June 1 - Romans 7, 1 Samuel 16 and Psalm 61
An Example from MarriageRomans 7 My friends, you surely understand enough about law to know that laws only have power over people who are alive. 2For example, the Law says that a man's wife must remain his wife as long as he lives. But once her husband is dead, she is free 3to marry someone else. However, if she goes off with another man while her husband is still alive, she is said to be unfaithful.
4That is how it is with you, my friends. You are now part of the body of Christ and are dead to the power of the Law. You are free to belong to Christ, who was raised to life so that we could serve God. 5When we thought only of ourselves, the Law made us have sinful desires. It made every part of our bodies into slaves who are doomed to die. 6But the Law no longer rules over us. We are like dead people, and it cannot have any power over us. Now we can serve God in a new way by obeying his Spirit, and not in the old way by obeying the written Law.
The Battle with Sin7Does this mean that the Law is sinful? Certainly not! But if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known what sin is really like. For example, I would not have known what it means to want something that belongs to someone else, unless the Law had told me not to do that. 8It was sin that used this command as a way of making me have all kinds of desires. But without the Law, sin is dead.
9Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life, 10and I died. The very command that was supposed to bring life to me, instead brought death. 11Sin used this command to trick me, and because of it I died. 12Still, the Law and its commands are holy and correct and good.
13Am I saying that something good caused my death? Certainly not! It was sin that killed me by using something good. Now we can see how terrible and evil sin really is. 14We know that the Law is spiritual. But I am merely a human, and I have been sold as a slave to sin. 15In fact, I don't understand why I act the way I do. I don't do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. 16Although I don't do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. 17So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.
18I know that my selfish desires won't let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot. 19Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong. 20And so, if I don't do what I know is right, I am no longer the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.
21The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right. 22With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. 23But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do. 24What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die? 25Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.
So with my mind I serve the Law of God, although my selfish desires make me serve the law of sin.
1 Samuel 16 1One day he said, "Samuel, I've rejected Saul, and I refuse to let him be king any longer. Stop feeling sad about him. Put some olive oil in a small container and go visit a man named Jesse, who lives in Bethlehem. I've chosen one of his sons to be my king."
2Samuel answered, "If I do that, Saul will find out and have me killed."
"Take a calf with you," the LORD replied. "Tell everyone that you've come to offer it as a sacrifice to me, 3then invite Jesse to the sacrifice. When I show you which one of his sons I have chosen, pour the olive oil on his head."
4Samuel did what the LORD told him and went to Bethlehem. The town leaders went to meet him, but they were terribly afraid and asked, "Is this a friendly visit?"
5"Yes, it is!" Samuel answered. "I've come to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. Get yourselves ready to take part in the sacrifice and come with me." Samuel also invited Jesse and his sons to come to the sacrifice, and he got them ready to take part.
6When Jesse and his sons arrived, Samuel noticed Jesse's oldest son, Eliab. "He has to be the one the LORD has chosen," Samuel said to himself.
7But the LORD told him, "Samuel, don't think Eliab is the one just because he's tall and handsome. He isn't the one I've chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts."
8Jesse told his son Abinadab to go over to Samuel, but Samuel said, "No, the LORD hasn't chosen him."
9Next, Jesse sent his son Shammah to him, and Samuel said, "The LORD hasn't chosen him either."
10Jesse had all seven of his sons go over to Samuel. Finally, Samuel said, "Jesse, the LORD hasn't chosen any of these young men. 11Do you have any more sons?"
"Yes," Jesse answered. "My youngest son David is out taking care of the sheep."
"Send for him!" Samuel said. "We won't start the ceremony until he gets here."
12Jesse sent for David. He was a healthy, good-looking boy with a sparkle in his eyes. As soon as David came, the LORD told Samuel, "He's the one! Get up and pour the olive oil on his head."
13Samuel poured the oil on David's head while his brothers watched. At that moment, the Spirit of the LORD took control of David and stayed with him from then on.
Samuel returned home to Ramah.
David Plays the Harp for Saul14The Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD was terrifying him. 15"It's an evil spirit from God that's frightening you," Saul's officials told him. 16"Your Majesty, let us go and look for someone who is good at playing the harp. He can play for you whenever the evil spirit from God bothers you, and you'll feel better."
17"All right," Saul answered. "Find me someone who is good at playing the harp and bring him here."
18"A man named Jesse who lives in Bethlehem has a son who can play the harp," one official said. "He's a brave warrior, he's good-looking, he can speak well, and the LORD is with him."
19Saul sent a message to Jesse: "Tell your son David to leave your sheep and come here to me."
20Jesse loaded a donkey with bread and a goatskin full of wine, then he told David to take the donkey and a young goat to Saul. 21David went to Saul and started working for him. Saul liked him so much that he put David in charge of carrying his weapons. 22Not long after this, Saul sent another message to Jesse: "I really like David. Please let him stay with me."
23Whenever the evil spirit from God bothered Saul, David would play his harp. Saul would relax and feel better, and the evil spirit would go away.
1Please listen, God, and answer my prayer!
2I feel hopeless,
and I cry out to you from a faraway land.
Lead me to the mighty rock high above me.
3You are a strong tower,
where I am safe from my enemies.
4Let me live with you forever
and find protection under your wings, my God.
5You heard my promises, and you have blessed me,
just as you bless everyone who worships you.
6Let the king have a long and healthy life.
7May he always rule with you, God, at his side;
may your love and loyalty watch over him.
8I will sing your praises forever
and will always keep my promises.
This reading is from The
Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American
Bible Society, 1995.
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