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26th March

1 Samuel 25-27; Psalm 85

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
26th March

1 Samuel 25-27; Psalm 85

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Samuel we've read through the rise of Samuel, Saul, and David. Samuel was born to Hannah, who gave him over to the priest Eli to server in the Tabernacle. We read as Samuel grew up in God's presence and grew in favour with God. But in contrast, Eli's own sons were disobedient and rebellious. As were Israel, and so God allowed the Philistines to defeat the Israelites, killing Eli's sons and leading to Eli's own death. Samuel stepped up to fill the gap and led the Israelites to repentance before defeating the Philistines, giving the Israelites a new era of peace.

But as Samuel got older, the Israelites did not want his sons leading them, so they asked Samuel for a king. Samuel warned them that this king would oppress them, but they weren't interested. So Samuel gives them what they want and appoints a young man named Saul to be king. Saul led the Israelites to defeat the Ammonites who were waging war against them. Everything was going well, and so Samuel officially retires, warning the Israelites to continue to be faithful and obedient to God.

But then we read as Saul showed his true colours. He offered sacrifices himself when he wasn't meant to and he made foolish and impulsive decisions that impacted his people negatively. In contrast, his son, Jonathon, proved himself to be wise and courageous. When God asked Saul to do something, he pretended he was doing it as God asked, but even in that, he was disobedient.

So Samuel found a new king. A young shepherd boy, David, who may not have looked the part but had a good heart. When Samuel anointed him, the spirit of God left Saul and settled on David. We read as David, in faith, led the Israelites in victory over Goliath and the Philistines, showing God's favour on his life. We saw as David continued to grow in favour with the people and with Saul's children, while Saul became unhinged by jealousy, wanting to kill David. Eventually, David fled from Saul's court, fearing for his life.

Yesterday we read as David continued to grow in favour while on the run, gathering men around him who looked to him for leadership. And in it all, David was committed to being obedient, refusing to kill Saul when he had the chance.

1 Samuel 25-27

Today's reading opens on Samuel's death. This symbolised an end of an era for the Israelites. Now, well and truly, they were led by kings. There would be prophets that would rise up to advise kings, but none would have as much authority as Samuel.

We then switch to the story of David and Nabal. David had been protecting Nabal's sheep and shepherds as he and his men roamed around. Eventually, they get to Nabal's house on a feast day and David asks if he and his men can join Nabal in his feast. Nabal was clearly fabulously wealthy, so it wouldn't have cost him much. But Nabal was arrogant and greedy, and so refused to offer David and his men anything.

Here we see the first of David's mistakes. He gets angry and decides to kill Nabal and all his men. Fortunately, Nabal's wife Abigail hears about this and rushes out to appease David and offer him up the foods they would have eaten at Nabal's table. She proves herself to be a wise and honourable woman, and David thanks her for keeping him from sinning.

Yes, David was about to do wrong, but the important thing is that 1) he was first provoked by a foolish and arrogant man and 2) he allowed himself to be persuaded otherwise by the wise words of Abigail. As a sign of God's approval of David's behaviour, and disapproval of Nabal's behaviour, God strikes down Nabal for his greed and David ends up marrying Abigail.

Once again, Saul decides to chase down David. This time, rather than run from Saul, David decides to sneak into his camp while he is sleeping and steal his water jug and spear. Just like before, in 1 Samuel 24, David is trying to prove his innocence to Saul. Once again, David calls out to Saul to show him what he had done, and once again Saul recognises David and admits his foolishness.

Three times here, Saul calls David his son. This is significant. This is the last time that Saul and David will meet, and here Saul is recognising David as his son and sends him off with his blessing. Saul finally, and willingly, recognises David as the rightful king after him.

However, David decides he can't trust Saul. Understandable. Realising that he will always be on the run from Saul, he decides to once again flee to Philistine once again. This time, rather than pretending to be mad, David pretends to offer himself to fight on behalf of the Philistine king Achish.

Achish sets him up in one of the nearby towns, and David and his men go out to perform raids. Each day they would go out and raid towns that belonged to Israel's enemies, but when he came back, he would tell Achish that he had been raiding the towns of Judah. 

In this we see the shrewdness of David. He continues to win the security and trust of the Philistines while helping serve God by defeating the Israelite’s enemies. During this time, he acquired wealth for himself and a reputation amongst the Philistines.

Psalm 85

This psalm is attributed to the sons of Korah and falls into the category of lament psalms. The complaint is implicit in the requests that the psalmist makes.

Psalm 85:1-3 - Declarations of trust

Psalm 85:4-8 - Request

Psalm 85:9-13 - Declarations of trust

The psalmist starts with the declarations of trust, highlighting where God has been faithful to his people in the past. In the past, God favoured Israel. When they sinned, he forgave them. He withdrew his anger from them and restored their fortunes.

Next comes the request, and with is the implicit complaint of the psalmist. Once again, the people have sinned and fallen short of God. So the psalmist asks that God restore them again, ends his anger towards them. Surely God will not be angry with them forever? Revive your people again, God. Show them your steadfast love and save them.

The psalmist asks to hear God again, for surely God will speak to his people. And at that, the psalmist is back to trust. God’s salvation is near for those who fear him. In God, love and faithfulness meet. He is the source of righteousness and peace.

So the psalmist ends confident. God will restore the land to good and plenty. He will bring righteousness back to the land. In this psalm is the recognition that God’s people have failed him and are facing the consequences of that. But there’s also the confidence that God will turn back and restore his people if they turn back to him.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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