1 Samuel 15-23 daily devotional writings by Kevin E. Jesmer 2012

Wednesday, May 1




1 Samuel 15:1-15

Key Verse 15:11


1.  Saul, a man of disobedience (1-9)

God gave Saul a mission. The Amalekites had taken advantage of God’s people when they were vulnerable. (Deut 25:17-19) God called Saul to be his instrument of judgment upon them. He also wanted to test Saul to see if he would be stand up as a leader for God’s people. He wanted to train him for leadership. Saul started well, but when the time came to carry out God’s commands, he interpreted them in his own way. Saul was a man of incomplete, partial and selective obedience.


2.  The Lord was grieved about Saul (10-13)

The Lord was grieved at Saul’s disobedience. Samuel shared in God’s heart. He cried out in prayer all night for Saul’s future, that the Lord may forgive him and give him another chance. Perhaps he prayed that Saul may repent and make a more sincere effort to fulfill his God given mission. But while Samuel prayed, Saul went to erect a monument for his name’s sake. (12) He was really far gone! We are all prone to disobedience. We must acknowledge this and ask the Lord to strengthen us be pleasing to him.


Prayer: Lord, I am so prone to disobedience. Forgive me and by your grace help me follow you.


One Word:  Repent before you are too far gone

Thursday, May 2




1 Samuel 15:16-35

Key Verse 15:22


1.  Stop with the excuses already! (16-21)

The time came for God to confront Saul. Instead of humbling himself, Saul made excuses in order to save face. In doing so, he was inferring that God and Samuel were wrong in coming to him. Making excuses about our sin is the opposite of confession. It reveals pride and self righteousness and separates us from the salvation that God wants to work in hour hearts and lives. It is very tiring too.


2.  Obey the Lord with the right heart (22-35)

Saul thought that he could find acceptance by telling of his intent to sacrifice the best later on. God’s favor can never be won like that. God does not want heartless sacrifices, he wants worshipful obedience. Samuel fulfilled the obedience that Saul failed to exhibit. Samuel exhibited unwavering obedience to God that was borne out of his love and respect for God. Offering our sacrifices without giving our hearts is dishonoring God and not worship. God wants worshipful obedience to his word borne out of faith, love and respect for him.


Prayer:  Lord, I am tired of my excuse making. From this day on, I want to offer you my heart as I worship and obey you rather than making empty sacrifices.


One Word:  The Lord wants our hearts as we obey

Friday, May 3




1 Samuel 16:1-23

Key Verse 16:7


1.  God sees the heart and calls his own (1-13)

The Lord sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king. David was the youngest. He had no battle experience. It seemed unlikely that he would be the one. But God does not look at the outer appearance. He looks at the heart. David’s heart was tender and humble towards God. God also cared about his people and wanted to give them a leader with a heart like his own, the heart of a shepherd. God is searching for his servants even today. Though we may not have the heart of God, God can help us to be people after his own heart.


2.   God extended his kindness to Saul (14- 23)

Saul became extremely stressed out because of his sin. He had no peace. But God had mercy on Saul. His advisors recommended music therapy, and they told him about David who played the harp. God was showing kindness to Saul and also introducing David to his future position for David would gain firsthand experience about leading a nation through drawing near to Saul.


Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for looking at the heart. Transform me on the inside, so that I can be a person after your heart and then work through me.


One Word: Praise God that he sees into the heart


Saturday, May 4




1 Samuel 17:1-16

Key Verse 17:14-15


1.  The real enemy is fear itself (1-11)

War began. Opposing armies drew up their battle lines. There was a valley in between and nobody wanted to attack because they would face an uphill battle to reach the other army. A champion, Goliath, came out of the enemy camp. He was foreboding and used psychological tactics against God’s people, shouting and challenging the ranks of Israel to fight a deciding duel. On hearing Goliath’s words, the Israelites were disabled with alarm and their spirits depressed. This terrifying challenge continued everyday so that the hearts of the Israelites were paralyzed. Goliath’s strategy won the victory over the Israelites without fighting because of fear. Their real enemy was fear itself.


2.  God was already at work among them (12-16)

God was not paralyzed. He was at work among them even at that terrifying moment. God was bringing David into the situation. God would work though David to bring about a huge victory. God is already at work to bring about a solution to our dilemmas and free us from fear.


Prayer: Lord, I need your help to conquer the fears that are paralyzing me. I know you are working out your salvation at this moment. Fill me with faith.


One Word: Have faith in God

Sunday, May 5




1 Samuel 17:17-40

Key Verse 17:37


1.  God granted David a spirit of victory (17-37)

David stayed home when his brothers were drafted by Saul. David was sent to the front lines to deliver food. When he arrived, the armies were in battle positions. Goliath shouted insults. The Israelites were terrified. But David had a spirit of victory. To David, who had faith in God Almighty, Goliath was a defeated foe and the armies of the living God were all powerful. David had faith that takes initiative. His first reaction was to engage in battle. David also had faith in God’s deliverance. Just as God delivered him in the past as a shepherd, he was sure that the Lord would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine in the present.


2.   David’s weapon choice glorified God (38-40)

Saul tried to dress David up in battle gear thinking that David needed the latest technology to defeat Goliath. David opted for a sling and stone, items he was used to. He could choose these because he trusted God. His choices gave room for God to be glorified in the battle and have encouraged billions of people over the millennia.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to see you as the Almighty God. May I never be dismayed by anything in this world, but overcome with faith.


One Word:  The Lord will rescue me again

Monday, May 6




1 Samuel 17:41-58

Key Verse 17:45


1.  Courage borne through faith (41-51a)

Davidshould fear this giant.  But he overcame his fear when he faced him with faith that he was fighting in the name of the Lord Almighty.  As a loyal soldier in the Lord’s army, he had a duty to fight Goliath in order to glorify the Almighty God. To fight was his duty. He also knew he was God’s ambassador with all the authority of God backing him to conquer the enemy. David also had faith that the battle is the Lord’s and God would fight. With this faith he overcame all his fear and the victory was assured.  Trusting in the Lord and stepping out in faith, David triumphed over the Philistine.


2.   David’s faith inspired a whole nation (51b-58)

We can see the results when one person of faith, David, stood on the side of the Lord. Total victory! The Philistines ran. The people of God were inspired and pursued the enemies to the gates of their capital. The complete victory that was brought about through David’s faith caught the eye of Saul who brought David near. This was God’s plan.


Prayer: Lord help me to put my faith in you, the Lord God Almighty and with this faith may I embrace the challenges you have placed in my life.


One Word:  Stand up with faith in the Almighty God

Tuesday, May 7




1 Samuel 18:1-31

Key Verse 18:14


1.  Everyone loved David except Saul (1-16)

God opened everyone’s heart toward David. Jonathan was one in spirit with him. The army was pleased; women sang songs. Michal loved David. The nation loved him. God gave him success. When the women sang of David’s victories, Saul was furious. An evil spirit came and Saul twice hurled a spear at David. But God protected him. David won the favor of God and people, but there will always be those who are displeased.


2.  Anger gets us nowhere (17-31)

The evil spirit made Saul fearful, realizing the Lord was with David. So Saul promised David his daughter on the condition that he would fight the Philistines once more. This was Saul’s plot to kill David. Being persuaded to become the king’s son-in-law, David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. He brought their foreskins to the king.  Saul was forced to give another daughter to him. Saul was helpless to resist David’s rise to power. His anger only hurt himself. He needed to humble himself and support what God was doing.


Prayer: Lord, I trust that you will fulfill your will and raise up whom you desire. Help me to support what you are doing and know that you fulfill your will.


One Word: God is on control

Wednesday, May 8




1 Samuel 19:1-24

Key Verse 19: 4


1.   David was protected by God (1-17; 19-24)

Saul told Jonathan and his attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was fond of David and warned him. He spoke well of David to Saul. Saul promised that he would not kill David. But an evil spirit came upon him and he tried to pin David with his spear. Again David eluded him. Saul sent his men to kill David while he was sleeping. But Michal, David’s wife, rescued him. When David and Samuel went to Naioth, Saul tried to capture him. But the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men and they prophesied and were incapacitated. When Saul came, the Spirit of God overwhelmed him and he was incapacitated also. Saul was not able to destroy David, for God was with David.


2.  David knew where to turn in a crisis (18)

When David made his escape, he went first to Samuel, the servant of God, and told him all that Saul had done to him. He could have gone many places, but he chose to get counsel from a servant of the Lord. He knew it was God who was protecting him for a great purpose.


Prayer: Lord open my eyes to see that you are with me and are protecting me on all fronts. Guide my life to serve your great purpose.


One Word: God is with you. Now go with God.

Thursday, May 9




1 Samuel 20:1-17

Key Verse 20:16-17


1.  David turned to a trusted friend (1-10)

David fled to Jonathan to seek a just assessment about what Saul was doing. He pled his innocence, hoping for answers and a resolution.  Jonathan was blind to what was happening, though he was the crown prince. Most crown princes don’t like competition. But Jonathan knew the will of God that David would be king. Jonathan also wanted to help his friend. And so he provided a way for David to be safe and blessed him.


2.   True friendship in God (11-17)

They went into the field for a heart-to-heart talk. There he made a covenant with the house of David. Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. They had a beautiful friendship that overcame competition and political intrigue. They trusted each other. All of this was possible because their love for God took first place in their hearts. Jonathan’s love for God and for his friend opened the path for David to become king. We all need godly friendships like this.


Prayer: Lord, my heart is moved by this beautiful friendship. Help me to enter into such friendships as I put you first place in my life.


One Word: Thank God for friendships in the Lord!

Friday, May 10




1 Samuel 20:18-42

Key Verse 20: 42


1.  True friends are willing to bear troubles (18-34)

Saul discovered that David was missing from the king’s table. Jonathan defended David but despite Jonathan’s attempt to placate his angry father, Saul’s anger erupted at Jonathan. He was out of his mind, insulting his own wife and hurling his spear at his own son. Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. Jonathan could have quietly avoided a confrontation with his father, but he didn’t. He had a covenant of friendship with David. It was costly to keep the covenant, but Jonathan had faith in God and he loved David. He was willing to face the difficulties.


2.  The bond of friendship made stronger (36-42)

Jonathan left grieving and went to give David the prearranged signal. After sending the assistant away, Jonathan waited, giving David the freedom to run or approach him to talk. David bowed down before Jonathan, thanking him. They kissed (cheek to cheek) and wept. Their bond of friendship was stronger than ever and has remained as the standard of Christian friendship for three millennia.


Prayer: Lord, Help me to be committed to the friends you have brought close. After all, that is what you did for me.


One Word:  Friendship is costly but worth it

Saturday, May 11




1 Samuel 21:1-15

Key Verse 21:6


1.   David visits the priest for help (21:1-9)

David headed next toward where the priest lived to get help. He trusted Ahimelek, who feared God. David asked him for bread to save his men from hunger. Ahimelek had only the consecrated bread, which was only for priests. But he gave it to David. He was not bound by legalism. Though he broke a law, he was right because he chose to save people who were in need. This reveals God’s heart. When David asked him for some weapons, Ahimelek also gave him the sword of Goliath. There was a man of God who supported him. The hand of God works through others to encourage his servants.


2. David acted like a madman (21:10-15)

David was an outlaw. He crossed the border, seeking refuge in Philistine territory hoping for political asylum. David thought that he was unknown, but they had heard of his exploits so they were on to him. But David kept calm and depended on God. God gave him wisdom to act mad. God moved the King to expel David. God miraculously delivered him once more.


Prayer: Lord, help me to follow  the leading of your Spirit and reveal your heart instead of cold legalism.


One Word: Reveal the compassionate heart of God

Sunday, May 12




1 Samuel 22:1-23

Key Verse 22: 14,15


1.  David shepherds the outcasts (1-5)

David fled to the cave of Adullum to escape. He was a fugitive who seemed helpless. But God had a great plan for David. People gathered around him  who were in distress, in debt or discontented. There were also family members. Four hundred people came to seek David’s help. Though he didn’t have the resources, and his own life was at risk, David took care of them with all his heart. They became a loyal nucleus of David’s army. David’s caring was a light to people living in the darkness.


2. One person stood up to the darkness (6-23)

Saul was paranoid and was angry at Ahimelek’s compassionate servantship to David. Ahimelek was innocent, doing what was right before the eyes of the Lord, but the king ordered that his family be destroyed. Saul’s officials knew that it was wrong and so Doeg took over and killed 85 priests, the town and the livestock. Ahimelek’s help of David was very costly. But he was not a victim of evil to be pitied. He was a victor, the bearer of the light of God at a dark time – even unto us today.


Prayer: Lord help me to embrace all you send to me to love and serve though faith in you. May I shine your light.


One Word: Stand up as a light in this world

Monday, May 13




1 Samuel 23:1-14

Key Verse 23:4


1.  David, A Man Of Prayer (1-13)

When David heard that the Philistines were fighting against Keilah, he had to find a solution. And so he came to God in prayer. The Lord told him to attack. David was ready, but his men were afraid. David prayed again. God told him to go. The men overcame their fear, encouraged by David’s prayer life. They went to Keilah, fought hard, and saved Keilah. God gave David victory and people were blessed when he prayed. The privilege of prayer is open to each of us.


2.   David prayed again (7-14)

After his rescue mission, David learned that Saul was plotting against him. Again he sought God in prayer. David talked freely to God, unpacking everything on his heart. He was concerned that a town would turn him and his men over to Saul. God said “yes” they will. Obeying God, David and his men left Keilah and kept moving. They were saved. When David prayed at each step, God answered his prayer. And when he obeyed God, God rescued his life. This can be our story too.


Prayer: Lord, I repent that I neglect the privilege to pray. Prayer is such a blessing and very potent. Please teach me to pray like David did.


One Word:  Pray at every step of the journey

Tuesday, May 14




1 Samuel 23:15-29

Key Verse 23:17


1.  Jonathan’s encouragement (1-18)

Jonathan helped David find strength in God. He told him not to be afraid and that he will be king. It was obvious to all. These were not just kind words. They were words of truth revealed by God himself, who was with David. God would surely protect David and establish him as the king. Jonathan also encouraged David by making a covenant with him. The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. They made a commitment to one another in God. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained in Horesh. Jonathan knew how to encourage a friend in distress.


2.    God protects David once again (19-29)

Jonathan may have been a faithful friend, but the Ziphites betrayed David to Saul, and he was almost captured. But God rescued David by frustrating Saul’s plot through a Philistine invasion. God is faithful to his chosen ones. He will uphold his servants and shield them so that his will may be fulfilled.  God is sure to guide us through troubled times.


Prayer: Lord, help me to be an encouragement to others by sharing the truth of God and encourage others with facts of what you are doing.


One Word:  Encourage others to have faith in God

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