June 1 - Romans 7, 1 Samuel 16 and Psalm 61
An Illustration from MarriageRomans 7 Certainly you will understand what I am about to say, my friends, because all of you know about law. The law rules over people only as long as they live. 2A married woman, for example, is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives; but if he dies, then she is free from the law that bound her to him. 3So then, if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is legally a free woman and does not commit adultery if she marries another man. 4That is how it is with you, my friends. As far as the Law is concerned, you also have died because you are part of the body of Christ; and now you belong to him who was raised from death in order that we might be useful in the service of God. 5For when we lived according to our human nature, the sinful desires stirred up by the Law were at work in our bodies, and all we did ended in death. 6Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit.
Law and Sin7Shall we say, then, that the Law itself is sinful? Of course not! But it was the Law that made me know what sin is. If the Law had not said, "Do not desire what belongs to someone else," I would not have known such a desire. 8But by means of that commandment sin found its chance to stir up all kinds of selfish desires in me. Apart from law, sin is a dead thing. 9I myself was once alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, 10and I died. And the commandment which was meant to bring life, in my case brought death. 11Sin found its chance, and by means of the commandment it deceived me and killed me.
12So then, the Law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. 13But does this mean that what is good caused my death? By no means! It was sin that did it; by using what is good, sin brought death to me, in order that its true nature as sin might be revealed. And so, by means of the commandment sin is shown to be even more terribly sinful.
The Conflict in Us14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a mortal, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. 16Since what I do is what I don't want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. 17So I am not really the one who does this thing; rather it is the sin that lives in me. 18I know that good does not live in me--that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. 19I don't do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. 20If I do what I don't want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me.
21So I find that this law is at work: when I want to do what is good, what is evil is the only choice I have. 22My inner being delights in the law of God. 23But I see a different law at work in my body--a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of. It makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is at work in my body. 24What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? 25Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ!
This, then, is my condition: on my own I can serve God's law only with my mind, while my human nature serves the law of sin.
David Is Anointed King1 Samuel 16 The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you go on grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. But now get some olive oil and go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, because I have chosen one of his sons to be king."
2"How can I do that?" Samuel asked. "If Saul hears about it, he will kill me!"
The LORD answered, "Take a calf with you and say that you are there to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will tell you what to do. You will anoint as king the man I tell you to."
4Samuel did what the LORD told him to do and went to Bethlehem, where the city leaders came trembling to meet him and asked, "Is this a peaceful visit, seer?"
5"Yes," he answered. "I have come to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. Purify yourselves and come with me." He also told Jesse and his sons to purify themselves, and he invited them to the sacrifice.
6When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse's son Eliab and said to himself, "This man standing here in the LORD's presence is surely the one he has chosen." 7But the LORD said to him, "Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart."
8Then Jesse called his son Abinadab and brought him to Samuel. But Samuel said, "No, the LORD hasn't chosen him either." 9Jesse then brought Shammah. "No, the LORD hasn't chosen him either," Samuel said. 10In this way Jesse brought seven of his sons to Samuel. And Samuel said to him, "No, the LORD hasn't chosen any of these." 11Then he asked him, "Do you have any more sons?"
Jesse answered, "There is still the youngest, but he is out taking care of the sheep."
"Tell him to come here," Samuel said. "We won't offer the sacrifice until he comes." 12So Jesse sent for him. He was a handsome, healthy young man, and his eyes sparkled. The LORD said to Samuel, "This is the one--anoint him!" 13Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers. Immediately the spirit of the LORD took control of David and was with him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
David in Saul's Court14The LORD's spirit left Saul, and an evil spirit sent by the LORD tormented him. 15His servants said to him, "We know that an evil spirit sent by God is tormenting you. 16So give us the order, sir, and we will look for a man who knows how to play the harp. Then when the evil spirit comes on you, the man can play his harp, and you will be all right again."
17Saul ordered them, "Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me."
18One of his attendants said, "Jesse of the town of Bethlehem has a son who is a good musician. He is also a brave and handsome man, a good soldier, and an able speaker. The LORD is with him."
19So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, "Send me your son David, the one who takes care of the sheep." 20Jesse sent David to Saul with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a leather bag full of wine. 21David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much and chose him as the man to carry his weapons. 22Then Saul sent a message to Jesse: "I like David. Let him stay here in my service." 23From then on, whenever the evil spirit sent by God came on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. The evil spirit would leave, and Saul would feel better and be all right again.
A Prayer for ProtectionPsalm 61 Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer!
2In despair and far from home
I call to you!
Take me to a safe refuge,
3for you are my protector,
my strong defense against my enemies.
4Let me live in your sanctuary all my life;
let me find safety under your wings.
5You have heard my promises, O God,
and you have given me what belongs to those who honor you.
6Add many years to the king's life;
let him live on and on!
7May he rule forever in your presence, O God;
protect him with your constant love and faithfulness.
8So I will always sing praises to you,
as I offer you daily what I have promised.
This reading is from The Holy
Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American
Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
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