OT: I Sam. 26:1-28:25
Today's reading was action-packed!
First, why was Saul still searching for David?? That man is crazy!
And speaking of crazy kings, what is Achish thinking, wanting David to fight with him against the Israelites? David is a celebrated Israelite warrior. Granted, he has fallen from grace lately, but still. He has only been in Philistine country for one year, and Achish thinks he is going to fight against his own people? Seriously? I'm glad that his local rulers had more sense, though I was morbidly curious to see how David was planning to betray them. I picture him taking Achish's head to Saul with another "Why do you hate me?" speech. Maybe I'm wrong, though.
Regardless, David and his men are wisely sent home, only to see that their town has been sacked and burned, with all of the people and livestock taken away. Needless to say, the men are seriously bummed about this and decide to pursue the raiders. Thanks to the help of a wandering Egyptian slave, they find the raiding party and get back all of their people and livestock.
One of my 6th grade boys found this verse to be hilarious: "David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled" (17). While reading the rest of the story aloud, he kept interjecting other huge qualifiers ("Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl...except for six hundred children.") Thanks to him, I always laugh out loud when I read verse 17. That verse also reminds me of the verses in Joshua or Judges that said, "The Lord gave all of the land to the people...except for this part and that part and this other part." (Or for that matter, when Jesus prayed, "I have not lost any that you gave me...except for that one," meaning Judas.) Thinking about all of these verses together kind of hints that these writings have a very different style than we do today. See, today, I have a problem with making an absolute, dramatic statement, and then adding huge qualifiers that essentially make my original statement seem untrue. And yet, I have seen that structure several times now, and while it confused me at first, I am beginning to see that it might just have been a different way to communicate, a different way of seeing things.
Oh, and while David is recovering his plunder, Saul and his sons are dying in the battle from which David was ejected. If this were a movie, the pacing of this passage would be superb. At the same time David is experiencing God-ordained victory, Saul is experiencing G0d-ordained defeat. The two scenes form a powerful juxtaposition.
And now I Samuel is over, and we are ready to begin the reign of David.
NT: John 11:54-12:19
In John's version of the anointing at Bethany, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus feature prominently. In fact, Mary is explicitly named as the one who anointed him, which definitely fits with her character. (Also, Martha served at the dinner, which definitely fits with her character!)
I don't have a ton of new observations to write here, so I'll move on.
"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (6)
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes" (8-9).
I love these verses. I struggle with putting my hope in things other than God, and when you struggle with that, you struggle with fear. I loved these reminders that God is the most important thing in my life, and that when I understand that, I truly have nothing to fear.
I especially liked verse 24, with the image of the path of life leading upward. I love the idea of my life proceeding upward to heaven.