Daily Morning Watch

Daily Devotional

Saul’s Increasing Instability

1 Samuel 19
September 25, 2022
Day 269
For a time, Jonathan was able to calm his father’s fits of murderous rage and David could be with him and be his army commander. But Saul was still in rebellion from God, and the evil spirits could do as they pleased with him. More and more, he went after David, whose military successes threatened Saul. This chapter ends with an odd story in which several groups of messengers fall into prophetic trances, and finally, Saul does, too. Remember when he prophesied from an honest heart when he first was anointed (Ch. 10)? The Bible Commentary suggests that possibly here the Holy Spirit pleaded with Saul for the last time (V. 2, 548).

David and Jonathan

1 Samuel 18
September 24, 2022
Day 268
David is now more than an occasional harper for the king; he becomes part of his household. And a miracle happens: David and Jonathan, the son of Saul who should be the next king in the human order of things, become beloved friends. This chapter begins the long and sorry story of the years between God choosing David to be the next king, and his actually becoming king. Saul had turned completely from the Lord (the evil spirit is not “from the Lord,” but the Lord has stopped protecting Saul against the evil he invites into his life), so he became increasingly mentally unstable and increasingly threatened by David’s success, even though he himself was the one who sent David to battle for him.

God Chooses a New King

1 Samuel 16
September 22, 2022
Day 266
God tells Samuel to accept reality and put aside his mourning for Saul; Saul has made his decision and will not change. God sends Samuel to Bethlehem to Jesse, who has fine sons, all of whom Samuel thinks would make good kings. Little does he know that God’s eye is on the youngest and least likely son—David the shepherd boy. We will be studying the story of David for many weeks. As you study his life, you will see that he makes mistakes as bad as or worse than Saul’s, but there is one crucial difference between the two men: David always repents.

Saul’s Fall

1 Samuel 15
September 21, 2022
Day 265
Here we see the results of Saul’s pride and arrogance. Not only does he disobey, doing what seems right to him rather than what God says, but he makes excuses when he’s caught. From this point, he is rejected by God as king over Israel, but it will take years before he is overcome, and he never will submit in his own mind. The saddest part of the story is Samuel’s grief. He has loved Saul as if he were a son. Resolve that you will never cause grief to your parents or other leaders by rebelling against God.

Saul and Jonathan

1 Samuel 14
September 20, 2022
Day 264
This is a long and complicated chapter, telling a story with some interesting twists and turns. It is most valuable as a demonstration of the difference between Saul and his son, Jonathan. Saul did whatever he thought was right and seems to only ask God for form’s sake, since he doesn’t even care if God doesn’t answer (v. 37) and makes foolish vows for the whole army, all of whom can’t possibly all hear everything he says. Jonathan, on the other hand, acts wisely and thoughtfully, asking God to show him clearly by signs (v. 10, 12) and also recognizing commonsense (v. 29, 30). When things don’t go his own way, Saul has fallen so far that he is willing to kill his own son for nothing.

Saul vs God

1 Samuel 13
September 19, 2022
Day 263
The Hebrew of verse 1 is entirely obscure (see BC, Vol 2, pp 506-7) so we don’t know how long Saul had reigned when this took place. But it is clear that power had begun to corrupt him. Facing an important battle with the Philistines, Saul was supposed to wait on Samuel to bless them. Impatient of waiting, he offered sacrifices himself, which he was not allowed to do, since he was neither priest nor prophet. It was a serious mistake, and showed his heart beginning to turn away from God already. Samuel rebuked him and warned him of the faltering of his kingdom, but it will become apparent that as king, Saul will consider himself above even God’s law.

A New Covenant

1 Samuel 12
September 18, 2022
Day 262
While they are all together, Samuel has more words of wisdom for them. He tells them an abbreviated version of their story, to remind them who they are and where they came from. He reminds them that they were wrong to turn from God to a human king, but he also reassures them that God is still willing to lead both them and their king if they are faithful. He promises to continue to pray for them as he always has. (He is old, and believes his work will soon be ended, but he is wrong about that.) Is there a person of God who prays faithfully for you?

A Changed Man

1 Samuel 10
September 16, 2022
Day 260
Those who think one is saved forever and can never go back on that decision should take note of this story. Here, to reassure young Saul that this astonishing thing is really from God, Samuel prophesies a series of strange events. More importantly, he says God will “change Saul into a different man.” And God does. The Holy Spirit enters Saul and he even prophesies. Then, when the time comes to acclaim him as king, he is too timid and hides. This is clearly a man who will be a good king—or he should be. The Israelites are happy. They have a king like everybody else. Will they ever regret this day?

A Good Man

1 Samuel 9
September 15, 2022
Day 259
Saul is about to become an excellent example of the corrupting influence of power. As a young man, he is industrious, faithful, responsible, kind, and humble. God chooses him for an important position—to be the first king of Israel. He knows nothing of that in this story. He is simply out looking for some donkeys who have wandered away. He and his servant go to find Samuel because they hope he might know where their donkeys are. And so he does; he tells them the donkeys have been found. But he also invites Saul to eat with him. Saul doesn’t know why he, of all people, is being given such an honor.
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