Today’s One Year Reading
Today’s One Year Bible reading for Wednesday May 9th is 1 Samuel 5:1-7:17, John 6:1-21, Psalm 106:13-31 and Proverbs 14:32-33.
There were some great passages in today’s selection. The Old Testament reading telling the story of Samuel the prophet and Saul the future first King of Israel is a great story and if you’ve been reading along you know it marks a major turning point for ancient Israel! The reading in John relays the amazing story of the feeding of the multitude and the Psalm and Proverb readings fit in perfectly. But the passage that jumped out at me was 1 Samuel 7:3 for reasons I’ll explain below using the S.O.A. P note Bible study method.
Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, ‘If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.’ – 1 Samuel 7:3
As I was reading this passage it struck me that not only was the first instruction the prophet Samuel gave the Israelites, it is also the first instruction that God gave us in the 10 Commandments. Numbers 1 AND 2 in fact are:
‘ You must not have any other god but me.  You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them… ‘ (Exodus 20:3-5)
This means that not putting other gods before our God and idol worship comes BEFORE taking the Lord’s name in vain ( commandment 3), keeping the Sabbath (4), honoring your father and mother (5), murder (6), adultery (7), stealing (8), bearing false witness (9) and covetousness (10). By my reckoning that would make the whole false god thing pretty darn important.
And, as with everything I read in the Bible, I can see multiple layers in this Scripture.
One layer is that both Samuel and God tell us in no uncertain terms that we should put God first. To my mind, this is more important than being good or following the rules or any other aspect of our day to day conduct because God is the source of all goodness. Without that source any action we take (no matter how righteous) is really just going through the motions.
Another layer is that we should get rid of anything were worshiping more than we are worshiping God, whether that thing is money or fear of what others might think of us or any of the myriad forms of addiction (from electronics to heroin) that exist in our society.
The third layer, and the one that caught me dead center, is that we very literally should dispose of any actual idols that we may have in our possession. Because I have said idols.
If you’ve been following this blog (or my old one) for a while, you know that I was in the New Age for 7 years straight and that before that, for much of my life, I freely explored various pagan religions. During that time, I accumulated a LOT of stuff, including cards, books and actually idols. For the last several months I have been giving away, throwing away, donating and selling these items but they are definitely not all gone.
Now I know I have to get rid of this stuff and I’m working on it but I also know that God thinks I should be working at it harder. I know this because one day a couple of weeks during prayer the still small voice of the Holy Spirit told me to ‘get my house in order’ and I knew exactly what that meant. And so for a while I worked on it. I got books out of the attic and I threw a few things away and I ventured into the eBay room and looked at all the stuff we are trying to sell. And then I forgot about it, sort of, or rather got busy with other everyday things.
What is most significant about this to me is that I am not putting God first in two different but admittedly related ways. One way I’m not putting Him first is having the idols and books and cards in my house. The other is by letting other less important things override what God has asked me to do!
So I am reminded that I need to move on this and keep moving. This is my intent and I will keep you all updated on my progress!
Dear Lord. I am sorry that I have not acted on your instructions you’ve given me. And I thank you for sticking with me and reminding me of what I need to do. Please give me the perseverance and the strength to get those things done. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Tomorrow’s reading for May 10 is 1 Samuel 8:1-9:27, John 6:22-42, Psalm 106:32-48 and Proverbs 14:34-35 which can be read in any Bible or online.
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