Bible reading for September 3.
I Samuel 27.
"So that day Achish gave him Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day." (1 Samuel 27:6)
REFUGE AT ZIKLAG. For about a year and a half David takes refuge with Achish, the Philistine king of Gath. Saul ceases his pursuit of David, and Achish figures that David is now an enemy of Israel. There is deception on David's part, and his alliance with Achish will soon cause a dilemma for the Philistines in an upcoming battle. David's actions here seem dubious at best. Note: not all actions in the Bible, even by normally "good" characters, are commended to us for imitation. Sometimes the biblical narrative is presented without comment on the rightness or wrongness of actions by the characters. A good rule of interpretation is -- no example of Scripture is normative (that is, we ought to imitate it) unless it is accompanied by a biblical command. The story of David among the Philistines is presented without clear indication of approval or disapproval.
REFLECT. Think about the heroes of faith in your life -- perhaps parents, church leaders, authors, evangelists, scholars, historical figures -- how do you respond when you learn of their failures, sins, cultural blindness, or questionable decisions? How do you factor that in for a proper assessment of their lives?
1 Corinthians 8.
"For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords' -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)
FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS. In the first-century Roman world a common way that people could have meat at their meals was from animals that had been offered at the local pagan temple (like fellowship sacrifices) or from such meat that was sold at the market. Some believers felt that this meat was spiritually tainted and would not eat it. Paul states that in reality the meat is unchanged, but the action of eating this meat might injure the consciences of more sensitive people. His point here in chapter 8 is similar to his argument in Romans 14 -- "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble" (v 13). We should remember that these brethren who may be more scrupulous than us are those "for whom Christ died" (v 11). Our love for fellow believers should be considered above our indulgence in personal freedoms.
REFLECT. Are there areas in your life where you are confident, before the Lord, that you have freedom to engage, while others don't? How do you help other believers keep from sinning against their own conscience in such cases? Are there limits to this principle (for example, Gal 2:11-14)?
Image credit. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 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.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.