Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
1 Samuel 17:32-58
1 Samuel 18:17-19:17
1 Samuel 19:18-24
Questions & Observations
Q. (1 Samuel 17:45): I find it so hard to let go of control like David and give it all over to God. We are surely trying to raise our children like this, but letting God guide me — and most Christians, I would think — was not something I was taught growing up. I was raised in the church and definitely taught the major Bible stories. But, I don’t recall talking about asking for God’s guidance in everything I did. Now, I am doing that more and more, but I feel like I am a long way off from giving up control of my life to God. Reading the Bible has definitely shown me that I need Him in all realms of life and my life will be more fulfilling if I let Him in. Rob, any tips on letting God take control of my (and others) life, as David did?
A. Well, I would say you’re off to a good start. One of the best ways to give control over to God is to KNOW what the Bible teaches about Him and His will. This can only come by reading the scriptures. Once you have become more immersed into the will and desires that God has for your life and the lives of those around you — especially your children — you will find it easier to follow these desires, or at least be aware when you are making a mistake. Giving more of yourself over to God is one of the roles that the Holy Spirit plays in your life, if that makes sense: He is the one who convicts the hearts of believers to do the will of God the Father and follow Him more closely. Being focused on the words of God in reading and prayer, or even prayerful reading, is a great way to give control over to God.
One other note might be worth mentioning here: many Christians seem willing to put their faith in God and trust Him with their eternal destiny, but somehow think He is wrong when He attempts to instruct us on how to live RIGHT NOW. I think that’s a pretty foolish notion if you think about it. Part of our proclamation as Christians is not just that Jesus/God is our savior, but also that He is our LORD. If we are unwilling to listen to what God desires to teach us as our sovereign Lord, we have little chance of giving God more control over our life. Let’s touch on this again way down the road, when we look at the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew 5-7.
Q. (18:14-16): Saul was selfish and disobeyed one time. Is there anything he could have done to redeem himself? From this passage, he may as well hand David the crown. Also, Saul’s jealousy of David is obvious. Can we draw a parallel from David and Saul to Jesus and the Pharisees?
A. Well, he keeps making actions that are selfish and prideful, so stopping that would be a good start. (But, he won’t. In fact he makes it worse, if you can believe it). David still has a long way to go, however to get the crown, for reasons that we will continue to see. While the Pharisees were certainly jealous of Jesus, I think the circumstances are quite different in the two scenarios, so I wouldn’t draw too many parallels from the two.
Q. (18:26): I wish I could read a book — fiction or nonfiction — that would tell about the life and times of the Bible years. There are so many customs I don’t understand, like this foreskin request. I’m sure there isn’t any literature describing customs, because it would be just like the Bible, translated from ancient scrolls.
A. The foreskin request is for “trophies,” like the thumb/toe effort we read about earlier. There are two reasons Saul requests it: first, only the Israelites would have been circumcised, so the Philistines would not have been marked in this way, ensuring that David really did kill the number requested or fake it in some way. The other thing Saul is requesting David to do is to humiliate the surviving Philistines, by making the bodies “join Israel” in death. Lovely, isn’t it?
Q. (Psalm 59:4): David is asking God to “wake up?”
A. We will see this referred to sometimes in the Psalms. The writer is ascribing human qualities (in this case the need for sleep) to God as a way of saying, “if You were paying attention to my circumstances, You would be doing something.” Since God is not responding in the way that the writer requests, he is accusing God of sleeping on the job. We will see some very heartfelt pleas in the Psalms that, frankly, I love reading. It tells me about the cries that these people made to God for the injustices they see in the world, and they really bear raw emotion in the writings: joy, pain, anguish, depression, etc. So it is little surprise that the Psalmist is accusing God of sleeping on the job, he is pouring out his heart, and God is not, in his mind, responding.
Q. (Psalm 59): David’s song tells about evil lurking around the Israelites and the enemy surrounds them. But, when David — or anyone — trusts in the Lord, He will protect them from the evil. I am eager to read more of Psalms. This chapter just brings calm to my heart. Is there anything else to glean from this passage?
A. I think you’ve got it. Oppression and being surrounded by enemies are common themes of certain Psalms, so you’ll get some more chances to look at the way the writer expresses his apprehension at the circumstances God has placed them in.
O. (19:18-24): God provides the humor.