Friday, September 28, 2012

Living Water!

Psalm 111
Praise the Lord.

I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

The next several psalms are assumed to be written by David for the use of worship in the temple. They were designed to be templates where the people of God could give praise to God. The term “Hallejujah”, means “Praise the Lord”. This psalm was set up as an acrostic meaning, each two verses started with a different letter of the alphabet, which doesn’t come through on the English translation. In that sense it was meant to be a guide of teaching the people to praise God for all of His attributes. We can do this with our kids taking a letter of the alphabet each day and finding an attribute to call to mind an aspect of God’s character.

1 Samuel 18:1-19:7
Saul’s Growing Fear of David

18 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well. 6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. 10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.

17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” 18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah. 20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”
22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’” 23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.” 24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines. 26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. 28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. 30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

Reflection: We see the relationship between David and Saul turn south, as Saul becomes jealous of David’s military success and the adulation it affords him. The next day it says an “evil spirit” came from the Lord on Saul. Saul’s jealousy and pride gave the devil a foothold in Saul’s heart and mind. Instead of rejoicing in what David was doing for the whole of Israel, he is more concerned about personal acclamation. Whenever a leader begins to be more consumed with self-glory, their leadership will be tarnished, and as we see here God opposes a proud spirit, but gives grace to the humble.

In the meantime, we see David having success wherever he goes. When Saul asks for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines (ouch!), David brings back 200. The men are increasingly responding to David’s leadership, which is marked with a passion for God’s glory to be known among all nations. When people sense a leader is calling them to a purpose higher than themselves, and see that leader modeling it by the way they live, they will follow that leader to their grave. Servant leadership is contagious and is a foretaste of the servant leadership Jesus will show the world when He comes to earth. When we have an audience of One, God can use us to do great things. When we are consumed with wanting the approval of others, we will always be on very shaky ground! Who are you more like Saul or David? As you begin today commit to have an “audience of One”. Be more concerned about your heavenly Father’s approval than the applause of men.

John 4:1-26
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.

Reflection: As Jesus reveals himself through several interactions with different types of personalities and national backgrounds, today He runs into the Samaritan woman. Though Samaria used to be the capital of Northern Kingdom, when the Assyrians overtook the temple in 722 B.C., the Jews were scattered and as a result intermarried with pagan nations. As a result the tribes in the Southern kingdom disassociated with them, and did not consider them true Jews. As Jesus meets this woman he asks her for a drink. This was out of the norm for two reasons. One, she was a Samaritan. Two, she was a woman. Not only this, but apparently this woman had quite a sordid lifestyle of many husbands, and the man she was with was not her husband.

The woman tries to call Jesus’ bluff by starting a conversation about worship and the right location for worship. Jesus not only explains to her the true nature of worship, which is to know God, but also the means for entering into true worship, Spirit and truth. Then He connects her to the fact that He is the Living Water and by accepting Him she will be able to truly worship God through the Messiah. She is aware of the Messiah through her religious background and when she inquires, and then Jesus reveals to her, “I am He”. If we could read the Greek this is the phrase “Ego Eimi”, which is the transliteration of the Hebrew “Yahweh” or translated “The LORD”.

This is the holy name of God and now Jesus is revealing that He is God and can offer both the living water and the Spirit which will lead to eternal life. Quite an experience for this Samaritan woman that day as Jesus shattered 3 stereotypes (gender, ethnicity, sinful lifestyle) in one meeting. Jesus was incarnating the verse we just read, “For God so loved the whole world!!”

If Jesus is so accepting of sinners, how do we do on this matter? If the Son of God could show such grace to a woman, who had so much stacked against her, how can we treat people with any less dignity? Jesus’ treatment of the Samaritan woman shows us God’s true heart for lost people matter to him no matter what their background is.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:10

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

How can we begin to understand your grace Lord Jesus? May we never seek to earn anything from you, but simply rest in your finished work of salvation. Thank you for paying the price so that we might live and move and have our being. Amen.

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