Through the Bible – Day 97

Bible text(s)

Samuel's farewell speech

1Samuel told the Israelites:

I have given you a king, just as you asked. 2You have seen how I have led you ever since I was a young man. I'm already old. My hair is grey, and my own sons are grown up. Now you must see how well your king will lead you.

3Let me ask this. Have I ever taken anyone's ox or donkey or forced you to give me anything? Have I ever hurt anyone or taken a bribe to give an unfair decision? Answer me so the LORD and his chosen king can hear you. And if I have done any of these things, I will give it all back.

4“No,” the Israelites answered. “You've never cheated us in any way!”

5Samuel said, “The LORD and his chosen king are witnesses to what you have said.”

“That's true,” they replied.

6Then Samuel told them:

The LORD brought your ancestors out of Egypt and chose Moses and Aaron to be your leaders. 7Now the LORD will be your judge. So stand here and listen, while I remind you how often the LORD has saved you and your ancestors from your enemies.

8After Jacob went to Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the LORD for help, and he sent Moses and Aaron. They led your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this land. 9But your ancestors forgot the LORD, so he let them be defeated by the Philistines, the king of Moab, and Sisera, the commander of Hazor's army.

10Again your ancestors cried out to the LORD for help. They said, “We have sinned! We stopped worshipping you, our LORD, and started worshipping Baal and Astarte. But now, if you rescue us from our enemies, we will worship you.”

11The LORD sent Gideon, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel to rescue you from your enemies, and you didn't have to worry about being attacked. 12Then you saw that King Nahash of Ammon was going to attack you. And even though the LORD your God is your king, you told me, “This time it's different. We want a king to rule us!”

13You asked for a king, and you chose one. Now he stands here where all of you can see him. But it was really the LORD who made him your king. 14If you and your king want to be followers of the LORD, you must worship him and do what he says. Don't be stubborn! 15If you're stubborn and refuse to obey the LORD, he will turn against you and your king.

16Just stand here and watch the LORD show his mighty power. 17Isn't this the dry season? I'm going to ask the LORD to send a thunderstorm. When you see it, you will realize how wrong you were to ask for a king.

18Samuel prayed, and that same day the LORD sent a thunderstorm. Everyone was afraid of the LORD and of Samuel. 19They told Samuel, “Please, pray to the LORD your God for us! We don't want to die. We have sinned many times in the past, and we were very wrong to ask for a king.”

20Samuel answered:

Even though what you did was wrong, you don't need to be afraid. But you must always follow the LORD and worship him with all your heart. 21Don't worship idols! They don't have any power, and they can't help you or save you when you're in trouble. 22But the LORD has chosen you to be his own people. He will always take care of you so that everyone will know how great he is.

23I would be disobeying the LORD if I stopped praying for you! I will always teach you how to live right. 24You also must obey the LORD—you must worship him with all your heart and remember the great things he has done for you. 25But if you and your king do evil, the LORD will wipe you out.

Saul disobeys the Lord, and the Lord rejects him as king

1Saul was a young man when he became king, and he ruled Israel for two years. 2Then he chose three thousand men from Israel to be full-time soldiers and sent everyone else home. Two thousand of these troops stayed with him in the hills around Michmash and Bethel. The other thousand were stationed with Jonathan at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin.

3Jonathan led an attack on the Philistine army camp at Geba. The Philistine camp was destroyed, but the other Philistines heard what had happened. Then Saul told his messengers, “Go to every village in the country. Give a signal with the trumpet, and when the people come together, tell them what has happened.”

4The messengers then said to the people of Israel, “Saul has destroyed the Philistine army camp at Geba. Now the Philistines really hate Israel, so every town and village must send men to join Saul's army at Gilgal.”

5The Philistines called their army together to fight Israel. They had three thousand chariots, six thousand cavalry, and as many foot soldiers as there are grains of sand on the beach. They went to Michmash and set up camp there east of Beth-Aven.

6The Israelite army realized that they were outnumbered and were going to lose the battle. Some of the Israelite men hid in caves or in clumps of bushes, and some ran to places where they could hide among large rocks. Others hid in tombs or in deep dry pits. 7Still others went to Gad and Gilead on the other side of the River Jordan.

Saul stayed at Gilgal. His soldiers were shaking with fear, 8and they were starting to run off and leave him. Saul waited there seven days, just as Samuel had ordered him to do, but Samuel did not come. 9Finally, Saul commanded, “Bring me some animals, so we can offer sacrifices to please the LORD and ask for his help.”

Saul killed one of the animals, 10and just as he was placing it on the altar, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to welcome him.

11“What have you done?” Samuel asked.

Saul answered, “My soldiers were leaving in all directions, and you didn't come when you were supposed to. The Philistines were gathering at Michmash, 12and I was worried that they would attack me here at Gilgal. I hadn't offered a sacrifice to ask for the LORD's help, so I forced myself to offer a sacrifice on the altar fire.”

13“That was stupid!” Samuel said. “You didn't obey the LORD your God. If you had obeyed him, someone from your family would always have been king of Israel. 14But no, you disobeyed, and so the LORD won't choose anyone else from your family to be king. In fact, he has already chosen the one he wants to be the next leader of his people.” 15Then Samuel left Gilgal.

Part of Saul's army had not deserted him, and he led them to Gibeah in Benjamin to join his other troops. Then he counted them and found that he still had six hundred men. 16Saul, Jonathan, and their army set up camp at Geba in Benjamin.

Jonathan attacks the Philistines

The Philistine army was camped at Michmash. 17Each day they sent out patrols to attack and rob villages and then destroy them. One patrol would go north along the road to Ophrah in the region of Shual. 18Another patrol would go west along the road to Beth-Horon. A third patrol would go east towards the desert on the road to the ridge that overlooks Zeboim Valley.

19The Philistines would not allow any Israelites to learn how to make iron tools. “If we allowed that,” they said, “those worthless Israelites would make swords and spears.”

20-21Whenever the Israelites wanted to get an iron point put on a cattle prod, they had to go to the Philistines. Even if they wanted to sharpen plough-blades, picks, axes, sickles, and pitchforks they still had to go to them. And the Philistines charged high prices. 22So, whenever the Israelite soldiers had to go into battle, none of them had a sword or a spear except Saul and his son Jonathan. 23The Philistines moved their camp to the pass at Michmash,

1-3and Saul was in Geba with his six hundred men. Saul's own tent was set up under a fruit tree by the threshing place at the edge of town. Ahijah was serving as priest, and one of his jobs was to get answers from the LORD for Saul. Ahijah's father was Ahitub, and his father's brother was Ichabod. Ahijah's grandfather was Phinehas, and his great-grandfather Eli had been the LORD's priest at Shiloh.

One day, Jonathan told the soldier who carried his weapons that he wanted to attack the Philistine camp on the other side of the valley. So they slipped out of the Israelite camp without anyone knowing it. Jonathan didn't even tell his father he was leaving.

4-5Jonathan decided to get to the Philistine camp by going through the pass that led between Shiny Cliff and Michmash to the north and Thorn Bush Cliff and Geba to the south.

6Jonathan and the soldier who carried his weapons talked as they went towards the Philistine camp. “It's just the two of us against all those godless men,” Jonathan said. “But the LORD can help a few soldiers win a battle just as easily as he can help a whole army. Perhaps the LORD will help us win this battle.”

7“Do whatever you want,” the soldier answered. “I'll be with you.”

8“This is what we will do,” Jonathan said. “We will go across and let them see us. 9If they agree to come down the hill and fight where we are, then we won't climb up to their camp. 10But we will go if they tell us to come up the hill and fight. That will mean the LORD is going to help us win.”

11-12Jonathan and the soldier stood at the bottom of the hill where the Philistines could see them. The Philistines said, “Look! Those worthless Israelites have crawled out of the holes where they've been hiding.” Then they yelled down to Jonathan and the soldier, “Come up here, and we will teach you a thing or two!”

Jonathan turned to the soldier and said, “Follow me! The LORD is going to let us win.”

13Jonathan crawled up the hillside with the soldier following him. When they got to the top, Jonathan killed the Philistines who attacked from the front, and the soldier killed those who attacked from behind. 14Before they had gone thirty metres, they had killed about twenty Philistines.

15The whole Philistine army panicked—those in camp, those on guard duty, those in the fields, and those on raiding patrols. All of them were afraid and confused. Then God sent an earthquake, and the ground began to tremble.

1 Samuel 12:1-14:15CEVOpen in Bible reader

Jesus' mother and brothers

19Jesus' mother and brothers went to see him, but because of the crowd they could not get near him. 20Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you.”

21Jesus answered, “My mother and my brothers are those people who hear and obey God's message.”

A storm

22One day, Jesus and his disciples got into a boat, and he said, “Let's cross the lake.” They started out, 23and while they were sailing across, he went to sleep.

Suddenly a storm struck the lake, and the boat started sinking. They were in danger. 24So they went to Jesus and woke him up, “Master, Master! We are about to drown!”

Jesus got up and ordered the wind and waves to stop. They obeyed, and everything was calm. 25Then Jesus asked the disciples, “Don't you have any faith?”

But they were frightened and amazed. They said to each other, “Who is this? He can give orders to the wind and the waves, and they obey him!”

A man with demons in him

26Jesus and his disciples sailed across Lake Galilee and came to shore near the town of Gerasa. 27As Jesus was getting out of the boat, he was met by a man from that town. The man had demons in him. He had gone naked for a long time and no longer lived in a house, but in the graveyard.

28The man saw Jesus and screamed. He knelt down in front of him and shouted, “Jesus, Son of God in heaven, what do you want with me? I beg you not to torture me!” 29He said this because Jesus had already told the evil spirit to go out of him.

The man had often been attacked by the demon. And even though he had been bound with chains and leg irons and kept under guard, he smashed whatever bound him. Then the demon would force him out into lonely places.

30Jesus asked the man, “What is your name?”

He answered, “My name is Lots.” He said this because there were ‘lots’ of demons in him. 31They begged Jesus not to send them to the deep pit, where they would be punished.

32A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. So the demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and Jesus let them go. 33Then the demons left the man and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

34When the men taking care of the pigs saw this, they ran to spread the news in the town and on the farms. 35The people went out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they also found the man. The demons had gone out of him, and he was sitting there at the feet of Jesus. He had clothes on and was in his right mind. But the people were terrified.

36Then all who had seen the man healed told about it. 37Everyone from around Gerasa begged Jesus to leave, because they were so frightened.

When Jesus got into the boat to start back, 38the man who had been healed begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him off and said, 39“Go back home and tell everyone how much God has done for you.” The man then went all over town, telling everything that Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8:19-39CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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