1 Samuel 26-31; 2 Samuel 1-5; and 1 Chronicles 8-12
- David’s Character: David spares Saul again citing a respect for the Lord’s anointed, 1 Samuel 26. How is this an act of faith? 2 Samuel 1 shows how serious David is about respecting the Lord’s anointed. Realize as you read the Old Testament that the word “anointed” is the word “Messiah” which translates as “Christ.” Notice what David says of Abner’s failure to protect Saul. What does this say of his character. Notice that also David does the work of clearing out the land of Israel as commanded by God, 1 Samuel 27. By God’s providence, David is spared fighting against his own people, 1 Samuel 29. Notice that it is the Amalekites that Saul failed to destroy, 1 Samuel 28:18, that attack’s Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30, and carry away David’s family. Disobedience costs others as well. 1 Samuel 30:24-25 reveals David’s sense of fairness. 2 Samuel 1 shows his anguish over the death of Saul and Jonathan.
- Saul’s End: Saul is not answered by God in 1 Samuel 28:6. This is often the sad result of continued disobedience. What can we learn from this? How is Saul consulting a medium hypocrisy? Notice that the woman is surprised by Samuel, 1 Samuel 28:12. The tragedy is completed in 1 Samuel 31.
- Politics: 2 Samuel 2-4 reveal the power struggle between the house of Saul and the house of David. Abner plays quite a role in this and pays for it with his life. Ish-bosheth rules for two years over Israel. David is finally anointed King in 2 Samuel 5. The chapter shows how he is successful while “inquiring of the Lord.”
- Chronicles: The genealogy of Saul, 1 Chronicles 8; the genealogy if the returned exiles – those who came back after exile approx. 500-400 BC, 1 Chronicles 9; The existence of this genealogy shows that Chronicles was compiled later. Occasional references to other books that we do not have support this as well. Many think that Ezra is responsible for having compiled these things after the exile. The Jews kept excellent records that survived the exile. The death of Saul and his sons, 1 Chronicles 10; the anointing of David, and the taking of Jerusalem, 1 Chronicles 11:1-9; David’s mighty men, 1 Chronicles 11:10-12:40.
- It’s not just Paul: In Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and Aquila from Rome indicating that the gospel had already spread there! Acts 18:2-3. Quite a number of people believed at Corinth including Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, Acts 18:8. Priscilla and Aquila met Apollos – from North Africa – and were able to correct some doctrine, and he became very effective, Acts 18:24-28. Paul found disciples already in Ephesus, Acts 19:1. Many other names are mentioned as working with Paul in the places he goes.
- Gospel Impact: The gospel changes people. In Ephesus, they burned valuable books in their repentance, Acts 19. The work in Ephesus damaged the economy of the false religions so significantly that it turned violent. Has the gospel of Jesus Christ altered your life? What idols deserve “burning” out of your life?
- Brotherly Love: Acts 20 details his meeting with the Ephesian elders. This is tender and emotional – their bond is obvious. What other evidences of brotherly intimacy do you see in these chapters?
- Jerusalem and the will of God: Some debate about whether going to Jerusalem was a mistake of Paul’s. He said he was “constrained by the Spirit,” Acts 18:22-23. But some other disciples, “through the Spirit,” told him not to go on to Jerusalem. Additionally, a prophet named Agabus warned of his imprisonment, Acts 21:11, which caused the people, including Luke, to urge him not to go. It certainly had what we would consider a negative result – a beating and imprisonment. Was it the will of God for him to go? If so, why the warnings? The events in Jerusalem mark a turning point in the narrative. Paul will now spend a great deal of time in prison. However, it is from prison that Paul wrote much of the New Testament.
- Psalm 96: We read in Acts that Paul turned gradually more and more to the Gentiles, so we read in this Psalm that this was the intention of God all along – to bring his good news to all the earth. What important statements about God are found in this Psalm that we should praise him for?
- Psalm 122: How ironic that we read this plea for peace in Jerusalem along with the riot that accompanied the arrest of Paul in Acts 21-22. Read Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41-44, and consider this Psalm. All is not lost! We look forward to a New Jerusalem prepared for us in heaven. We also gather wherever we are with the people of God for peace and worship. How much greater can we praise him for making a nation all around the earth to worship him in Spirit and in Truth? See John 4:20-26.