Humble Beginnings Readings

A Series in 1 and 2 Samuel

September 2022

During the fall months, we will follow David’s life in the Old Testament. David’s story is a story of humble beginnings, and his story holds a central place in the imagination of the Old Testament. The Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann has asserted, “More than any other person [in the Old Testament], Israel is fascinated by David, deeply attracted to him, bewildered by him, occasionally embarrassed by him, but never disowning him.” As we follow glimpses of David’s life, we will discover a person “after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). David got a lot of things wrong, to put it mildly, but he also acted with humility and courage.

October 2, 2022

1 Samuel 24:8 ~ 15

Pastor Sam preaching

8 Afterwards 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. 9David 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. 12May the Lord judge between me and you! May the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you. 13As the ancient proverb says, “Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness”; but my hand shall not be against you. 14Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A single flea? 15May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you. May he see to it, and plead my cause, and vindicate me against you.’

September 25, 2022

1 Samuel 20: 1 ~ 42

Pastor Sam preaching

David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came before Jonathan and said, ‘What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin against your father that he is trying to take my life?’ 2He said to him, ‘Perish the thought! You shall not die. My father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me; and why should my father hide this from me? Never!’ 3But David also swore, ‘Your father knows well that you like me; and he thinks, “Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.” But truly, as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death.’ 4Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you say, I will do for you.’ 5David said to Jonathan, ‘Tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at the meal; but let me go, so that I may hide in the field until the third evening. 6If your father misses me at all, then say, “David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.” 7If he says, “Good!” it will be well with your servant; but if he is angry, then know that evil has been determined by him. 8Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a sacred covenant with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself; why should you bring me to your father?’ 9Jonathan said, ‘Far be it from you! If I knew that it was decided by my father that evil should come upon you, would I not tell you?’ 10Then David said to Jonathan, ‘Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?’ 11Jonathan replied to David, ‘Come, let us go out into the field.’ So they both went out into the field.

12 Jonathan said to David, ‘By the Lord, the God of Israel! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or on the third day, if he is well disposed towards David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13But if my father intends to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan, and more also, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, so that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14If I am still alive, show me the faithful love of the Lord; but if I die, 15never cut off your faithful love from my house, even if the Lord were to cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.’ 16Thus Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the Lord seek out the enemies of David.’ 17Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.

18 Jonathan said to him, ‘Tomorrow is the new moon; you will be missed, because your place will be empty. 19On the day after tomorrow, you shall go a long way down; go to the place where you hid yourself earlier and remain beside the stone there. 20I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21Then I will send the boy, saying, “Go, find the arrows.” If I say to the boy, “Look, the arrows are on this side of you, collect them”, then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22But if I say to the young man, “Look, the arrows are beyond you”, then go; for the Lord has sent you away. 23As for the matter about which you and I have spoken, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.’

24 So David hid himself in the field. When the new moon came, the king sat at the feast to eat. 25The king sat upon his seat, as at other times, upon the seat by the wall. Jonathan stood, while Abner sat by Saul’s side; but David’s place was empty.

26 Saul did not say anything that day; for he thought, ‘Something has befallen him; he is not clean, surely he is not clean.’ 27But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to his son Jonathan, ‘Why has the son of Jesse not come to the feast, either yesterday or today?’ 28Jonathan answered Saul, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem; 29he said, “Let me go; for our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your sight, let me get away, and see my brothers.” For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.’

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said to him, ‘You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.’ 32Then Jonathan answered his father Saul, ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ 33But Saul threw his spear at him to strike him; so Jonathan knew that it was the decision of his father to put David to death. 34Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, and because his father had disgraced him.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him was a little boy. 36He said to the boy, ‘Run and find the arrows that I shoot.’ As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called after the boy and said, ‘Is the arrow not beyond you?’ 38Jonathan called after the boy, ‘Hurry, be quick, do not linger.’ So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39But the boy knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said to him, ‘Go and carry them to the city.’ 41As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. 42Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, forever.” ’ He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city.

September 18, 2022

1 Samuel 18: 1 ~ 30

Pastor Sam preaching

When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.

6 As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7And the women sang to one another as they made merry,
‘Saul has killed his thousands,
   and David his tens of thousands.’
8Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, ‘They have ascribed to David tens of thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?’ 9So Saul eyed David from that day on.

10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, ‘I will pin David to the wall.’ But David eluded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13So Saul removed him from his presence and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army. 14David had success in all his undertakings; for the Lord was with him. 15When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.

17 Then Saul said to David, ‘Here is my elder daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife; only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles.’ For Saul thought, ‘I will not raise a hand against him; let the Philistines deal with him.’ 18David said to Saul, ‘Who am I and who are my kinsfolk, my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?’ 19But at the time when Saul’s daughter Merab should have been given to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife.

20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. Saul was told, and the thing pleased him. 21Saul thought, ‘Let me give her to him that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.’ Therefore Saul said to David a second time, ‘You shall now be my son-in-law.’ 22Saul commanded his servants, ‘Speak to David in private and say, “See, the king is delighted with you, and all his servants love you; now then, become the king’s son-in-law.” ’ 23So Saul’s servants reported these words to David in private. And David said, ‘Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and of no repute?’ 24The servants of Saul told him, ‘This is what David said.’ 25Then Saul said, ‘Thus shall you say to David, “The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged on the king’s enemies.” ’ Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26When his servants told David these words, David was well pleased to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, 27David rose and went, along with his men, and killed one hundred of the Philistines; and David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Saul gave him his daughter Michal as a wife. 28But when Saul realized that the Lord was with David, and that Saul’s daughter Michal loved him, 29Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy from that time forward.

30 Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle; and as often as they came out, David had more success than all the servants of Saul, so that his fame became very great.

September 11, 2022

1 Samuel 17:1 ~ 58

Pastor Sam preaching

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2Saul and the Israelites gathered and encamped in the valley of Elah and formed ranks against the Philistines. 3The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armored with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him. 8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.’ 10And the Philistine said, ‘Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.’ 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13The three eldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest; the three eldest followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.

17 Jesse said to his son David, ‘Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain and these ten loaves and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers; 18also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See how your brothers fare and bring some token from them.’

19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20David rose early in the morning, left someone in charge of the sheep, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers. 23As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.

24 All the Israelites, when they saw the man, fled from him and were very much afraid. 25The Israelites said, ‘Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. The king will greatly enrich the man who kills him and will give him his daughter and make his family free in Israel.’ 26David said to the men who stood by him, ‘What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’ 27The people answered him in the same way, ‘So shall it be done for the man who kills him.’

28 His eldest brother Eliab heard him talking to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. He said, ‘Why have you come down? With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart; for you have come down just to see the battle.’ 29David said, ‘What have I done now? It was only a question.’ 30He turned away from him towards another and spoke in the same way; and the people answered him again as before.

31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul; and he sent for him. 32David said to Saul, ‘Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’ 33Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.’ 34But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.’ 37David said, ‘The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.’ So Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you!’

38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. 39David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, ‘I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.’ So David removed them. 40Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

41 The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43The Philistine said to David, ‘Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine said to David, ‘Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.’ 45But David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.’

48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, striking down the Philistine and killing him; there was no sword in David’s hand. 51Then David ran and stood over the Philistine; he grasped his sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him; then he cut off his head with it.

When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52The troops of Israel and Judah rose up with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53The Israelites came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent.

55 When Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, ‘Abner, whose son is this young man?’ Abner said, ‘As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.’ 56The king said, ‘Inquire whose son the stripling is.’ 57On David’s return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58Saul said to him, ‘Whose son are you, young man?’ And David answered, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.’

September 4, 2022

1 Samuel 16:1 ~ 13

Pastor Sam preaching

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.