April 11 Read Judges 18
Sometimes something that seems to be so right is so wrong. Yes, Israel was to capture Canaan and to destroy the inhabitants in it. That is what the children of Dan did. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Don’t overlook their sin of idolatry. By taking the priest who was not from the line of Aaron and did not serve God as he commanded, they sinned grievously in God’s eyes. What was their root sin? We find it in verse 1. They believed that there was no king in Israel. Is God “king forever” in your eyes? Sing Psalter 266.
April 12 Read Judges 19
Here we have one of those chapters that cause us to blush at reading them either by ourselves or with a family. Because Israel did not accept God as king, he gave them over to the shameful acts that we read about in this chapter. Before we judge Israel too harshly, we must examine our own lives to see what we harbor within our souls and within our daily lives. Do we push God’s kingship away from us so that we can do what is good in our own eyes? As individuals and as members of Christ’s body we must examine our lives and make sure that we bow to God our king. Sing Psalter 303.
April 13 Read Judges 20
As we read this account, we stop, and then we read it again to be sure of what we read. It appears that Israel was right in going against the evil men of Gibeah. They asked God what they must do, but they were defeated in battle not once, but twice. Then comes verse 26. Obviously either the rest of Israel was wrong in the attitude they had taken on themselves as they went up to defeat Gibeah, or they had their own sins that must be removed before they could remove the evil in Benjamin. We must be holy in order to carry out the will of the holy God. Let us seek that holiness in order that God will prosper us in our spiritual lives. Sing Psalter 156.
April 14 Read Judges 21
Again what looks to be right is obviously so wrong. Israel thought to help God in providing wives for the men of Benjamin who were left after the slaughter described in the preceding chapter. What follows is another situation that causes us to blush with shame. God inspires the writer of the book to pen the words of the last verse, which provide the commentary not only on the events of the last several chapter but also provide a commentary on life in the church because it would not let God be king in its life. Where do we stand on this matter? Sing Psalter 138.
April 15 Read Ruth 1
There was a king in Israel and he will rule and set his Son upon the throne. The events of the book of Ruth happened during the time of the Judges. Elimelech and his family sought to avoid the chastisement of God by leaving Bethlehem and going to Moab. While there, it at first seems that all is well. But then God took all the men out of the family, leaving Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. Naomi feels God’s hand upon them and with Ruth returns to Israel, the picture of the church with the effects of that chastisement obviously upon her. Sing Psalter 216.
April 16 Read Ruth 2
God’s light was not completely gone out from his people. In Bethlehem was Boaz, a very godly man. In Ruth the germ of regeneration was sprouting, bringing forth the effects of grace upon a young woman who cared for her mother-in-law in their distress. Through the events of this chapter God not only gives a redeemer for Naomi and Ruth, but he also gives to us the redeemer, Christ Jesus. Sing Psalter 24.
April 17 Read Ruth 3
We see that Naomi, when brought face to face with their hard condition, remembers that provision that God has provided for those in her plight. This was no accident, for God causes Naomi to remember the laws that would bring a blessing not only to her house but also to all of God’s people. The words of this book are not just a nice story, but they are the way of salvation for a beloved people. We must remember this as we read through this short and interesting book. Jehovah provided for them in their distress, and he will provide for all his people. He will provide the redeemer so that they might live for ever in the heavenly Canaan. Sing Psalter 247.
April 18 Read Ruth 4
First, we see in this chapter the carrying out of the ceremony of the redeemer and the Levirate marriage. There is more, though, than the buying of a piece of property and the giving of a name to Elimelech. As we read through the last verses of the chapter and the book, we can imagine the genealogy continued until the name of Jesus is named. This chapter and book gives to us hope. God’s promises are sure, and he will bring to pass what he has promised. He will provide a Redeemer who will give to us the promised land of the new heavens and the new earth. May we look forward to the marriage of Christ and his church and blessedness that will follow. Sing Psalter 368.
April 19 Read I Samuel 1
The book of I Samuel begins the transition from the time of the judges to the time of the kings. It begins with a godly woman going to God in prayer for a covenant child. It is obvious that she believes in the covenant as she dedicates her longed-for infant to the service of Jehovah. The prayer and desire of every godly couple should be that God would use their children in his service. We know that children are an heritage from God. May we ever go to him in prayer with our children’s welfare in mind. Sing Psalter 359.
April 20 Read I Samuel 2
Here in this chapter we have contrasts in parenting. Hannah brought up Samuel in the fear of the Lord and sought his welfare in that fear. Those yearly coats showed not only a phsical growth, but also showed a spiritual growth. Eli was a permissive parent and did not discipline his children. The results are evident. Samuel grew up seeking Jehovah in all that he did, while Hophni and Phinehas grew up seeking themselves and their pleasure until God brought death upon them. May we, as parents, learn child-rearing lessons from this chapter of Holy Scripture. Sing Psalter 360.
April 21 Read I Samuel 3
As we read the account of God coming to Samuel, we see that God’s word is true, and he will carry out what he has decreed. For a lack of faithfulness Eli’s family would be cut off from the priestly office. But reread verse 19. What a beautiful idea is found in the words, “…and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” Do we treat God’s word as being that precious? Or are we apt to ignore the word that we read or hear proclaimed on the Sabbath Day? God’s word is precious, as is testified throughout the Bible, but especially in Psalm 19 and 119. May we cling to them and hold them tightly in our hearts. Sing Psalter 42.
April 22 Read I Samuel 4
The holy things of God are not magic charms. That was the sin of Israel. When they lost the first battle, instead of turning to God in prayer and confession of sin, they turned to a heathen ploy. Sadly, they learned the fallacy of that thinking. God gave them over to their wicked plan, they were defeated in battle, and the ark was captured by heathen. As the news was recounted to Eli, a baby was born. The baby’s sad name would remind Israel of their folly. May we never need to name someone or something Ichabod, as that would mean that God’s glory would be taken from us. Sing Psalter 65.
April 23 Read I Samuel 5
God would not let his holy things be mocked by the heathen. They, too, would learn as Israel would learn many times in its history that “Jehovah, he is the God.” You see the obstinacy of the heathen as numerous times they try to show that their gods were greater than the living God of heaven and earth. Numerous times the heathen gods were brought to naught by Jehovah. Did this cause a confession of sin? As we will see, it did not, as confession of sin is only by the Holy Spirit. Sing Psalter 308.
April 24 Read I Samuel 6
Not only did the heathen have to learn hard lessons, but the Israelites did as well. They too did not follow the rules God had laid down for his holy things. When they did not, the men of Bethshemesh came to a sad end. As we worship the Lord in this day and age, we too must obey the rules for worship that he has decreed in his word. If we do not, then we might as well name our church Ichabod. We must glorify our God in our worship as he has commanded in his word. Sing Psalter 137.
April 25 Read I Samuel 7
For twenty long years the ark remained away from the tabernacle. For twenty long years Israel was reminded of its folly of removing the ark. Israel was still in the time of the judges. The cycle of sin—crying to God, repentance, and a God-sent judge was still happening. God sends to Israel Samuel. He commands them to give up the idolatrous practices in which they were engaging. As he calls them to prayer, Philistia prepares to attack. After a prayer of intercession by Samuel, God saves Israel. Samuel gives to them a perpetual reminder in the stone named Ebenezer, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” Is this our confession in our lives? Sing Psalter 204.
April 26 Read I Samuel 8
Everybody else is doing it! If we think this is a modern phenomenon, we are mistaken. That was Israel’s reasoning as they asked Samuel to make them a king. They wanted to be like the other nations. In the book of Deuteronomy, God through Moses had warned them against this behavior. Israel did not listen, and asked Samuel to give them a king. We must not be too hard on Israel. We too forget that God is our king and in his laws is freedom. Let us not disregard the freedoms and privileges that we have been graciously given by God our king forever. Sing Psalter 265.
April 27 Read I Samuel 9
We may wonder why the long circuitous way in which God brought Saul to Israel. God’s ways are never without purpose. In bringing Saul to his position of being king, God was showing to him that he alone is the “I am that I am.” Just as Moses’ trip to the wilderness brought him to the burning bush, so the lost asses of Kish brought Saul to Samuel. Saul needed this journey so that he would be without excuse when he fell into sin. Not only Saul needed this journey, but Samuel did as well. He had to remember that God was in control and he would glorify his name in this act. We too must always know and confess that God is God in our lives. Sing Psalter 261.
April 28 Read I Samuel 10
The events of this chapter clearly indicate that God made Saul king of Israel. Of that there can be no doubt. Saul shows that he is a mere man when, frightened by what is happening, he tries to hide from the people and God. Israel must learn that this man would be the authority that would be placed over them. Rebellion was one of the first sins. Rebellion is in everyone’s heart. We must learn not to rebel against any authority that God places over us. We need to reread Romans 13 when we act like the men of Belial did at Saul’s coronation. Let us obey the fifth commandment, and in obeying all authority, let us obey God. Sing Psalter 89.
April 29 Read I Samuel 11
We need not wonder the place of this incident in the history of God’s people. God has decreed all that happens in this earth. What he has decreed is for his people’s good and his own glory. While it appears that Saul is being elevated in glory, nothing could be further from the truth. While Israel won a victory in this incident, they still were being oppressed by Philistia. While Saul looks regal in this instance, he will show his true colors as time goes on. What is happening is that God in this incident, as he always does, is caring for the true believers. Let us give thanks for his gracious care over us at all times. Sing Psalter 87.
April 30 Read I Samuel 12
The time of the judges comes to an end with the incident recounted in this chapter. God used the judges to help his people. He always raises up faithful men who have God’s glory at heart to care for his people. Samuel reminds the people to fear God and to serve him at all times. He gives to them the sign of the thunder as a reminder that God is sovereign, and that no earthly king can take that power unto himself. After Samuel prays for them again, he commands them that they fear God always. Do we obey this command? Do we bow before the sovereign king of heaven and earth? This we must do in obedience to God. Sing Psalter 65.
May 1 Read I Samuel 13
God was not finished showing Israel that he was their king. The Philistines were not in awe of Israel now that they had a king. They had taken away all of Israel’s weapons and decreed that they were not to make any. They also came up to fight against Israel which caused Saul to make his foolish mistake. Saul, in the face of this problem, declares that he does not need God. For this mistake, God would take the kingdom from Saul’s family and give it to one after his own heart. We see in this way God was preparing the church to bring forth the Christ from the line of David. May we ever know that to obey is better than sacrifice. May we more than know it, may we obey our sovereign God at all times! Sing Psalter 214.
May 2 Read I Samuel 14
God was not finished teaching Israel the lessons that they had not learned. He was still chastising them for wanting an earthly king. Philistia continued to plague them. Even though Jonathan acted by faith in the incident at the rock, Israel was not living by faith. Saul shows his foolishness in his vow. Israel shows their wickedness in eating meat with the blood still in it, even though that was strictly forbidden by God. Israel and Saul must be brought to Gilboa where God would say, “I am God your king.” Sing Psalter 157.
May 3 Read I Samuel 15
Israel had been attacked by the Amalekites in the wilderness. For their treachery against his people, God had decreed their utter destruction. The time was now, but Saul refused to carry out the command. In saving some of the Amalekites alive, Saul further shows the depths of his depravity. Samuel had to show Saul his wickedness in rebelling against God. For this sin the kingdom would be taken from him. We are called to obey God in all things. Do we carry out this command in every aspect of our daily lives? Sing Psalter 109.
May 4 Read I Samuel 16
From the sad state of affairs as recounted in the last chapter, God takes Samuel to Bethlehem. There was a family there that God had been preparing for this moment even from the time that Jericho was destroyed. The family of which Rahab was a part and the family of which Ruth was a part would now be elevated in Israel. From that family God would take his king. David was not the oldest. He was probably not the strongest at this time. As we will see later, he was definitely the most respected. David was a man after God’s own heart. He was that because God had put that heart in him. It would be this man who would be the type of Christ, the conquering king. Sing Psalter 293.
May 5 Read I Samuel 17
What weapon do you employ as you fight the Goliaths of this age? Do you use this world’s armaments? Do you arm yourself with the name of the Lord of hosts? Picking the correct weapon is essential in fighting. We must fight the battle of faith all through our lives. As we fight, let us use the weapon chosen by David as well as that which is described in Ephesians 6. Sing Psalter 334.
May 6 Read I Samuel 18
Like Joseph in Egypt, David’s spiritual character soon became quite evident in the palace of Saul. Saul knew quickly that David was more spiritual than he. He also quickly could figure out that this was the neighbor who would take the kingdom from him. Once again we see Satan fighting against the seed of the woman in order to prevent Christ from crushing his head. Thanks be to God who gave Christ and therefore to us the victory! Sing Psalter 198.
May 7 Read I Samuel 19
Everything that comes upon us in this life is in God’s hands and at his appointed time. David had to learn this lesson. It was becoming very evident that Saul would stop at nothing but killing David. As we saw yesterday, this is Satan fighting against Christ. David knew he would be king, but he had more lessons to learn. He had learned some in the fields, he had learned some in the palace, but now he has to learn some as he flees from Saul. We too have lessons that God teaches us in this life. Are we learning? Sing Psalter 155.
May 8 Read I Samuel 20
Do you seek godly friends, people of God and especially young people of God? Are you looking for friends who will be one with you in the faith? David had such a friend. That friend was the son of his enemy Saul. It is said elsewhere in Scripture that David and Jonathan’s love for each other surpassed that of even a husband and a wife. It was a spiritual love that they had. It was a love that caused them to separate because that was God’s will for David. We must seek such godly friends, knowing that God will bless only those relationships in this life. Sing Psalter 369.
May 9 Read I Samuel 21
There is much to discover about David’s behavior in this chapter. We find him at the house of God. He knows where he must run and from whom he must seek counsel. But then David errs by fleeing to the heathen Philistines. There he could find no rest until God steered him back to Israel. Where do we go for help? Do we seek the proper answer to the question in Psalm 121, or do we seek help from those whom God hates? Let us confess that our help comes from Jehovah, who made the heavens and the earth. In that way we will find blessing in this life. Sing Psalter 347.
May 10 Read I Samuel 22
Even while seeking refuge for his parents in Moab, David could not find refuge there. Once again he is directed to return to Israel where he finds refuge in the caves and dens of the land of his spiritual fathers. Saul shows more of his true character when he has the priests of Jehovah killed. Yes, this was the sentence of God upon Eli’s household, but they were the Lord’s anointed, and that makes Saul’s deed more despicable. Edom hates Jacob, and Doeg is Edom. David shows his true character when he takes Abiathar under his care, feeling responsible for his family’s murders. Sing Psalter 227.
May 11 Read I Samuel 23
Once again we see God’s care over the man whom he has appointed to lead his people. First, God sends Jonathan to minister and comfort David. You can imagine the tears of love that flowed between these two friends. We do not know what is said except that Jonathan told David that even Saul knew that God would give David the kingdom. Notice the words “strengthened his hand in God.” Do we do this for the friends that we have? Are we willing to speak of God to them? Second, God caused the Philistines to draw Saul’s attention away from David. God is good, and he surely cares for his people. Sing Psalter 241.