Saturday, May 09, 2009

1 Samuel 16-19, Luke 1:1-45

1 Samuel 17

This is a great text for preaching, and not for preaching about slaying the Goliaths in your life. Rather, the story teaches us what it means to be a man after God's own heart: to be more concerned for the honor of God and his cause than for one's own safety. I'll leave that part to your own study of the text. 

On the technical side, the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel and the Septuagint have "four cubits and a span" in vs 4. I don't know really how to determine which reading to prefer, except that the DSS and LXX reading sound like an attempt to make Goliath sound more normal-sized. SO I prefer the reading of the Masoretic text.

One additional note. Once David had decided to use the weapons with which he was familiar (wise counsel even outside of wartime), the end of the context with Goliath was decided. David didn't have to fight on Goliath's terms, as everyone else in the Israelite army had assumed. The sling stone that David would have used was not a pebble, so the "death by slingshot" of Goliath is not a miracle. Rather the stone was baseball-sized, weighed about a pound, and came out of the sling at about 120 mph. What's surprising is that the stone itself didn't take off Goliath's head.

1 Samuel 18-19

Although David won the day against Goliath, it set Saul against him, because Saul knew that the preference of the Lord had moved from himself to David. Thus these two chapters focus on Saul's attempts to remove David by indirect means. The remainder of 1 Samuel focuses not on the ongoing Israelite battle with the Philistines, but on the internal strife due to Saul's faithlessness and David's striving to be faithful in circumstances that would try the best of men. It is to David's credit (and of course the Lord's work in his life) that David succeeds in remaining faithful, and overcoming all the temptations to take out Saul.

Luke 1:1-45

We have hit the first of the "we" sections in Acts, so it is an appropriate time to take a break from Acts to go through Luke. Mark began his gospel with the ministry of John the Baptist. Matthew began his with the announcement of the birth of Jesus. Luke begins his with the angelic announcements to Zechariah and to Mary. Angelic announcements to previously barren women are found a number of times in the Old Testament, so these announcements fit that pattern, except that for Elizabeth, the announcement is not made to her, but to Zechariah. In addition, Mary is a virgin, not a barren woman. So the gospel begins by, in a manner turning the Old Testament on its head.

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