April 12, 2016

I Samuel 19-21 - 
Saul called his son Jonathan together with his servants and ordered them to kill David. But because Jonathan treasured David, he went and warned him:... Jonathan brought up David with his father, speaking well of him. “Please,” he said to his father, “don’t attack David. He hasn’t wronged you, has he? And just look at all the good he has done! He put his life on the line when he killed the Philistine. What a great victory God gave Israel that day! You were there. You saw it and were on your feet applauding with everyone else. So why would you even think of sinning against an innocent person, killing David for no reason whatever?”  Saul listened to Jonathan and said, “You’re right. As God lives, David lives. He will not be killed.”  Jonathan sent for David and reported to him everything that was said. Then he brought David back to Saul and everything was as it was before....

But then a black mood from God settled over Saul and took control of him. He was sitting at home, his spear in his hand, while David was playing music. Suddenly, Saul tried to skewer David with his spear, but David ducked. The spear stuck in the wall and David got away. It was night.  Saul sent men to David’s house to stake it out and then, first thing in the morning, to kill him. But Michal, David’s wife, told him what was going on. “Quickly now—make your escape tonight. If not, you’ll be dead by morning!” She let him out of a window, and he made his escape. Then Michal took a dummy god and put it in the bed, placed a wig of goat’s hair on its head, and threw a quilt over it. When Saul’s men arrived to get David, she said, “He’s sick in bed.”...Saul stormed at Michal: “How could you play tricks on me like this? You sided with my enemy, and now he’s gotten away!” Michal said, “He threatened me. He said, ‘Help me out of here or I’ll kill you.’”

David made good his escape and went to Samuel at Ramah and told him everything Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel withdrew to the privacy of Naioth.  Saul was told, “David’s at Naioth in Ramah.” He immediately sent his men to capture him. They saw a band of prophets prophesying with Samuel presiding over them. Before they knew it, the Spirit of God was on them, too, and they were ranting and raving right along with the prophets!  That was reported back to Saul, and he dispatched more men. They, too, were soon prophesying. So Saul tried a third time—a third set of men—and they ended up mindlessly raving as well!

Fed up, Saul went to Ramah himself...As he headed out for Naioth in Ramah, the Spirit of God was on him, too. All the way to Naioth he was caught up in a babbling trance! He ripped off his clothes and lay there rambling gibberish before Samuel for a day and a night, stretched out naked. People are still talking about it: “Saul among the prophets! Who would have guessed?”

David got out of Naioth in Ramah alive and went to Jonathan.... David said, “Tomorrow marks the New Moon. I’m scheduled to eat dinner with the king. Instead, I’ll go hide in the field until the evening of the third. If your father misses me, say, ‘David asked if he could run down to Bethlehem, his hometown, for an anniversary reunion, and worship with his family.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ then I’m safe. But if he gets angry, you’ll know for sure that he’s made up his mind to kill me. Oh, stick with me in this. You’ve entered into a covenant of God with me, remember! If I’m in the wrong, go ahead and kill me yourself. Why bother giving me up to your father?”  “Never!” exclaimed Jonathan. “I’d never do that! If I get the slightest hint that my father is fixated on killing you, I’ll tell you.”...

Saul asked Jonathan his son, “So where’s that son of Jesse? He hasn’t eaten with us either yesterday or today.”
Jonathan said, “David asked my special permission to go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Give me leave to attend a family reunion back home. My brothers have ordered me to be there. If it seems all right to you, let me go and see my brothers.’ That’s why he’s not here at the king’s table.”

Saul exploded in anger at Jonathan: “You son of a slut! Don’t you think I know that you’re in cahoots with the son of Jesse, disgracing both you and your mother? For as long as the son of Jesse is walking around free on this earth, your future in this kingdom is at risk. Now go get him. Bring him here. From this moment, he’s as good as dead!”  Jonathan stood up to his father. “Why dead? What’s he done?”  Saul threw his spear at him to kill him. That convinced Jonathan that his father was fixated on killing David.  Jonathan stormed from the table, furiously angry, and ate nothing the rest of the day, upset for David and smarting under the humiliation from his father.

In the morning, Jonathan went to the field for the appointment with David. He had his young servant with him... After the servant was gone, David got up from his hiding place beside the boulder, then fell on his face to the ground—three times prostrating himself! And then they kissed one another and wept, friend over friend, David weeping especially hard.
Jonathan said, “Go in peace! The two of us have vowed friendship in God’s name, saying, ‘God will be the bond between me and you, and between my children and your children forever!’”

David went on his way and Jonathan returned to town. David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the Priest. Ahimelech was alarmed as he went out to greet David: “What are you doing here all by yourself—and not a soul with you?”  David answered Ahimelech the Priest, “The king sent me on a mission and gave strict orders: ‘This is top secret—not a word of this to a soul.’ I’ve arranged to meet up with my men in a certain place. Now, what’s there here to eat? Do you have five loaves of bread? Give me whatever you can scrounge up!”  “I don’t have any regular bread on hand,” said the priest. “I only have holy bread. If your men have not slept with women recently, it’s yours.” David said, “None of us has touched a woman. I always do it this way when I’m on a mission: My men abstain from sex. Even when it is an ordinary mission we do that—how much more on this holy mission.” So the priest gave them the holy bread. It was the only bread he had, Bread of the Presence that had been removed from God’s presence and replaced by fresh bread at the same time.

One of Saul’s officials was present that day keeping a religious vow. His name was Doeg the Edomite. He was chief of Saul’s shepherds.  David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword of any kind around here? I didn’t have a chance to grab my weapons. The king’s mission was urgent and I left in a hurry.”  The priest said, “The sword of Goliath, the Philistine you killed at Oak Valley—that’s here! It’s behind the Ephod wrapped in a cloth. If you want it, take it. There’s nothing else here.”...

And at that, David shot out of there, running for his life from Saul. He went to Achish, king of Gath. When the servants of Achish saw him, they said, “Can this be David, the famous David?... When David realized that he had been recognized, he panicked, fearing the worst from Achish, king of Gath. So right there, while they were looking at him, he pretended to go crazy, pounding his head on the city gate and foaming at the mouth, spit dripping from his beard. Achish took one look at him and said to his servants, “Can’t you see he’s crazy? Why did you let him in here? Don’t you think I have enough crazy people to put up with as it is without adding another? Get him out of here!”

I Corinthians 2 -
....when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke.  I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy.  I deliberately kept it plain and simple, first Jesus and who he is, then Jesus and what he did--Jesus crucified.

I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate---I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it-- and so nothing I said could impress you or anyone else.  But the Message came through anyway.  God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s  power, not to some fance mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.  

We have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it is not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so.  God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes.  You don’t find it lying around on the surface.  It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest...The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is....But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.  The Spirit not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along....We don’t learn this by reading books or going to school, we learned it from God who  taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.  

The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit.  There is no capacity for them....
Spirit can be know only by spirit --God’s Spirit and our spirits, in open communication.  Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics.