June 4 - Romans 9.30-10.21, 1 Samuel 19 and Psalm 64

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Israel and the Good News

Romans 9 30What does all of this mean? It means that the Gentiles were not trying to be acceptable to God, but they found that he would accept them if they had faith. 31-32It also means that the people of Israel were not acceptable to God. And why not? It was because they were trying to be acceptable by obeying the Law instead of by having faith in God. The people of Israel fell over the stone that makes people stumble, 33just as God says in the Scriptures,
"Look! I am placing in Zion
a stone to make people stumble and fall.
But those who have faith in that one
will never be disappointed."
Romans 10 Dear friends, my greatest wish and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2I know they love God, but they don't understand 3what makes people acceptable to him. So they refuse to trust God, and they try to be acceptable by obeying the Law. 4But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary for those who become acceptable to God by faith.

Anyone Can Be Saved

5Moses said that a person could become acceptable to God by obeying the Law. He did this when he wrote, "If you want to live, you must do all that the Law commands."
6But people whose faith makes them acceptable to God will never ask, "Who will go up to heaven to bring Christ down?" 7Neither will they ask, "Who will go down into the world of the dead to raise him to life?"
8All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, "The message is as near as your mouth or your heart." And this is the same message we preach about faith. 9So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.
11The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, 12no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. 13All who call out to the Lord will be saved.
14How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? 15And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. 16Yet not everyone has believed the message. For example, the prophet Isaiah asked, "Lord, has anyone believed what we said?"
17No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ. 18But am I saying that the people of Israel did not hear? No, I am not! The Scriptures say,
"The message was told everywhere on earth.
It was announced all over the world."
19Did the people of Israel understand or not? Moses answered this question when he told that the Lord had said,
"I will make Israel jealous of people
who are a nation of nobodies.
I will make them angry at people
who don't understand a thing."
20Isaiah was fearless enough to tell that the Lord had said,
"I was found by people who were not looking for me.
I appeared to the ones who were not asking about me."
21And Isaiah said about the people of Israel,
"All day long the Lord has reached out
to people who are stubborn and refuse to obey."

Saul Tries To Have David Killed

1 Samuel 19 One day, Saul told his son Jonathan and his officers to kill David. But Jonathan liked David a lot, 2-3and he warned David, "My father is trying to have you killed, so be very careful. Hide in a field tomorrow morning, and I'll bring him there. Then I'll talk to him about you, and if I find out anything, I'll let you know."
4-5The next morning, Jonathan reminded Saul about the many good things David had done for him. Then he said, "Why do you want to kill David? He hasn't done anything to you. He has served in your army and has always done what's best for you. He even risked his life to kill Goliath. The LORD helped Israel win a great victory that day, and it made you happy."
6Saul agreed and promised, "I swear by the living LORD that I won't have David killed!"
7Jonathan called to David and told him what Saul had said. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in Saul's army just as he had done before.
8The next time there was a war with the Philistines, David fought hard and forced them to retreat.

Michal Helps David Escape

9-10One night, David was in Saul's home, playing the harp for him. Saul was sitting there, holding a spear, when an evil spirit from the LORD took control of him. Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but David dodged, and it stuck in the wall. David ran out of the house and escaped.
11Saul sent guards to watch David's house all night and then to kill him in the morning.
Michal, David's wife, told him, "If you don't escape tonight, they'll kill you tomorrow!" 12She helped David go through a window and climb down to the ground. As David ran off, 13Michal put a statue in his bed. She put goat hair on its head and dressed it in some of David's clothes.
14The next morning, Saul sent guards to arrest David. But Michal told them, "David is sick."
15Saul sent the guards back and told them, "Get David out of his bed and bring him to me, so I can have him killed."
16When the guards went in, all they found in the bed was the statue with the goat hair on its head.
17"Why have you tricked me this way?" Saul asked Michal. "You helped my enemy get away!"
She answered, "He said he would kill me if I didn't help him escape!"

Samuel Helps David Escape

18Meanwhile, David went to Samuel at Ramah and told him what Saul had done. Then Samuel and David went to Prophets Village and stayed there.
19Someone told Saul, "David is at Prophets Village in Ramah."
20Saul sent a few soldiers to bring David back. They went to Ramah and found Samuel in charge of a group of prophets who were all prophesying. Then the Spirit of God took control of the soldiers and they started prophesying too.
21When Saul heard what had happened, he sent another group of soldiers, but they prophesied the same way. He sent a third group of soldiers, but the same thing happened to them. 22Finally, Saul left for Ramah himself. He went as far as the deep pit at the town of Secu, and he asked, "Where are Samuel and David?"
"At Prophets Village in Ramah," the people answered.
23Saul left for Ramah. But as he walked along, the Spirit of God took control of him, and he started prophesying. Then, when he reached Prophets Village, 24he stripped off his clothes and prophesied in front of Samuel. He dropped to the ground and lay there naked all day and night. That's how the saying started, "Is Saul now a prophet?"

Psalm 64
[A psalm by David for the music leader.]
Celebrate because of the LORD

1Listen to my concerns, God,
and protect me from my terrible enemies.
2Keep me safe from secret plots
of corrupt and evil gangs.
3Their words cut like swords,
and their cruel remarks sting like sharp arrows.
4They fearlessly ambush and shoot innocent people.

5They are determined to do evil,
and they tell themselves,
"Let's set traps! No one can see us."
6They make evil plans and say,
"We'll commit a perfect crime.
No one knows our thoughts."

7But God will shoot his arrows and quickly wound them.
8They will be destroyed by their own words,
and everyone who sees them will tremble with fear.
9They will be afraid and say, "Look at what God has done
and keep it all in mind."

10May the LORD bless his people with peace and happiness
and let them celebrate.

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

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