Stay Awake

Daily Scripture readings, set #13:

1 Samuel, chapters 29-31
Psalm 106:24-48
Mark 13:14-31
2 Corinthians 11:16-33

“And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam 30:6). What does this mean? What does it look like for someone to strengthen themselves in the Lord? Whatever it is, this verse motivates me to have the Lord on my radar in a time of trouble. I may not know the specifics of how to strengthen myself in the Lord, but I know that strength CAN be found in the Lord, if I would only look for it. That’s at least a good place to start.

It appears that verse 45 of Psalm 106 stands in contrast to verse 8, which I commented on in the previous reading’s notes. “For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” So, in verse 8 God’s actions are for his own sake, and in verse 45 his actions are for the people’s sake, according to his love. Is this a contradiction, or can both be true?

I already mentioned this topic, so sorry to single out the “pre-trib” eschatology folks (because all the various positions on eschatological issues have problems with them), but verses 26-27 of Mark 13 seem to answer a key “end times” question. “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.” Note the order of events: the earth sees the Son of Man returning with great power – the elect are gathered.

Paul’s version of name-dropping and cred-building: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness” (2 Cor 11:30).

Daily Scripture readings, set #14:

2 Samuel, chapters 1-2
Psalm 107
Mark 13:32-37
2 Corinthians 12:1-10

What is the implication of 2 Sam 1:26 for marriages? What would David’s wives have responded to this statement from him? “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.”

Psalm 107, versex 33-37: “He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants. He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.” Good and bad – both coming from the hand of the Lord.

Jesus’ emphatic teaching to “stay awake” in Mark 13:32-37 makes me wonder what exactly he means by this phrase. Clearly he is not telling his followers to never physically rest. What does it look like to be vigilante and “awake” in anticipation of Jesus’ return? Are you living that way?

Paul’s reason for boasting in things that show his weakness: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). Also noteworthy in 2 Cor 12 is the “thorn” in Paul’s flesh, which he describes both as having been “given to him” and as “a messenger of Satan” (vs 7).

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