Monday, April 1. 1 Samuel 18 – 20

In his “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus showed the close relationship between hard feelings and bad actions when he said: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Ill will inevitably leads to bad behavior. James, Jesus’ brother, wrote: “[Each person] is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” This is why it is to important to settle differences and talk through conflicts. God knows, as long as they persist, the danger of something worse is always a present reality. You see it plainly in the stories of Saul’s repeated attempts to kill David.

Did you notice Michal’s deception? It’s subtle, but two points are made. First, there were idols in her house, a reminder of the pervasiveness of idolatry in Israel. But second, the idol is fairly useless. Imagine a god allowing itself to be used as a mannequin – complete with goat’s hair no less! Other gods are powerless.

Did the story of Saul’s men sent to Ramah to capture David remind you of the story of Balaam (Numbers 22ff)? Like Saul’s soldiers (and later, Saul himself), each time Balaam tried to hurt God’s anointed, he came under the direct control of God and did something else. Precisely what was involved in the “prophesying” of chapter 19 is never defined. In fact, “prophesying” itself in the Old Testament covers a variety of actions. But the point is, in all cases, God is in control, which leads us to this observation: You don’t want to get on God’s bad side. He is unlikely to leave you alone, but may in fact, once you go down the road of fools, keep pushing you further down it until you meet a horrible end. It can be a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (see Hebrews 10:31).