From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/14:

David says to Saul regarding Goliath, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Then Saul tries to give David his armor, but David doesn’t need the armor of a king because David is armed with the power of the Lord. So David walks toward Goliath with a slingshot and five stones and says, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you… Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” And that’s exactly what happened! David takes Goliath down with a stone and then chops off his head with Goliath’s own sword. “And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.”

Now, all of a sudden, Saul is wanting to know all about David, the one who has been playing the harp for him. I suppose for some people it takes chopping off the head of a giant to get their attention. So David comes to Saul with Goliath’s head in his hand, and there David meets Saul’s son, Jonathan. Jonathan and David quickly bond as friends, and Saul gives David command over His army. “So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely.” David is so wise and successful as a commander that the women are now singing about the ten thousands that David has killed compared to Saul’s thousands.

However, praise-seeking Saul doesn’t like hearing that more victories are credited to David. Saul becomes so consumed with jealousy that he is now wanting to kill David. So the next day when David is playing music to calm Saul’s distressing spirit, Saul throws a spear at David, but David escapes. “Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.”

Then Saul comes up with a plan to send David out against the Philistines with hopes that David will get killed. Saul offers his daughter, Michal, to be David’s wife in exchange for a hundred Philistine foreskins. But David, the brave warrior that he is, brings back not a hundred but two hundred foreskins! “Thus Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him; and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David’s enemy continually. Then the princes of the Philistines went out to war. And so it was, whenever they went out, that David behaved more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.”

Saul continues to seek to kill David, but Saul’s own children, David’s best friend Jonathan and David’s wife Michal, protect him. However, David is now on the run and crying out to the Lord, “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me… For You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, my God of mercy.” 

David flees to Samuel in Ramah, and Saul sends men there to kill David, which ultimately ends with Saul humbled on the ground naked in front of Samuel. Tomorrow, Saul continues to chase after David. Keep reading to see how David, a man after God’s own heart, responds to attacks from his enemy. (1 Samuel 17:32-19:17, Psalm 59, 1 Samuel 19:18-24)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/13:

The Lord gives orders to Saul to completely annihilate the Amalekites for attacking Israel when He first brought them out of Egypt. Remember in the wilderness when the Lord had Moses write in the Book of the Law that “I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14)? “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lamb, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.” 

When Samuel confronts Saul for disobeying the Lord, Saul tries to justify his disobedience by saying that he saved the best for the Lord. Then Saul blames the people for taking the best of the plunder. So Samuel responds, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

At the news of the rejection from God, Saul shows his true colors when he says to Samuel, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” Once again Saul is more concerned about his appearance before man than approval of the Lord, which leads to his downfall. 

The Lord sends Samuel to Jesse, from the tribe of Judah, in Bethlehem to anoint the next king. Samuel incorrectly assumes Jesse’s older son is God’s choice for king, but the Lord responds saying, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” So Jesse passes his seven sons before Samuel, but the Lord doesn’t choose any of them. God chooses the youngest son who was out in the field – the boy whose father didn’t even consider to be in the lineup for king. God sees the son who was all alone in the field tending to the sheep while playing his harp and working his slingshot. God sees the boys who will grow into the mighty King David. 

“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.” The Lord uses David’s skills with the harp to get him into the king’s presence to soothe his distressed spirit. “And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.”

We end the reading with the Israelites at war against the Philistines. Jesse sends his son David to check on his older brothers who followed Saul into battle. When David arrives he learns that Goliath, a massive Philistine warrior, has laid down a challenge against the Israelites and one of their warriors. Goliath says to Israel, “‘If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us… I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.’ When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” However, David’s response to Goliath’s challenge is much different than the fearful Israelites. David responds, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

When David’s oldest brother, Eliab, hears David’s courageous and faithful response to Goliath’s threats, he mocks David saying, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” Didn’t the Lord already say that David has a heart after Him and not one of selfish ambition? Others, out of their own pride or jealousy, may incorrectly judge someone’s motives, but no one can fool the Lord. God knows the thoughts and motives of all, and He knows that David has a high view of Him which keeps David from fearing that pestering Philistine warrior. 

Tomorrow we will see how the Lord will use David’s slingshot skills, which he has been using all those years out in the fields protecting the sheep, to give victory to the Israelites, so keep reading. (1 Samuel 15:1-17:31)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/12:

At this time the Israelites are oppressed under the hand of the Philistines. The Philistines won’t even allow the Israelites to have a blacksmith in their land because they don’t want Israel to have the ability to make weapons of war. This is when we first meet Saul’s son Jonathan. Jonathan, tired of being subjected to the Philistines, attacks the Philistines, igniting war between them and Israel. We see that Saul takes credit for his son’s heroic actions because Saul is a man who craves the praise of others. 

So the Philistines organize a huge army to come and destroy the Israelites. When the Israelites see that they are in danger, they once again make a decision based on sight instead of faith in the Lord, and they go into hiding. Samuel tells Saul to wait seven days for him to arrive to offer sacrifices to the Lord on their behalf so that they would be ready for battle. However, Saul, afraid of losing his men who are starting to scatter by day seven, doesn’t wait on Samuel to arrive at the camp. Instead, Saul offers a burnt offering to the Lord, an act only the Levites were to perform (Numbers 8). Because Saul was more concerned about losing his men than obeying the Law, Samuel tells Saul – “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” Saul is going to remain on the throne for years, but in the meantime the Lord will train up a man after His own heart to replace Saul, whose heart desires status and prestige over the Lord. 

Later in the story, the wisdom writer will say, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25). And when Jesus arrives on the scene, He will question the Jewish leaders saying, “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). Saul’s failure is due to his desire for the approval of man over the approval of the Lord. 

However, Saul’s son Jonathan, who is unlike his dad and has great faith in the Lord, decides to sneak into the Philistines’ camp with his armor-bearer. He says to the armor-bearer, “For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or a few.” When the men hiding in caves hear the commotion of Jonathan and his armor-bearer defeating the Philistines, they come out to fight with them. “So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.” 

“And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.’ So none of the people tasted food… But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened.” When Saul discovers that Jonathan ate a little honey, he says that Jonathan shall die. “But the people said to Saul, ‘Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.’ So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die.”

Saul’s foolish oath has several consequences: 

1) Israelites could have had a greater victory if they had more energy. 

2) The men sinned because they were so starving that when they could finally eat, they didn’t handle the meat properly and ate the blood (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17).

3) Saul almost killed his son Jonathan, who by faith in God provided victory for the Israelites. 

Although Saul has a position and a title, Jonathan has the respect and influence of the people, which is far more impactful. Tomorrow Saul continues to show his disregard for the Book of the Law, which he should be reading every day per the Lord’s instructions for a king (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). Keep reading to see how glory seeking Saul once again disobeys the word of God. (1 Chronicles 9:35-39, 1 Samuel 13:1-5, 19-23, 6-18, 1 Samuel 14:1-52)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/11:

Today we meet Saul from the small tribe of Benjamin, and “There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.” Wow! The Israelites, who often make decisions based on sight, are going to love this guy!

While Saul is out looking for his father’s lost donkeys, he meets Samuel. “Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me.’” So Samuel anoints Saul as king and sends him home. Samuel tells Saul that, on his journey home, he will have three God orchestrated encounters with one being an encounter with a group of prophets – “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.”

“So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.” Later, when Samuel gathers the tribes of Israel to announce Saul as their king, Saul is nowhere to be found. The Lord reveals to the people that Saul is hiding behind the equipment. This is sort of a cowardly move for a tall handsome king, but after Saul is brought out, Samuel presents him as their new king, and the people shout, “Long live the king!”

When the Amorites threatened the children of Israel “the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard the news, and his anger was greatly aroused.  So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, ‘Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.’” This is a similar tactic that was used against his own tribe in the Judges Era when the Levite chopped up his dead concubine and sent her pieces out to all of Israel to call them to battle against the tribe of Benjamin. 

Israel defeats the Amorites, and the people gather at Gilgal to rejoice and offer sacrifices to the Lord. Then Samuel gives a farewell address to transition his leadership of the people over to their new king Saul. He reminds the people of God’s faithfulness in the same way Moses and Joshua did by telling the amazing story of the Lord! – “When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. And when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them… into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab… Then they cried out to the Lord… And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety… And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.”

Samuel explains that the Lord has given the people what they wanted – a king. Then Samuel warns the people – “If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.” 

Samuel tells the people that they were wicked in rejecting the Lord and asking for a king, but he concludes his speech with a word of hope – “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Will Saul be a king who fears the Lord and obeys His commandments? Keep reading to find out. (1 Samuel 9:1-12:25)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/11:

Today we meet Saul from the small tribe of Benjamin, and “There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.” Wow! The Israelites, who often make decisions based on sight, are going to love this guy!

While Saul is out looking for his father’s lost donkeys, he meets Samuel. “Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me.’” So Samuel anoints Saul as king and sends him home. Samuel tells Saul that, on his journey home, he will have three God orchestrated encounters with one being an encounter with a group of prophets – “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.”

“So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.” Later, when Samuel gathers the tribes of Israel to announce Saul as their king, Saul is nowhere to be found. The Lord reveals to the people that Saul is hiding behind the equipment. This is sort of a cowardly move for a tall handsome king, but after Saul is brought out, Samuel presents him as their new king, and the people shout, “Long live the king!”

When the Amorites threatened the children of Israel “the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard the news, and his anger was greatly aroused.  So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, ‘Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.’” This is a similar tactic that was used against his own tribe in the Judges Era when the Levite chopped up his dead concubine and sent her pieces out to all of Israel to call them to battle against the tribe of Benjamin. 

Israel defeats the Amorites, and the people gather at Gilgal to rejoice and offer sacrifices to the Lord. Then Samuel gives a farewell address to transition his leadership of the people over to their new king Saul. He reminds the people of God’s faithfulness in the same way Moses and Joshua did by telling the amazing story of the Lord! – “When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. And when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them… into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab… Then they cried out to the Lord… And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety… And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.”

Samuel explains that the Lord has given the people what they wanted – a king. Then Samuel warns the people – “If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.” 

Samuel tells the people that they were wicked in rejecting the Lord and asking for a king, but he concludes his speech with a word of hope – “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

Will Saul be a king who fears the Lord and obeys His commandments? Keep reading to find out. (1 Samuel 9:1-12:25)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/10:

A messenger informs ninety-eight year old Eli that his two sons have been killed in battle and that the ark of God has been taken. At the news of the taking of the ark of God, Eli falls off his chair, breaks his neck, and dies. The shock of the news sends Eli’s pregnant daughter-in-law into labor, and she gives birth to a son. Before she dies, she names her son Ichabod saying, “‘The glory has departed from Israel!’ because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband.”

The Philistines learn that you can’t disregard the Lord and take the ark of God with no repercussions. The Lord sends a plague upon the Philistines inflicting them with tumors, which many theologians think are hemorrhoids, and rats cover the land. The Lord also decapitates their beloved false god Dagon. Since moving the ark of the Lord around for seven months and experiencing tumors and death everywhere the ark goes is a real pain in the rear for the Philistines, the Philistines decide to return the ark. They inquire of their priests and diviners who tell them to load the ark on a cart with a trespass offering of five golden tumors and five golden rats representing the five Philistine rulers – “Therefore you shall make images of your tumors and images of your rats that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lighten His hand from you, from your gods, and from your land.”

The cows, miraculously guided by the Lord, pull the ark back to Israel to the field of Joshua at Beth Shemesh. After a mishap there related to mishandling the ark, the people of Beth Shemesh have the ark of God taken to Abinadab’s house in Kirjath Jearim and consecrate his son Eleazar to keep the ark of the Lord. It will remain there until King David brings it to Jerusalem later in the story.

The prophet Samuel is now serving as judge and priest of Israel. Twenty years after the ark is in Kirjath Jearim, Samuel tells the people, who continue to slip into idolatry, to “return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” When the people repent inwardly with their hearts and then outwardly by turning from foreign gods, the Lord provides victory over the Philistines.

“Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.” Since Samuel’s sons were corrupt and wicked, similar to Eli’s sons, the people ask Samuel to give them a king like the nations around them. God tells Samuel to give the people what they want “for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” However, the Lord instructs Samuel to warn the people about what will happen when they have a king. God says the king will take your sons, take your daughters, take your fields, take your grain and vintage, take your servants, and take your livestock. That’s a lot of taking. But the people don’t care. They still want a king. 

Tomorrow the Lord gives the people what they want. Keep reading. (1 Samuel 4:12-8:22)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/9:

While in Shiloh at the tabernacle, Hannah cries and prays to the Lord for a male child. She makes a vow to the Lord saying that if He will give her a son, she will dedicate him back to the Lord as a Nazirite. Eli, the high priest, saw her lips moving but heard no sound and assumed she was drunk. Sometimes hurting women are misunderstood, even by the leaders in the church. But Hannah, whose hope is in the Lord, responds graciously and once she explains herself, Eli says, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant you your petition which you have asked of Him.” So Hannah “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” 

Hannah bears a son and names him Samuel which means “God has heard” in Hebrew. Once Samuel is weaned, she brings him to Eli in the house of the Lord at Shiloh where they give their offerings to the Lord. Hannah says, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord, as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” Then Hannah prays a beautiful prayer magnifying the Lord. It is much like the prayer Mary will say when she is pregnant with our Savior (Luke 1:46-55). Hannah’s prayer begins with – “My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.” I imagine Hannah is thinking about that mean church girl, Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah. When our eyes are fixed on the Lord, we can smile in the face of our enemies, knowing that “the Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash of heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.”

Eli’s own sons, Hophni and Phinehas, “were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.” Not everyone who is in a position of authority in a church is a true follower of the Lord. Jesus will later tell us to “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). This sounds a lot like Eli’s sons because they are saving the best offerings to the Lord for themselves and sleeping with the women who come to worship at the tabernacle. The Lord does not take this lightly. In His own timing and in His own way, He will deal with all the wolves in sheep’s clothing, just like He does with Eli’s sons in today’s reading. The Lord tells Eli regarding his two sons, “in one day they shall die, both of them. Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.” We will see partial fulfillment of this promise through Samuel, but the final fulfillment will come through the ultimate High Priest Jesus Christ. 

“So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord. And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.”

During a battle against the Philistines, “There was a very great slaughter… the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.” Tomorrow Eli receives the bad news about his sons and the stolen ark. Then the Philistines become extremely eager to return the ark. Keep reading to find out why. (1 Samuel 1:9-4:11)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/8:

Today Boaz and Ruth have a son named Obed, and the women all say to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Obed becomes the father of Jesse who becomes the father of King David, landing a former widow Moabite woman, Ruth, in the lineage of Jesus Christ, fulfilling what will later be prophesied by Micah – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). This prophecy will be fulfilled when Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7).

So Naomi goes from calling herself Mara back to Naomi, and the Lord continues working His plan through His people. This concludes the Judges Era. 

The Kingdom Era begins with genealogies connecting the story:

  • Creation Era- After the fall, we learned that the Lord is sending a Savior to restore man’s broken relationship with Him. The Savior is coming through Adam’s son Seth. Ten generations after Adam we met Noah, a descendant of Seth, who was saved by grace through faith during the flood. 
  • Patriarch Era – Ten generations after Noah, we met the first patriarch, Abraham who is father to Isaac and grandfather to Jacob. We learned that the Messiah will be coming through Jacob’s son Judah. 
  • Conquest Era – During the battle of Jericho, we met the Canaanite harlot Rahab who married Salmon, a descendant of Judah. Rahab and Salmon are parents to Boaz. 
  • Judges Era – Boaz married Ruth and they had a son named Obed. 

In the Kingdom Era, we will meet Obed’s son, Jesse, and grandson, David. David will grow to be the mighty King David, and the Lord will continue to work His plan through David’s lineage. But first is the story of Hannah, a barren woman. Her husband, Elkanah, has another wife, Peninnah, who has borne him children. This family goes every year to worship at Shiloh. At this time in the story, Eli is the high priest and his wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are priests. Peninnah, “a mean church girl”, makes Hannah miserable by tormenting her because “the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.”

We have learned that the Lord is the one who opens the womb in His timing to accomplish His purposes as He did with Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel. Will He do the same for Hannah? Keep reading to find out.  (Ruth 4:13-22, 1 Chronicles 2:9-55, 1 Chronicles 4:1-23, 1 Samuel 1:1-8)

14 Eras: 

Creation Era (Gen 1:1-11:26) ✔️

Patriarch Era (Gen 11:27-50:26 and Job) ✔️

Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) ✔️

Conquest Era (Joshua) ✔️

Judges Era (Judges, Ruth) ✔️

Kingdom Era (1,2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9, 1 Kings 1-11, various Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) is up now!  

Eras to follow: 

Divided Kingdom, Captivity, Return, Silent, Gospel, Church, Missions, and End Times/New Beginnings

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/7:

Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, Ephrathites from Bethlehem and descendants of Judah, leave Bethlehem during a famine and go to live in Moab. There Naomi’s husband and two sons die, leaving Naomi with her two Moabite daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. When Naomi hears there is now food in Judah, she sets out to move back home. She tells her daughters-in-law to return to their homes because she can not provide them with husbands. In the midst of Naomi’s suffering with the loss of her husband and her sons, she wrongly believes that the Lord is against her. Naomi pleads with her daughters-in-law to leave her and return home “for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

Ruth, however, refuses to leave Naomi and says, “For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people; and your God, my God.” Ruth commits herself to Naomi and to the Lord instead of going home and worshiping the false gods of Moab. Ruth further expresses her loyalty to Naomi and faith in the Lord when she says, “The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” So Naomi concedes, and when Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem, the people are excited to see Naomi. But Naomi responds, “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara [which means bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty.” But did Naomi come back empty as she said? No. Naomi was so blinded by her deep pain that she could not see all that the Lord was doing and all the ways He was for her. She could not see how God was going to use the life of Ruth, who clung to Naomi and trusted in her God, to fulfill His promise to send a Savior.

Ruth works in the field of Boaz, a descendant of Judah’s son, Perez (one of the twins from Judah and Tamar). Boaz admires how Ruth has been so faithful to Naomi, and he says to her, “The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” When Ruth brings the barley she gleaned from the field to Naomi, Naomi tells her that Boaz is a close relative and instructs Ruth to go to him and lie down at his feet and wait for him to tell her what to do. Ruth obeys Naomi. When Boaz awakes and finds Ruth at his feet, she says to him, “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” 

Boaz responds, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” Then Boaz follows the proper procedures per the Levirate law and becomes the owner of all that belonged to Naomi’s husband and sons, and he becomes husband to Ruth – “And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders, said, ‘We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the Lord will give you from this young woman.’”

Tomorrow we finish the book of Ruth bringing an end to the Judges Era and transitioning us into the Kingdom Era. Keep reading. (Ruth 1:1-4:12)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 4/6:

“And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there four whole months.” Then the Levite goes to retrieve her and ends up staying with the father-in-law for several days. While journeying back home, the Levite refuses to stay in a pagan town because he assumes they will be safer in the town of Gibeah, an Israelite town belonging to the tribe of Benjamin. However, in Gibeah no one invites them in except an older man from Ephraim who is staying there.

As they are enjoying themselves in the house of the older man, perverted men from the city come to the house to rape the Levite, similar to what happened at Lot’s house in Sodom. Eventually, in order to protect himself, the Levite throws his concubine out to these wicked men, who abuse her all night. When the men finally release her, she walks to the door of the house where the Levite is staying, falls down, and dies. The next morning her callous master, the Levite, the man who should be caring for the people physically and spiritually and guiding people toward the Lord, opens the door and tells her to get up because they are leaving. But when he discovers she is dead, he loads her on his donkey and takes her home.

Then the Levite chops her body into twelve pieces and sends a body part to each of the tribes of Israel. This gets everyone’s attention. So all the children of Israel gather together before the Lord at Mizpah to hear the Levite’s story. Then Israel asks Benjamin to “deliver up the men, the perverted men who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel.” However, the Benjamites refuse to rid the land of evil, igniting a war between the tribe of Benjamin and the tribes of Israel. 

The Lord instructs the Israelites to attack Benjamin, but Israel is defeated twice by the Benjamites. Keep in mind that it isn’t just the Benjamites living lives of rebellion against the Lord; it is all of Israel. Therefore the Lord is using these defeats to humble Israel as a nation. After a total of forty thousand Israelites are slaughtered, “all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.” Once the people are humble and brought to repentance, the Lord gives them victory over Benjamin. The entire tribe of Benjamin is nearly wiped out by Israel, with only six hundred men remaining.

After some time passes, the Israelites weep at the thought of completely losing the tribe of Benjamin since the Benjamite women were all killed in war, and the Israelites made an oath at Mizpah not to give their daughters to the Benjamites. So when Israel realizes that the people from Jabesh Gilead failed to come to the congregation at Mizpah, the Israelites attack them and take four hundred of their women for the tribe of Benjamin. Then the Israelites give the Benjamites permission to kidnap two hundred of their daughters while they come out to dance at the annual festival at Shiloh, giving each of the remaining Benjamite men a woman.

The book of Judges ends today with this statement which explains why the Judges Era was such a dark period in the history of Israel – “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own sight.” Today’s reading is a perfect example of how wicked a nation can become when everyone is doing what they believe is right in their own sight without regard to God’s word. It started with a Levite taking a concubine, the concubine leaving the Levite, the Levite handing her over to be abused, the men of the city raping and killing her, the shock of the body parts sent out, war against their brothers, killing of others, and kidnapping of women. What a tragic mess! This is why we so desperately need the word of God! We need guidance outside of ourselves for living and relating to others or we will act out of the wickedness of our own hearts. We need the Lord, His word, His Spirit, and His promises.

And that concludes the book of Judges. Tomorrow we get a glimmer of hope in the book of Ruth, as we will see that the Lord is still on the throne. Behind the scenes He is working His plan to send a Savior, just as He promised at the beginning of this story. So keep reading. (Judges 19:1-21:25)