May 30 - Romans 5, 1 Samuel 14 and Psalm 59
What It Means To Be Acceptable to GodRomans 5 By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. 2Christ has also introduced us to God's undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. 3But that's not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. 4And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope 5that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love.
6Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful. 7No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. 8But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.
9But there is more! Now that God has accepted us because Christ sacrificed his life's blood, we will also be kept safe from God's anger. 10Even when we were God's enemies, he made peace with us, because his Son died for us. Yet something even greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, we will be saved by his Son's life. 11And in addition to everything else, we are happy because God sent our Lord Jesus Christ to make peace with us.
Adam and Christ12Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world. Now everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die. 13Sin was in the world before the Law came. But no record of sin was kept, because there was no Law. 14Yet death still had power over all who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. This happened, though not everyone disobeyed a direct command from God, as Adam did.
In some ways Adam is like Christ who came later. 15But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adam's sin. That one sin brought death to many others. Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God's gift of kindness to many people.
16There is a lot of difference between Adam's sin and God's gift. That one sin led to punishment. But God's gift made it possible for us to be acceptable to him, even though we have sinned many times. 17Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done. God has been so kind to us, and he has accepted us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings.
18Everyone was going to be punished because Adam sinned. But because of the good thing that Christ has done, God accepts us and gives us the gift of life. 19Adam disobeyed God and caused many others to be sinners. But Jesus obeyed him and will make many people acceptable to God.
20The Law came, so that the full power of sin could be seen. Yet where sin was powerful, God's kindness was even more powerful. 21Sin ruled by means of death. But God's kindness now rules, and God has accepted us because of Jesus Christ our Lord. This means that we will have eternal life.
1 Samuel 14 1-3and Saul was in Geba with his six hundred men. Saul's own tent was set up under a fruit tree by the threshing place at the edge of town. Ahijah was serving as priest, and one of his jobs was to get answers from the LORD for Saul. Ahijah's father was Ahitub, and his father's brother was Ichabod. Ahijah's grandfather was Phinehas, and his great-grandfather Eli had been the LORD's priest at Shiloh.
One day, Jonathan told the soldier who carried his weapons that he wanted to attack the Philistine camp on the other side of the valley. So they slipped out of the Israelite camp without anyone knowing it. Jonathan didn't even tell his father he was leaving.
4-5Jonathan decided to get to the Philistine camp by going through the pass that led between Shiny Cliff and Michmash to the north and Thornbush Cliff and Geba to the south.
6Jonathan and the soldier who carried his weapons talked as they went toward the Philistine camp. "It's just the two of us against all those godless men," Jonathan said. "But the LORD can help a few soldiers win a battle just as easily as he can help a whole army. Maybe the LORD will help us win this battle."
7"Do whatever you want," the soldier answered. "I'll be right there with you."
8"This is what we will do," Jonathan said. "We will go across and let them see us. 9If they agree to come down the hill and fight where we are, then we won't climb up to their camp. 10But we will go if they tell us to come up the hill and fight. That will mean the LORD is going to help us win."
11-12Jonathan and the soldier stood at the bottom of the hill where the Philistines could see them. The Philistines said, "Look! Those worthless Israelites have crawled out of the holes where they've been hiding." Then they yelled down to Jonathan and the soldier, "Come up here, and we will teach you a thing or two!"
Jonathan turned to the soldier and said, "Follow me! The LORD is going to let us win."
13Jonathan crawled up the hillside with the soldier right behind him. When they got to the top, Jonathan killed the Philistines who attacked from the front, and the soldier killed those who attacked from behind. 14Before they had gone a hundred feet, they had killed about twenty Philistines.
15The whole Philistine army panicked--those in camp, those on guard duty, those in the fields, and those on raiding patrols. All of them were afraid and confused. Then God sent an earthquake, and the ground began to tremble.
Israel Defeats the Philistines16Saul's lookouts at Geba saw that the Philistine army was running in every direction, like melted wax. 17Saul told his officers, "Call the roll and find out who left our camp." When they had finished, they found out that Jonathan and the soldier who carried his weapons were missing.
18At that time, Ahijah was serving as priest for the army of Israel, and Saul told him, "Come over here! Let's ask God what we should do." 19Just as Saul finished saying this, he could see that the Philistine army camp was getting more and more confused, and he said, "Ahijah, never mind!"
20Saul quickly called his army together, then led them to the Philistine camp. By this time the Philistines were so confused that they were killing each other.
21There were also some hired soldiers in the Philistine camp, who now switched to Israel's side and fought for Saul and Jonathan.
22Many Israelites had been hiding in the hill country of Ephraim. And when they heard that the Philistines were running away, they came out of hiding and joined in chasing the Philistines.
23-24So the LORD helped Israel win the battle that day.
Saul's Curse on Anyone Who EatsSaul had earlier told his soldiers, "I want to get even with those Philistines by sunset. If any of you eat before then, you will be under a curse!" So he made them swear not to eat.
By the time the fighting moved past Beth-Aven, the Israelite troops were weak from hunger. 25-26The army and the people who lived nearby had gone into a forest, and they came to a place where honey was dripping on the ground. But no one ate any of it, because they were afraid of being put under the curse.
27Jonathan did not know about Saul's warning to the soldiers. So he dipped the end of his walking stick in the honey and ate some with his fingers. He felt stronger and more alert. 28Then a soldier told him, "Your father swore that anyone who ate food today would be put under a curse, and we agreed not to eat. That's why we're so weak."
29Jonathan said, "My father has caused you a lot of trouble. Look at me! I had only a little of this honey, but already I feel strong and alert. 30I wish you had eaten some of the food the Philistines left behind. We would have been able to kill a lot more of them."
31By evening the Israelite army was exhausted from killing Philistines all the way from Michmash to Aijalon. 32They grabbed the food they had captured from the Philistines and started eating. They even killed sheep and cows and calves right on the ground and ate the meat without draining the blood. 33Someone told Saul, "Look! The army is disobeying the LORD by eating meat before the blood drains out."
"You're right," Saul answered. "They are being unfaithful to the LORD! Hurry! Roll a big rock over here. 34Then tell everyone in camp to bring their cattle and lambs to me. They can kill the animals on this rock, then eat the meat. That way no one will disobey the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it."
That night the soldiers brought their cattle over to the big rock and killed them there. 35It was the first altar Saul had built for offering sacrifices to the LORD.
The Army Rescues Jonathan36Saul said, "Let's attack the Philistines again while it's still dark. We can fight them all night. Let's kill them and take everything they own!"
The people answered, "We will do whatever you want."
"Wait!" Ahijah the priest said. "Let's ask God what we should do."
37Saul asked God, "Should I attack the Philistines? Will you help us win?"
This time God did not answer. 38Saul called his army officers together and said, "We have to find out what sin has kept God from answering. 39I swear by the living LORD that whoever sinned must die, even if it turns out to be my own son Jonathan."
No one said a word.
40Saul told his army, "You stand on that side of the priest, and Jonathan and I will stand on the other side."
41Then Saul prayed, "Our LORD, God of Israel, why haven't you answered me today? Please show us who sinned. Was it my son Jonathan and I, or was it your people Israel?"
The answer came back that Jonathan or Saul had sinned, not the army. 42Saul told Ahijah, "Now ask the LORD to decide between Jonathan and me."
The answer came back that Jonathan had sinned. 43"Jonathan," Saul exclaimed, "tell me what you did!"
"I dipped the end of my walking stick in some honey and ate a little. Now you say I have to die!"
44"Yes, Jonathan. I swear to God that you must die."
45"No!" the soldiers shouted. "God helped Jonathan win the battle for us. We won't let you kill him. We swear to the LORD that we won't let you kill him or even lay a hand on him!" So the army kept Saul from killing Jonathan.
46Saul stopped hunting down the Philistines, and they went home.
Saul Fights His Enemies47-48When Saul became king, the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, the kings of Zobah, the Philistines, and the Amalekites had all been robbing the Israelites. Saul fought back against these enemies and stopped them from robbing Israel. He was a brave commander and always won his battles.
Saul's Family49-51Saul's wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. They had three sons: Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. They also had two daughters: The older one was Merab, and the younger one was Michal.
Abner, Saul's cousin, was the commander of the army. Saul's father Kish and Abner's father Ner were sons of Abiel.
War with the Philistines52Saul was at war with the Philistines for as long as he lived. Whenever he found a good warrior or a brave man, Saul made him join his army.
1Save me, God! Protect me from enemy attacks!
2Keep me safe from brutal people who want to kill me.
3Merciless enemies, LORD, are hiding and plotting,
hoping to kill me.
I have not hurt them in any way at all.
4But they are ready to attack. Do something! Help me!
Look at what's happening.
5LORD God All-Powerful, you are the God of Israel.
Punish the other nations
and don't pity those terrible and rebellious people.
6My enemies return at evening,
growling like dogs roaming the city.
7They curse and their words cut like swords,
as they say to themselves, "No one can hear us!"
8You, LORD, laugh at them and sneer at the nations.
9You are my mighty fortress, and I depend on you.
10You love me and will let me see my enemies defeated.
11Don't kill them, or everyone may forget!
Just use your mighty power
to make them tremble and fall.
You are a shield for your people.
12My enemies are liars!
So let them be trapped by their boastful lies.
13Get angry and destroy them. Leave them in ruin.
Then all the nations will know that you rule in Israel.
14Those liars return at evening,
growling like dogs roaming the city.
15They search for scraps of food,
and they snarl until they are stuffed.
16But I will sing about your strength, my God,
and I will celebrate because of your love.
You are my fortress,
my place of protection in times of trouble.
17I will sing your praises!
You are my mighty fortress, and you love me.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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