June 6 - Romans 11.25-36, 1 Samuel 21-22 and Psalm 66

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The People of Israel Will Be Brought Back

Romans 11 25My friends, I don't want you Gentiles to be too proud of yourselves. So I will explain the mystery of what has happened to the people of Israel. Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in. 26In this way all of Israel will be saved, as the Scriptures say,
"From Zion someone will come to rescue us.
Then Jacob's descendants will stop being evil.
27This is what the Lord has promised to do
when he forgives their sins."
28The people of Israel are treated as God's enemies, so that the good news can come to you Gentiles. But they are still the chosen ones, and God loves them because of their famous ancestors. 29God doesn't take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen.
30At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. 31And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy. 32All people have disobeyed God, and that's why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them.
33Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does?
34"Has anyone known the thoughts of the Lord
or given him advice?
35Has anyone loaned something to the Lord
cthat must be repaid?"
36Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord forever! Amen.

Ahimelech Helps David

1 Samuel 21 David went to see Ahimelech, a priest who lived in the town of Nob. Ahimelech was trembling with fear as he came out to meet David. "Why are you alone?" Ahimelech asked. "Why isn't anyone else with you?"
2"I'm on a mission for King Saul," David answered. "He ordered me not to tell anyone what the mission is all about, so I had my soldiers stay somewhere else. 3Do you have any food you can give me? Could you spare five loaves of bread?"
4"The only bread I have is the sacred bread," the priest told David. "You can have it if your soldiers didn't sleep with women last night."
5"Of course we didn't sleep with women," David answered. "I never let my men do that when we're on a mission. They have to be acceptable to worship God even when we're on a regular mission, and today we're on a special mission."
6The only bread the priest had was the sacred bread that he had taken from the place of worship after putting out the fresh loaves. So he gave it to David.
7It so happened that one of Saul's officers was there, worshiping the LORD that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, and he was the strongest of Saul's shepherds.
8David asked Ahimelech, "Do you have a spear or a sword? I had to leave so quickly on this mission for the king that I didn't bring along my sword or any other weapons."
9The priest answered, "The only sword here is the one that belonged to Goliath the Philistine. You were the one who killed him in Elah Valley, and so you can take his sword if you want to. It's wrapped in a cloth behind the statue."
"It's the best sword there is," David said. "I'll take it!"

David Tries To Find Safety in Gath

10David kept on running from Saul that day until he came to Gath, where he met with King Achish. 11The officers of King Achish were also there, and they asked Achish, "Isn't David a king back in his own country? Don't the Israelites dance and sing,
'Saul has killed a thousand enemies;
David has killed ten thousand enemies'?"
12David thought about what they were saying, and it made him afraid of Achish. 13So right there in front of everyone, he pretended to be insane. He acted confused and scratched up the doors of the town gate, while drooling in his beard.
14"Look at him!" Achish said to his officers. "You can see he's crazy. Why did you bring him to me? 15I have enough crazy people without your bringing another one here. Keep him away from my palace!"

People Join David

1 Samuel 22 When David escaped from the town of Gath, he went to Adullam Cave. His brothers and the rest of his family found out where he was, and they followed him there. 2A lot of other people joined him too. Some were in trouble, others were angry or in debt, and David was soon the leader of four hundred men.
3David left Adullam Cave and went to the town of Mizpeh in Moab, where he talked with the king of Moab. "Please," David said, "let my father and mother stay with you until I find out what God will do with me." 4So he brought his parents to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him while David was in hiding.
5One day the prophet Gad told David, "Don't stay here! Go back to Judah." David then left and went to Hereth Forest.

Saul Kills the Priests of the LORD

6Saul was sitting under a small tree on top of the hill at Gibeah when he heard that David and his men had been seen. Saul was holding his spear, and his officers were standing in front of him. 7He told them:
Listen to me! You belong to the Benjamin tribe, so if that son of Jesse ever becomes king, he won't give you fields or vineyards. He won't make you officers in charge of thousands or hundreds as I have done. 8But you're all plotting against me! Not one of you told me that my own son Jonathan had made an agreement with him. Not one of you cared enough to tell me that Jonathan had helped one of my officers rebel. Now that son of Jesse is trying to ambush me.

9Doeg the Edomite was standing with the other officers and spoke up, "When I was in the town of Nob, I saw that son of Jesse. He was visiting the priest Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10Ahimelech talked to the LORD for him, then gave him food and the sword that had belonged to Goliath the Philistine."
11Saul sent a message to Ahimelech and his whole family of priests at Nob, ordering them to come to him. When they came, 12Saul told them, "Listen to me, you son of Ahitub."
"Certainly, Your Majesty," Ahimelech answered.
13Saul demanded, "Why did you plot against me with that son of Jesse? You helped him rebel against me by giving him food and a sword, and by talking with God for him. Now he's trying to ambush me!"
14"Your Majesty, none of your officers is more loyal than David!" Ahimelech replied. "He's your son-in-law and the captain of your bodyguard. Everyone in your family respects him. 15This isn't the first time I've talked with God for David, and it's never made you angry before! Please don't accuse me or my family like this. I have no idea what's going on!"
16"Ahimelech," Saul said, "you and your whole family are going to die."
17Saul shouted to his bodyguards, "These priests of the LORD helped David! They knew he was running away, but they didn't tell me. Kill them!"
But the king's officers would not attack the priests of the LORD.
18Saul turned to Doeg, who was from Edom, and said, "Kill the priests!"
On that same day, Doeg killed eighty-five priests. 19Then he attacked the town of Nob, where the priests had lived, and he killed everyone there--men, women, children, and babies. He even killed their cattle, donkeys, and sheep.

Only Abiathar Escapes from Nob

20Ahimelech's son Abiathar was the only one who escaped. He ran to David 21and told him, "Saul has murdered the priests at Nob!"
22David answered, "That day when I saw Doeg, I knew he would tell Saul! Your family died because of me. 23Stay here. Isn't the same person trying to kill both of us? Don't worry! You'll be safe here with me."

Psalm 66
[A song and a psalm for the music leader.]
Shout Praises to God

1Tell everyone on this earth to shout praises to God!
2Sing about his glorious name. Honor him with praises.
3Say to God, "Everything you do is fearsome,
and your mighty power makes your enemies come crawling.
4You are worshiped by everyone!
We all sing praises to you."

5Come and see the fearsome things our God has done!
6When God made the sea dry up,
our people walked across,
and because of him, we celebrated there.
7His mighty power rules forever,
and nothing the nations do can be hidden from him.
So don't turn against God.

8All of you people, come praise our God!
Let his praises be heard.
9God protects us from death and keeps us steady.

10Our God, you tested us, just as silver is tested.
11You trapped us in a net and gave us heavy burdens.
12You sent war chariots to crush our skulls.
We traveled through fire and through floods,
but you brought us to a land of plenty.

13I will bring sacrifices into your house, my God,
and I will do what I promised
14when I was in trouble.
15I will sacrifice my best sheep
and offer bulls and goats on your altar.

16All who worship God, come here and listen;
I will tell you everything God has done for me.
17I prayed to the Lord, and I praised him.
18If my thoughts had been sinful,
he would have refused to hear me.
19But God did listen and answered my prayer.
20Let's praise God! He listened when I prayed,
and he is always kind.

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

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