true.  While he was there, there was also a man there named Doeg.  He was an Edomite, a servant of Saul.  His presence there proved to pose a great problem for the priests that lived in Nob.


  1.  Scripture declares that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. (Psalms 37:23)  These words were written by David.  David could look back over his life and see that this was certainly true in his life.

  2. David’s dishonesty with Ahimelech was costly for the priests of Nob.  Would it have been any different had David been totally honest?  Only the Lord knows the answer to that question, but David came to the conclusion that he was the one that jeopardized the lives of God’s priests. (See 1 Samuel 22:22)  Dishonest is never acceptable in God’s preople.


July 30

1 Samuel 22


Once Saul gave himself over to sin and rebellion against God, his actions became increasingly vile and unrestrained.  When learning of Ahimelech’s assistance of David, Saul ordered his men to slay the priests of the Lord.  His men were of greater integrity than he, and so Doeg was commanded to raise his sword against the priests.  Eighty-five priests were slain, then the town of Nob attacked and its citizens slaughtered.  These were Saul’s own people, citizens of the country over which God had made him king.  It doesn’t seem possible that this is the same king that God blessed with so great potential.


Lessons:

  1.  Sin destroys.  It destroys the sinner’s sense of decency and restraint.  Once it is allowed to dwell unhindered in a life, sin leads to the most egregious and heartless acts, and spreads its destruction to everything and everyone it touches.  We see this vividly in Saul’s life, and we see it in our world today.

  2. Compare Verses 1-2 with Verse23.  David is a type, an illustration of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We read that “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became a captain over them….”  So it has been with the Lord Jesus.  Sinners have gathered themselves unto Him, and He has become the “Captain of their salvation.” (Hebrews 2:10)  David promised Abiathar that if the priest stayed with him, he would keep Abiathar safe.  In a very true sense of the word, every soul that has fled to Christ has been assured by the Redeemer, “Abide thou with me…with me thou shalt be in safeguard.”  Amen!


July 31

1 Samuel 23:1-14


These verses teach us one thing clearly, that being the necessity of seeking the Lord’s will and counsel for our lives.  There were times in David’s life when he simply did not do this, and in those times failure to do so proved to be costly mistakes.  He certainly sought God’s guidance in these verses, and the result of his doing so was very positive.

God revealed His will to David through the intercession of the priest,

Abiathar.  He will reveal His will to us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and through the teachings of His Word.


Lessons:

  1.  Life presents the child of God with many choices and decisions to make.  Failure to seek God’s will in these decisions can lead to disastrous results.  It is possible to discern God’s will, (See Romans 12:1-2) and living a life within the perimeters of God’s will brings peace and fulfillment that no other life can bring.

  2. Leaders must be extra sure that they are leading according to the will of God.  See Verses 1-4.  This is true for church leaders as well as for governmental leaders.  It is also true with parents that have the responsibility of leading their homes.


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