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June 1, Day #153 – We Need a Shepherd to Guide Us

Yesterday, in 1 Samuel 27, we observed David’s discouragement and impatience regarding his running from Saul to the Philistines, and today we see the results of his worldly actions. We saw that he went over to Achish and lived in Gath – the city of Goliath – in Philistine territory (cf., 1 Samuel 27:2-11). David’s lapse of faith led him to live in the land of his enemies, to serve them, and to fight against his own people. As with Lot living near Sodom and later, in Sodom (cf., Genesis 13:13; Genesis 19:1), David finds himself in an awkward position – caught in the middle - but for David, it worsens when even the “Philistine rulers don’t approve” of David and tell Achish to send him back to Israel. Of course, we do not know if David’s plan was to defeat the Philistines within their ranks, but we certainly see that God – in His sovereignty - was working to prevent enemy harm coming to David from within. In chapter 30, we see that David’s time away in Gath opened an opportunity for the Amalekites to destroy Ziklag, and take his wives captive. David’s “own men were about to stone him” (verse 6), but “he found strength in the LORD his God” (verse 7). This turn represents God’s redirection of David, who is now prepared for the forthcoming battle. These continuing battles with the enemies of God form a picture of the believer’s ongoing struggles with the world, with sin, and with the devil. In verses 7-31, we see how the Lord brought David through rejection, stress, exhaustion, heartache, and loss - potentially facing death by stoning - and then granting him victory, restoration of family, possessions, and the renewed support of his men. We reiterate the importance of 1 Samuel 29:6 - David “found strength in the LORD his God.” This truth should encourage us. The book of 1 Samuel closes with the death - by sad end - to which Saul comes.

With verses 28-35, our readings in Psalm 68 continue, and today we notice that the Psalm proclaims God’s sovereign strength and awesome power over the nations, the kingdoms, and the heavens. Truly, God “is awesome in His sanctuary; He gives power and strength to His people” (verse 35). Our God will definitely be praised - may such praise be found in us!

In John 19:28-20:9, we come to the conclusion of Christ’s crucifixion. It is significant that He Who said, “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (cf., John 4:14) also said, “I thirst” as He was dying, nailed to the cross. His resultant suffering was so great, that as He hung there dying - His life ebbing away - He was dry and thirsty. Next, we read “with that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (verse 30). His last living act was to give His spirit. He was in full control – He gave up His life – it was not taken from Him. Twice, John repeats, “that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (verses 28 and 36), which is fully consistent with Christ’s mission on earth. He came to fulfill the Scriptures. In John 20, we see the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus - which was also part of His mission – although it was not initially understood by the disciples (verse 9). How often and how much we miss the point of what we read in God’s Word! Our oversight reveals how needy we are of a Shepherd to lead and guide us!

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