Tuesday, February 23, 2021

today's meditation (1 Sam.23) Encouraging Each Other in God

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word...)

(1 Samuel 23:1-29)   Then they informed David, saying, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are plundering the threshing floors.” 2 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are fearful here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the ranks of the Philistines?” 4 So David inquired of the Lord once more. And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I am going to hand the Philistines over to you.” 5 Then David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines; and he drove away their livestock and struck them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

6 Now it came about, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 When it was reported to Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has handed him over to me, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars.” 8 So Saul summoned all the people for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. 9 But David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? Lord God of Israel, please, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will hand you over.” 13 Then David and his men, about six hundred, rose up and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the pursuit. 14 David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand him over to him.

15 Now David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph, at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, set out and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God. 17 He said to him, “Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel, and I will be second in command to you; and Saul my father knows that as well.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; and David stayed at Horesh, while Jonathan went to his house.

19 Then Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not keeping himself hidden with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? 20 Now then, O king, come down, since you fully desire to do so; and our part shall be to hand him over to the king.” 21 Saul said, “May you be blessed of the Lord, since you have had compassion on me. 22 Go now, be more persistent, and investigate and see his place where he is hiding, and who has seen him there; for I am told that he is very cunning. 23 So look, and learn about all the hiding places where he keeps himself hidden, and return to me with certainty, and I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.”

24 So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 25 When Saul and his men went to seek him, they informed David, and he came down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard about it, he pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, while Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to apprehend them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have launched an attack against the land!” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Division. 29 And David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.

TODAY'S THOUGHTS AND MEDITATION:
Jonathan was humble before David, even though he could have decided to fight for the throne, given that his father was the current king of Israel.  But Jonathan understood God's will, and selflessly understood his role.  And even though it was dangerous, Jonathan found David in order to encourage him "in God".
This is important to differentiate.  We can easily encourage someone in our own way, saying things like, "You got this!" or "You go, girl." or "Just believe in yourself."  Well... this sort of encouragement is NOT of God.  It should be more like, "God has this!" and "Remain steadfast and strong in God's will." and "Believe and trust that God will get you through this!"  
Even when someone is strong in the Lord and knows to seek out God's will and remain steadfast and obedient... we can all stumble.  We will all go through struggles, tests and trials, so we all need each other.  This is a reminder for us to go out of our way in order to not only pray for each other, but to encourage one another - in the Lord!!!   

Monday, February 22, 2021

today's meditation (1 Sam.21:1-22:23) Trusting God

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word...)

(1 Samuel 21:1-15)   Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.’ 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.” 4 The priest answered David and said, “There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread, if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 David answered the priest and said to him, “Be assured, women have been denied to us as previously when I left and the bodies of the young men were consecrated, though it was an ordinary journey; how much more then will their bodies be consecrated today?” 6 So the priest gave him consecrated bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence which was removed from its place before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day it was taken away.

7 Now one of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s shepherds.

8 David said to Ahimelech, “Now is there no spear or sword on hand? For I brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s matter was urgent.” 9 Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take it. For there is no other except it here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

10 Then David set out and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David, the king of the land? Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying,

‘Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands’?”

12 David took these words to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. 13 So he disguised his sanity while in their sight and acted insanely in their custody, and he scribbled on the doors of the gate, and drooled on his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is behaving like an insane person. Why do you bring him to me? 15 Do I lack insane people, that you have brought this one to behave like an insane person in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?”
(1 Samuel 22:1-23)  So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard about it, they went down there to him. 2 Then everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.
3 And David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” 4 Then he left them with the king of Moab; and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 But Gad the prophet said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went into the forest of Hereth.

6 Then Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered. Now Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing in front of him. 7 Saul said to his servants who were standing in front of him, “Hear now, you Benjaminites! Will the son of Jesse really give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8 For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who informs me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who cares about me or informs me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” 9 Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing in front of the servants of Saul, responded and said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And he inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Then the king sent a messenger to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were in Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” And he replied, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 Saul then said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, so that he would rise up against me by lying in ambush as it is this day?”

14 Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, the king’s own son-in-law, who is commander over your bodyguard, and is honored in your house? 15 Did I just begin to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! Do not let the king impute anything against his servant or against any of the household of my father, because your servant knows nothing at all of this whole affair.” 16 But the king said, “You shall certainly die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!” 17 And the king said to the guards who were attending him, “Turn around and put the priests of the Lord to death, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not inform me.” But the servants of the king were unwilling to reach out with their hands to attack the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You, turn around and attack the priests!” And Doeg the Edomite turned around and attacked the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; he also struck oxen, donkeys, and sheep with the edge of the sword.

20 But one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. 21 Abiathar informed David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would certainly tell Saul. I myself have turned against every person in your father’s household. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, even though he who is seeking my life is seeking your life. For you are safe with me.”

TODAY'S THOUGHTS AND MEDITATION:
I needed this takeaway today.  As my family has been going through a time of tests and trials, I periodically play the "what-if-game".  And (in 22:22) we see David doing exactly the same thing after he heard about all the deaths that took place.  Back when David had gone to Ahimelech to ask for provisions, Doeg was there to overhear and see the exchange.  And as David thought back to that moment, he remembered feeling that Doeg would go back to Saul and report this, therefore David felt responsible.  
We can learn a few things from hindsight, but then we have to move on, because we cannot change the past.  In my particular situation, we had been praying that God would open or close specific doors - on someone else's behalf.  Yet God still gives everyone free will, and when someone decides not to live in God's will, others can suffer.  Had I said or done anything different - would that have changed the outcome???  I do not know.  I am not God!!!  So my hindsight is only good for seeing my own mistakes and what I should confess, and seeing other people's mistakes and who and what I should forgive - and then I need to keep moving forward in God's will, trusting that He knows best.   
The all-knowing, sovereign God is in control and already knows everything that is going to happen!  (In 21:7) we see that Doeg was "detained before the Lord".  It was Doeg who made the choice to betray David and the priest, and to carry out Saul's choice to murder.  
A person might wonder why God allowed this terrible thing to happen.  Sometimes we get a glimmer of understanding, sometimes not.  What we should understand is that God is also fair and just.  Besides a free will, God has given all of us purpose... which is NOT to live a long and happy life here on earth!  God is certainly not against that.  And as believers, we will certainly ultimately experience the very long (eternal) and very happy (joyous) life in heaven!!!  
Meanwhile, we are still here on earth, and our purpose to is bring glory to God and share the good news.  And as David did (in 22:3), even when we are going through tests and trials, we will accomplish this purpose as we continue to seek after and rest in the Lord.  This becomes easier and easier as we learn to trust Him!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

today's meditation (1 Sam.20:35-42) Let God Be Between

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word...)

(1 Samuel 20:35-42)  Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out to the field at the time agreed upon with David, and a little boy was with him. 36 He said to his boy, “Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot.” The boy ran, and he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the boy reached the location of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is the arrow not beyond you?” 38 Then Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry, be quick, do not stay!” And Jonathan’s boy picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39 But the boy was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go, bring them to the city.” 41 When the boy was gone, David got up from the south side, then he fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, until David wept immeasurably. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, since we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’” So David set out and went on his way, while Jonathan went into the city.
TODAY'S THOUGHTS AND MEDITATION:
I have never noticed this wording before, that David and Jonathan decided the Lord should be between the two of them and their families.  This would be another way of asking God to bind and keep a relationship together - like a super-glue!  Like a marriage, any relationship that we have with another believer should have the Lord between us as the binding agent!  
As believers, we need to ask and allow God to build our relationships into stronger, loving friendships of unity, because we are family.  And we should ask and allow God to help us work things out when there are hurts, disappointments, disagreements, and misunderstandings.   
While God binds together and builds, Satan's realm seeks to divide and destroy!  So why would we allow demons to cause divisions among any of us?  As well, people are prone to gossip and act selfishly, so why would we allow a person to get in between.  And our own stubbornness and pride can drive wedges between us and even our most loved ones.  But if we constantly place God between us and any other person, we will see them through God's eyes, and through God's love and patience, forgiveness and graciousness...
The closer we all are to God, the closer we all are to each other.  Relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ should be stronger and more loving than anything else in this world.  It should be that Jesus' love is what makes us all very different and recognizable...
(John 13:34-35) "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.”

Friday, February 19, 2021

today's meditation (1 Sam.19:1-20:34) Letting God Fight Our Battles

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word...)

(1 Samuel 19:1-24)  Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David. 2 So Jonathan informed David, saying, “My father Saul is seeking to put you to death. Now then, please be on your guard in the morning, and stay in a hiding place and conceal yourself. 3 And as for me, I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are hiding, and I will speak with my father about you; and whatever I find out, I will tell you.” 4 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul and said to him, “May the king not sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 5 For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then would you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death for no reason?” 6 Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the Lord lives, David shall not be put to death.” 7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

8 When there was war again, David went out and fought the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled from him. 9 Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. 10 And Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he escaped from Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.

11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, informed him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death!” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he went and fled, and escaped. 13 And Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothing. 14 When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed, so that I may put him to death.” 16 When the messengers entered, behold, the household idol was on the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17 So Saul said to Michal, “Why have you betrayed me like this and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal said to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should put you to death?’”

18 So David fled and escaped, and came to Samuel at Ramah; and he informed him of everything that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 But it was reported to Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. 21 When Saul was informed of this, he sent other messengers, but they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, yet they prophesied. 22 Then he went to Ramah himself and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 So he proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; but the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
(1 Samuel 20:1-34)  Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and he came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2 He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die! Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without informing me. So why would my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3 Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father is well aware that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Jonathan is not to know this, otherwise he will be worried.’ But indeed as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is just a step between me and death.” 4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I am obligated to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go so that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly requested leave of me to run to Bethlehem, his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 7 If he says, ‘That is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, be aware that he has decided on evil. 8 So deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if I am guilty of wrongdoing, kill me yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I in fact learn that my father has decided to inflict harm on you, would I not inform you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will inform me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let’s go out to the field.” So both of them went out to the field.

12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, is my witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow or the third day, behold, if he has a good feeling toward you, shall I not then send word to you and inform you? 13 If it pleases my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to me and more so, if I fail to inform you and send you away, so that you may go in safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 And if I am still alive, will you not show me the faithfulness of the Lord, so that I do not die? 15 And you shall never cut off your loyalty to my house, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord demand it from the hands of David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed since your seat will be empty. 19 When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day, and you shall remain beside the stone Ezel. 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 21 Then behold, I will send the boy, telling him, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the boy, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come, because it is safe for you and there is nothing to harm you, as the Lord lives. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 Now the king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan stood up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side; but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day, because he thought, “It must have been an accident; he is not clean, undoubtedly he is not clean.” 27 But it came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty again; so Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 And Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly requested leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Please let me go, because our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has ordered me to attend. So now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me slip away so that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For, as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now then, send men and bring him to me, for he is doomed to die!” 32 But Jonathan replied to his father Saul and said to him, “Why must he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike and kill him; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death. 34 Then Jonathan got up from the table in the heat of anger, and did not eat food on the second day of the new moon, because he was worried about David since his father had insulted him.


TODAY'S THOUGHTS AND MEDITATION:
David was involved in several types of battles.  He faired very well in the physical battles against the Philistines, as David trusted in the Lord to bring about victory.  But it would seem that he was in greater danger with the spiritual battle that he faced when the evil spirit was oppressing Saul.  
When things become demonic, things become very unreasonable and dangerous, as Jonathan eventually witnessed with his father.  This is a very difficult thing to see happen in a person we love, especially when they lash out at us, personally.  
There are definitely times we are to face our battles head on and deal with them as we should, but then there are times to flee and stay away from evil.  In all circumstances, we are to pray and ask for wisdom and guidance, and ask that God fight for us.  We would not hesitate to ask God to fight our physical battles - how much more do we need to ask God to fight our spiritual battles?!  As seen in Jesus' example of how we should pray...
(Matthew 6:9b-13)  
"Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Thursday, February 18, 2021

today's meditation (1 Sam.18) Loving Unconditionally

(Dear Lord Jesus, guide me and give me insight as I read and study Your word...)

(1 Samuel 18:1-30)  Now it came about, when he had finished speaking to Saul, that Jonathan committed himself to David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his military gear, including his sword, his bow, and his belt. 5 And David went into battle wherever Saul sent him, and always achieved success; so Saul put him in charge of the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

6 Now it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with other musical instruments. 7 The women sang as they played, and said,
    “Saul has slain his thousands,
    And David his ten thousands.”

8 Then Saul became very angry, for this lyric displeased him; and he said, “They have given David credit for ten thousands, but to me they have given credit for only thousands! Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David with suspicion from that day on.
10 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. 11 Then Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence, twice.

12 Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had left Saul. 13 So Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. 14 David was successful in all his ways, for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he was very successful, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he would go out to battle and return before them.

17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and who is my family, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So it came about at the time that Merab, Saul’s daughter, was to be given to David, that she was given instead to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife.

20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they informed Saul, the thing was pleasing to him. 21 For Saul thought, “I will give her to him so that she may become a trap for him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “For a second time you may become my son-in-law, today.” 22 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in secret, saying, ‘Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now then, become the king’s son-in-law.’” 23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am only a poor man and insignificant?” 24 Then Saul’s servants reported to him, saying, “These are the words David spoke.” 25 Saul then said, “This is what you shall say to David: ‘The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” But Saul plotted to have David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26 When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the time had expired, 27 David set out and went, he and his men, and fatally struck two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they presented all two hundred of them to the king, so that he might become the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal as a wife. 28 When Saul saw and realized that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29 then Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.

30 Then the commanders of the Philistines went to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David was more successful than all the servants of Saul. So his name was held in high esteem.
TODAY'S THOUGHTS AND MEDITATION:
Jonathan had sworn allegiance with David, choosing to love David unconditionally.  Saul's "love" on the other hand was very conditional.  As long as David did things that benefited him and his kingdom, David "pleased" Saul.  But when he believed David was a threat to him and his kingdom, Saul feared and hated David, to the point of plotting David's death.
Selfishness and jealousy are sins that will hinder any attempts to love others with "agape" love.  God's love is not only unconditional, but it is a choice that we have to make.  So as we confess our sins, such as selfishness and jealousy, we need to replace those with selflessness and contentment.  Therefore, as we ask God to help us love everyone, be selfless and be content - we should be confident that because these requests are in His will - these are prayers He WILL indeed answer!!!