Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 30:6

“And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)‬‬

Nobody likes pain. Even fewer tragedy. They can strip us of our sense of control and leave us feeling totally vulnerable and helpless. We naturally seek to avoid these by almost any means we can. But, pain is a teacher. Tragedy an instructor. And for the soul that is lost and wandering aimlessly through this world, they can be a guide. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 29:4

“But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here?”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

How you ever been right on the cusp of doing something foolish you couldn’t undo and got stopped right before you did it? David and his men had been living among the Philistines for several months now. They headed there when David’s faith failed and he gave way to doubt in God’s promise to make him king or that Saul was ever really going to stop hunting him down until he was dead. And although the group had not participated in any raids against their own people, they were becoming comfortable in their new home; comfortable enough that they were preparing to join the Philistines in a battle against the Israelites. Once they did that, there was no going back. Israel’s future king would never ascend to the throne. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 28:13-14

“The king said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. What do you see?’ And the woman said to Saul, ‘I see a god coming up out of the earth.’ He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, ‘An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.’ And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is one of the most intriguing stories in the whole of the Old Testament to me. What exactly we are to make of this story isn’t at all clear at first read…or at second or third or fourth read either for that matter. In over a third of a century worth of listening to sermons I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a preacher tackle it. We’re usually taught both in the church and out that this kind of stuff is not real and cannot happen. And yet, here the Scriptures present it as happening. What gives? Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 28:5-7

“When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ And his servants said to him, ‘Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.’”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you felt alone, scared, and desperate? Saul was a mess here. His world was falling apart and even though he was the king of Israel, he had a pressing sense that he couldn’t do anything about it. That’s a scary place to be. It’s the kind of place that leads us to make some choices that would normally not even enter on our radar. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 24:5-6

“And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord ‘s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord ‘s anointed.’”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had the opportunity to take a shortcut? Sometimes shortcuts can be a good thing. We went to the Cincinnati Zoo this past summer. It was a great zoo, but it came near the end of several days out of town, all of which had involved a pretty hefty load of walking. Trying to cover every square inch of the place was going to be more than three sets of little legs was going to be able to handle. Fortunately, there were a few shortcuts to get from one place to another that allowed us to see nearly everything without walking all of it. That was a good shortcut. Read the rest…