Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - May 31, 2017

Today's Reading:

Romans 6

1 Samuel 15

Psalm 60

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today, I will share a bit of Bible history - the backstory - of 1 Samuel 15. In 1 Samuel 15, Israel is up against the Amalekites...  But Israel's war with the Amalekites goes back a long ways. From the time of Rebekah's pregnancy with twin sons, there has been a war going on between them. During her pregnancy, Rebekah noticed that the unborn babies didn't get along - even in the womb! In fact, the situation with strife between her unborn sons was unusual enough that Rebekah asked God about it.
Genesis 25:22-23  "And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of (Yahweh). And (Yahweh) said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." 
Since Biblical genealogists record that Jacob and Esau were born around 1841 BC, and king Saul began his reign over Israel in about 1100 BC, it is sobering to say that the struggle between Esau and Jacob - through their descendants - had been going on for 741 years, by time of the story recorded in 1 Samuel 15!

The Amalekites were part of this ancient struggle because Amalek, the father of the Amalekite nation, was the grandson of Esau.
Genesis 36:12  "And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife."
By the time Saul was king, the cup of iniquity for the Amalekites was full. God commanded Saul to completely wipe them out, leaving no survivors!

1 Samuel 15:3   "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
It seems a bit out of Character for our loving and merciful God to command the extinction of a whole nation! How can this be? Yahweh knows the end from the beginning. And He knew the tremendous threat that the heathen Amalekites posed to Israel. But Saul thought he knew better than God. He spared the Amalekite royal family (king Agag and his pregnant queen). In short, Saul disobeyed God's command. And the Amalekite people continued to grow and thrive. Here's the Big Picture, which God knew when He commanded Saul to fully eradicate this threat.

1) King David would have to contend with the Amalekites throughout his reign as well. But it went much farther than that...

2) Some 400 years later, in the time of Esther, the Amalekites would push Israel to near extermination. This was nearly accomplished through Haman, who the Bible says was an Agagite (Esther 3:1). In other words, Haman was an Amalekite descended from the royal line of king Agag, who Saul failed to destroy. (The prophet Samuel later killed king Agag, but his pregnant queen survived, as history records. The Bible supports the historical record of the pregnant queen escaping from Saul... For how else could Haman have descended from king Agag?). God thwarted this Amalekite threat through queen Esther. But the threat didn't stop there...

3) The Amalekite people continue to be a threat to Israel, even today. Their descendants, now called Palestinians, are only part of the threat. The real cause for concern is that the pagan, Amalekite belief system gave birth to a powerful religion which today threatens all followers of Christ - Islam.

What a compelling prequel and sequel to the story we read in 1 Samuel 15! Considering all this, I am thankful to say that God is still at work. 

But in spite of Saul's failure, God is still working - bringing good out of this situation. Today, one of the greatest ways the Almighty stops the threat of the Amalekites, is that He reveals the Truth to them. God is calling His people out of Islam - rescuing His people from the ancient lies of Amalek.
Consider the inspiring and powerful testimony of such a one, named Kamal Saleem:

Not only is it wonderful to see what God does in the saving of souls, but another point bears note from this story. The children of Islam tend to serve their Allah with such a level of devotion that it puts most Christians to shame. Not only do we want to be working to reach all nations and peoples for Christ, but also - may we do it with the devotion and commitment of these Muslims (just not with the hate or tactics, of course)! 

Can you imagine how the world would be changed if every Christian served our loving God with the same level of devotion that a Muslim serves? Wielding love instead of hate and the life-changing power of Christ instead of deception - such Christians would change the world.