Today’s Tasting: 1 Samuel 4–8: What are you asking for?
Our tasting of God’s Story is coming near to the end of the period of judges, who no longer played major roles as leaders of Israel. We are entering the period of the kings, when unique individuals stepped up to leadership roles. Samuel, also a prophet, ruled as Israel’s last judge, while prophets and kings start assuming leadership roles in the destiny of Israel.
The Philistines, strong rivals of Israel and ancestors of pagans, lived among the people of Israel. After a vicious battle with Israel, the Philistines celebrated victory by carrying the ark of God away to the temple of Dagon, their god of choice (see 1 Samuel 4:4). Each place the ark of God landed, the people suffered with boils, tumors, and death. The ark of God represented His Presence. The Philistines did not worship the God of Israel (The Presence as they called Him) and wanted to rid their lives of The Presence. They returned the ark of God to Israel after seven months (see 1 Samuel 5:6). It took two decades for Israel to recover territory under Samuel (see 1 Samuel 7:1–4).
When Samuel was an old man, the people of Israel demanded a king to rule them, just like other nations (1 Samuel 8:5–20). Samuel prayed and asked God what to do, and He answered, “Do what they say. Make them a king” (1 Samuel 8:21–22).
Today’s Nourishment: What are you asking for so you can be like others around you? A danger of lust and greed arises when we start comparing ourselves to others and wanting other people’s possessions and lifestyle. Yet, at times the Lord will give us what we ask for.
Do you ever look at your friend and think, “She has it all together,” or “If I only had her life! She’s got it made! She has no idea what it means to struggle. If only I had her lifestyle!”
“But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV).
We each have our own struggles. Sometime ago, I lifted my grandson from the bathtub and felt as though fire shot through my back. Now, more than four years later, I still struggle with back issues. A recent report from an MRI confirmed bulging and protrusion in every disk throughout my lower back. At the end of an active day the pain is so intense, I crawl into bed in tears. Of course, my struggle with the pain in my back has also led to struggles in my mind and emotions, causing me to question and sometimes doubt what I know to be true in the Word.
We are all human. Each person reading this understands the questions and doubts that come into my mind. That’s why it’s important for us to pray with and for each other. So I’m asking you to pray for me as I make decisions in the weeks ahead about the best treatment to alleviate the pain. Do I stay on the path of natural healing through prayer, diet, and strength building or do I go for surgery?
What are you asking for so you can be “like others” around you? Instead of giving in to envy over what you think others have, why not determine instead to pray for someone you know is struggling, either physically or emotionally. How can we pray for you in your struggles?
Tomorrow’s Delight: 1 Samuel 9–12
Carolyn Marlowe, CCLC
Gigi to six adorable grandchildren