June 11 - Romans 15.14-33, 1 Samuel 29-31 and Psalm 71
Paul's Reason for Writing So BoldlyRomans 1514My friends: I myself feel sure that you are full of goodness, that you have all knowledge, and that you are able to teach one another. 15But in this letter I have been quite bold about certain subjects of which I have reminded you. I have been bold because of the privilege God has given me 16of being a servant of Christ Jesus to work for the Gentiles. I serve like a priest in preaching the Good News from God, in order that the Gentiles may be an offering acceptable to God, dedicated to him by the Holy Spirit. 17In union with Christ Jesus, then, I can be proud of my service for God. 18I will be bold and speak only about what Christ has done through me to lead the Gentiles to obey God. He has done this by means of words and deeds, 19by the power of miracles and wonders, and by the power of the Spirit of God. And so, in traveling all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum, I have proclaimed fully the Good News about Christ. 20My ambition has always been to proclaim the Good News in places where Christ has not been heard of, so as not to build on a foundation laid by someone else. 21As the scripture says,
"Those who were not told about him will see,
and those who have not heard will understand."
Paul's Plan to Visit Rome22And so I have been prevented many times from coming to you. 23But now that I have finished my work in these regions and since I have been wanting for so many years to come to see you, 24I hope to do so now. I would like to see you on my way to Spain, and be helped by you to go there, after I have enjoyed visiting you for a while. 25Right now, however, I am going to Jerusalem in the service of God's people there. 26For the churches in Macedonia and Achaia have freely decided to give an offering to help the poor among God's people in Jerusalem. 27That decision was their own; but, as a matter of fact, they have an obligation to help them. Since the Jews shared their spiritual blessings with the Gentiles, the Gentiles ought to use their material blessings to help the Jews. 28When I have finished this task and have turned over to them all the money that has been raised for them, I shall leave for Spain and visit you on my way there. 29When I come to you, I know that I shall come with a full measure of the blessing of Christ.
30I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit gives: join me in praying fervently to God for me. 31Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God's people there. 32And so I will come to you full of joy, if it is God's will, and enjoy a refreshing visit with you. 33May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen.
David Is Rejected by the Philistines1 Samuel 29 The Philistines brought all their troops together at Aphek, while the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel Valley. 2The five Philistine kings marched out with their units of a hundred and of a thousand men; David and his men marched in the rear with King Achish. 3The Philistine commanders saw them and asked, "What are these Hebrews doing here?"
Achish answered, "This is David, an official of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me for quite some time now. He has done nothing I can find fault with since the day he came over to me."
4But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said to him, "Send that fellow back to the town you gave him. Don't let him go into battle with us; he might turn against us during the fighting. What better way is there for him to win back his master's favor than by the death of our men? 5After all, this is David, the one about whom the women sang, as they danced, 'Saul has killed thousands, but David has killed tens of thousands.'"
6Achish called David and said to him, "I swear by the living God of Israel that you have been loyal to me; and I would be pleased to have you go with me and fight in this battle. I have not found any fault in you from the day you came over to me. But the other kings don't approve of you. 7So go back home in peace, and don't do anything that would displease them."
8David answered, "What have I done wrong, sir? If, as you say, you haven't found any fault in me since the day I started serving you, why shouldn't I go with you, my master and king, and fight your enemies?"
9"I agree," Achish replied. "I consider you as loyal as an angel of God. But the other kings have said that you can't go with us into battle. 10So then, David, tomorrow morning all of you who left Saul and came over to me will have to get up early and leave as soon as it's light."
11So David and his men started out early the following morning to go back to Philistia, and the Philistines went on to Jezreel.
The War against the Amalekites1 Samuel 30 Two days later David and his men arrived back at Ziklag. The Amalekites had raided southern Judah and attacked Ziklag. They had burned down the town 2and captured all the women; they had not killed anyone, but had taken everyone with them when they left. 3When David and his men arrived, they found that the town had been burned down and that their wives, sons, and daughters had been carried away. 4David and his men started crying and did not stop until they were completely exhausted. 5Even David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken away.
6David was now in great trouble, because his men were all very bitter about losing their children, and they were threatening to stone him; but the LORD his God gave him courage. 7David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod," and Abiathar brought it to him. 8David asked the LORD, "Shall I go after those raiders? And will I catch them?"
He answered, "Go after them; you will catch them and rescue the captives."
9So David and his six hundred men started out, and when they arrived at Besor Brook, some of them stayed there. 10David continued on his way with four hundred men; the other two hundred men were too tired to cross the brook and so stayed behind. 11The men with David found a young Egyptian out in the country and brought him to David. They gave him some food and water, 12some dried figs, and two bunches of raisins. After he had eaten, his strength returned; he had not had anything to eat or drink for three full days. 13David asked him, "Who is your master, and where are you from?"
"I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite," he answered. "My master left me behind three days ago because I got sick. 14We had raided the territory of the Cherethites in the southern part of Judah and the territory of the clan of Caleb, and we burned down Ziklag."
15"Will you lead me to those raiders?" David asked him.
He answered, "I will if you promise me in God's name that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master." 16And he led David to them.
The raiders were scattered all over the place, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the enormous amount of loot they had captured from Philistia and Judah. 17At dawn the next day David attacked them and fought until evening. Except for four hundred young men who mounted camels and got away, none of them escaped. 18David rescued everyone and everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives; 19nothing at all was missing. David got back all his men's sons and daughters, and all the loot the Amalekites had taken. 20He also recovered all the flocks and herds; his men drove all the livestock in front of them and said, "This belongs to David!"
21Then David went back to the two hundred men who had been too weak to go with him and had stayed behind at Besor Brook. They came forward to meet David and his men, and David went up to them and greeted them warmly. 22But some mean and worthless men who had gone with David said, "They didn't go with us, and so we won't give them any of the loot. They can take their wives and children and go away."
23But David answered, "My brothers, you can't do this with what the LORD has given us! He kept us safe and gave us victory over the raiders. 24No one can agree with what you say! All must share alike: whoever stays behind with the supplies gets the same share as the one who goes into battle." 25David made this a rule, and it has been followed in Israel ever since.
26When David returned to Ziklag, he sent part of the loot to his friends, the leaders of Judah, with the message, "Here is a present for you from the loot we took from the LORD's enemies." 27He sent it to the people in Bethel, to the people in Ramah in the southern part of Judah, and to the people in the towns of Jattir, 28Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29and Racal; to the clan of Jerahmeel, to the Kenites, 30and to the people in the towns of Hormah, Borashan, Athach, 31and Hebron. He sent it to all the places where he and his men had roamed.
The Death of Saul and His Sons
8The day after the battle the Philistines went to plunder the corpses, and they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa. 9They cut off Saul's head, stripped off his armor, and sent messengers with them throughout Philistia to tell the good news to their idols and to their people. 10Then they put his weapons in the temple of the goddess Astarte, and they nailed his body to the wall of the city of Beth Shan.
11When the people of Jabesh in Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12the bravest men started out and marched all night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall, brought them back to Jabesh, and burned them there. 13Then they took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in town, and fasted for seven days.
The Prayer of an Elderly PersonPsalm 71 LORD, I have come to you for protection;
never let me be defeated!
2Because you are righteous, help me and rescue me.
Listen to me and save me!
3Be my secure shelter
and a strong fortress to protect me;
you are my refuge and defense.
4My God, rescue me from wicked people,
from the power of cruel and evil people.
5Sovereign LORD, I put my hope in you;
I have trusted in you since I was young.
6I have relied on you all my life;
you have protected me since the day I was born.
I will always praise you.
7My life has been an example to many,
because you have been my strong defender.
8All day long I praise you
and proclaim your glory.
9Do not reject me now that I am old;
do not abandon me now that I am feeble.
10My enemies want to kill me;
they talk and plot against me.
11They say, "God has abandoned him;
let's go after him and catch him;
there is no one to rescue him."
12Don't stay so far away, O God;
my God, hurry to my aid!
13May those who attack me
be defeated and destroyed.
May those who try to hurt me
be shamed and disgraced.
14I will always put my hope in you;
I will praise you more and more.
15I will tell of your goodness;
all day long I will speak of your salvation,
though it is more than I can understand.
16I will go in the strength of the LORD God;
I will proclaim your goodness, yours alone.
17You have taught me ever since I was young,
and I still tell of your wonderful acts.
18Now that I am old and my hair is gray,
do not abandon me, O God!
Be with me while I proclaim your power and might
to all generations to come.
19Your righteousness, God, reaches the skies.
You have done great things;
there is no one like you.
20You have sent troubles and suffering on me,
but you will restore my strength;
you will keep me from the grave.
21You will make me greater than ever;
you will comfort me again.
22I will indeed praise you with the harp;
I will praise your faithfulness, my God.
On my harp I will play hymns to you,
the Holy One of Israel.
23I will shout for joy as I play for you;
with my whole being I will sing
because you have saved me.
24I will speak of your righteousness all day long,
because those who tried to harm me
have been defeated and disgraced.
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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