June 8 - Romans 13, 1 Samuel 25 and Psalm 68

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Obey Rulers

Romans 13 Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power. 2People who oppose the authorities are opposing what God has done, and they will be punished. 3Rulers are a threat to evil people, not to good people. There is no need to be afraid of the authorities. Just do right, and they will praise you for it. 4After all, they are God's servants, and it is their duty to help you.
If you do something wrong, you ought to be afraid, because these rulers have the right to punish you. They are God's servants who punish criminals to show how angry God is. 5But you should obey the rulers because you know it is the right thing to do, and not just because of God's anger.
6You must also pay your taxes. The authorities are God's servants, and it is their duty to take care of these matters. 7Pay all that you owe, whether it is taxes and fees or respect and honor.


8Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. 9In the Law there are many commands, such as, "Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not want what belongs to others." But all of these are summed up in the command that says, "Love others as much as you love yourself." 10No one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands.

The Day When Christ Returns

11You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. 12Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. 13So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don't go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don't quarrel or be jealous. 14Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires.

Samuel Dies

1 Samuel 25 Samuel died, and people from all over Israel gathered to mourn for him when he was buried at his home in Ramah. Meanwhile, David moved his camp to Paran Desert.

Abigail Keeps David from Killing Innocent People

2-3Nabal was a very rich man who lived in Maon. He owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, which he kept at Carmel. His wife Abigail was sensible and beautiful, but he was from the Caleb clan and was rough and mean.
4One day, Nabal was in Carmel, having his servants cut the wool from his sheep. David was in the desert when he heard about it. 5-6So he sent ten men to Carmel with this message for Nabal:
I hope that you and your family are healthy and that all is going well for you. 7I've heard that you are cutting the wool from your sheep.
When your shepherds were with us in Carmel, we didn't harm them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. 8Ask your shepherds, and they'll tell you the same thing.
My servants are your servants, and you are like a father to me. This is a day for celebrating, so please be kind and share some of your food with us.

9David's men went to Nabal and gave him David's message, then they waited for Nabal's answer.
10This is what he said:
Who does this David think he is? That son of Jesse is just one more slave on the run from his master, and there are too many of them these days. 11What makes you think I would take my bread, my water, and the meat that I've had cooked for my own servants and give it to you? Besides, I'm not sure that David sent you!

12The men returned to their camp and told David everything Nabal had said.
13"Everybody get your swords!" David ordered.
They all strapped on their swords. Two hundred men stayed behind to guard the camp, but the other four hundred followed David.
14-16Meanwhile, one of Nabal's servants told Abigail:
David's men were often nearby while we were taking care of the sheep in the fields. They were very good to us, they never hurt us, and nothing was ever stolen from us while they were nearby. With them around day or night, we were as safe as we would have been inside a walled city.
David sent some messengers from the desert to wish our master well, but he shouted insults at them. 17He's a bully who won't listen to anyone.
Isn't there something you can do? Please think of something! Or else our master and his family and everyone who works for him are all doomed.

18Abigail quickly got together two hundred loaves of bread, two large clay jars of wine, the meat from five sheep, a large sack of roasted grain, a hundred handfuls of raisins, and two hundred handfuls of dried figs. She loaded all the food on donkeys 19and told her servants, "Take this on ahead, and I'll catch up with you." She didn't tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.
20Abigail was riding her donkey on the path that led around the hillside, when suddenly she met David and his men heading straight at her.
21David had just been saying, "I surely wasted my time guarding Nabal's things in the desert and keeping them from being stolen! I was good to him, and now he pays me back with insults. 22I swear that by morning, there won't be a man or boy left from his family or his servants' families. I pray that God will punish me if I don't do it!"
23Abigail quickly got off her donkey and bowed down in front of David. 24Then she said:
Sir, please let me explain! 25Don't pay any attention to that good-for-nothing Nabal. His name means "fool," and it really fits him!
I didn't see the men you sent, 26-27but please take this gift of food that I've brought and share it with your followers. The LORD has kept you from taking revenge and from killing innocent people. But I hope your enemies and anyone else who wants to harm you will end up like Nabal. I swear this by the living LORD and by your life.
28Please forgive me if I say a little more. The LORD will always protect you and your family, because you fight for him. I pray that you won't ever do anything evil as long as you live. 29The LORD your God will keep you safe when your enemies try to kill you. But he will snatch away their lives quicker than you can throw a rock from a sling.
30The LORD has promised to do many good things for you, even to make you the ruler of Israel. The LORD will keep his promises to you, 31and now your conscience will be clear, because you won't be guilty of taking revenge and killing innocent people.
When the LORD does all those good things for you, please remember me.

32David told her:
I praise the LORD God of Israel! He must have sent you to meet me today. 33And you should also be praised. Your good sense kept me from taking revenge and killing innocent people. 34If you hadn't come to meet me so quickly, every man and boy in Nabal's family and in his servants' families would have been killed by morning. I swear by the living LORD God of Israel who protected you that this is the truth.

35David accepted the food Abigail had brought. "Don't worry," he said. "You can go home now. I'll do what you asked."
36Abigail went back home and found Nabal throwing a party fit for a king. He was very drunk and feeling good, so she didn't tell him anything that night. 37But when he sobered up the next morning, Abigail told him everything that had happened. Nabal had a heart attack, and he lay in bed as still as a stone. 38Ten days later, the LORD took his life.
39-40David heard that Nabal had died. "I praise the LORD!" David said. "He has judged Nabal guilty for insulting me. The LORD kept me from doing anything wrong, and he made sure that Nabal hurt only himself with his own evil."

David and Abigail Are Married

Abigail was still at Carmel. So David sent messengers to ask her if she would marry him.
41She bowed down and said, "I would willingly be David's slave and wash his servants' feet."
42Abigail quickly got ready and went back with David's messengers. She rode on her donkey, while five of her servant women walked alongside. She and David were married as soon as she arrived.
43David had earlier married Ahinoam from the town of Jezreel, so both she and Abigail were now David's wives. 44Meanwhile, Saul had arranged for Michal to marry Palti the son of Laish, who came from the town of Gallim.

Psalm 68
[A psalm and a song by David for the music leader.]
God Will Win the Battle

1Do something, God! Scatter your hateful enemies.
Make them turn and run. 2Scatter them like smoke!
When you come near,
make them melt like wax in a fire.
3But let your people be happy
and celebrate because of you.

4Our God, you are the one who rides on the clouds,
and we praise you.
Your name is the LORD,
and we celebrate as we worship you.

5Our God, from your sacred home
you take care of orphans and protect widows.
6You find families for those who are lonely.
You set prisoners free and let them prosper,
but all who rebel will live in a scorching desert.

7You set your people free,
and you led them through the desert.
8God of Israel, the earth trembled,
and rain poured down.
You alone are the God who rules from Mount Sinai.
9When your land was thirsty,
you sent showers to refresh it.
10Your people settled there,
and you were generous to everyone in need.

11You gave the command,
and a chorus of women told what had happened:
12"Kings and their armies retreated and ran,
and everything they left is now being divided.
13And for those who stayed back to guard the sheep,
there are metal doves with silver-coated wings
and shiny gold feathers."

14God All-Powerful, you scattered the kings
like snow falling on Mount Zalmon.

15Our LORD and our God,
Bashan is a mighty mountain covered with peaks.
16Why is it jealous of Zion,
the mountain you chose as your home forever?

17When you, LORD God, appeared
to your people at Sinai,
you came with thousands of mighty chariots.
18When you climbed the high mountain,
you took prisoners with you and were given gifts.
Your enemies didn't want you to live there,
but they gave you gifts.

19We praise you, Lord God!
You treat us with kindness day after day,
and you rescue us.
20You always protect us and save us from death.

21Our Lord and our God,
your terrible enemies are ready for war,
but you will crush their skulls.
22You promised to bring them from Bashan
and from the deepest sea.
23Then we could stomp on their blood,
and our dogs could chew on their bones.

24We have seen crowds marching
to your place of worship, our God and King.
25The singers come first, and then the musicians,
surrounded by young women playing tambourines.
26They come shouting,
"People of Israel, praise the LORD God!"
27The small tribe of Benjamin leads the way,
followed by the leaders from Judah.
Then come the leaders from Zebulun and Naphtali.

28Our God, show your strength! Show us once again.
29Then kings will bring gifts
to your temple in Jerusalem.

30Punish that animal that lives in the swamp!
Punish that nation
whose leaders and people are like wild bulls.
Make them come crawling with gifts of silver.
Scatter those nations that enjoy making war.
31Force the Egyptians to bring gifts of bronze;
make the Ethiopians hurry to offer presents.

32Now sing praises to God!
Every kingdom on earth, sing to the Lord!
33Praise the one who rides across the ancient skies;
listen as he speaks with a mighty voice.

34Tell about God's power! He is honored in Israel,
and he rules the skies.
35The God of Israel is fearsome in his temple,
and he makes us strong. Let's praise our God!

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

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