Daily Morning Watch

Daily Devotional

20 Years to Make a New Decision

1 Samuel 7
September 13, 2022
Day 257
When the ark returned, even the Israelites were afraid of it now. The family of Abinadab took charge of it—for 20 years! It’s hard to understand why the people left it there so long. According to the Bible Commentary, Vol 2, 480-81, they had been under the sway of the Philistines for 40 years, and then apparently took 20 more to decide for sure to follow God, despite Samuel’s efforts. The tabernacle sat empty—no ark, no festivals. But that wasn’t what made God sad; to Him it was the empty hearts that mattered. Still, Samuel worked, and at last the people got rid of their idols and served God again.

The Ark not such a Good Capture

1 Samuel 5
September 11, 2022
Day 255
Since the Philistines were pagans, God had to speak to them in a way they understood. If they thought the ark had power, then God would show His power, and they would learn it was not pleasing to Him to steal the symbol of His presence. It seemed to bring sickness and tumors. They kept sending the ark around to different places, but everyone who came near it kept getting sick. Finally, like the Israelites before them, when they got desperate enough, notice the last verse: their cry rose to heaven. Do you think God will listen?

A Kingly Act

1 Samuel 11
September 17, 2022
Day 261
In verse 26 of the last chapter, we are told that Saul, though officially chosen as king, just went back home and back to work. In this chapter, we see that he was at work in his fields as usual when the news came to him that Ammonites had gruesomely threatened some of his people. Suddenly, it seems that Saul realizes his responsibilities as king—and so does everyone else. When he sends for soldiers, they come from everywhere, and they defeat the Ammonites soundly. Then, in verses 14 and 15, they go to God at Gilgal and make Saul king indeed.

The Ark is Captured

1 Samuel 4
September 10, 2022
Day 254
Samuel was now a young man, and his fame as a man of God spread far and wide. This story shows that the people had begun to think of the Ark of the Covenant as if it were an idol. Just as their pagan neighbors might carry an image of their god into battle, Israel thought it was a good idea to carry the ark, so they’d win. Did it work? When the Philistines heard the Israelites cheering, they were afraid, because, as idol worshipers, they did believe the ark itself was somehow powerful. So when they won anyway, they must have thought their god was even more powerful. Not a very good witness! Eli’s sons, as he had been warned, died unrepentant, and on hearing of it, he died, too.

Samuel Listens and Obeys

1 Samuel 3
September 9, 2022
Day 253
Here is the story we all know and love about Samuel. It’s a beautiful example of someone listening and obeying. But it’s in a sad context. Notice verse 1—words from God are rare. They do happen, though; Eli just had one in the previous chapter, perhaps a little time before this, because God was giving him time to do something if he would. He didn’t. His sons continued their crimes. Now God calls a young boy to pass along the final sentence. Imagine how hard that was! We can tell from verse 17 that Samuel didn’t want to give the message. But he did. Eli submitted to God, but he still didn’t try to change his sons’ behavior.

Samuel’s Boyhood

1 Samuel 2
September 8, 2022
Day 252
There are three sections in this chapter. First is Hannah’s song of thanksgiving, which is a beautiful thing, and very interesting to compare with Mary’s, in Luke 1. Then we are given a description of the unrepentant sinfulness of Eli’s sons, who were supposed to be serving the Lord as priests and instead oppressed the people and were blasphemous concerning their offerings. There’s a little interlude about Samuel and his mother, and then, very interestingly, a specific and strongly worded warning direct from God to Eli, through a man of God. Will Eli repent and put his house in order?

Hannah’s Prayers

1 Samuel 1
September 7, 2022
Day 251
One of the problems that came from disobeying God’s laws was the practice of having more than one wife—never a good idea! Elkanah loved Hannah best, but Peninnah had children, so of course Peninnah made Hannah’s life miserable. Hannah knew no one could help her but God, so she took her problem straight to Him. And He answered her prayer. When Samuel was only a little boy, perhaps 5 to 7 years old, she gave him back to the Lord as she had promised.

A Happy Ending

Ruth 4
September 6, 2022
Day 250
Naomi had been so sorrowful that she even blamed God for her troubles, at first (see 1:20, 21). But as Ruth tenderly cared for her, and Boaz took on the burdens of the household by marrying Ruth, her faltering faith grew strong again. She loved her grandson so much that the neighbors teased her that he was her baby. Notice the genealogy at the very end. Just imagine what they would have thought if they’d known their baby would be the grandfather of David, one of Israel’s greatest kings. Imagine what Ruth would say if you could go back in time and tell her she would be an ancestor of the Messiah!

Redemption

Ruth 3
September 5, 2022
Day 248
To understand this chapter, we must understand the custom in those days. To care for widows, brothers or close relatives were supposed to marry them, but their first child would be considered the heir of the former husband, so that any property would stay in the family. Boaz agrees to do this for Ruth, but he must first consult another relative, who is more nearly related. What clues can you find that Boaz hopes the other man will not take Ruth? What clues can you find as to how Ruth feels about Boaz?
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