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March 2011

GODSGRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTIONS  March 2011

Stormy Sea

                                  He Is God In The Storm

        Today Is Sunday, June 25, 2017

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    March 1, 2011

Good Morning!
God directs Satan’s attention to Job and testifies of him, “there is none like him in the earth.”

SATAN, BY SLANDER, OBTAINS PERMISSION TO TEST JOB”
Job 1:8. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9. Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10. Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Of course Satan hated Job; he stood for everything Satan despised, a life lived for the glory of the God he hated. So he makes his accusations; “does Job fear God for naught” (no reason)? “You protect him and prosper him, of course he loves you? Or what you do for him.” “He loves you because you pay him well. If you take away what he has, he’ll curse you to your face.” Satan throws down a challenge at the feet of the Almighty, and God, for His glory, and Job’s good (although Job didn’t know that), allowed the devil to afflict him.

Job’s fall from influence and prosperity is so great, it’s almost impossible to imagine. On one day he lost all of his wealth; eleven thousand animals and the servants who were guarding them by raiders or by fire falling from heaven. While Job was recovering from these reports, an even more grievous one reached him. “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee” (Job 1:18-19). At this news, Job’s faith burst into white-hot flame, and he spoke these celebrated words, “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:21-22).

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  4 5 6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                        March 2, 2011

Good Morning!
The loss of all of his children and his property wasn’t the end of Job’s suffering, his suffering had just begun.

SATAN, APPEARING AGAIN BEFORE GOD, OBTAINS FURTHER PERMISSION TO TEST JOB; HE SMITES JOB WITH BOILS:
Job 2:7. “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8.And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

At some later date, to his horror, Job began to sense an excruciating pain spreading throughout his whole body and breaking out in sores and boils from the top of his head to the sole of his feet. The exact nature of these offensive and painful ulcers is unknown, probably like the shingles, which is very painful indeed, but the Bible does give us enough information to get a glimpse into his suffering. He had “boils” (Job 2:7), “My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome” (Job 7:5), fetid breath (Job 19:17), emaciated body (Job 19:20), erosion of his bones (Job 30:17), blackening and peeling of the skin Job 30:30).

Added to all this was the broken-hearted and faltering admonition of his wife, and the unkind and heartless counsel of his friends. Yet the struggle that almost over-whelmed Job’s soul and tortured his faithful heart was his inability to reconcile his present circumstances with what he believed about God’s goodness and his own character. The same feeling creeps over most of us when unexpected tragedy, or grave illness, or breakup of homes, loss of financial security etc. We question, “what did I do wrong,” “why me Lord” “what is going to be the end?” Job believed in the absolute sovereignty of God but he wondered, like us, why would He afflict his righteous soul? This is the precious truth that the book of Job reveals to us.

Perhaps that you have discovered, as Job did, that your afflictions has layers. There is the present affliction: the trial as it has first come to you, whether it’s home-lessness after a disaster, the loss of a loved one, a broken marriage, an ongoing wasting disease, difficulty at home or at work, or whatever affliction you’re facing. Then the underlying problem: the questions, the doubts and uncertainty about God and your relationship to Him. “Is God Angry?” “Is He punishing me?” “Have I committed a sin that has severed my relationship with Him?” The book of Job helps answers these questions. Whatever you’re going through don’t loose hope.

Read-Thru-The-Bible                                                                                                                                             Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy   7 8

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           March 3, 2011

Good Morning!
Job wrestles with God, and he does stumble, but the faith that God had planted in his heart remains true.

JOB’S HEART IS TRANSFORMED:
Job 19:25. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Up until chapter 19, Job’s complaint and misery is almost completely hopeless and despairing. He wonders, “Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; Job 3:20-21). One question after the other follows. And then, miraculously, the Spirit brings Job a revelation of someone who will rescue him from his despair. Job realizes God is not his enemy and cries out, “for I know that my redeemer liveth, …”

Job is not rejoicing because he believes his trial is ending. He is rejoicing because he now believes, by the Spirit, that he has a Redeemer, a heavenly kinsman who will come to his aid. The role of the kinsman-redeemer was well known in the ancient Near East, and it is this Job is referring to. The next of kin was to redeem his (relatives) property, and restore it to him if in any way he had forfeited it or been obliged to sell it; to defend him against injury and wrong, especially, to avenge his blood if he had been unrighteously slain.

Job now sees God as his redeemer, and although he is convinced that he will shortly die from his disease, he confidently announces that even after his skin has been destroyed, he will in his flesh see God. In Job’s sorely tried heart, God is no longer his enemy who is pursuing him unjustly; He is now his friend, his Redeemer, his next of kin. We also have a “next of kin,” “a redeemer” “a brother,” someone who has come to our aid. We’ve studied His words and observed His life. We know that our Redeemer lives and we will behold Him one day! Galatians 4:4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. We are no longer strangers or slaves, but we are children of God.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  9 10 11  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   March 4, 2011

Good Morning!
The true knowledge of God humbles all his creation, and places us on our knees before Him, which is our rightful place.

TRUTH FROM A TRANSFORMED HEART, A HUMBLED HEART:
Job 42:5. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

After Job exclaimed that his “Redeemer Liveth,” there was a dramatic change which came over him. From this point on the course of his complaints change. That’s not to say he no longer struggled or sought to determine why the wicked prosper; its just that the deep despair and bitterness is gone from him. He receives council of Elihu, the younger of his friends, who helped prepare him for the astounding council from the Lord. His heart is prepared: Job is about to receive the most precious treasures ever imagined. In the longest, and most awesome  conversation from God recorded in the Bible, Job is brought to his Knees.

“Now my eyes see thee,” and “I am humbled,” “I repent in dust and ashes,” is Job’s final speech. Job is humbled, instructed, and comforted by God’s sustaining grace, and in the end God is glorified. What was God’s purpose in Job’s trial? It was to silence the lying tongue of Satan, but that was not the only purpose. His purpose was to open Job’s eyes to who He is, a God who is compassionate and merciful, and to sustain within him a steadfastness that would be spoken of for thousands of years.

Do you know that your Redeemer lives? I hope that you do. Do you want to exalt Him and see His glory exemplified in your suffering? God knows that you do, He knows this, and loves you, and will see that your life annuls your enemy’s lies. And it will bring Him great joy, when on that last day you stand on the new earth with your near Kinsman and gaze upon His beautiful, compassionate, and merciful face.

Repeat these words with me, “That I with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ: who with His precious blood, has full satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head. He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live for Him” Amen.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  12 13 14

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          March 5 & 6, 2011

 Good Morning!
This Psalm has a history behind it. It is a Psalm of the sons of Korah. It gives a pleasing end of a terrible ordeal and tragedy.

A DOOR KEEPER IN GOD’S HOUSE:
Psalms 84:10. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Korah had led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Numbers 26:10 “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign. 11. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.” Notice God spared the children of Korah. They fared much better than the others who opposed Moses. The story is told in Numbers 16:28-33. For some unknown reason we read that God spared the children of Korah. They had experienced the judgments of God and through the years had proved their faithfulness. 600 years later David had made their descendants doorkeepers in the house of God.

1 Chronicles 9:19. And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry. 27. And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them.

They had the charge of opening the doors every morning. This was a valuable service that the children of Korah did. We could call them one talent people. They did not envy those who offered the sacrifices on the altar. They opened the doors every morning with dignity. It was a permanent position. With love they served.

David in Psalms 84:10 looked forward when they would trade the doorkeeper’s job for a seat with Jesus on his throne. A tent is movable, always shifting from place to place—here today, gone tomorrow, and lasting only a season. David is saying, “one day up there is better than a thousand that this life can offer.”

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  15 16 17  -----  Deuteronomy  18 19 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                             March 7, 2011

Good Morning!
Unceasing, incessant prayer is essential to the vitality of a believer’s relationship to the Lord and his ability to function in the world.

PRAYER, A WAY OF LIFE:
1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Pray without ceasing.”

As a child I used to wonder how anyone could pray without ceasing. I pictured Christians walking around with hands folded, heads bowed, and eyes closed, bumping into everything. While certain postures and specific times set aside for prayer have an important bearing on our communication with God, to “pray at all times” obviously does not mean we are to pray in formal or noticeable ways every waking moment. And it does not mean we are to devote ourselves to reciting ritualistic patterns and forms of prayer. To “pray without ceasing” basically refers to recurring prayer, not nonstop talking. Thus it is to be our way of life—we’re to be continually in an attitude of prayer.

I think of praying at all times as living in continual God-consciousness, where everything we see and experience becomes a kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to our Heavenly Father. It is something I share with my Best Friend—something I instantly communicate with God. To obey this exhortation means that, when we are tempted, we hold the temptation before God and ask for His help. When we experience something good and beautiful, we immediately thank the Lord for it. When we see evil around us, we ask God to make it right and to allow us to help accomplish that, if it is according to His will. When we meet someone who does not know Christ, we pray for God to draw that person to Himself and to use us to be a faithful witness. When we encounter trouble, we turn to God as our Deliverer.

Thus life becomes a continually ascending prayer: all life’s thoughts, deeds, and circumstances become an opportunity to commune with our Heavenly Father. In that way we constantly set our minds “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  20 21

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     March 8, 2011

Good Morning!
Prayer is fitting at any time, in any posture, in any place, under any circumstance, and in any attire. A total way of life—an open and continual communion with God.

PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION: (PETITION)
Ephesians 6:18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication (petition) in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

The Greek word translated “prayer” here (also in 1 Thessalonians 5:17) is the most common New Testament word for prayer and refers to general requests. The word translated “supplications,” or “petition,” refers to specific prayers. Paul’s use of both words suggests our necessary involvement in all kinds of prayer, every form that is appropriate. To pray all the time necessitates being in various positions because you will never be in the same position all day. In the Bible, people prayed standing (Genesis 24:12–14), lifting up their hands (1 Timothy 2:8), sitting (Judges 20:26), kneeling (Mark 1:40), looking upward (John 17:1), bowing down (Exodus 34:8), placing their heads between their knees (1 Kings 18:42), pounding on their breasts (Luke 18:13), and facing the temple (Daniel 6:10).

While some people today think prayer ought to be very formal, the Bible documents that people prayed in many different circumstances. They prayed wearing sackcloth (Psalms 35:13), sitting in ashes (Job 1:20–21; 2:8), smiting their breasts (Luke 18:13), crying tears (Psalms 6:6), throwing dust on their heads (Joshua 7:6), tearing garments (1 Kings 21:27), fasting (Deuteronomy  9:18), sighing (Ezra 9:4–15), groaning (Psalms 6:4–6), crying out loud (Hebrews 5:7), sweating blood (Luke 22:44), agonizing with broken hearts (Psalms 34:18), making a vow (Acts 18:18), making sacrifices (Ps.alms 20:1–3), and singing songs (Acts 16:25).

The Bible records people praying in all sorts of places as well: in battle (2 Chronicals 13:14–15), in a cave (1 Kings 19:9–10), in a closet (Matthew 6:6), in a garden (Matthew 26:36–44), on a mountainside (Luke 6:12), by a river (Acts 16:13), by the sea (Acts 21:5–6), in the street (Matthew 6:5), in the temple (1 Kings 8:22–53), in bed (Psalms 4:3–4), in a home (Acts 9:39–40), in the stomach of a fish (Jonah 2:1–10), on a housetop (Acts 10:9), in a prison (Acts 16:23–26), in the wilderness (Luke 5:16), and on a cross (Luke 23:33–34, 46). In 1 Timothy 2:8, Paul said, “I want the men in every place to pray” For the faithful, Spirit-filled Christian, every place becomes a place of prayer.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  22 23

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              March 9, 2011

Good Morning!
Call nothing that happens trivial, and seek to be conscious of God’s guiding hand.

THE OLD JUDGE AND ISRAEL’S DESIRE FOR A KING:
1 Samuel 9:15. “Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, 16. To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.”

Note the three points of this communication, God’s sending Saul, the command to anoint a king, and the motive ascribed to God (he may save My people). As to the first, how striking that full-toned authoritative ‘I will send’ is! Think of the chain of ordinary events which brought Saul to the little city, the wandering of a drove of asses, the failure to get on their tracks, the accident of being in the land of Zuph when he got tired of the search, the suggestion of the servant; and behind all these, and working through them, the will and hand of God, thrusting this man, altogether unconscious of the higher power, along a path which he knew not. Our own will and purposes we may know, but God’s we do not know.

There is something scary in the thought of the issues that may spring from the smallest affairs, and we shall be bewildered and paralyzed if once we get a glimpse of the complicated web which is ever being woven in the loom of time, unless we, too, can, by faith, see the Weaver, and then we shall be at rest. Let us learn how patient of our faithless lack of good sense, and how full of long-suffering love, even in ‘anger,’ God is. The same gift of His providence, regarded in one light, is loving chastisement, and in another is loving compliance with our cry and swift help to our need in the shape that we desire, but in both aspects is good and perfect. Note, too, that God’s look is active, and is the bringing of the needed aid, and that He waits for our cry before He comes with His help.

It is said of Saul, He went out to look for his father’s asses, and he found a kingdom.

What a contrast between the thoughts of the two men, as they looked at each other! Saul begins by consulting Samuel as a seer (God’s prophet); he ends by seeking counsel from the witch at Endor. Samuel’s words are beautiful in their smothering of all personal feeling, and dignified in their authority. (1 Samuel 9:15)

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy    24 25 26

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          March 10, 2011

Good Morning!
A life which but partially accepts God’s will as its law, and rather takes counsel of its own passions and arrogant self-sufficiency, may have much that is bright and lovable at its beginning, but will steadily darken as it goes on, and will set at last in eclipse and gloom.

GOD SAVE THE KING:
1 Samuel 10:23. “And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. 24. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.”

The private anointing of Saul (1 Samuel 10:1) was the divine call to him individually; the text tells of his public designation to the nation. How important is it to note that Saul was chosen simply because he was the very type of the national ideal of a hero-king. Both here and in chapter 9:2 his stature and bravery are the only qualities mentioned. What Israel wanted was a rough fighter, with physical strength, plenty of bone and muscle.

About moral, intellectual or spiritual qualities they did not care, and they got the kind of king that they wanted,—the only kind that they could appreciate. The only way to teach them that one who was a head and shoulders taller than any of them was not thereby certified to be the ideal king, was to give them such a man, and let them see what good he would do them. There is no surer index, nor sharper test of national or individual character than the sort of ‘heroes’ they worship. Popularity has not been very much refined since Saul’s day. Athletes and soldiers still captivate the crowd, and a mere prophet like Samuel has no chance beside the man of broad shoulders and well-developed biceps.

Israel had an excuse for its burst of fervor for a soldier, for it was in deadly danger from the Philistines. Is there as good an excuse for us in our adoration of successful generals? Israel found out that its idol lacked higher gifts than muscles and sinews and experience taught them the falseness of their ideal. When one thinks of Gilboa, and the desperate suicide there, how pathetic is that strong, jubilant young figure, in the morning light, below the city, as he bows his head to receive the anointing which, little as he knew it, was to prove his ruin!

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  27 28

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                       March 11, 2011

Good Morning!
Let us beware of meeting God’s prophet with shuffling lies about our obedience, and of opposition to the words, though they pierce the armor of self-righteousness.

GOD REJECT SAUL FOR HIS DISOBEDIENCE:
1 Samuel 15:10. “Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, 11. It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. 12. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. 13. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. 14. Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 23. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (Samuel believed the sheep and oxen more that he did Saul)

Again the narrative takes us to Gilgal,—a fateful place for Saul, There they ‘made Saul king before the Lord’; there he had taken the first step on his dark way of gloomy, proud self-will, down which he was destined to plunge so far and fatally. There he had, in consequence, received the message of the transference of the kingdom from his house, though not from himself. Now, flushed with his victory over Amalek, he has come there with his troops, laden with spoil. But Samuel comes into camp with no look of congratulation. Probably the vigorous old man (near 80) had walked that day from his home, some fifteen miles off.

Samuel had ‘cried unto the Lord all night,’ if perchance the terrible sentence might be reversed; and his cries had not been in vain, for they had brought him into complete submission, and had nerved him to do his work calmly, without a quiver or a pang of personal feeling, as becomes God’s prophet. Why was Saul thus set aside? Was it not a harsh punishment for such a crime? Saul’s act is not to be judged as an isolated deed, but as the outcome of a tendency in him, which meant revolt from God. It was not because of the single act, but because of that which it showed him to be, that he was set aside. The sentence is pronounced, not because ‘thou didst spare Amalek,’ but because ‘thou didst reject the word of the Lord.’

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy   29 30 31

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      March 12 &13, 2011

Good Morning!
The chief purpose in these verses is to bring out that the choice of David as king was purely God’s. This is to let us know that God is never at a loss to supply His man.

THE SHEPHERD-KING:
1 Samuel 16:1. “And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 2. And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me.” 4. And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?

In our reading we have Samuel and his errand to Bethlehem. After that sad day at Gilgal, he and Saul met no more, though their homes were but a few miles apart, and it must have been difficult to avoid each other. Saul has been rejected, but a king shall be found; and Samuel is to dry his tears and anoint him. He evidently had no thought of a successor to Saul till this command came.

But there was much reason for his fear, if once God was left out of the account; for Saul’s ever-wakeful suspicion had become a disease, and it was not any wonder that he should be on the watch for any act which looked like putting the sentence of deposition into effect. If ever a man lived with a sword hanging by a hair over him, it was this unhappy king, who knew that he was dethroned, and did not know when or by whom the divine rejection would be made visible to all men. We find in subsequent chapters to what extent Saul had degenerated spiritually.

An old man is suddenly seen coming up the hill to the gate of the little city on foot, driving or leading a heifer, and carrying a horn in his hand. In such humble fashion did the prophet travel; but reverential awe met him, and his long years of noble service surrounded him as with a halo. Apparently, Bethlehem had not been included in his usual circuits, and the village elders were somewhat scared by his sudden appearance. Their question may give a glimpse into the severity which Samuel sometimes had to show, and is a strange testimony to the reality of his power: ‘Comest thou peaceably?’ One old man was no very formidable assailant of a village, even if he did not come with friendly intent; but, if he is recognized as God’s messenger, his words are sharper than any two-edged sword, and his unarmed hand bears weapons mighty to ‘pull down strongholds.’

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Deuteronomy  32 33 34  ------  Joshua  1 2 3 4

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               March 14, 2011

Good Morning!
In the choice of David we see that the qualifications for God’s king are inward, not bodily.

SAMUEL’S HUMAN JUDGMENT WAS REPROVED:
1 Samuel 16:5.“And he (Samuel) sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. 6. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him. 7. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 10. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. 11. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. 12. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. 13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.

 In these old days, the world’s monarchs had to be men of muscle and sinews, power rested on mere brute force: but God’s chosen had to rule, not by the strength of his own arm, but by leaning on God’s. David’s insignificance in Jesse’s eyes was such that his father would never have remembered his existence but for the question, and his answer is a kind of assurance to the prophet that he need not take the trouble to see the boy, for he will never do for whatever he may have in view. His youth and occupation put him out of the question. We know, from the other parts of his story, that his brothers had no love for him; nor does his father seem to have much.

His solitary shepherd life taught him many precious lessons, and, at any rate, gave him the priceless gift of solitude, which is the nurse of poetry, heroism, and religion. The glorious night-piece in Psalm 8, and its companion day-piece in Psalm 19, may bear the impress of the shepherd life; which is idealized and sanctified for ever in the immortal sweetness of Psalm 23. There were many worse schools for the future king than a solitary shepherd’s life on the bare hills round Bethlehem.

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Joshua  5 6 7 8

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 March 15, 2011

Good Morning!
No one can know the day or hour when GOD passes by, seeking for chosen vessels and goodly pearls.

THE EYES OF THE LORD RUN TO AN FRO THROUGHOUT THE EARTH:
1 Samuel 13:14. “The LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart,..”
Psalm 89:20. “I have found David my servant;”
Psalm 78:70. “He chose David to be his servant,…”
1 Samuel 16:1. “I have provided Me a King..”

When least expecting it, we are being scrutinized, watched, tested, in daily common places, and tasks, to see if we shall be faithful in more momentous issues. Let us be always on the alert, our loins girt, our lamps burning, our nets mended and cleansed. David was found long before Samuel sent for him. When was the moment of that blessed discovery? Was it one dawn, when in the first flicker of daylight the young shepherd led his flock from fold to pasture; or one morning, when, in an outburst of heroic faith, he rescued a trembling lamb from a lion or bear; or one afternoon, when, as he sat and watched over his charge and the first conception of the Shepherd Psalm stirred in his heart; or one night, when he heard the silent speech of the heavens declaring the glory of God?

Appointments are not solely due to human patronage, nor won by human labor; they are of God. He bringeth low and lifteth up. Saul might chafe and fret; but from amid the ruins of his waning power the authority of David emerged as a sun from a bank of clouds, because God willed it. Fit yourself for God's service; be faithful: He will presently appoint you; promotion comes neither from the east nor west, but from above. God answered our question when he said He had observed David, “From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance” (Psalm 78:71). That is when the ewe is most vulnerable to the dangers around her. There were many worse schools for the future king than a solitary shepherd’s life on the bare hills round Bethlehem.

God wanted someone with a heart that could be sensitive to the needs of the people. What a contrast between the heart of Saul and the heart of David. “I have provided Me a King.” That answers everything. The Divine provision meets every need, silences every anxiety. Let us not yield to anxious forebodings for the future of the Church, or of our land. God has provided against all contingencies.

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Joshua   9 10 11

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              March 16, 2011

Good Morning!
The ancient puzzle, that Jesus of Nazareth is the same time David's Lord and Son.

THE ROOT OF DAVID:
Mark 12:35b. “How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David? 36. For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. 37. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son?”

Once in the prophecy by Isaiah 11:10, and twice in the Book of Revelation our Lord is called the “Root of David.” “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book and to loose the seven seals thereof” Revelation 5:5. And still more emphatically, among the last words spoken by the Saviour, before the curtain of the Ages fell, “I, Jesus . . . am the root and the offspring of David; and the Bright, the Morning Star” 22:16. David's character may be considered to have issued from the life of the Son of GOD before He took on Himself the nature of man and an anticipation of what He was to be and do in the fullness of time. Jesus was the Son of David, yet in another sense He was his ancestor.

Let us look for a moment to consider the formative influences of David's young life. The family dwelt on the ancestral property to which Boaz, that mighty man of wealth, had brought Ruth of Moab. The conditions, 120 years later, under which Jesse brought up his large family of eight sons and two daughters were probably hard enough to severely tax the endurance and industry of them all. David says nothing of his father, but twice speaks of his mother as “the handmaid of the Lord.”

Perhaps from her he derived his poetic gift, his sensitive nature, his deeply religious character. David may have owed something to the schools of the prophets, established by Samuel. Such were the schools and schoolmasters of his youth.

To the father he was the lad that kept the sheep, whom it was not worthwhile to summon to the religious feast; to his mother he was David the beloved, and probably she first heard the psalms which have charmed and soothed the world. He honored them both with dutiful care; and when it seemed possible that they might suffer serious hurt, on account of their relationship to himself, amid the pelting storm of Saul's persecution, he removed them to the safe keeping of the king of Moab, the land of his ancestress (1 Samuel 22:3-4).

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Joshua   12 13 14    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               March 17, 2011

Good Morning!
David’s music was extraordinary and gained for him an entrance to Saul’s court.

FROM SHEPHERD TO KING’S PALACE:
1 Samuel 16:19. “Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. 20. And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. 23. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.”

Two verses tell to story. In 1 Samuel 16:13 “The Spirit of the Lord came upon David…” In 16:14 “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” This lets us know that when we lose the anointing of the Holy Spirit there is always another spirit that will move into its place. And it is always a troubling spirit that takes the place of the Holy Spirit. Men will try all manners of things to placate their troubled soul. I’m sure that the words of Samuel still rang in the mind and conscious of Saul when he told him that God had rejected him from being king. (1 Samuel 15:23) Nothing in this world, or the next, can be compared for horror to the withdrawal of God from us.

His servants advised Saul to have someone play music to sooth his troubled spirit. How much better friends they would have been if they had advised him to give all diligence to make his peace with God by true repentance and to send for Samuel to pray for him and to intercede with God for him. But their project was to make him merry, and so to cure him. David is recommended and sent for and became a physician to Saul, and by this means brought to the court, as a physician, which not only helped Saul against the worst of diseases, but has continued to help millions who have read his Psalms throughout the last 30 centuries.

Only David’s instrumental music with his harp is mentioned, but it should seem, by the account of Josephus gives, that he added vocal music to it, and sung hymns and songs of praise to his harp. Music cannot work on the devil but it may shut up the passage by which he gains access to the soul. It is a pity that music, which may be so serviceable to the good temper of the mind, should ever be abused by any to the support of vanity and luxury, and be made an occasion of drawing the heart away from God; if this be the effects of it, it drives away the good spirit, not the evil.

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Joshua   15 16 17 18

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                March 18, 2011

Good Morning!
That valley was to witness an encounter which brought into fullest contrast the principles on which God's warriors are to contend not only with flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of darkness.

THREE FIGURES SHARPLY DEFINED ON THAT MEMORABLE DAY:
1 Samuel 17:2. “And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. 4. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 34. And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

First, the Philistine Champion. He was tall nine feet six inches in height; he was heavily armed, for his armor fell a spoil to Israel, was eagerly examined, and minutely described; they even weighed it, and found it five thousand shekels of brass, equivalent to two hundred pounds; he was protected by an immense shield, borne by another in front of him, so as to leave his arms and hands free; he wielded a ponderous spear, whilst sword and javelin were girt to his side; he was a windbag, boasting, and talked of the banquet he proposed to give to the fowls and beasts, and defied the armies of the living God.

Second, Saul. A choice young man and a goodly. There was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he; from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. He had also a good suit of armor, a helmet of brass, and a coat of mail. In earlier days, when he had blown the trumpet, its notes had rung throughout the land, stirring all hearts with anticipations of certain victory. But now he dared not adventure himself in conflict with Goliath, and what he reckoned were utterly overwhelming odds.

Third, David. He was but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of a fair countenance.

No sword was in his hand; he carried a staff, probably his shepherd's crook;

No armor had he on, save the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation; no weapon, but a sling in his hand and five smooth stones which he had chosen out of the creek bed, and put in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his scrip. But he was in possession of a mystic spiritual power, which the mere spectator might have guessed, but which he might have found it difficult to define. The living God was a reality to him. His countrymen were not simply, as Goliath insinuated, servants to Saul; they were the army of the living GOD.

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Joshua   19 20 21

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion                                           

Today’s First Thoughts                                     March 19 & 20, 2011

Good Morning!
Everyday we face a champion with a few thousand years of experience.

A CHAMPION:
1 Samuel 17:4. “And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines,”

The huge giant who stood on the hillside of the valley of Elah was not someone to take lightly. This was not his first battle, there had been many battles, and many a foe had fallen before him. In every battle he had come out victorious, and to him this was to be just another conquest. The sacred writer declared him “a champion,” and those who heard him, and observed him, also believed him a champion. His physical statue, along with his temperament and armor, was an overpowering force. Saul said to David, “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” “He is a Champion.”

Everyday we arise to face a champion, we will call him “the devil,” or “Satan,” and I will be the first to tell you he is not something to take lightly. Satan has a few thousand years of experience and he has won most of his contentions. Satan does not have one ounce of compassion or pity. The Bible describes him “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8). He has engaged in combat with every human being that has been born on the earth, and I might add he has won most of them. “He is a Champion.”

No man should ever do battle against him alone. No man, woman or child is a match with Satan by their own strength, ability, or intelligence. When David went to do battle with Goliath, David said to Saul, “Moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” God was as real to him as Jesse, or his brothers, or Saul, or Goliath. His soul had so rooted itself in this conception of God's presence, that he bore it with him, undisturbed by the shout of the soldiers as they went forth to the battle, and the searching questions addressed to him by Saul.

David did not go into battle alone but he was in possession of a mystic spiritual power. As likely as not, to the David’s imagination the air was full of horses and chariots of fire; of those angel hosts, which in after days he addressed as strong in might, hearkening unto the voice of God, and hastening to do his pleasure in all places of his dominion.

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Joshua  22 23 24    -----  Judges 1 2 3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion                                           

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 March 21, 2011

Good Morning!
With ‘brass’ here, ‘brass’ there, ‘brass’ everywhere; yet after all precautions by Goliath, some spot is bare, and there is no armor against faith.

THE VICTORY OF UNARMED FAITH:
1 Samuel 17:48. “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 50. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

Observe the contrast in verse 48 between the slow movements of the heavy-armed Philistine and the quick run of the shepherd, whose ‘feet were as hind’s feet’ (Psalm 18:33). Agility and confident alacrity were both expressed. His feet were shod with ‘the preparedness of faith.’ Observe, too, the impetuous brevity of the account in verse 49, of the actual fall of Goliath. The short clauses, coupled by a series of ‘ands,’ reproduce the swift succession of events, which ended the fight before it had begun; and one can almost hear the whiz of the stone as it crashes into the thick head, so strangely left unprotected by all the profusion of brass that clattered about him.

The unarmed hand which grasps God’s hand should never tremble; and he who can say ‘I come . . . in the name of the Lord of hosts,’ has no need to be afraid of an army of Goliaths, though each bristled with swords and spears like a porcupine. He who defies the armies of Israel has to reckon with the Lord of these armies, whose name proclaims at once His eternal, self-originated, and self-sustained being, His covenant, His presence with His earthly host, and the infinite ranks of obedient creatures who are His soldiers and their allies. That is ‘the Name’ in the strength of which we may ‘set up our banners’ and be sure of victory.

This story is, for all time, the example of the victory of unarmed faith over the world’s utmost might. It is in the history of the Church and the type of all battles for God. It is a pattern for the young especially. The youth leaps into the arena, and overcomes, not because of his own strength, but because he trusts in God. The victories of faith are a constant surprise to the world and to a worldly Church.

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Judges   4 5 6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 March 22, 2011

Good Morning!
The first stage of Saul’s jealousy was because of David’s fame as a warrior.

JEALOUSLY IS AS CRUEL AS THE GRAVE: (Song Of Solomon 8:6)
1 Samuel 18:6. “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9. And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

The returning victorious army was met, in the fashion of the day, by a triumphal chorus of women, with their shrill songs, accompanied by the dissonant noises which do duty for music to Eastern ears. The words of their chant were startlingly and ominously plain-spoken, and became more emphatic and insulting in Saul’s ears, because they were sung by two answering bands, one of which rang out, ‘Saul hath slain his thousands,’ while the other overtopped them by pealing out still more loudly and exultantly, ‘And David his ten thousands.’ To be brought into comparison with this unknown stripling was bitter enough, but to be used as a foil to set off his superiority was too much to be borne.

Poor Saul had to drink the bitter cup, which all who love the sweet draught of popular applause have sooner or later to taste; and we need not think him a monster of badness because he found it bitter. It will be more to the purpose that we take care lest we do the very same thing in our little lives and humble spheres; for envy and jealousy of those who threaten to out-shine, or in any way to out-do, us is not confined to people in high places or with great reputations. The roots of them are in us all, and the only way to keep them from growing up rank is to think less of our reputation and more of our duty, to count it a very small matter what men think of us, and the all-important matter what God thinks.

Then Saul made attempts on David’s life. They show how the moody suspicion with which Saul ‘eyed David’ came to a swift, murderous climax. He stands as a terrible example of how suspicion and jealousy, working in a nature utterly without self-control, transport it into the wildest excesses.

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Judges   7 8

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion                                           

Today’s First Thoughts                                                March 23, 2011

Good Morning!
Any man who lets his own baser nature have full fling invites the devil. Saul had what would now be called seizures of insanity.

SAUL’S JEALOUSY LED HIM TO TRY TO KILL DAVID:
1 Samuel 18:10. “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. 11. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.”

The second stage of Saul’s Jealousy was the attempt on David’s life. Verses 10 and 11, which record it, are not in the Septuagint, and the narrative does run more smoothly without them. But if they are retained, they show how the moody suspicion with which Saul ‘eyed David’ came to a swift, murderous climax. He stands as a terrible example of how suspicion and jealousy, working in a nature utterly without self-control, transport it into the wildest excesses. 

When the Spirit from God withdrew from Saul it left his tabernacle empty and nothing can remain empty, especially the human heart. Matthew 12:44 “And when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first (Words of Jesus).” In Saul’s case an evil spirit took possession of him. This is an uncontrollable spirit, a spirit that dominates and drives one to carryout deeds without justification or reason. All of this is due to the lack of a God controlling spirit. Envy, allowed to have its way, becomes murderous. Let us suppress its beginning. A tiger pup can be held in and its claws cut, but a full-grown tiger cannot.

The third stage of Saul’s growing jealously is, getting rid of David. It is a pathetic picture to watch the gradual creeping over a strong man of a nameless terror. Saul’s suspicions were hardened into certainties. He was sure now that what his jealousy had whispered, when the women chanted their chorus, was grim fact. And he could but helplessly watch his supplanter’s steady advance in favor with men and God. He must, by any means, rid himself of the one true and holy thing in his presence. How awful are the endless possibilities of progress in either direction that lie open for every soul of man! 

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Judges   9 10

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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 God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion                                           

Today’s First Thoughts                                                March 24, 2011

Good Morning!
If men can love one another as Jonathan loved David, how much more should they love the Christ who has loved them so much.

JONATHAN, THE PATTERN OF FRIENDSHIP:
1 Samuel 18:.1 “And it came to pass, when he had ended speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 3. And Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his dress, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.”

There is no more beautiful page in history or poetry than the story of the passionate love of the heir to the throne (Jonathan) for the young champion (David), whom he had so much cause to regard as a rival. What a proof of the victory of love over self is his saying, ‘Thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee’! (1 Samuel 23:17). No doubt Jonathan was well informed of the meeting between his father (Saul) and Samuel when Samuel told him he had been disposed by God from being king. Rumors would have abounded as to who would be the next king and Jonathan was no fool as to the exceptional ability and reception of David.

David’s son, Solomon, no doubt was well informed of the friendship between his father and Jonathon and wrote many years later, “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). When Saul and Jonathon fell together on the battlefield David wept, but most of all over his best friend. Truly did David sing in his (Jonathan) elegy, ‘Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women;’ for in that old world, in which the relations between the sexes had not yet received the hallowing and refinement of Christian times, much of what is now chiefly found in these was manifested in friendship, such as that of these two young men.

The touchstone of friendship is practical help and readiness to do what the friend wishes. It is so in our friendships here, which are best cemented so. It is so in the highest degree in our friendship with the true Friend and Lover of us all, Jesus, the sweetness and power of our friendship with whom we do not know until we say, ‘Whatsoever thou desirest, I will do it,’ and so lose the burden of self-will, and find that He does for us what we desire when we make His desires our law of conduct.

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Judges   11 12 13  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 March 25, 2011

Good Morning!
Jonathan stands for all time as the noblest example of human friendship, and as not unworthy to remind us, as from afar off and dimly, of the perfect love of the Firstborn Son of the true King, who has loved us all with a yet deeper, more patient, more self-sacrificing love.

 DAVID BECOMES A FUGITIVE:
1 Samuel 20:41. “And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. 42. And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.”

We have before us the parting of these two friends. We note the sadness and weeping over this tragic event with each knowing that David would become a hunted fugitive. We are told of only one other time they would meet when Jonathan sought him out to console him (1 Samuel 23:16). Saul wasted no time to begin his hunt for David. After taking leave of the beloved Jonathan, and henceforth to the end of 1 Samuel, David is looked upon and treated as an outlaw and proclaimed a traitor. We find him shifting from place to place for his own safety and Saul pursuing him.

His troubles are told very particularly in these chapters, and become, not only the seed bed for many of his Psalms, but that he might be, as other prophets, an example to the saints of all ages, of suffering afflictions, and of patience, and especially that he might be a type of Christ, who, though being anointed to the kingdom, humbled himself, and was therefore highly exalted, as David would eventually be.

David in his distress flees to the tabernacle at Nob where he begged for bread from Ahimelech the priest and a weapon. The only weapon that was there in the tabernacle was the sword of Goliath which David had donated after the slaying of Goliath and which he took with him into exile. However there was an Edomite there, Doeg, one of Saul’s servants, who turned out to be a base traitor, both to David and Ahimelech, and caused the death of 85 of the priests and many of the people in the city (1 Samuel 22:18-19). Satan has his traitors stationed all along life’s pathway.

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Judges   14 15 16

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion                    

Today’s First Thoughts                                    March 26 & 27, 2011

Good Morning!
In a time when so many families have purposely or ignorantly forgotten their aging parents and grandparents, I believe with all my heart that as believers age they also need to know that they still have a very special and vital role to play in the family, and that family needs to allow them the privilege of having a part.

 

DAVID SEES TO THE SAFETY AND WELFARE OF HIS MOTHER AND    FATHER:
1 Samuel 22:1. “David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me. 4. And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

Only a few months prior to this scripture everything was going well in the house of Jesse. He had a large family with eight sons, two of which were in Saul’s army and at least one daughter who also had a son, Joab, who was near David’s age and who later became the captain of David’s army. Then one day Samuel showed up at Jesse’s house and anointed his youngest son for a special purpose. No doubt Jesse was unaware of the changes that would be brought about by this visit of Samuel.

David would soon become a member of Saul’s household. Kings are always suspicious of anyone who gains much popularity or fame, and Saul had already been rejected by the Lord from being king (1 Samuel 15:35), so anyone who he suspected that might take his place as king was in real danger, along with their family. A thousand years later king Herod, when the wise men came to his palace seeking one “who was born King of the Jews,” had every boy baby who might be the one who might take his place, killed.

David realizing his parents were in danger too, he took them to their ancestral home of Moab for safety while he was hiding from King Saul. This little incident, along with Jesus also seeing that His own mother was taken care of at His death, teaches us the importance of taking care of our own parents and family in times of crises. The Jews were the first of the human race who had close ties with family members. Other races of people had no real love or empathy even towards their own or to other people. The Commandment to honor father and mother goes far beyond being an obedient child, it means staying true to them throughout a lifetime.

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Judges   17 18 19  -------  Judges  20 21

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                          March 28, 2011

Good Morning!
The 57th Psalm was written from a cave in which David was hiding from Saul.
We want to spend a few days with David in the cave and see how he deals with it, because we will find ourselves fleeing into the cave some day.

LORD HAVE MERCY:
Psalms 57:1. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

In most Bibles the title of this Psalm is at the heading of it. The heading contains a word which appears for the first time and we would like to call your attention to it. The word is “Altaschith,” and it means “Destroy Not” or “Destroy Him Not” (1 Samuel 26:9). And it seems to be the Title that David gave to this Psalm.

To get the proper setting for this Psalm we must understand that it was written when David was running for his life, and while hiding in a wilderness cave. He was being pursued by King Saul who hated him and who had three-thousand warriors to hunt him down. Then the temptation to sin came as Saul sought shelter in the same cave where David and his men were hiding. David, or one of his men, could have taken this opportunity to kill Saul.

“Altaschith,” David said, “Destroy not;” that is, David would not let Saul be destroyed, when now in the cave there was a fair opportunity of killing him, and his servants would gladly have done so. No, says David, “destroy him not,” (1 Samuel 24:4, 6) (1 Samuel 26:9). Or, rather another interpretation, God would not let David be destroyed by Saul; he suffered him to persecute David, but still under this limitation, Destroy him not; as he permitted Satan to afflict Job, Only save his life. David must not be destroyed. I favor the latter interpretation.

I can remember my mother exclaiming “Lord Have Mercy,” when some unexpected misfortune or adversity arose. This was her way of dealing with any emergency. And it seems to be the way David dealt with the calamities of his life. He supports himself with faith and hope in God, and prayer to him in Psalm 57. It is with much devout affection that David here prays, “Be merciful unto me, O Lord! Look with compassion upon me, and in thy love and pity, redeem me.”

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Ruth  1 2 3 4

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 March 29, 2011

Good Morning!
When David was in the cave, in imminent peril, he tells us what the workings of his heart towards God were; and happy are those that have such good thoughts as these in their minds when they are in danger!

LORD HAVE MERCY:
Psalms 57:1. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

The 57th Psalm is about David’s life in a cave. Many of us can relate to this Psalm that David wrote while living in this cave. The bottom seems to have fallen out of everything. We also may have been enjoying life, with good health, good job, great family relationship, enjoying friends and the fellowship of the Church family. Suddenly the tide turns and the waves seem to overflow our castle. Relationships deteriorate, our job has vanished, sickness brings endless suffering, then loss of a  spouse, and you are being persecuted without cause for doing good. In these, and many other ways, life can instantly become something other than what we expected.

Our lives frequently start out with great expectation only to be followed by long seasons of suffering and trial. It seems as though you are fleeing for your spiritual or physical life from an enemy. Then questions arise, “is God really there?” “Is He really hiding me under the hollow of His hand?” That’s when we enter our cave.

Seeing himself surrounded with enemies, he looks up to God with that suitable prayer: “Be merciful to me, O God!” which he again repeats, and it is no vain repetition: “Be merciful unto me.” It was the publican’s prayer, Luke 18:13. It is a pity that any should use it slightly and profanely cry, God be merciful to us, or, Lord, have mercy upon us, when they mean only to express their wonder, or surprise, or vexation, but God and his mercy are not at all in their thoughts.

God allowed some of His greatest Saints to go through great hardships and in some cases great suffering, and many recorded their thoughts and prayers for our benefit.

John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress during the years (1678-1684) he spent in Bedford (England) Prison. The Apostle Paul wrote some of the greatest thoughts ever put in writing while bound with chains in one prison after another.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   1 2

 James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 March 30, 2011

Good Morning!
Humanly speaking, David’s life seemed hopeless and his situation desperate.

LIFE IN THE CAVE:
Psalms 57:. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

It might have been about this time that David could have looked at his life and said, “I have been the cause of the cruel death of the priests who helped me” (1 Samuel 22:16-19); My wife has been given to another man (1 Samuel 25:44); “I have had to hide my family in a foreign land” (1 Samuel 22:1-3); I am continually fleeing for my life” and “Now here I am hiding in this cave. How did this happen?”

You’ll begin to feel real comfort in this Psalm (57) and all the Psalms when you see David’s experience mirrored in your life. Have you ever been in such depths of despair and sorrow the only prayer you could moan was, “Be merciful to me O God. Be merciful to me.” God answers, “Altaschith,” “You will not be destroyed.”

David knew about this kind of suffering and the Holy Spirit inspired him to write about it so that you and I would have hope. The Apostle Paul tells us that is the reason these things were written. Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

David’s suffering had a purpose in his life and it also has a purpose in ours. Our suffering isn’t something that we have to get through the best way we can. Our suffering, like David’s, has a greater meaning or purpose. David’s life was a simple life as a youth while keeping his father’s sheep on the hills around Bethlehem, singing and playing his harp, composing some of the Psalms which would later be penned for our benefit. But the simple life changed abruptly. From a shepherd to a hero at the slaying of Goliath, to the king’s palace as the king’s favorite, suddenly things change again. The favor he had gained vanished; Saul became jealous of David, and his heart grew hard toward David, and Saul looked upon him with hatred and suspicion and envy. David’s position in the kingdom began to go downhill. Twice Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear. Now he becomes a fugitive hiding in caves and in imminent danger of his life. God had a purpose for it.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   3 4 5  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          March 31, 2011

Good Morning!
Life in the cave opens our eyes to our helplessness.

YOUR TRIAL IS THE MARK OF GOD’S MERCY:
Psalms 57:1. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

God is at work in your circumstance. In the same way that God was preparing David to rule his kingdom and to foreshadow the rule of one whose kingdom will have no end, the Lord is preparing your heart to reflect the wonders of His Son.

Life in the cave gives us the one good gift we really need; a correct self-appraisal to remove the errors and mistakes from our life. Because of our sinful nature, without God’s mercy in our lives, we all belong in caves and holes in the ground, not in fine palaces. It’s surely His mercy that we find ourselves, from time to time, in hardships and pain, that’s where we find the beauty of His merciful character. It’s because He loves us that we find ourselves in the cave.

Think about David’s experience. There was no way that David could save himself. His enemies surrounded him, and he had no strength or wisdom or goodness that could change his circumstances. For a man as handsome, capable, and brave as David was, this was a needful lesson. Like all of us, he needed to see himself as unworthy of demanding anything from the Lord, and in such great peril and emptiness that he didn’t have anything to offer. All he could do was plead for mercy.

Let us look at the sudden rise to fame and popularity that David had experienced. Most, or all, of this could be attributed to his own physical strength, personality and abilities. This could easily lead him to assume that it was mainly through his own endowments that he had come so far so fast. Then God allowed him to lose all this celebrity and hidden in a cave let him reflect on the real strength behind his success.

When driven into the cave David realized how much his life depended upon the Lord and his cry arose from the cave, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   6 7 8  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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