Bible reading for Aug 25.
I Samuel 17.
"If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us." (1 Samuel 17:9)
BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS. Some scholars wonder about the time stamp on this story -- chronologically, did it happen before or after David was called as a court musician to King Saul (vv 55-58)? See Constable's notes on this chapter. Perhaps at this stage in Saul's life his memory and behavior were already erratic. David, unlike Saul, has concern for God's reputation rather than his own. And in faith he goes forth in the name of the Lord. It's important to note that the outcome of this great battle would be determined at the hand of two individuals. Two national destinies rested in this one contest. David, the young shepherd, seemingly insignificant and unskilled, fells the great Goliath. This is an example of the corporate solidarity (theological term) that we have by being "in Christ". One man Adam gave over the human race to the power of Satan. And one Man, Jesus, took it all back. He is the Victor, and all our victories come from him and his triumph.
REFLECT. Sometimes Christians apply this story individually to their own spiritual battles, and that may be one application. But I believe the main lesson here is more broad. David's victory over Goliath was also Israel's victory, as a result. We are to see that in Christ all the enemies that come against him, his people, and his purposes, will ultimately fail. Our triumph over sin, Satan, deception, and death has already been achieved by our Lord. We triumph because we are in him. How deeply do we realize that all our victories really come from the one victory of Christ? When we seek a victorious Christian life, are we seeking it for our glory, or for the glory of the one Victor, our Lord Jesus Christ?
"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans 15:4)
WITH ONE VOICE GLORIFYING GOD. Paul continues his point that we should accept one another and build up one another (vv 1-7; cf 14:1, 13, 19). The Scriptures -- here he's specifically thinking of the Old Testament, but the same principle applies to the New Testament -- were written to stimulate endurance and to give us encouragement. And it is these Scriptures that tell us that God called Gentiles together with the Jews into one body (vv 8-12). The goal is that we -- whether Jew or Gentile, whether strong in faith or weak -- may together glorify God. If the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, then the church also exists "that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v 6).
TRAVEL PLANS. Paul is encouraged by the maturity of the Roman believers and expresses his desire to meet them (vv 14-33). The church in Rome came into existence before any apostle had visited there, likely formed by those Roman pilgrims who were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10). Paul winds up his letter by sharing his future plans for travel and outreach (vv 14-33). His work is mainly that of a pioneering church planter (v 20). Some scholars wonder if Paul was ever able to visit Spain (v 24), perhaps between his two Roman imprisonments. Either way, Paul had a heart to continue taking the gospel westward, even "to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
BLESSING. Paul gives a benediction in verse 13, which we may also use as a prayer for others: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Who among your family and friends needs to abound in hope? Who needs to be filled with peace, joy, faith, and the power of the Holy Spirit?
Image credit. Photo by Rashana Grant on Unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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