Today's Readings: 1 Samuel 18 | Isaiah 62 | Matthew 7


Reading 1 - 1Sa 18:1-4

"After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt" (1Sa 18:1-4).

"The admiration which all the nation felt for David because of his exploit against Goliath was shared by Jonathan, and this quickly ripened into the warm friendship which has now been proverbial for millennia. There was in Jonathan none of the corrosive jealousy which was to be the bane and ruin of his father. Clearly, he loved David, not only because of bravery in face of danger (for he himself was every bit as brave), but because in creasing acquaintance led him to appreciate the fine qualities of David's character more and more.


"Yet even this does not fully explain such an eternal selfless friendship, for all true friendships are forged by influences and personal characteristics past defining. Somehow, in ways utterly inexplicable, personalities blend and a bond is fashioned to last forever.


"This friendship of Jonathan for David was surely the most selfless thing in all the Old Testament. In positive self-giving, David contributed relatively little to their fine partnership. But from the very beginning Jonathan lost himself completely in a consuming eagerness to further his friend's well-being in every possible way.


"Saul was at first eager to have the brave upstanding young fellow as an officer in his army (1Sa 14:52), and Jonathan quickly saw David's need of suitable equipment and accoutrements of war (which were not easily come by: 1Sa 13:19-22), so without any concern for himself he forthwith insisted that David have the best of his own. Nothing could be too good for this stalwart son of Bethlehem who was now his friend and a rising star in Israel" (Harry Whittaker, "Samuel, Saul, and David" 86,87).


Reading 2 - Isa 62:12

"They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted" (Isa 62:12).

"The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly in that we were not only sought, but sought out... We were mingled with the mire: we were as when some precious piece of gold falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and thither, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings... No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home... Strange and marvellous are the ways which God used in their case to find His own. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search until the chosen are sought out effectually" (CH Spurgeon).


Reading 3 - Mat 7:5,24

"You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Mat 7:5).

"Those things that one cannot improve in himself or in others, he ought to endure patiently, until God arranges things otherwise. Nevertheless when you have such impediments, you ought to pray that God would help you, and that you may bear them kindly.


"Endeavor to be patient in bearing with the defects of others, whatever they are; for you also have many failings which must be borne by others. If you cannot make yourself be as you would like to be, how can you expect to have another person be to your liking in every way? We desire to have others perfect, and yet we do not correct our own faults. We would allow others to be severely corrected, and will not be corrected ourselves. We will have others kept under by strict laws, but in no case do we want to be restrained. And so it appears that we seldom weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves" (Thomas a' Kempis).


*****


"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Mat 7:24).


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