Romans 15:14-33; 1 Samuel 29; 1 Samuel 30; 1 Samuel 31; Psalm 71

Romans 15:14-33

From Jerusalem to Illyricum

14 Now, my brothers, I myself am convinced about you that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. 15 Nevertheless, to remind you, I have written to you more boldly on some points because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, serving as a priest of God's good news. My purpose is that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore I have reason to boast in Christ Jesus regarding what pertains to God. 18 For I would not dare say anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to make the Gentiles obedient by word and deed, 19 by the power of miraculous signs and wonders, and by the power of God's Spirit. As a result, I have fully proclaimed the good news about the Messiah from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum. 20 So my aim is to evangelize where Christ has not been named, in order that I will not be building on someone else's foundation, 21 but, as it is written: Those who had no report of Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.

Paul's Travel Plans

22 That is why I have been prevented many times from coming to you. 23 But now I no longer have any work to do in these provinces, and I have strongly desired for many years to come to you 24 whenever I travel to Spain. For I do hope to see you when I pass through, and to be sent on my way there by you, once I have first enjoyed your company for a while. 25 Now, however, I am traveling to Jerusalem to serve the saints; 26 for Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution to the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. 27 Yes, they were pleased, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual benefits, then they are obligated to minister to Jews in material needs. 28 So when I have finished this and safely delivered the funds to them, I will go by way of you to Spain. 29 But I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ. 30 Now I implore you, brothers, through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to agonize together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf: 31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 and that, by God's will, I may come to you with joy and be refreshed together with you. 33 The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.

1 Samuel 29

Philistines Reject David

1 The Philistines brought all their military units together at Aphek while Israel was camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine leaders were passing [in review with their units of] hundreds and thousands, David and his men were passing [in review] behind them with Achish. 3 Then the Philistine commanders asked, "What are these Hebrews [doing here]?" Achish answered the Philistine commanders, "That is David, servant of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me a considerable period of time. From the day he defected until today, I've found no fault with him." 4 The Philistine commanders, however, were enraged with Achish and told him, "Send that man back and let him return to the place you assigned him. He must not go down with us into battle only to become our adversary during the battle. What better way could he regain his master's favor than with the heads of our men? 5 Isn't this the David they sing about during their dances: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands?" 6 So Achish summoned David and told him, "As the Lord lives, you are an honorable man. I think it is good to have you working with me in the camp, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today. But the leaders don't think you are reliable. 7 Now go back quietly and you won't be doing [anything] the Philistine leaders think is wrong." 8 "But what have I done?" David replied to Achish. "From the first day I was with you until today, what have you found against your servant to keep me from going along to fight against the enemies of my lord the king?" 9 Achish answered David, "I'm convinced that you are as reliable as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders have said, 'He must not go into battle with us.' 10 So get up early in the morning, you and your masters' servants who came with you. When you've all gotten up early, go as soon as it's light." 11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

1 Samuel 30

David's Defeat of the Amalekites

1 David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the Negev and attacked and burned down Ziklag. 2 They also had kidnapped the women and everyone in it from the youngest to the oldest. They had killed no one but had carried them off as they went on their way. 3 When David and his men arrived at the town, they found it burned down. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been kidnapped. 4 David and the troops with him wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had also been kidnapped. 6 David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over [the loss of] their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 7 David said to Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." So Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David asked the Lord: "Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?" The Lord replied to him, "Pursue [them], for you will certainly overtake [them] and rescue [the people]." 9 David and the 600 men with him went as far as the Wadi Besor, where where 200 men who were to remain behind would stop. 10 They stopped because they were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor. David and 400 of the men continued in pursuit. 11 They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink. 12 Then they gave him some pressed figs and two clusters of raisins. After he ate he revived, for he hadn't eaten food or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 Then David said to him, "Who do you belong to? Where are you from?" "I'm an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite man," he said. "My master abandoned me when I got sick three days ago. 14 We raided the south country of the Cherethites, [the territory] of Judah, and the south country of Caleb, and we burned down Ziklag." 15 David then asked him, "Will you lead me to these raiders?" He said, "Swear to me by God that you won't kill me or turn me over to my master, and I will lead you to them." 16 So he led him, and there were the Amalekites, spread out over the entire area, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah. 17 David slaughtered them from twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who got on camels and fled. 18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken; he also rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing [of theirs] was missing from the youngest to the oldest, including the sons and daughters, of all the plunder the Amalekites had taken. David got everything back. 20 He took all the sheep and cattle, which were driven ahead of the other livestock, and the people shouted, "This is David's plunder!" 21 When David came to the 200 men who had been too exhausted to go with him and had been left at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet him and to meet the troops with him. When David approached the men, he greeted them, 22 but all the worthless men among those who had gone with David retorted, "Because they didn't go with us, we will not give any of the plunder we recovered to them except for each man's wife and children. They may take them and go." 23 But David said, "My brothers, you must not do this with what the Lord has given us. He protected us and handed over to us the raiders who came against us. 24 Who can agree to your proposal? The share of the one who goes into battle is to be the same as the share of the one who remains with the supplies. They will share equally." 25 And it has been so from that day forward. David established [this policy] as a law and an ordinance for Israel [and it continues] to this very day. 26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, "Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord's enemies." 27 [He sent gifts] to those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negev, and in Jattir; 28 to those in Aroer, in Siphmoth, and in Eshtemoa; 29 to those in Racal, in the towns of the Jerahmeelites, and in the towns of the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, and in Athach; 31 to those in Hebron, and to [those in] all the places where David and his men had roamed.

1 Samuel 31

The Death of Saul and His Sons

1 The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel's men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me." But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 6 So on that day, Saul died together with his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men. 7 When the men of Israel on the other side of the valley and on the other side of the Jordan saw that Israel's men had run away and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled. So the Philistines came and settled in them. 8 The next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons dead on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off Saul's head, stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to spread the good news in the temples of their idols and among the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and hung his body on the wall of Beth-shan. 11 When the residents of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their brave men set out, journeyed all night, and retrieved the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan. When they arrived at Jabesh, they burned the bodies there. 13 Afterwards, they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.

Psalm 71

God's Help in Old Age

1 Lord, I seek refuge in You; never let me be disgraced. 2 In Your justice, rescue and deliver me; listen closely to me and save me. 3 Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress. 4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and oppressive. 5 For You are my hope, Lord God , my confidence from my youth. 6 I have leaned on You from birth; You took me from my mother's womb. My praise is always about You. 7 I have become an ominous sign to many, but You are my strong refuge. 8 My mouth is full of praise and honor to You all day long. 9 Don't discard me in my old age: as my strength fails, do not abandon me. 10 For my enemies talk about me, and those who spy on me plot together, 11 saying, "God has abandoned him; chase him and catch him, for there is no one to rescue [him]." 12 God, do not be far from me; my God, hurry to help me. 13 May my adversaries be disgraced and confounded; may those who seek my harm be covered with disgrace and humiliation. 14 But I will hope continually and will praise You more and more. 15 My mouth will tell about Your righteousness and Your salvation all day long, though I cannot sum them up. 16 I come because of the mighty acts of the Lord God ; I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone. 17 God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still proclaim Your wonderful works. 18 Even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me. Then I will proclaim Your power to [another] generation, Your strength to all who are to come. 19 Your righteousness reaches heaven, God, You who have done great things; God, who is like You? 20 You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, but You will revive me again. You will bring me up again, even from the depths of the earth. 21 You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. 22 Therefore, with a lute I will praise You for Your faithfulness, my God; I will sing to You with a harp, Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You, because You have redeemed me. 24 Therefore, my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness all day long, for those who seek my harm will be disgraced and confounded.
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