Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 8 + I Samuel 27:1-28:2 + Daniel 7 + John 5

Quote of the Day
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:6, 7

Daily Text: I Samuel 27:1, 4, 8, 10, 12, 28:1
David said in his heart, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul; there is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines; then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand." 4When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought for him.
8 Now David and his men went up and made raids on the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites; for these were the landed settlements from Telam on the way to Shur and on to the land of Egypt. 10When Achish asked, "Against whom have you made a raid today?" David would say, "Against the Negeb of Judah," or "Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites," or, "Against the Negeb of the Kenites." 12Achish trusted David, thinking, "He has made himself utterly abhorrent to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant."
28
In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, "You know, of course, that you and your men are to go out with me in the army."


Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Foreign Entanglement
It was never more true that for one benefit you must give up another than it was for David when he fled Saul to live under the beneficence and protection of King Achish of Gath. He had to make the king believe that he was hated by all Israel and Judah, while at the same time striking continuously at Israel and Judah’s enemies and competitors. It was a risky tightrope to walk and ultimately it landed him in the hot pot of being expected by the king to fight with the king against Israel.

The essence of this chapter is that David and his men always stayed true to Israel, even though they lived in enemy Philistine territory and prospered all the while. It did however entangle him in a web of lies, to say nothing of the ruthless manner in which he dealt with the people against whom his raiders descended.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Soliloquy from “Hamlet”

William Shakespeare

To be or not to be; that is the question;
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep:
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. Tod die; to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death—
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveler returns—puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
404:57

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Flea and the Calling Bird

The Feast of Mary Magdalen

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 7 + I Samuel 26 + Daniel 6 + John 20:11-18

Quote of the Day
As your life was precious today in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he rescue me from all tribulation. I Samuel 26:24

Daily Text: I Samuel 26

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

The Flea and the Calling Bird
David’s repeated reference to himself as a flea was probably not as amusing to him as it may be to us. In chapter 24 he alludes to the dog being dead so it must be the flea left alive on him that Saul pursues! In our passage today, he alludes to this. Perhaps, he liked the figure, or perhaps the scholars are correct when they suggest that these two chapters are built from the same material. But because the authors of scripture treat them both as if they are separate, so we shall treat them as having equal weight.

There is a wonder figure of speech here. David calls to Abner after stealing into the camp and lifting Saul’s royal spear and then retiring to a safe distance. Abner, waking from a deep sleep, responds by saying, “Who is the caller?” Saul then cuts in recognizing David’s voice and the dialogue shifts to him. It is at this point that David picks up the play on words and suggests that Saul is chasing a flea, this time on a calling bird, a partridge. The partridge moves through the undergrowth leading the fowler on by giving frequent calls just before moving yet once again. Davied does feel that. Here comes Saul again with five times the men that David has with him, pursuing, pursuing, pursuing. And for what? David is not going to harm him as he has now repeatedly demonstrated.

David came close to the king again because ‘the deep sleep of YHWH’ had fallen upon them (vs. 12). The point of this chapter is pointed out in this expression. Continually pursued, David is protected and given the advantage by no one less than YHWH. Saul recognizes that and ignoring it continues to pursue him. Evidence of his depravity, it nonetheless keeps David in deep unease. Again Saul recognizes David’s innocence and, properly cynical, David refuses to trust that he is safe. A flea on a calling bird indeed!

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

from Pig
Rudyard Kipling

Go, stalk the red deer o’er the heather,
Ride, follow the fox if you can!
But, for pleasure and profit together,
Allow me the hunting of Man,--
The chase of the Human, the search for the Soul
To its ruin, --the hunting of Man.
The Old Shikarri

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Proving Ground

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 6 + I Samuel 25 + Daniel 5 + Prayer of Azariah

Quote of the Day
…with a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be accepted, as though it were with burnt offerings of rams and bulls, or with tens of thousands of fat lambs; such may our sacrifice be in your sight today, and may we unreservedly follow you, for no shame will come to those who trust in you. And now with all our heart we follow you; we fear you and seek your presence. The Prayer of Azariah 16-18

Daily Text: I Samuel 25:28-31
28Please forgive the trespass of your servant; for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD; and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. 29If anyone should rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living under the care of the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30When the LORD has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, 31my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for having saved himself. And when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant."

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Proving Ground
What is the point of chapter 25? Samuel’s obituary? More Robin Hood stories? The announcement of two new wives? The realities of outlawry in the wilderness? Probably not. Samuel, Jonathan, Saul and now Abigail ‘see’ clearly God’s design and announce it to David. And Abigail articulates this coming reality as beautifully as anyone preceding her does. She takes on the stature of a prophetess when she comes to David ostensibly trying to rectify her husband’s churlishness. “…for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house.” That is, she is prophesying that he will have progeny, his kingdom will be declared and his line will inherit his kingdom. Saul does not have a ‘sure’ house. That is what is at issue between them. But she goes further and declares, “If anyone should rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living under the care of the LORD your God” [vs. 29]. The image here is like an ancient agricultural figure of speech, suggestive of the bundling of grain. David is to be bundled by YHWH, protected, cared for, and kept for specific use. But more than all this, Abigail, advocates that he not slay Nabal, the fool, and thus bring on himself unnecessary bloodguilt. In other words, David, don’t play the fool simply to avenge a fool. Her counsel is heeded. Obviously, there is the play of attraction between the sexes to help convince him, but it could have gone the other way very easily.

How often we stand on our pride and play the fool to protect this ephemeral emotion. This time and in this way David’s ‘innocence’ is again asserted. He is proving himself worthy to be the king God has called him to be. Hot-tempered, impulsive, passionate, still he can rule himself and make good decisions—not that he always will, but generally speaking he will. Samuel is dead and his counsel is no longer available, but God’s hand is not shortened and in Abigail he directs David once again. Oh, that we will recognize God’s Abigail in our lives as David did in his.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

from David and Abigail
William Henry Venable
She faltered, lifting up
Imploring eyes to aid her pleading tongue.
How eloquent in every age and land
Is beauty’s potent and persuasive spell,
To stay or hasten, madden or subdue
Men’s passions! David felt the softening charm
Of that fair pleading face, and, while his hand,
Forgetful of the purpose of his sword,
Paused on its hilt, his countenance grew mild.
Not so the mood of those his followers,
Who, held by his authority in leash,
Impatient for the onset, chafed and growled.
His gesture awed them, and the suppliant,
Her features beaming with a new-lit hope,
Rose from her knees, inspired and sustained
By courage sent from God, and uttered this:
“Forbear, O son of Jesse, Israel’s king
That art to be, forbear from shedding blood
In such a paltry cause, nor stain thy hand
By personal revenge, for art not thou
The Lord’s anointed, chosen to redress
Thy people’s ills and right a nation’s wrongs?
‘Tis thine to right the battles of the Lord;
And though a man is risen to pursue,
And though the hosts of evil seek thy soul,
Thy soul is safely in the bundle bound
Of life with God thy Lord. He shall outsling,
As from the middle of a sling, thy foes.
Because no evil has been found in thee,
Thy house is sure and surely thou shalt reign.
When that which God hath spoken comes to pass
‘Twill be no grief to thee that thou has held
Thy sword this day from shedding guiltless blood.
Remember, in that day, thy handmaid’s words.”

Then David answered Abigail: “Thy prayer
Hath kept me back from hurting thee, though I
Had sworn to smite the house of Nabal, blessed be
The God of Israel which did send thee here this day,
And blessed thou and thine advice which held
My hand from causeless shedding blood. Return
In peace to thine own house.”
So saying, he
Received of Abigail that she had brought,
Then back to Paran led his men of arms.
411:169

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Now I Know

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 5:2-16 + I Samuel 23:29-24:22 + Daniel 4 + John 4

Quote of the Day
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. John 3:5

Daily Text: I Samuel 24:8-11, 16-20
8Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.
9 David said to Saul, "Why do you listen to the words of those who say, 'David seeks to do you harm'? 10This very day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, 'I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.' 11See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life.
16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17He said to David, "You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the LORD put me into your hands. 19For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Now I Know
There is a commandment, not called new, but in truth the only wholly new commandment in the New Testament. Found in Matthew 5:43-45 this commandment says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven….” This is, in part, what it meant for David to be a man after God’s own heart.

Saul was David’s political enemy, even God had turned against Saul, but it was to David’s credit and the understanding of God placed in his heart that he did not. If God does good toward the righteous and the unrighteous (Mt. 5:45) can we do less? This speaks directly to a Christian posture towards political and other enemies. Any other posture nullifies the grace of God expressed to us. It is perhaps the most difficult and least practiced of the Christian virtues. God help us.

And when David was able to express a loving act toward a devoted enemy, that enemy, at least for the moment, broke into tears and ‘knew’ openly the character and the destiny of David. In tears he articulates it this way: “…who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. Now I know that you shall surely be king…..” Jonathan had been aware that his father knew that this was so (I Samuel 23:17). Now Saul sees it and admits it. What we can see is how God can work in the life of a man like Saul when his servant actively ‘loves’ his sworn enemy. Jesus would surely say, “Go thou, and do likewise.”

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Outwitted
Edwin Markham

He drew a circle that shut me out—
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
404:40

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Friendship in the LORD

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 4:1-5:1 + I Samuel 23:1-28 + Daniel 3 + John 3

Quote of the Day
Saul’s son Jonathan set out and came to David at Horesh; there he strengthened his hand through the LORD. I Samuel 23:16

Daily Text: I Samuel 23:6, 11-13, 16-18, 26
6When Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he came down with an ephod in his hand. 11And now, will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, I beseech you, tell your servant." The LORD said, "He will come down." 12Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?" The LORD said, "They will surrender you." 13Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, set out and left Keilah; they wandered wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 16Saul's son Jonathan set out and came to David at Horesh; there he strengthened his hand through the LORD. 17He said to him, "Do not be afraid; for the hand of my father Saul shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be second to you; my father Saul also knows that this is so." 18Then the two of them made a covenant before the LORD; David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home. 26Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, while Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them.

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Friendship in the LORD
Being Robin Hood is no walk down the garden path. It is a rocky climb. Doing good and in the eyes of the law being bad is a line most men and women are never asked to negotiate. David is. There are two realities for David. Every man’s hand is against him. The men of Keilah, whose city he frees from the Philistines,will turn him over to Saul. The men of Ziph do the same. Why? Because an outlaw with 600 men to feed is in the long run a bigger liability than the goodwill and the taxes of the king—never mind how the citizens might actually feel toward the individuals involved.

The second reality is David’s access to encouragement from God through Abiathar and Jonathan. Abiathar carries the ephod and makes it available to David as desired. Jonathan brings his love and his wide-vision of the design of Adonai shared only with David. Both bring him close to the love of God. Both encourage him as he waits to ‘know what God will do for …him’ [22:3]. Such friendships are the substance of life. God grant you one; God make you one.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Mizpah
Julia A. Baker
Go thou thy way, and I go mine;
Apart, yet not afar;
Only a thin veil hangs between
The pathways where we are.
And “God keep watch ‘tween thee and me,”
This is my prayer;
He looks thy way, He looketh mine,
And keeps us near.

I know not where thy road may lie,
Or which way mine may be;
If mine shall be through parching sands
And thine beside the sea.
Yet “God keep watch ‘tween thee and me.”
So never fear.
He holds thy hand, He claspeth mine,
And keeps us near.

Should wealth and fame perchance be thine,
And my lot lowly be;
Or you be sad and sorrowful
And glory be for me,
Yet “God keep watch ‘tween thee and me.”
Both be His care.
One arm round thee and one round me
Will keep us near.

I sigh sometimes to see thy face,
But since this may not be,
I’ll leave thee to the care of Him
Who cares for thee and me.
“I’ll have you both beneath my wings”—
This comforts, dear,
One wing o’er thee and one o’er me,
So we are near.

And though our paths be separate
And thy way is not mine,
Yet, coming to the mercy-seat,
My soul will meet with thine.
And “God keep watch ‘tween thee and me”
I’ll whisper here;
He blesseth thee, He blesseth me,
And we are near.
404II:111

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Fatal Decision

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 3 + I Samuel 22 + Daniel 2 + John 2

Quote of the Day
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone. John 2:23-25

Daily Text: I Samuel 22:1-5, 14-17, 20-23
David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; when his brothers and all his father's house heard of it, they went down there to him. 2Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred. 3David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. He said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and mother come to you, until I know what God will do for me." 4He left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5Then the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not remain in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah." So David left, and went into the forest of Hereth. 14Then Ahimelech answered the king, "Who among all your servants is so faithful as David? He is the king's son-in-law, and is quick to do your bidding, and is honored in your house. 15Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? By no means! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any member of my father's house; for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little." 16The king said, "You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house." 17The king said to the guard who stood around him, "Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because their hand also is with David; they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me." But the servants of the king would not raise their hand to attack the priests of the LORD.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 22David said to Abiathar, "I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I am responsible for the lives of all your father's house. 23Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me."

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Fatal Decision
In spite of the fact that David deceived Ahimelech to allow him his innocence, when Doeg the Edomite betrayed him, his innocence, convincing as it was, did him no good. Saul needed a scapegoat. Jonathan was out, so were those who were around him and continued to serve him. It is as if Saul was using this way to get back at God for deserting him. Whatever the motivation, he orders Ahimelech, 84 other priests and their entire city destroyed. Only Abiathar, of the priests of the LORD, escapes. Following Hertzberg [433:188] this is the focal point of the series of dramatic instances including the visit to Ahimelech, David’s becoming a fugitive, the betrayal and ‘trial of Ahimelech with Saul turning on YHWH and attacking his priests only to have one of them escape to David. Now David has the only priest of the LORD in Israel and Saul has not one. The die is cast. Saul has made another of his fatally flawed, spur of the moment decisions, and left himself without God.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Filial Piety of DavidLydia Huntley Sigourney
1791-1865

Adullam’s sheltering cavern bent
O’er many an exile’s head,
Who from the tyrant sway of Saul
In discontent had fled;
And he, the leader of that band,
Came forth in sadden’d thought,
And to a foreign monarch’s court
His suit a suppliant brought:

“Oh, King of Moab!” bowing down
With trembling lip he said
Who oft to victory’s crimson field
Had Israel’s thousands led,
“I pray thee, let mine aged sire,
And she beside whose knee
My earliest, lisping prayer was learn’d,
In safety dwell with thee.

“Lest, while the adverse torrent’s force
With struggling breast I stem,
My hands grow weak, my spirits faint,
In anxious care for them;
For with an outlaw’s ceaseless pain,
I wander to and from,
And wait Jehovah’s righteous will
More perfectly to know.”

Then forth to Moab’s pitying prince
His aged sire he led,
The cavern dampness on the locks
That silver’d o’er his head;
And, leaning on his vigorous arm,
A wrinkled woman came,
The mother of the many sons
Who honour’d Jesse’s name.

The youngest and the dearest one
Now woke her parting tear,
And sorrow shook his manly breast
That ne’er had quail’d with fear;
While drawing near the monarch’s side,
In low and earnest tone
He press’d upon his soften’d heart
The treasures of his own.

Low kneeling at his parents’ side,
That blessing he besought,
Which ever in his childish years
Had calm’d each troubled thought;
While they with fond and feeble hand
His clustering curls among,
Jehovah’s majesty and might
Invoked with faltering tongue.

With tearful thanks to Moab’s king,
The exile left the place,
For filial duty well discharged
Shed sunshine o’er his face;
And sweet as when on Bethlehem’s vales
He fed his fleecy flock,
The dew of holy song distill’d
Like honey from the rock.

“God is my light! Why should I fear,
Though earth be dark with shade?
God is the portion of my soul,
Why should I be afraid?
Unless his arm had been my stay
When snares were round me spread,
My strength had fainted and gone down
To silence and the dead.

“Father and mother, dear and true,
The homeless one forsake,
While like the hunted deer, my course
From cliff to cliff I take.
Though kings against my life conspire,
And hosts in hate array’d,
God is the portion of my soul’
Why should I be afraid?”
411:166

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Inquire of the Lord

Daily Readings
Song of Solomon 2 + I Samuel 21 + Daniel 1 + John 1

Quote of the Day
No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. John 1:18

Daily Text: I Samuel 21:1-3, 6, 8-10
David came to Nob to the priest Ahimelech. Ahimelech came trembling to meet David, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and no one with you?" 2David said to the priest Ahimelech, "The king has charged me with a matter, and said to me, 'No one must know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.' I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3Now then, what have you at hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here." 6So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. 8David said to Ahimelech, "Is there no spear or sword here with you? I did not bring my sword or my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste." 9The priest said, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you will take that, take it, for there is none here except that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me."
10 David rose and fled that day from Saul; he went to King Achish of Gath.

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Inquire of the LORD

I Do Not Believe that David Killed Goliath
Charles Reznikoff

I do not believe that David killed Goliath.
It must have been—
you will find the name in the list of David’s captains.
But, whoever it was, he was no fool
when he took off the helmet
and put down the sword and the spear and the shield
and said, The weapons you have given me are good,
but they are not mine:
I will fight in my own way
With a couple of pebbles and a sling.
395:200

I do believe that David killed Goliath. I believe it not because I think every word of scripture has come from the mouth of God, but because I do not believe that the editors and authors of scripture created this story whole cloth, with a hundred details to express its authenticity. The authenticating details, like the sword of Goliath, taken by David and obviously kept here at the priest’s shrine at Nob, are natural enough to be believed. Everyone knew that David had killed Goliath, and the telling details all fit. Who Elhanan killed is another matter, about which there are no authenticating details (cf. II Samuel 21:18, I Chronicles 20:5). David is on the run. He does what he must to prepare for the unknowable events of the next days. He lies to Abimelech, not because Abimelech would not have fed him and armed him anyway, but to keep him from incrimination himself with Saul—not that it helped. We know that from chapter 22 that in addition to the Bread of the Presence and sword of Goliath, David also requested a word from the LORD of Abimelech, and presumably the inquiry was duly made. One could see David as being devious and self-serving as Brueggeman does [430], however, it fits the facts better to suggest that David, as always, was concerned to know the mind of the LORD and to follow it. He did fight in his own way, but always careful to understand that his way was also the LORD’s way.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Thrice Armed
from King Henry VI” Part II, Act III, sc.2
William Shakespeare
1564-1616

What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he arm’d that hath his quarrel just,
And he is naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
407:898

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.