New Testament & Psalms Plan: John 1:1–28, Psalm 61
Entire Bible Plan: John 1:1–28, Psalm 61, 1 Samuel 14:24–15:35
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, "This was the one of whom I said, 'The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.'") Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father's side—he has revealed him.
John the Baptist's Testimony
This was John's testimony when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, "Who are you?"
He didn't deny it but confessed, "I am not the Messiah."
"What then?" they asked him. "Are you Elijah?"
"I am not," he said.
"Are you the Prophet?"
"No," he answered.
"Who are you, then?" they asked. "We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What can you tell us about yourself?"
He said, "I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord—just as Isaiah the prophet said."
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. So they asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you aren't the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?"
"I baptize with water," John answered them. "Someone stands among you, but you don't know him. He is the one coming after me, whose sandal strap I'm not worthy to untie." All this happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Security in God
For the choir director: on stringed instruments. Of David.
God, hear my cry;
pay attention to my prayer.
I call to you from the ends of the earth
when my heart is without strength.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me,
for you have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy.
I will dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge under the shelter of your wings. Selah
God, you have heard my vows;
you have given a heritage
to those who fear your name.
Add days to the king's life;
may his years span many generations.
May he sit enthroned before God forever.
Appoint faithful love and truth to guard him.
Then I will continually sing of your name,
fulfilling my vows day by day.
1 Samuel 14:24-15:35
and the men of Israel were worn out that day, for Saul had placed the troops under an oath: "The man who eats food before evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies is cursed." So none of the troops tasted any food.
Everyone went into the forest, and there was honey on the ground. When the troops entered the forest, they saw the flow of honey, but none of them ate any of it because they feared the oath. However, Jonathan had not heard his father make the troops swear the oath. He reached out with the end of the staff he was carrying and dipped it into the honeycomb. When he ate the honey, he had renewed energy. Then one of the troops said, "Your father made the troops solemnly swear, 'The man who eats food today is cursed,' and the troops are exhausted."
Jonathan replied, "My father has brought trouble to the land. Just look at how I have renewed energy because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the troops had eaten freely today from the plunder they took from their enemies! Then the slaughter of the Philistines would have been much greater."
The Israelites struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash all the way to Aijalon. Since the Israelites were completely exhausted, they rushed to the plunder, took sheep, goats, cattle, and calves, slaughtered them on the ground, and ate meat with the blood still in it. Some reported to Saul, "Look, the troops are sinning against the Lord by eating meat with the blood still in it."
Saul said, "You have been unfaithful. Roll a large stone over here at once." He then said, "Go among the troops and say to them, 'Let each man bring me his ox or his sheep. Do the slaughtering here and then you can eat. Don't sin against the Lord by eating meat with the blood in it.'" So every one of the troops brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had built an altar to the Lord.
Saul said, "Let's go down after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until morning. Don't let even one remain!"
"Do whatever you want," the troops replied.
But the priest said, "Let's approach God here."
So Saul inquired of God, "Should I go after the Philistines? Will you hand them over to Israel?" But God did not answer him that day.
Saul said, "All you leaders of the troops, come here. Let's investigate how this sin has occurred today. As surely as the Lord lives who saves Israel, even if it is because of my son Jonathan, he must die!" Not one of the troops answered him.
So he said to all Israel, "You will be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side."
And the troops replied, "Do whatever you want."
So Saul said to the Lord, "God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant today? If the unrighteousness is in me or in my son Jonathan, Lord God of Israel, give Urim; but if the fault is in your people Israel, give Thummim." Jonathan and Saul were selected, and the troops were cleared of the charge.
Then Saul said, "Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan," and Jonathan was selected. Saul commanded him, "Tell me what you did."
Jonathan told him, "I tasted a little honey with the end of the staff I was carrying. I am ready to die!"
Saul declared to him, "May God punish me and do so severely if you do not die, Jonathan!"
But the people said to Saul, "Must Jonathan die? He accomplished such a great deliverance for Israel! No, as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he worked with God's help today." So the people redeemed Jonathan, and he did not die. Then Saul gave up the pursuit of the Philistines, and the Philistines returned to their own territory.
Summary of Saul's Kingship
When Saul assumed the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies in every direction: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he caused havoc. He fought bravely, defeated the Amalekites, and rescued Israel from those who plundered them.
Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were Merab, his firstborn, and Michal, the younger. The name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Saul's uncle Ner. Saul's father was Kish. Abner's father was Ner son of Abiel.
The conflict with the Philistines was fierce all of Saul's days, so whenever Saul noticed any strong or valiant man, he enlisted him.
Saul Rejected as King
Samuel told Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over his people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. This is what the Lord of Armies says: 'I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, infants and nursing babies, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.'"
Then Saul summoned the troops and counted them at Telaim: two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the wadi. He warned the Kenites, "Since you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, go on and leave! Get away from the Amalekites, or I'll sweep you away with them." So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites.
Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is next to Egypt. He captured King Agag of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword. Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and choice animals, as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.
Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, "I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following me and has not carried out my instructions." So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.
Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, "Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal." When Samuel came to him, Saul said, "May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord's instructions."
Samuel replied, "Then what is this sound of sheep, goats, and cattle I hear?"
Saul answered, "The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep, goats, and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed."
"Stop!" exclaimed Samuel. "Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night."
"Tell me," he replied.
Samuel continued, "Although you once considered yourself unimportant, haven't you become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel and then sent you on a mission and said, 'Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.' So why didn't you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord's sight?"
"But I did obey the Lord!" Saul answered. "I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back King Agag of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. The troops took sheep, goats, and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal."
Then Samuel said:
Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.
Saul answered Samuel, "I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord's command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord."
Samuel replied to Saul, "I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel." When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the corner of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not man who changes his mind."
Saul said, "I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me so I can bow in worship to the Lord your God." Then Samuel went back, following Saul, and Saul bowed down to the Lord.
Samuel said, "Bring me King Agag of Amalek."
Agag came to him trembling, for he thought, "Certainly the bitterness of death has come."
As your sword has made women childless,
so your mother will be childless among women.
Then he hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.
Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. Even to the day of his death, Samuel never saw Saul again. Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted he had made Saul king over Israel.
Scripture quotations have been taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.