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

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Duties toward State Authorities

Romans 13 Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God's permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. 2Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself. 3For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, 4because they are God's servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God's servants and carry out God's punishment on those who do evil. 5For this reason you must obey the authorities--not just because of God's punishment, but also as a matter of conscience.
6That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. 7Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all.

Duties toward One Another

8Be under obligation to no one--the only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not desire what belongs to someone else"--all these, and any others besides, are summed up in the one command, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." 10If you love others, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole Law.
11You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. 13Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day--no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. 14But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.

The Death of Samuel

1 Samuel 25 Samuel died, and all the Israelites came together and mourned for him. Then they buried him at his home in Ramah.

David and Abigail

After this, David went to the wilderness of Paran. 2-3There was a man of the clan of Caleb named Nabal, who was from the town of Maon, and who owned land near the town of Carmel. He was a very rich man, the owner of three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. His wife Abigail was beautiful and intelligent, but he was a mean, bad-tempered man.
Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel, 4and David, who was in the wilderness, heard about it, 5so he sent ten young men with orders to go to Carmel, find Nabal, and give him his greetings. 6He instructed them to say to Nabal: "David sends you greetings, my friend, with his best wishes for you, your family, and all that is yours. 7He heard that you were shearing your sheep, and he wants you to know that your shepherds have been with us and we did not harm them. Nothing that belonged to them was stolen all the time they were at Carmel. 8Just ask them, and they will tell you. We have come on a feast day, and David asks you to receive us kindly. Please give what you can to us your servants and to your dear friend David."
9David's men delivered this message to Nabal in David's name. Then they waited there, 10and Nabal finally answered, "David? Who is he? I've never heard of him! The country is full of runaway slaves nowadays! 11I'm not going to take my bread and water, and the animals I have butchered for my sheepshearers, and give them to people who come from I don't know where!"
12David's men went back to him and told him what Nabal had said. 13"Buckle on your swords!" he ordered, and they all did. David also buckled on his sword and left with about four hundred of his men, leaving two hundred behind with the supplies.
14One of Nabal's servants said to Nabal's wife Abigail, "Have you heard? David sent some messengers from the wilderness with greetings for our master, but he insulted them. 15Yet they were very good to us; they never bothered us, and all the time we were with them in the fields, nothing that belonged to us was stolen. 16They protected us day and night the whole time we were with them looking after our flocks. 17Please think this over and decide what to do. This could be disastrous for our master and all his family. He is so mean that he won't listen to anybody!"
18Abigail quickly gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two leather bags full of wine, five roasted sheep, two bushels of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred cakes of dried figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19Then she said to the servants, "You go on ahead and I will follow you." But she said nothing to her husband.
20She was riding her donkey around a bend on a hillside when suddenly she met David and his men coming toward her. 21David had been thinking, "Why did I ever protect that fellow's property out here in the wilderness? Not a thing that belonged to him was stolen, and this is how he pays me back for the help I gave him! 22May God strike me dead if I don't kill every last one of those men before morning!"
23When Abigail saw David, she quickly dismounted and threw herself on the ground 24at David's feet, and said to him, "Please, sir, listen to me! Let me take the blame. 25Please, don't pay any attention to Nabal, that good-for-nothing! He is exactly what his name means--a fool! I wasn't there when your servants arrived, sir. 26It is the LORD who has kept you from taking revenge and killing your enemies. And now I swear to you by the living LORD that your enemies and all who want to harm you will be punished like Nabal. 27Please, sir, accept this present I have brought you, and give it to your men. 28Please forgive me, sir, for any wrong I have done. The LORD will make you king, and your descendants also, because you are fighting his battles; and you will not do anything evil as long as you live. 29If anyone should attack you and try to kill you, the LORD your God will keep you safe, as someone guards a precious treasure. As for your enemies, however, he will throw them away, as someone hurls stones with a sling. 30And when the LORD has done all the good things he has promised you and has made you king of Israel, 31then you will not have to feel regret or remorse, sir, for having killed without cause or for having taken your own revenge. And when the LORD has blessed you, sir, please do not forget me."
32David said to her, "Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me! 33Thank God for your good sense and for what you have done today in keeping me from the crime of murder and from taking my own revenge. 34The LORD has kept me from harming you. But I swear by the living God of Israel that if you had not hurried to meet me, all of Nabal's men would have been dead by morning!" 35Then David accepted what she had brought him and said to her, "Go back home and don't worry. I will do what you want."
36Abigail went back to Nabal, who was at home having a feast fit for a king. He was drunk and in a good mood, so she did not tell him anything until the next morning. 37Then, after he had sobered up, she told him everything. He suffered a stroke and was completely paralyzed. 38Some ten days later the LORD struck Nabal and he died.
39When David heard that Nabal had died, he said, "Praise the LORD! He has taken revenge on Nabal for insulting me and has kept me his servant from doing wrong. The LORD has punished Nabal for his evil."
Then David sent a proposal of marriage to Abigail. 40His servants went to her at Carmel and said to her, "David sent us to take you to him to be his wife."
41Abigail bowed down to the ground and said, "I am his servant, ready to wash the feet of his servants." 42She rose quickly and mounted her donkey. Accompanied by her five maids, she went with David's servants and became his wife.
43David had married Ahinoam from Jezreel, and now Abigail also became his wife. 44Meanwhile, Saul had given his daughter Michal, who had been David's wife, to Palti son of Laish, who was from the town of Gallim.

A National Song of Triumph

Psalm 68 God rises up and scatters his enemies.
Those who hate him run away in defeat.
2As smoke is blown away, so he drives them off;
as wax melts in front of the fire,
so do the wicked perish in God's presence.
3But the righteous are glad and rejoice in his presence;
they are happy and shout for joy.

4Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
prepare a way for him who rides on the clouds.
His name is the LORD--be glad in his presence!

5God, who lives in his sacred Temple,
cares for orphans and protects widows.
6He gives the lonely a home to live in
and leads prisoners out into happy freedom,
but rebels will have to live in a desolate land.

7O God, when you led your people,
when you marched across the desert,
8the earth shook, and the sky poured down rain,
because of the coming of the God of Sinai,
the coming of the God of Israel.
9You caused abundant rain to fall
and restored your worn-out land;
10your people made their home there;
in your goodness you provided for the poor.

11The Lord gave the command,
and many women carried the news:
12"Kings and their armies are running away!"
The women at home divided what was captured:
13figures of doves covered with silver,
whose wings glittered with fine gold.
(Why did some of you stay among the sheep pens on the day of battle?)
14When Almighty God scattered the kings on Mount Zalmon,
he caused snow to fall there.

15What a mighty mountain is Bashan,
a mountain of many peaks!
16Why from your mighty peaks do you look with scorn
on the mountain on which God chose to live?
The LORD will live there forever!

17With his many thousands of mighty chariots
the Lord comes from Sinai into the holy place.
18He goes up to the heights,
taking many captives with him;
he receives gifts from rebellious people.
The LORD God will live there.

19Praise the Lord,
who carries our burdens day after day;
he is the God who saves us.
20Our God is a God who saves;
he is the LORD, our Lord,
who rescues us from death.

21God will surely break the heads of his enemies,
of those who persist in their sinful ways.
22The Lord has said, "I will bring your enemies back from Bashan;
I will bring them back from the depths of the ocean,
23so that you may wade in their blood,
and your dogs may lap up as much as they want."

24O God, your march of triumph is seen by all,
the procession of God, my king, into his sanctuary.
25The singers are in front, the musicians are behind,
in between are the young women beating the tambourines.
26"Praise God in the meeting of his people;
praise the LORD, all you descendants of Jacob!"
27First comes Benjamin, the smallest tribe,
then the leaders of Judah with their group,
followed by the leaders of Zebulun and Naphtali.

28Show your power, O God,
the power you have used on our behalf
29from your Temple in Jerusalem,
where kings bring gifts to you.
30Rebuke Egypt, that wild animal in the reeds;
rebuke the nations, that herd of bulls with their calves,
until they all bow down and offer you their silver.
Scatter those people who love to make war!
31Ambassadors will come from Egypt;
the Ethiopians will raise their hands in prayer to God.

32Sing to God, kingdoms of the world,
sing praise to the Lord,
33to him who rides in the sky,
the ancient sky.
Listen to him shout with a mighty roar.
34Proclaim God's power;
his majesty is over Israel,
his might is in the skies.
35How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary--
the God of Israel!
He gives strength and power to his people.

Praise God!

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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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