DAVID IS at the high point of his kingship, and — as happens all too often with us mortals — he decides he isn’t satisfied with the blessings that God has bestowed. Lust drives David to conspire to murder an honest and honorable man, Uriah the Hittite. It results in the death of David and Bathsheba’s illegitimate child and begins a chain of events that culminates in betrayal within his own house.
We also discuss the concept of heavenly books and several messianic passages in the Psalms we read this week, including the prophecy that Jesus would be offered sour wine — vinegar — in his hour of distress. Continue reading →
ISRAEL RECEIVES its first king, who turns out to be something less than ideal. Anointed by Samuel at God’s direction, Saul showed his true colors right from the start by hiding from the people of Israel during their assembly among their baggage.
After an initial victory against Nahash (“the Snake”), king of Ammon, Saul’s insecurity and lack of faith led him to violate the Law, building his own altar and presiding over a sacrifice, and making a rash vow that nearly cost him his oldest son, Jonathan.
TODAY WE discuss a test of faith most of us hope we never experience: God, in the form of the Angel of Yahweh (another Old Testament Christophany), chose Gideon to lead Israel against the armies of Midian and Amalek, which had been oppressing the Israelites for seven years. Then He ordered Gideon to send home more than 90% of the troops so that the forces of Israel were outnumbered 400-to-1 (instead of just 4-to-1).
Map of the judges – click for larger version
We look at the rise and fall of Gideon’s son Abimelech (a name that means “my father is king”, a hint that Gideon’s pride may have gotten the better of him in later life), more minor judges, and the foolish vow of Jephthah.