May 13 – (The Book of Ruth) Ruth shows how God’s people can experience His sovereignty, wisdom, and covenant kindness.  These often come in hard circumstances and are expressed through the kindness of others. Over the past years I have been learning to know that hard circumstances will always show me God’s love and kindness as I trust Him when I don’t see the end yet.

                 I just love reading ‘the end of the story of Ruth’!  Not only is Ruth saved but Naomi as well.  Have you noticed that Naomi wanted to be called Mara (means bitterness)?  But you never hear that name used again.  Naomi’s story can remind us that though the way may be dark in our eyes, God ALWAYS has good planned for us and has gone ahead ‘to make preparations’!  Remember that ‘good’ is not always physical or financial but spiritual!

                DID YOU KNOW? Redemption is the key theme of Ruth.  The words “redeem, redeemer, and redemption” appear 23 times in these four short chapters.  

May 14 – (1 Sam. 1-2) The central theme of the books of Samuel is how the Lord (1) established a dynasty (“house) in Israel for David rather than Saul and (2) how He chose Jerusalem as the place where David’s successor would establish the temple (‘house”) for the worship of the divine King Yahweh.

                As we head into I Samuel, we’ll see that it is a book of good starts but bad finishes.  It’s a book about men who sought God but somewhere along the way decided to do it “their way”.  We can be encouraged as we read these verses that no matter how good things are or how bad things are, if we’re not listening to the Lord, we are headed for trouble!  Read on, dear pilgrim and learn.

                                It’s so hard being a parent isn’t it?  Now, put on that the pressure of leading God’s people while your children are running around being children.  I understand a little of how Eli felt but also understand that we have to guide and discipline our children no matter who is watching or their expectations.  Only with God leading will godly children follow Him.   

May 15 – (1 Sam. 3-5) Why were the Israelites defeated by the Philistines and the ark captured?  Parenting is a serious job.  It reminds me that raising children is a serious “ministry”.  We not only affect our children, but those with which they come in contact, throughout their lives.  “Please Lord, guide us all!”

                DID YOU KNOW?  Samuel! Samuel! When God called Samuel to his service, he called out his name twice (3:10).  Abraham, Jacob, and Moses also heard the Lord speak their name twice at a crucial point in their lives.

                DID YOU KNOW? The term “Hebrews” is used in 4:6 by the Philistines to describe the Israelites as an ethnic group.  The term literally means “descendants of Eber” (Gen. 10:21-25).  After David established the monarchy, the nation was referred to as “Israel” rather than the Hebrews.  

May 16 – (1 Sam. 6-8) Why did many Israelites die at Beth Shemish (6:19)?  Way back, was there a command concerning this (Num. 3-4)?

When the Lord told Samuel to warn the people about wanting a king; he made a statement that we need to remember as we witness to people.  Though it may sadden us, it will help us when rejection comes (8:7).

What was Israel’s reasons for wanting a king (8:19-20)? There were three things they demanded.  Can you name them?  This is so interesting!  Here’s what I see: 1. They wanted to be like the people around them. (Didn’t God say, “don’t take on the ways of the Canaanites”?) 2. Way back at Mt. Sinai, the people wanted Moses to talk to God, so they wouldn’t have the responsibility of initiating it themselves and maybe doing it wrong.  3. They didn’t want to do the work necessary to live in peace.  (Each tribe was to root out the enemy in their location.) They wanted someone else to think and do for them. 

                DID YOU KNOW? Ebeneezer means Stone of help (Samuel said, “Thus far the Lord has helped us!” 7:12). What Ebeneezer can you “raise” today?  

May 17 – (1 Sam. 9-11) Before prophets were called prophets, what were they called?  This reminds me of one of my personal soap boxes!  That is: The world is changing our values by distorting our language.  In the end times it says wrong will seem right.  I believe it began partly by changing the meaning of words!  Ex. Remember when some said, “That’s bad!” and it meant “That’s good!”? I could go on, but you get the picture and I will step down off my soap box.  

May 18 – (1 Sam. 12-13) In Samuel’s farewell speech (12:16-25), he reiterates how asking for a king was evil and asked God to show the Israelites with a physical sign.  What was the sign?  After that, Samuel gave them advice on living in God’s favor.  This applied to the king and the people.  What was the advice?

            Saul’s whole future changed when he chose to give in to impatience.  What was the result?   Good verse to remember, “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Ps. 27:14

DID YOU KNOW? A king is crowned. Saul becomes the first king of all 12 tribes of Israel in chapter 12.  Only three kings (Saul, David, and Solomon) will rule over the entire nation before the people split into the nations of Judah and Israel.

                                                Lord of lords. Beginning with Saul and David, kings ruled over Israel.  But kings did not have supreme authority.  That position still belonged to the Lord.  Any king who undermined the authority of the Lord or the words he sent through his prophets would eventually see his kingdom fail…sometimes sooner…sometimes later.  

May 19 – (1 Sam. 14) This chapter focuses on Saul’s son Jonathan, who will become a friend of David.  Jonathan’s act of trust in this chapter is sandwiched between two examples of Saul’s disobedience (ch. 13 and 15). If someone were looking at my life today, would they put me more in Jonathan’s description or Saul’s description? Selah