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May 24, Day #145 – A Divinely Ordained Panic Attack

In 1 Samuel 13:1-14:23, we now see that Saul – thirty years old – begins his reign over Israel and that he reigned for forty-two years (verse 1). “Saul prepared an army; Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba; and the Philistines assembled to fight Israel” (verses 2-5). The Israelites “saw that their situation was critical … they hid in caves and thickets and in pits and cisterns” (verses 6-7). At this point, Saul’s “men began to scatter” (verse 8), and Saul’s true character begins to emerge. Although the king waited the “seven days” that Samuel prescribed, Samuel was delayed in coming, and Saul grew impatient. “So he offered up the burnt offering” (verse 9). He disobeyed Samuel (cf., 1 Samuel 10:8), and he violated the law of God (cf., Leviticus 1:5; Numbers 16:1-3; 32-40). Saul offered his excuses, none of which Samuel accepted, and Samuel stated that Saul’s kingdom would be taken from him for these failures (verse 14). We read, in the midst of this disobedience, that the Philistines kept Israel devoid of any weapons – “not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land” (verse 19). “Otherwise, the Hebrews will make swords or spears; only Saul and Jonathan had them” (verses 19-22). What kind of country has no means of defense? This is a dangerous situation. In 1 Samuel 14, we see the character differences between Saul and his son, Jonathan. Saul is weak, impatient, and foolishly petulant (cf., 1 Samuel 13:12), but Jonathan is a man of strength, patience, and calculated trust in the Lord (cf., 1 Samuel 14:6-9). This shows clearly how much children can think and act differently from their parents, and it emphasizes our need to think biblically. We can only think biblically by saturating our hearts and minds with Scripture. In 1 Samuel 14:1-23, we see Jonathan’s trust in the Lord to help him rout the Philistines by a divinely ordained panic-attack (verses 13-15). We note that, “the LORD rescued Israel that day” (verse 23), but in tomorrow’s reading, we will see another foolish action by Saul the king.

In today’s reading of Psalm 66:13-20, we see that the Psalmist calls all “who fear God” (verse 16) to “come and hear what God has done” for him. He praises God for hearing his prayer and for accepting and loving him. Like the Psalmist, we are all in the same predicament, and we desperately need God’s love, care, protection, and His personal intervention in our lives. And like the Psalmist, we, too, should “tell others what He has done for” us (verse 16) and “praise Him – for He has not withheld His love from” us (verse 20). I am so thankful that God loves me and cares for me!

In John 13:18-38, we read of Christ’s consistent love and tenderness for His disciples. Here, He addressed them as His “children” (verse 33) an expression used especially for little ones who are dearly loved. In this passage, however, He shows His special love and concern for John, Judas, and Peter – three very different personalities. In verse 19, Jesus reveals Who He is and directly identifies Himself with the God of Israel when He says “I am Who I am” - the very name of God (cf., Exodus 3:14). He then states that acceptance of Him is acceptance of God – “the One Who sent Him.” Then, to certify His authority for this truth, Jesus reveals the immediate future - John’s question is answered candidly (verses 25-26); clearly Judas will betray Him; and Peter will certainly deny Him three times.

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