June 10 - Romans 15.1-13, 1 Samuel 27-28 and Psalm 70

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Please Others and Not Yourself

Romans 15 If our faith is strong, we should be patient with the Lord's followers whose faith is weak. We should try to please them instead of ourselves. 2We should think of their good and try to help them by doing what pleases them. 3Even Christ did not try to please himself. But as the Scriptures say, "The people who insulted you also insulted me." 4And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope. 5God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful. I pray that he will help you live at peace with each other, as you follow Christ. 6Then all of you together will praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Good News Is for Jews and Gentiles

7Honor God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you. 8I tell you that Christ came as a servant of the Jews to show that God has kept the promises he made to their famous ancestors. Christ also came, 9so that the Gentiles would praise God for being kind to them. It is just as the Scriptures say,
"I will tell the nations about you,
and I will sing praises to your name."
10The Scriptures also say to the Gentiles, "Come and celebrate with God's people."
11Again the Scriptures say,
"Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles.
All you nations, come and worship him."
12Isaiah says,
"Someone from David's family will come to power.
He will rule the nations,
and they will put their hope in him."
13I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.

David in Philistia

Saul went back home. David also left,
1 Samuel 27 1but he thought to himself, "One of these days, Saul is going to kill me. The only way to escape from him is to go to Philistia. Then I'll be outside of Israel, and Saul will give up trying to catch me."
2-3David and his six hundred men went across the border to stay in Gath with King Achish the son of Maoch. His men brought their families with them. David brought his wife Ahinoam whose hometown was Jezreel, and he also brought his wife Abigail who had been married to Nabal from Carmel. 4When Saul found out that David had run off to Gath, he stopped trying to catch him.
5One day, David was talking with Achish and said, "If you are happy with me, then let me live in one of the towns in the countryside. I'm not important enough to live here with you in the royal city."
6Achish gave David the town of Ziklag that same day, and Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.
7David was in Philistia for a year and four months. 8The Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites lived in the area from Telam to Shur and on as far as Egypt, and David often attacked their towns. 9Whenever David and his men attacked a town, they took the sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and the clothing, and killed everyone who lived there.
After he returned from a raid, David always went to see Achish, 10who would ask, "Where did you attack today?"
David would answer, "Oh, we attacked some desert town that belonged to the Judah tribe." Sometimes David would say, "Oh, we attacked a town in the desert where the Jerahmeel clan lives" or "We attacked a town in the desert where the Kenites live." 11That's why David killed everyone in the towns he attacked. He thought, "If I let any of them live, they might come to Gath and tell what I've really been doing."
David made these raids all the time he was in Philistia. 12But Achish trusted David and thought, "David's people must be furious with him. From now on he will have to take orders from me."

Saul Talks with Samuel's Ghost

1 Samuel 28 1-3Samuel had died some time earlier, and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah.
Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel.
Achish told David, "Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army."
David answered, "That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!"
"In that case," Achish said, "you and your men will always be my bodyguards."
4The Philistines went to Shunem and set up camp. Saul called the army of Israel together, and they set up their camp in Gilboa. 5Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking with fear. 6So he asked the LORD what to do. But the LORD would not answer, either in a dream or by a priest or a prophet. 7Then Saul told his officers, "Find me a woman who can talk to the spirits of the dead. I'll go to her and find out what's going to happen."
His servants told him, "There's a woman at Endor who can talk to spirits of the dead."
8That night, Saul put on different clothing so nobody would recognize him. Then he and two of his men went to the woman, and asked, "Will you bring up the ghost of someone for us?"
9The woman said, "Why are you trying to trick me and get me killed? You know King Saul has gotten rid of everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead!"
10Saul replied, "I swear by the living LORD that nothing will happen to you because of this."
11"Who do you want me to bring up?" she asked.
"Bring up the ghost of Samuel," he answered.
12When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. Then she turned to Saul and said, "You've tricked me! You're the king!"
13"Don't be afraid," Saul replied. "Just tell me what you see."
She answered, "I see a spirit rising up out of the ground."
14"What does it look like?"
"It looks like an old man wearing a robe."
Saul knew it was Samuel, so he bowed down low.
15"Why are you bothering me by bringing me up like this?" Samuel asked.
"I'm terribly worried," Saul answered. "The Philistines are about to attack me. God has turned his back on me and won't answer any more by prophets or by dreams. What should I do?"
16Samuel said:
If the LORD has turned away from you and is now your enemy, don't ask me what to do. 17I've already told you: The LORD has sworn to take the kingdom from you and give it to David. And that's just what he's doing! 18When the LORD was angry with the Amalekites, he told you to destroy them, but you didn't do it. That's why the LORD is doing this to you. 19Tomorrow the LORD will let the Philistines defeat Israel's army, then you and your sons will join me down here in the world of the dead.

20At once, Saul collapsed and lay stretched out on the floor, terrified at what Samuel had said. He was weak because he had not eaten anything since the day before.
21The woman came over to Saul, and when she saw that he was completely terrified, she said, "Your Majesty, I listened to you and risked my life to do what you asked. 22Now please listen to me. Let me get you a little something to eat. It will give you strength for your walk back to camp."
23"No, I won't eat!"
But his officers and the woman kept on urging Saul, until he finally agreed. He got up off the floor and sat on the bed. 24Right away the woman killed a calf that she had been fattening up. She cooked part of the meat and baked some thin bread. 25Then she served the food to Saul and his officers, who ate and left before daylight.

Psalm 70
[By David for the music leader. To be used when an offering is made.]
God Is Wonderful

1Save me, LORD God! Hurry and help.
2Disappoint and confuse all who want to kill me.
Turn away and disgrace all who want to hurt me.
3Embarrass and shame those who say, "We told you so!"

4Let your worshipers celebrate
and be glad because of you.
They love your saving power, so let them always say,
"God is wonderful!"
5I am poor and needy,
but you, the LORD God, care about me.
You are the one who saves me.
Please hurry and help!

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

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