Back in 15:23, as Samuel was rebuking Saul for his disobedience to God’s command, he said to Saul “Rebellion is as the sin of divination.” Divination is exactly what Saul resorts to at the end of his life. With the threat of the Philistines bearing down upon him and God not answering his pleas, he makes the sinful decision to visit a medium to call up Samuel from the grave. In this exchange, we see the peril of faithless religion, God’s sovereign hand in desperation, and the dangers of the occult.
Here in Revelation 5, we see the Son who willingly humbled Himself in obedience to the Father returning to the greater place of exaltation in the heavenlies. When Christ takes the scroll from the Father’s hand, the four living creatures and the 24 elders are overcome with awe as they behold the glory of the Godhead displayed in the outworking of redemptive history. So they all fall down before the Lamb of God to worship. Their response models what our response should be to Christ.
In an episode very reminiscent of chapter 24, Saul once again pursued David into the wilderness of Ziph with 3,000 choice men. God caused the whole army to fall into a deep sleep which allowed David and Abishai to walk right into the middle of the camp and stand over slumbering Saul. David once again spared Saul’s life, and from his response, we learn of the depth of his faith, and of his desire to not be cut off from the means of public worship in Israel.
Abigail’s humble confrontation and affirmation of David is the longest recorded speech by a woman in the Old Testament. Through her words, we are presented with the strength, wisdom, and faith of biblical womanhood. In this text, we find 12 ways that Abigail demonstrated a heart of godliness, thereby disarming an angry young king and a force of 400 men with the power of her meekness. We also see how David’s response of thankfulness models a biblical response to strong womanhood.
For the first time in Saul’s chase of young David, God brings Saul into the very cave at Engedi where David and his men are hiding. David’s men believe God has delivered Saul into their hands so that David can bring an end to his reign of terror, but David has such trust in God, that he only cuts away a small piece of Saul’s robe. What follows is a testimony to the power of God as David’s mercy and righteousness elicits from Saul himself an affirmation that David will indeed be king of Israel.
There will be times in our lives when we feel alone and perhaps even forsaken by those who should have cared the most for us; but our Lord will never forsake us. He will send his servants to give us godly encouragement. In this sermon, we see how God uses Jonathan to encourage David at one of his lowest points. We also see in the leaders of Ziph what happens when men walk by fear rather than faith. Finally, we see the glorious operation of God’s providence in rescuing his children.
At this point in First Samuel, David has reached a point of deep desperation. In the eyes of his own king, he is a threat to be hunted down and killed. So in this text, David takes the daring step of attempting to hide in the hometown of Goliath — the city of Gath. As David is quickly discovered, he must work through overwhelming fear to trust in the Lord and walk the path of deliverance out of a very deadly situation, the perspective of which he recounts in Psalms 56 and 34.
True Christianity is costly, and will require personal sacrifice, and the things we must be willing to sacrifice are the most important things in this life: houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and father, farms and land. Yet at the same time, according to the words of Christ, we can know that the things which we sacrifice and give away will come back to us a hundredfold, not only in this life, but in the life to come. It is this truth that frees us to meet the needs of others, especially orphans.
Jesus’s kingdom prioritizes those that seek to be last, and Jesus himself is the prime example. His parable of the vineyard workers demonstrates the envious tendencies found in every man’s heart.
Every true church is an embassy of the kingdom of Christ, and if the church is an embassy, we are all ambassadors. Because of our new identity in Jesus, our priorities, attitudes and actions are to bear out a divine ethic of love that results in all glory being given to Christ. This ethic of love is evidenced in our corporate prayers, how we show hospitality, the way we serve one another, and the affection and love we share with one another. As the church embodies these traits faithfully, the lost will be drawn to this display of the glory of Christ.