June 7 - Romans 12, 1 Samuel 23-24 and Psalm 67
Life in God's ServiceRomans 12 So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. 2Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God--what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
3And because of God's gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you. 4We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. 5In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body. 6So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God's message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; 7if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; 8if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.
9Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 10Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. 11Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 12Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 13Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers.
14Ask God to bless those who persecute you--yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.
17If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. 18Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. 19Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God's anger do it. For the scripture says, "I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord." 20Instead, as the scripture says: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame." 21Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.
David Saves the Town of Keilah1 Samuel 23 David heard that the Philistines were attacking the town of Keilah and were stealing the newly harvested grain. 2So he asked the LORD, "Shall I go and attack the Philistines?"
"Yes," the LORD answered. "Attack them and save Keilah."
3But David's men said to him, "We have enough to be afraid of here in Judah; it will be much worse if we go to Keilah and attack the Philistine forces!" 4So David consulted the LORD again, and the LORD said to him, "Go and attack Keilah, because I will give you victory over the Philistines." 5So David and his men went to Keilah and attacked the Philistines; they killed many of them and took their livestock. And so it was that David saved the town.
6When Abiathar son of Ahimelech escaped and joined David in Keilah, he took the ephod with him.
7Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, "God has put him in my power. David has trapped himself by going into a walled town with fortified gates." 8So Saul called his troops to war, to march against Keilah and besiege David and his men.
9When David heard that Saul was planning to attack him, he said to the priest Abiathar, "Bring the ephod here." 10Then David said, "LORD, God of Israel, I have heard that Saul is planning to come to Keilah and destroy it on account of me, your servant. 11Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to Saul? Will Saul really come, as I have heard? LORD, God of Israel, I beg you to answer me!"
The LORD answered, "Saul will come."
12"And will the citizens of Keilah hand my men and me over to Saul?" David asked again.
"They will," the LORD answered.
13So David and his men--about six hundred in all--left Keilah at once and kept on the move. When Saul heard that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up his plan.
David in the Hill Country14David stayed in hiding in the hill country, in the wilderness near Ziph. Saul was always trying to find him, but God did not turn David over to him. 15David saw that Saul was out to kill him.
David was at Horesh, in the wilderness near Ziph. 16Jonathan went to him there and encouraged him with assurances of God's protection, 17saying to him, "Don't be afraid. My father Saul won't be able to harm you. He knows very well that you are the one who will be the king of Israel and that I will be next in rank to you." 18The two of them made a sacred promise of friendship to each other. David stayed at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
19Some people from Ziph went to Saul at Gibeah and said, "David is hiding out in our territory at Horesh on Mount Hachilah, in the southern part of the Judean wilderness. 20We know, Your Majesty, how much you want to capture him; so come to our territory, and we will make sure that you catch him."
21Saul answered, "May the LORD bless you for being so kind to me! 22Go and make sure once more; find out for certain where he is and who has seen him there. I hear that he is very cunning. 23Find out exactly the places where he hides, and be sure to bring back a report to me right away. Then I will go with you, and if he is still in the region, I will hunt him down, even if I have to search the whole land of Judah."
24So they left and returned to Ziph ahead of Saul. David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in a desolate valley in the southern part of the Judean wilderness. 25Saul and his men set out to look for David, but he heard about it and went to a rocky hill in the wilderness of Maon and stayed there. When Saul heard about this, he went after David. 26Saul and his men were on one side of the hill, separated from David and his men, who were on the other side. They were hurrying to get away from Saul and his men, who were closing in on them and were about to capture them. 27Just then a messenger arrived and said to Saul, "Come back at once! The Philistines are invading the country!" 28So Saul stopped pursuing David and went to fight the Philistines. That is why that place is called Separation Hill. 29David left and went to the region of Engedi, where he stayed in hiding.
David Spares Saul's Life1 Samuel 24 When Saul came back from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David was in the wilderness near Engedi. 2Saul took three thousand of the best soldiers in Israel and went looking for David and his men east of Wild Goat Rocks. 3He came to a cave close to some sheep pens by the road and went in to relieve himself. It happened to be the very cave in which David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. 4They said to him, "This is your chance! The LORD has told you that he would put your enemy in your power and you could do to him whatever you wanted to." David crept over and cut off a piece of Saul's robe without Saul's knowing it. 5But then David's conscience began to hurt, 6and he said to his men, "May the LORD keep me from doing any harm to my master, whom the LORD chose as king! I must not harm him in the least, because he is the king chosen by the LORD!" 7So David convinced his men that they should not attack Saul.
Saul got up, left the cave, and started away. 8Then David went out after him and called to him, "Your Majesty!" Saul turned around, and David bowed down to the ground in respect 9and said, "Why do you listen to people who say that I am trying to harm you? 10You can see for yourself that just now in the cave the LORD put you in my power. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I felt sorry for you and said that I would not harm you in the least, because you are the one whom the LORD chose to be king. 11Look, my father, look at the piece of your robe I am holding! I could have killed you, but instead I only cut this off. This should convince you that I have no thought of rebelling against you or of harming you. You are hunting me down to kill me, even though I have not done you any wrong. 12May the LORD judge which one of us is wrong! May he punish you for your action against me, for I will not harm you in the least. 13You know the old saying, 'Evil is done only by evil people.' And so I will not harm you. 14Look at what the king of Israel is trying to kill! Look at what he is chasing! A dead dog, a flea! 15The LORD will judge, and he will decide which one of us is wrong. May he look into the matter, defend me, and save me from you."
16When David had finished speaking, Saul said, "Is that really you, David my son?" And he started crying. 17Then he said to David, "You are right, and I am wrong. You have been so good to me, while I have done such wrong to you! 18Today you have shown how good you are to me, because you did not kill me, even though the LORD put me in your power. 19How often does someone catch an enemy and then let him get away unharmed? The LORD bless you for what you have done to me today! 20Now I am sure that you will be king of Israel and that the kingdom will continue under your rule. 21But promise me in the LORD's name that you will spare my descendants, so that my name and my family's name will not be completely forgotten." 22David promised that he would.
Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went back to their hiding place.
A Song of ThanksgivingPsalm 67 God, be merciful to us and bless us;
look on us with kindness,
2so that the whole world may know your will;
so that all nations may know your salvation.
3May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
4May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
because you judge the peoples with justice
and guide every nation on earth.
5May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
6The land has produced its harvest;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7God has blessed us;
may all people everywhere honor him.
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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