READ: 1 Samuel 15-17

BACKGROUND: By Verse –
15:2 – Why did God command such destruction? The Amalekites were a particularly vicious and idolatrous band of guerilla terrorists. God knew that they would never live peaceably with the Israelites.
9 – This was knowing and purposeful disobedience.
12 – Notice that this stands in stark contrast to every other monument built before by Israel’s leaders. All of them were built to honor God.
22-23 – The theme of “obedience over sacrifice” is 1st mentioned here. It is mentioned again in Psalms 40:6-8, 51:16-17, Proverbs 21:3, Isaiah 1:11-17, Jeremiah 7:21-23, Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 12:7, Mark 12:33, & Hebrews 10:8-9.
16:13 – The anointing of David as king was done in secret. The public anointing wouldn’t come until much later (2 Samuel 2:4, 5:3). So, when Saul asked David in verse 19 to be in his service he didn’t know that David was the next king (though David did.)
17:4-7 – In the days of the exodus, many of the Israelites (including 10 of the 12 spies in Numbers 13) were afraid to enter the Promised Land because of the giants living in the land.
9 – Often armies avoided the high cost of battle by simply pitting their strongest soldiers up against each other. The winner of that fight was considered the winner of the battle. This was unquestionably Saul’s battle to fight. But he chickened out and David stepped up.
16 – Why did this go on for 40 days without either side actually fighting? They were camped on opposite ends of a steep valley and whoever decided to charge would have to attack uphill which would be a huge disadvantage.

THINK: Let this scenario unfold in your mind: when David, the shepherd, grabs a bear by its throat, hear the roaring and grunting. Then try to feel the weight of Saul’s bronze helmet, and then the light, smooth weight of the stones in your hand.

What one particular event, character, or feature of the story stands out to you? Take time to concentrate on that. Are you drawn to David’s courage? Are you repulsed by Saul’s disbelieving? Maybe you’re surprised hen David rejects Saul’s armor. Consider what your own reaction would be, and then consider how the characters in the story reacted. As you meditate, allow God to show you more about yourself, him, and the way life is.

PRAY: Pastor and author Henri Nouwen wrote, “Make the conscious choice to move the attention of your anxious heart away from the [the] waves and direct it to the One who walks on them and says, ‘It’s me. Don’t be afraid’…Look at him and say, ‘Lord have mercy.’ Say it again and again, not anxiously but with confidence that he is very clos to you and will put your soul to rest.”

What do you feel anxious about, if anything? What might happen if you shifted your attention “away from [the] waves” and “to the One who walks on them”? What concrete thing could you do to help redirect your attention? Ask God to help you focus on him.

Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo

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