Romans 14; 1 Samuel 26; Psalm 69

Romans 14

The Law of Liberty

1 Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don't argue about doubtful issues. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, but one who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat; and one who does not eat must not criticize one who does, because God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to criticize another's household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And stand he will! For the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 Whoever observes the day, observes it to the Lord. Whoever eats, eats to the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; and whoever does not eat, it is to the Lord that he does not eat, yet he thanks God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. 10 But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God. 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

The Law of Love

13 Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another, but instead decide not to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother's way. 14 (I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Still, to someone who considers a thing to be unclean, to that one it is unclean.) 15 For if your brother is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. By what you eat, do not destroy that one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore, do not let your good be slandered, 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever serves the Messiah in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. 20 Do not tear down God's work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong for a man to cause stumbling by what he eats. 21 It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble. 22 Do you have faith? Keep it to yourself before God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever doubts stands condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin.

1 Samuel 26

David Again Spares Saul

1 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, "David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon." 2 So Saul, accompanied by 3,000 of the choice men of Israel, went to the Wilderness of Ziph to search for David there. 3 Saul camped beside the road at the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon. David was living in the wilderness and discovered Saul had come there after him. 4 So David sent out spies and knew for certain that Saul had come. 5 Immediately, David went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general of his army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the inner circle of the camp with the troops camped around him. 6 Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, "Who will go with me into the camp to Saul?" "I'll go with you," answered Abishai. 7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won't [have to strike] him twice!" 9 But David said to Abishai, "Don't destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord's anointed and be blameless?" 10 David added, "As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 However, because of the Lord, I will never lift my hand against the Lord's anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let's go." 12 So David took the spear and the water jug by Saul's head, and they went their way. No one saw them, no one knew, and no one woke up; they all remained asleep because a deep sleep from the Lord came over them. 13 David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance; there was a considerable space between them. 14 Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: "Aren't you going to answer, Abner?" "Who are you who calls to the king?" Abner asked. 15 David called to Abner, "You're a man, aren't you? Who in Israel is your equal? So why didn't you protect your lord the king when one of the people came to destroy him? 16 What you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, all of you deserve to die since you didn't protect your lord, the Lord's anointed. Now look around; where are the king's spear and water jug that were by his head?" 17 Saul recognized David's voice and asked, "Is that your voice, my son David?" "It is my voice, my lord and king," David said. 18 Then he continued, "Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? 19 Now, may my lord the king please hear the words of his servant: If it is the Lord who has incited you against me, then may He accept an offering. But if it is people, may they be cursed in the presence of the Lord, for today they have driven me away from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord saying, 'Go and worship other gods.' 20 So don't let my blood fall to the ground far from the Lord's presence, for the king of Israel has come out to search for a flea, like one who pursues a partridge in the mountains." 21 Saul responded, "I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I've committed a grave error." 22 David answered, "Here is the king's spear; have one of the young men come over and get it. 23 May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty. I wasn't willing to lift my hand against the Lord's anointed, even though the Lord handed you over to me today. 24 Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the Lord consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble." 25 Saul said to him, "You are blessed, my son David. You will certainly do great things and will also prevail." Then David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

Psalm 69

A Plea for Rescue

For the choir director: according to "The Lilies." Davidic.

1 Save me, God, for the water has risen to my neck. 2 I have sunk in deep mud, and there is no footing; I have come into deep waters, and a flood sweeps over me. 3 I am weary from my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. 4 Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs of my head; my deceitful enemies, who would destroy me, are powerful. Though I did not steal, I must repay. 5 God, You know my foolishness, and my guilty acts are not hidden from You. 6 Do not let those who put their hope in You be disgraced because of me, Lord God of Hosts; do not let those who seek You be humiliated because of me, God of Israel. 7 For I have endured insults because of You, and shame has covered my face. 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers and a foreigner to my mother's sons 9 because zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult You have fallen on me. 10 I mourned and fasted, but it brought me insults. 11 I wore sackcloth as my clothing, and I was a joke to them. 12 Those who sit at the city gate talk about me, and drunkards make up songs about me. 13 But as for me, Lord, my prayer to You is for a time of favor. In Your abundant, faithful love, God, answer me with Your sure salvation. 14 Rescue me from the miry mud; don't let me sink. Let me be rescued from those who hate me, and from the deep waters. 15 Don't let the floodwaters sweep over me or the deep swallow me up; don't let the Pit close its mouth over me. 16 Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me. 17 Don't hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me quickly! 18 Draw near to me and redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies. 19 You know the insults I endure- my shame and disgrace. You are aware of all my adversaries. 20 Insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but found no one. 21 Instead, they gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 22 Let their table set before them be a snare, and let it be a trap for [their] allies. 23 Let their eyes grow too dim to see, and let their loins continually shake. 24 Pour out Your rage on them, and let Your burning anger overtake them. 25 Make their fortification desolate; may no one live in their tents. 26 For they persecute the one You struck and talk about the pain of those You wounded. 27 Add guilt to their guilt; do not let them share in Your righteousness. 28 Let them be erased from the book of life and not be recorded with the righteous. 29 But as for me-poor and in pain- let Your salvation protect me, God. 30 I will praise God's name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving. 31 That will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with horns and hooves. 32 The humble will see it and rejoice. You who seek God, take heart! 33 For the Lord listens to the needy and does not despise His own who are prisoners. 34 Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them, 35 for God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah. They will live there and possess it. 36 The descendants of His servants will inherit it, and those who love His name will live in it.
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