I love Joshua's story of leading the Israelites into their Promised Land. God was so prominently with them, even they they clearly were not 100% obedient to His commands to wipe out and destroy every living enemy. I must admit to being perplexed at their method of staking out land and casting lots to see who gets what. Someday when I'm able to ask Joshua to explain it to me in person, do you think he'd remember? LOL
Judges spoke to my heart and showed me that in all these thousands of years, human nature has not changed very much. We fall away from God, He sends help for us and we pick ourselves back up and promise to not do it again, but slowly over time we fall away again. Two steps forward, three steps back. 'How often have I done this myself,' my heart cried out. I found myself praying often that He'll give me the strength and the guidance to stay focused on my course and not waver from it. Oh how much He must truly love us to be this patient with us!!
Ruth... How I've always loved the story of Ruth. She must truly have loved Naomi with all her heart to follow her to a foreign land when she had the opportunity to return home to her family. Her love for Naomi and commitment to her family, even after her husband had died, served her well for the blessings she received later.
Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:15-17, NASB)That brings us to the story of Samuel. I cannot imagine the grief Hannah experienced, first in not being able to have a child and then when blessed with one, she stayed faithful to her promise and gave him back to the Lord! I'd like to talk to Samuel someday too. The things he saw and the stories he could tell!
Saul though, I'm just not sure about him. Every time I read his story I find myself wondering just what God was thinking when He chose him to be king. Tonight the answer seems simple - to save David, the true king of Israel. If Saul hadn't been king, then Jonathan and David would likely never have met and it would have been more difficult for the people to accept David as eventual king.
Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. (1 Samuel 18:1, NASB)I also love the relationship between these two men. The Bible implies that they are closer to each other than to their flesh-and-blood brothers. They're brothers of the heart, brothers that God put together and that cannot or will not be separated no matter the circumstance. I have people like that in my life, my heart sisters, a handful of the awesome-est ladies that God has brought into my life when I needed them most and now nothing can ever remove them.
I can't wait to wrap up 1 Samuel and delve into next week's reading. We'll cover the stories of kings David and Solomon, and prophets Elijah and Elisha; four of my favorite biblical people. I can't wait to see what newness I find in the words of their lives.