For those of you who are keeping up with our 2020 Bible Project, I hope you enjoyed finishing up the last few chapters of the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel. Perhaps more than any other week of reading this year, I was really drawn into the story contained there. Why, you ask?
First of all, the Bible seemed to really slow down the pace at which it moves this week, but without getting mundane or boring. Think about it. Pick any ten chapters in scripture thus far, and you will typically have covered 5 to 20 dramatically different stories, spanning the course of decades or centuries. But this week? While it was action packed, it all fell under the banner of a giant cat-and-mouse game being played between King Saul and soon-to-be King David. A mighty chess match, with life and death, Kings and Kingdoms, land and power all in the balance.
Secondly, I felt a bit like I was following action on the backdrop of a medieval landscape that resembled Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". The narrative included visits to the Valley of Elah, Mount Gilboah, the Cave of Adullum, the Strongholds of En Gedi and the Crags of the Wild Goats. We meet the likes of Deog the Edomite, the Priests of Nob, the Kings of Gath and Moab, the Beautiful and Clever Abigail, the Witch of Endor, and even the Ghost of Samuel. We follow the Sword of Goliath, the Spear of Saul, the Ephod of the Lord, and the Plunder of Ziklag. Seriously, it reads like a blockbuster adventure, full of interesting people with developed characters, and exotic props and places packed with profound meaning. And through it all, the subtle but undeniable, active but not controlling, Presence of a God named Yahweh. It is epic.
But lastly, the story - perhaps like all good stories - is full of lessons. I can find myself in these characters, and I can see the significant places and props that have been, and still are, scattered throughout my life. So many lessons.
It is a luxurious and desirable problem to have, but there are so many choices within each week's reading that it is difficult for me to single out just one to bring your attention to. How do I choose?
Honestly, however I choose (and it varies from week to week), my deepest hope is that you are enjoying the Bible Project like I am, and that the Holy Spirit of God is engaging you in as rich a way as I feel He is with me. There are too many lessons, and trust me, you do not want to miss them.
This week I have chosen to zoom in on the lesson found in a few verses at 1 Samuel 23:15-18. It is centered on the mighty friendship between David, and King Saul's son, Jonathon. And I believe it has something that each of you need to consider as we navigate the chapter of the story that we are in today.