1 Samuel 26:1-28:25 ~ John 11:1-54 ~ Psalm 117:1-2 ~ Proverbs 15:22-23
Today is May 20th. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s good to be here with you today at the end of another week. We’ve done it. We’ve done it and we get to turn around and do it all over again tomorrow with a fresh start, and I guess we haven’t done it, finished today yet. Today is still today so we’re kind of putting the finishing touches on this week and part of that is the next step forward in the scriptures. This week we’ve been reading from the Names of God Bible, which we will continue to do and we’ll continue with this saga that is Israel’s first king, Saul, and this other man that has risen to prominence who has had to spend a lot of his time running for his life, David. So we’ll pick up where we left off yesterday, 1 Samuel chapter 26, verse 1 through 28, verse 25 today.
We have a lot going on. It’s a big day of drama in the Bible today in every way. So this whole Saul thing, I mean, we’re watching Saul sort of dismantle himself. The kingship comes upon him and it is so weighty and he is so insecure that it is destroying him. We’ve been watching this for days.
So Samuel has died. Saul doesn’t have a prophet to turn to. The last thing Saul knew about Yahweh is that God had rejected him, which is one of the things that is catapulting Saul forward to try to find and kill David because Saul knows that, at least according to the prophet, David is the next in line, not Saul’s line of children, not Jonathon who is the prince. It is not going to be Saul’s family that is taking over the kingship and that is kind of how kings work. The family line is a family business and Saul is the first king of Israel being told you’re the only one. Your family is out of the picture and somebody better than you is coming along.
So we can kind of understand the insecurity but the length that it has gone to, this kind of behavior has always been what Saul did and it has gotten so bad that Saul has to go into battle. He doesn’t know what to do. He’s already done this kind of stuff before, right? He’s already gone into battle before and sacrificed when the prophet was supposed to do that. That is the thing that tore the kingdom from him in the first place. So now he is not going to do something with God. He knows God has rejected him. He is just looking for Samuel and he’s willing to go try to conjure him from the grave. That is how far this has gone with Saul.
It happens. Samuel comes up and tells him something sobering and ominous. “Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.” Probably the worst news Saul could hear and he is freaked out and he won’t eat and all this stuff. We’ll have to see, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if that is what happens to Saul. Are we at the end of Saul’s life? Is Israel’s first king about to not be in the picture anymore? That is a story for another day. That is a story for tomorrow.
In the New Testament, in the book of John we come to this story of Lazarus being raised from the dead, a very, very famous story. We probably all know this story. What is so interesting about this story is, well, there are a lot of things, but what really intrigues me today is what happens next. So there is all the drama of a resurrection happening and the Bible says a lot of the people believed in Jesus after that. Okay, fair enough. Wouldn’t you? If you were in the crowd and saw this go down you would have to go ‘okay, hang on a second. I just saw that happen. That just happened, right?’ You would be compelled to believe. But ironically not everybody did. They watched this happen and a bunch of people ran back to the Pharisees and religious leaders and scribes and priests because they are in Bethany. They are not far from Jerusalem, just a couple of miles. Bethany still exists and it is a suburb of Jerusalem at this point. This tomb still exists and it is not far from Jerusalem. So these people, some people ran to tell the priests who are then freaking out basically, saying “if we let him keep doing what he is doing, if we let this guy keep saying what he’s saying and doing what he’s doing, everyone is going to believe in him. We can’t let this man keep doing what he’s doing.”
It’s the craziest thing. I can’t really get my mind around it until I start looking at my own life and the ways in which I’ve watched God do things that were clear to me, clear to me, only to walk a couple miles away and then forget the whole thing and find myself wondering what is going on. We do this kind of stuff but when we read it in black and white, when we read it or observe it in someone else’s life it is easy for us to see. It is harder when we’re looking in the mirror.
But these religious leaders, they basically cannot deny what Jesus is doing and they cannot deny how compelling he is and what a force as a communicator that he is because the things that he is saying, no one has heard these things before and he is outlining a different worldview and it’s compelling them. It’s compelling the people. So the religious leaders have a choice, to get on board and follow this way of Jesus or to try to stand counter. And they’ve been standing counter out of fear and they articulate that fear today. Jesus is strong enough and powerful enough to upset the apple cart, the tenuous power share between the Romans and the Jews, and if the Jews get mad enough, they can really turn the screws. They have the power to destroy everything about the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. So the religious leaders kind of see themselves as the go-between, as the protector of the Jewish people and their traditions. Yeah, they are looking for a Messiah and yeah, Jesus kind of fits the bill, but they are getting a pretty good look at what that would really mean. And then all of a sudden it is like ‘okay, life as we know it, if we let this go down and a revolt does rise up or something like that, if a revolution does start to happen, we don’t see how we can defeat the Roman Empire and we do see how they can crush us.’
So it is like reality begins to settle in. The concept of Messiah is actually brought right before their eyes. This is what this would cost. We can’t just let this guy go around doing what he is doing because we don’t really think he is the one because the things he is saying don’t fully line up with military maneuvers. So as Caiaphas the High Priest said, “It is better to have one man die than all of us destroyed.”
That is harsh. That is a harsh reality to look at in the scriptures and in our own lives because it is this fear-based compromise that is going on. It is sort of like this settling into a reality that there could be no other way that is going on. What is so harsh and really, really heartbreaking is the people of God, the people who are leading the people of God, so the priests, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the scribes, the teachers, the people who are supposed to know God the most because they are able to immerse themselves in the ways of God as a vocation, they are the ones rejecting God outright and then making plans to kill God. Wow. That is right up in your face because it is this trust versus our own strength issue that gets brought up right away.
God will always force us to the precipice of faith, always. The path that we are on is never not going to lead us to a precipice where we have to take a leap of faith. We will have to. And then the next time it will be a higher ledge because we have got to learn to reunite our spirit and our body and live by faith. It’s the activator. It’s the power. It’s the thing that makes this work. So in this story, the most religious of the religious people are being brought to this precipice to really consider what they are about to do and their choice is to have Jesus killed somehow one way or the other so they can protect what they already have and what they already know. For them it’s a pretty good life. It’s working out pretty good for them. Yes, lots of people are being marginalized and oppressed, but they are doing pretty good. They’ve got it pretty well. There is going to be no leap of faith. There is just going to be the black betrayal and execution of an innocent person who happened to be God in the flesh.
We’re going to continue to be brought to these precipices, but we have to take a leap of faith where we have to step out there where we think there is nothing only to find God is there. That is where he is. That is where he lives. He is just beyond our own strength, just beyond what we can do on our own without him. That is where he is. And the invitation is always there: Come deeper. Come further. There is more to this story. I have so much to show you. It’s bigger than this. It’s larger than you know. There is so much we can do together in collaboration, in relationship, but you’re going to have to come out here. You’re going to have to come out beyond where you can save yourself. You’re going to have to come out here beyond your own control. This is where the power is. This is where we intersect. So may we consider ourselves today and our lives. God is on the move. There is no doubt about that. Are we on the move with him?
Jesus, we invite you into that question. It is a sobering one indeed. I think our lives are compartmentalized enough that we could say on some levels yes, on some levels no, but you’re just even in that revealing what we were invited into, to love you with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our strength, that being the activator of faith, allowing us to do what the examples in the Bible reveal, people committed, and God who is unstoppable. We just lose sight of that. We just lose sight of that almost every day at one point or other, so come Holy Spirit. Give us the margin in our lives that allows us to take a beat and remind ourselves of the story that we are actually in rather than getting sucked into some sort of narrative that isn’t true at all and that only pulls us away from you. Come Holy Spirit, remind us once again, we ask, in your precious name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hi DAB family. This is Brittany. I’ve actually been listening for about a year, but this is actually my first time calling in. I’m here in Atlanta, GA and I’m just thankful for this community of people who pray together and study together and just the group of people who care enough to pray for one another. I’m actually calling to submit a prayer request for one of my coworkers. Her daughter is 12 years old and was recently diagnosed with lupus. My coworker’s mother actually passed away from lupus when she was a child, so this is something she has already experienced. Her daughter was supposed to have a kidney biopsy yesterday. Unfortunately, they saw a lot of inflammation in her kidneys and then they also found her blood pressure to be extremely high. They have been giving her blood pressure medication, but her body is not responding to it. I really ask that you all would pray for Leah, that her body would be healed, that the doctors would have some clear instruction and direction on where to go. Just keep her parents and brother in prayer as well. Thank you so much DAB family. Bye-bye.
Good evening Brian and Daily Audio Bible family. This is Pam from Florida. Brian, I just want to thank you for your faithfulness in reading every day. Daily Audio Bible family, thank you so much for your prayers for one another. I am asking for prayers for my marriage. My husband is in an affair and I am going to be asking for a divorce. He is asking me for a divorce, but has not acted on it. I have found evidence and letters to the lady he is involved with. I’m just asking for prayers for strength as I go through this dark valley. I am distressed. I am nervous. I am not fully employed and I would like your prayers, Daily Audio Bible family. Please remember me as I remember all of you. I listen daily and this is my first time calling. I crave your prayers. Pam from Florida. Thank you.
Hi. My name is Mya. I’m calling from __ England. I’ve been listening to the Daily Audio Bible for about a year now and it is the 17th of May and I’ve been really quite inspired about today’s reading about Saul and I’ve been overwhelmed with I guess the parallel between all the things that he did, all the things that he struggled with and his way of behaving with that. You know what? Let’s just pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that this __ that we can find truth in it, that we can know who we are by your word. Lord, every one of us might find somebody else who is like a David who might seem __ bigger than us or stronger than us, but thank you, God, that you made us individually. You made us __ for a reason and I just pray, dear God, that we would be able to walk in that strength and in that reason, that we will not be intimidated by others but will be strong in our purpose because you designed us for a purpose that is individual to us. I thank you for everyone who calls in and everyone who doesn’t and I pray that you will meet every need and that you’ll bring about your peace so that even when we feel like you’re not there, or when we feel like you’re far away, I thank you, Lord God, that you will never leave nor forsake us, that we have a confidence in you knowing that you are the beginning and end of everything, that whatever we face, Lord God, you are here. You said lo, I am with you even to the end of the earth. So dear Heavenly Father, please meet the needs of my brothers and sisters in the DAB family and help us continue to walk all out for your namesake so that we can be a light in a dark world. Amen.
Hello DAB family. This is Seth A. from __, ME. I have a prayer request I want to set before you guys. After a series of just the Lord speaking, my wife and I are prayerfully considering basically selling everything we have and becoming missionaries. Due to a series of events, some things and opportunities have opened up and I’m pretty confident that the Lord is speaking and really tugging on my heartstrings. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. My wife is just a little but more hesitant and it is really important to me that we’re in unity and oneness in this decision. So if you guys could just pray that God’s perfect will would be made known to us both and that we would make this huge decision together, that would be awesome. Really love you guys. Pray for every single one of you guys and it’s awesome you guys are there for me. So God bless and let him be glorified. Bye-bye.
Yes, my name is Marty and I’m calling and I’m trying to draw near back to God. I’m __ again. Two years ago we lost our daughter. We had been in deep grief and I just want to turn everything over to God. I pray that someone would just pray, reach out to us. Please pray for us. I desperately need a job and I desperately need a good relationship with another godly man and I just pray God, hear me. God, please hear me. Deliver me. Please, dear God. I’m too __ and draw us back to you and renew my relationship with you. Please, dear God. Please pray for us, everyone. Thank you.