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May 28, Day #149 – Just One Step from Death

In 1 Samuel 19-20, we see the strong contrast between Saul’s insane hatred of David against Jonathan’s unselfish love, respect, support, and admiration for his friend. In verse 5, we see that Jonathan defended David when he told his father, “he [David] took his life in his hand when he killed the Philistine.” At first, “Saul listened to Jonathan” (verse 6), “but an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul” (verse 9). When our relationship with the Lord is so strained and twisted that God sends out an evil spirit, something is dreadfully wrong. We see that, “while David was playing the harp, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear” (verse 10). Saul continued three times to pursue David (cf., verse 21) – to kill him. Saul’s rage was so prodigious that he even tried to kill Jonathan – his own son (cf., 1 Samuel 20:33)! In chapter 20, David makes a realistic statement that applies to us all – “there is only a step between me and death” (verse 3). We easily forget this truth, but in reality, none of us knows how many times God has spared us by just one step from death. We should never take that for granted and always thank God for His protective care. In verses 4, 14, and 17, we see three extensive expressions of Jonathan’s genuine friendship toward David – “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you; show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD; and because he loved him as he loved himself.” These expressions are a reflection of biblical selfless devotion. Later, in the field, Jonathan communicates Saul’s evil intentions to David by target shooting near “the stone Ezel” (verse 19). Jonathan gives his weapons to the boy to take back to town – an incredible picture of Jonathan’s willingness to exalt his friend over himself and his unselfish desire to surrender his rights of the kingdom freely to David. David then bows down three times before Jonathan in proper recognition of Jonathan’s accession to God’s will and his right to transfer the kingdom and its power to David without bitterness. The friendship between David and Jonathan is exemplary, and it was certified by God’s eternal witness (verse 42).

Today, we continue in Psalm 68:7-14 with praise to God for His march “through the wilderness” and the “abundant showers” that He pours out on His “people” to “refresh them” (verses 7-9). We see how “the earth shook” at this event (verse 8), and “kings and armies fled in haste” because “the Almighty scattered them” (verses 12-14). We should take this Psalm joyfully to our hearts, for we see that God demonstrates His love, care, and provision for us.

John 17:6-26 is a special passage because it reveals Christ’s High Priestly prayer. This prayer of our Lord divides itself conveniently into three sections – verses 1-5, where Jesus prays for Himself. As we mentioned yesterday, His concern was that He might through Himself bring glory to His Father. In verses 6-19, Jesus prays specifically for His disciples – for their “protection” (verses 11 and 15); for their provision (verse 13); and for their “sanctification” (verse 17). Seven times in this prayer, Jesus uses the expression, “I am” to identify Himself completely with the Father (cf., verses 11, twice in 13, 14, and 16; and then twice again in the next section, verses 21 and 24). Finally, in verses 20-26, Jesus prays for all believers - including us. Think about this: He prayed for all of us before we existed. Knowing these truths - that Jesus personally prayed for us - and that by His covenant with His Father He wants to dwell within us through His Spirit – should give us all extraordinary assurance of His presence and help us to know that we are never alone. This prayer also informs us of His protection, sanctification, love, and the unity He desires for us. Finally, we see His purpose in this prayer – “to make Him known” (verse 26).

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