Reading for Today:
- 1 Samuel 14:1–15:35
- Psalm 57:1-3
- Proverbs 15:24-25
- Luke 23:1-25
1 Samuel 14:15 the earth quaked. The earthquake affirms the fact that divine intervention aided Jonathan and his armor bearer in their raid. The earthquake caused a panic among the Philistines. God would have intervened on Saul’s behalf in such a manner had he chosen to be faithfully patient (see 13:9).
1 Samuel 14:37 Saul asked counsel of God. At the request of Ahijah, Saul inquired of the Lord regarding his battle plan. He did not answer him. Because of the sin that Saul had caused in his army, God did not answer his inquiry. This would not be the last time that the Lord would refuse to respond to sinful Saul (see 28:6).
Psalm 57:1 the shadow of Your wings. Metaphorically, God cares for His own as a mother bird protects its young. Symbolically, there may be a reference here to the cherubim wings on the ark of the covenant where God was specifically present (see Ex. 37:1–16; Pss. 17:8; 36:7; 61:4; 63:7; 91:1, 4). I will make my refuge. When life becomes bizarre, only one’s relationship with his God calms the soul.
Luke 23:8 desired…to see Him. Herod’s interest in Christ was fueled by the fact that Christ reminded him of his late nemesis, John the Baptist. At one time Herod had apparently threatened to kill Jesus (13:31–33), but with Christ in Judea rather than Galilee and Perea (where Herod ruled), the king’s concern seems to have been nothing more than an eager curiosity.
Luke 23:9 answered him nothing. It is significant that in all Jesus’ various interrogations, Herod was the only one to whom He refused to speak. See Matthew 7:6. Herod had summarily rejected the truth when he heard it from John the Baptist, so it would have been pointless for Jesus to answer him.
DAY 6: Why is obedience so important?
Samuel’s specific command to Saul was to destroy all the Amalekites and their animals, but instead he spared their king and the best of the animals (1 Sam. 15:3, 9). But when confronted by Samuel, Saul’s response was: “I have performed the commandment of the LORD” (V. 13). Saul, either ignorantly or deceitfully, maintained that he did what was commanded (15:20). Saul also began to place blame on others (vv. 11, 12), making room for his own excuses just as he had done earlier. Then he tried to justify his sin by saying that the animals would be used to sacrifice to the God of Samuel. Saul’s blatant disobedience at least pained his conscience so that he could not claim God as his God. Instead of confessing his sin and repenting, Saul continued to justify himself.
“Behold,” Samuel told Saul, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (v. 22). This is an essential Old Testament truth. Samuel stated that God desires heart obedience over the ritual sacrifice of animals (Ps. 51:16, 17; Is. 1:10–17). The sacrificial system was never intended to function in place of living an obedient life, but was rather to be an expression of it (Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:21–27; Mic. 6:6–8).
Saul needed to see that his real worship was indicated by his behavior and not by his sacrifices. He demonstrated himself to be an idolater whose idol was himself. He had failed the conditions (12:13–15) which would have brought blessing on the nation. His disobedience here was on the same level as witchcraft and idolatry, sins worthy of death (v. 23). “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you.” A universal principle is given here that those who continually reject God will one day be rejected by Him. The sins of Saul caused God to immediately depose Saul and his descendants forever from the throne of Israel.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.