May 31 - Romans 6, 1 Samuel 15 and Psalm 60

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Dead to Sin but Alive because of Christ

Romans 6 What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God's wonderful kindness will show up even better? 2No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning? 3Don't you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? 4When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.
5If we shared in Jesus' death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. 6We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. 7We know that sin doesn't have power over dead people.
8As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. 9We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. 10When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. 11In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.
12Don't let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don't obey its desires 13or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God. 14Don't let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God's kindness and not by the Law.

Slaves Who Do What Pleases God

15What does all this mean? Does it mean we are free to sin, because we are ruled by God's wonderful kindness and not by the Law? Certainly not! 16Don't you know that you are slaves of anyone you obey? You can be slaves of sin and die, or you can be obedient slaves of God and be acceptable to him. 17You used to be slaves of sin. But I thank God that with all your heart you obeyed the teaching you received from me. 18Now you are set free from sin and are slaves who please God.
19I am using these everyday examples, because in some ways you are still weak. You used to let the different parts of your body be slaves of your evil thoughts. But now you must make every part of your body serve God, so that you will belong completely to him.
20When you were slaves of sin, you didn't have to please God. 21But what good did you receive from the things you did? All you have to show for them is your shame, and they lead to death. 22Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God's slaves. This will make you holy and will lead you to eternal life. 23Sin pays off with death. But God's gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saul Disobeys the LORD

1 Samuel 15 One day, Samuel told Saul:
The LORD had me choose you to be king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the LORD: 2"When the Israelites were on the
ir way out of Egypt, the nation of Amalek attacked them. I am the LORD All-Powerful, and now I am going to make Amalek pay!
3"Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don't have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies. Slaughter their cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys."

4Saul sent messengers who told every town and village to send men to join the army at Telaim. There were two hundred ten thousand troops in all, and ten thousand of these were from Judah. Saul organized them, 5then led them to a valley near one of the towns in Amalek, where they got ready to make a surprise attack. 6Some Kenites lived nearby, and Saul told them, "Your people were kind to our nation when we left Egypt, and I don't want you to get killed when I wipe out the Amalekites. Leave here and stay away from them."
The Kenites left, 7and Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah to Shur, which is just east of Egypt. 8Every Amalekite was killed except King Agag. 9Saul and his army let Agag live, and they also spared the best sheep and cattle. They didn't want to destroy anything of value, so they only killed the animals that were worthless or weak.

The LORD Rejects Saul

10The LORD told Samuel, 11"Saul has stopped obeying me, and I'm sorry that I made him king."
Samuel was angry, and he cried out in prayer to the LORD all night. 12Early the next morning he went to talk with Saul. Someone told him, "Saul went to Carmel, where he had a monument built so everyone would remember his victory. Then he left for Gilgal."
13Samuel finally caught up with Saul, and Saul told him, "I hope the LORD will bless you! I have done what the LORD told me."
14"Then why," Samuel asked, "do I hear sheep and cattle?"
15"The army took them from the Amalekites," Saul explained. "They kept the best sheep and cattle, so they could sacrifice them to the LORD your God. But we destroyed everything else."
16"Stop!" Samuel said. "Let me tell you what the LORD told me last night."
"All right," Saul answered.
17Samuel continued, "You may not think you're very important, but the LORD chose you to be king, and you are in charge of the tribes of Israel. 18When the LORD sent you on this mission, he told you to wipe out those worthless Amalekites. 19Why didn't you listen to the LORD? Why did you keep the animals and make him angry?"
20"But I did listen to the LORD!" Saul answered. "He sent me on a mission, and I went. I captured King Agag and destroyed his nation. 21All the animals were going to be destroyed anyway. That's why the army brought the best sheep and cattle to Gilgal as sacrifices to the LORD your God."
22"Tell me," Samuel said. "Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn't want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him. 23Rebelling against God or disobeying him because you are proud is just as bad as worshiping idols or asking them for advice. You refused to do what God told you, so God has decided that you can't be king."
24"I have sinned," Saul admitted. "I disobeyed both you and the LORD. I was afraid of the army, and I listened to them instead. 25Please forgive me and come back with me so I can worship the LORD."
26"No!" Samuel replied, "You disobeyed the LORD, and I won't go back with you. Now the LORD has said that you can't be king of Israel any longer."
27As Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the edge of Samuel's robe. It tore! 28Samuel said, "The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he will give it to someone who is better than you. 29Besides, the eternal God of Israel isn't a human being. He doesn't tell lies or change his mind."
30Saul said, "I did sin, but please honor me in front of the leaders of the army and the people of Israel. Come back with me, so I can worship the LORD your God."
31Samuel followed Saul back, and Saul worshiped the LORD. 32Then Samuel shouted, "Bring me King Agag of Amalek!"
Agag came in chains, and he was saying to himself, "Surely they won't kill me now."
33But Samuel said, "Agag, you have snatched children from their mothers' arms and killed them. Now your mother will be without children." Then Samuel chopped Agag to pieces at the place of worship in Gilgal.
34Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his home in Gibeah. 35Even though Samuel felt sad about Saul, Samuel never saw him again.

The LORD Chooses David To Be King

The LORD was sorry he had made Saul the king of Israel.

Psalm 60
[For the music leader. To the tune "Lily of the Promise." A special psalm by David for teaching. He wrote it during his wars with the Arameans of northern Syria, when Joab came back and killed twelve thousand Edomites in Salt Valley.]
You Can Depend on God

1You, God, are angry with us!
We are rejected and crushed. Make us strong again!
2You made the earth shake and split wide open;
now heal its wounds and stop its trembling.
3You brought hard times on your people,
and you gave us wine that made us stagger.

4You gave a signal to those who worship you,
so they could escape from enemy arrows.
5Answer our prayers!
Use your powerful arm and give us victory.
Then the people you love will be safe.

6Our God, you solemnly promised,
"I would gladly divide up the city of Shechem
and give away Succoth Valley piece by piece.
7The lands of Gilead and Manasseh are mine.
Ephraim is my war helmet,
and Judah is the symbol of my royal power.
8Moab is merely my washbasin. Edom belongs to me,
and I shout in triumph over the Philistines."

9Our God, who will bring me to the fortress,
or lead me to Edom?
10Have you rejected us and deserted our armies?
11Help us defeat our enemies! No one else can rescue us.
12You will give us victory and crush our enemies.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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