Sunday, October 4, 2015

1 Samuel 31

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Samuel 31. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In the previous chapter we saw the Philistines gathering to make war against the Israelites. Here they attack and kill some of the sons of King Saul, including Jonathan (who we have seen was David's best friend).
  • Saul is afraid he will be caught and tortured by the Philistines, so he decides to take his own life.
  • The Philistines route the Israelites and occupy some of their towns.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • In the previous chapter we saw David put in a horrible situation. His response was to find strength in God, and seek God's wisdom for how to proceed. In this chapter we saw Saul put in a horrible situation. Though he was someone who believed in God and had experienced God, he turns to God for neither strength or wisdom. He had been traveling a path away from God for a long time, and in his last moments that path is confirmed.
  • Some people think that they will "go back to God" and to their faith later in life. Right now they have their own agenda, or "just want to have fun." Might sound like a good plan, but it doesn't tend to actually work out that way. Every day we are getting more set in our ways. Today you are training yourself to become the kind of person you are today. So, if you want to live for God, do it today. If you don't do it today, you're less likely to do it tomorrow.
  • Prior to Saul, Israel did not have a king. Well, their king was God. But they wanted to be like the other nations who had a human king. They believed having a king would solve their problems. God gave them what they asked for. Having Saul as king did not solve any of Israel's problems. In fact, it put them in a worse place. With Saul's death, Israel's dream of becoming like the other nations and how that would help them dies as well.
  • Wanting to have what "everyone else" has, especially when it involves having less of God, doesn't lead to better things. It tends to lead to a life that is more empty, to problems, and can lead to disaster.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are you living for God today? What can you today to "train yourself" to live even more for God tomorrow?
  • What things that the "world" has, but Christians aren't supposed to have, do you want and think you need? Are you doing it even though you're not supposed to? Do you not have it, but long for it? How can you see it leading to problems? How can you let God fill that need instead?
Here's a helpful video from a great resource called BibleProject that reviews and summarizes the book of 1 Samuel: