Scripture:
1 Samuel 31:1-2, 8-10; 4:10-11; 5:1-5; 1 Chronicles 10:10
Thu, 16 December 2021

How Do We See God?

Observation:

What significant observations can you make about the two incidents of Israel’s defeat to the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4:1-10-11; 5:1-5 and 31:1-2, 8-10?

Deeper Reflection
ISRAEL’S DEFEAT and Saul’s death in the battle with the Philistines on Mount Gilboa is to be viewed theologically. God is not mentioned in the story, but the gods of the Philistines are (vv.9-10). How then do we see God here? The Philistines “cut off” Saul’s “head” and “stripped off his weapons, and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines” as “good news to the house of their idols and to the people” (v.9). The gory head of Saul belonged to “the LORD’s anointed” (cf. 1 Sam 24:6), therefore God had been defeated.14 Saul’s armour was stripped, God could not protect His king.15 That was how the Philistines viewed the God of Israel. This was reinforced by their putting of Saul’s “armour in the house of their gods” and fastening of “his head in the house of Dagon” (1 Chron 10:10). When years ago the Philistines captured the ark of God in their defeat of Israel and placed it in the temple of Dagon, God turned the tables on Dagon (1 Sam 4:10-11; 5:1-5). But now, God was silent. God is literally – in the text – nowhere to be found. We only see in the text the glory of pagan gods. The score in the battle between God and Dagon was: Dagon 2, God 1. Has God really and finally lost? There are times God is disgraced because we have failed Him (2 Sam 12:14; Rom 2:23-24). But God also manifests His glory in His apparent defeat and disgrace. The cross points to this theological reality (1 Cor 1:23-25).
15 Dale Ralph Davis, 326 15 Dale Ralph Davis, 326
Application:

How do I respond to situations where it seems that God is defeated and disgraced?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise:
  • Pray for Outreach/Missions/New Life leaders: To see God’s glory in situations where God is dishonoured
  • Pray for significant people:
  • Pray for those in need:
  • Pray for self:

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Daily Devo
Daily Devotional Journal
Scripture:
Daniel 5:7-17
Wed, 31 May 2023

Answering God’s Call in Vocation

Observation:

What significant observations can you make about Daniel?

Deeper Reflection
Daniel did not choose to serve Babylonian kings in Babylon. It was circumstances – a national crisis of his country – that compelled Daniel to be where he was and doing what he was doing. Daniel did not have the privilege, opportunity or freedom to pursue a career of his own desire. However, it was out of these adverse circumstances, that Daniel discovered God’s call for him: To serve God through serving Babylonian kings. And God gave him the specific competency to fulfil God’s call (Dan 1:17). After Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar about his dream and the interpretation, he was “promoted” to be “ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan 2:48).When Belshazzar gathered his wise men to interpret for him the inscription on the wall, Daniel was not among them. Daniel was not unknown to Belshazzar.59 He knew him as “one of the exiles from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah” and “appointed him chief ” over all the wise men of Babylon (vv.11-12). It was only when the queen mentioned Daniel to him, that Belshazzar called for him (vv.10-11). Belshazzar “deliberately ignored Daniel”60 . Daniel was sidelined. How do you respond to being sidelined? For Daniel, he felt secure. Daniel was secure because he had no ambition to climb the corporate ladder. He had no interest in rewards and promotion. Daniel said to Belshazzar, “Keep your gifts for yourself or give your rewards to someone else” (vv.16-17). But Daniel interpreted the inscription for Belshazzar. Daniel was answering God’s call for him.
59 Ernest C. Lucas, 131 60 Ernest C. Lucas, 131
Application:

What positive attitudes do I need to cultivate in my workplace?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for leaders
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for the Generations: To view their vocation as answering God’s call for their lives
  • Pray for self
 

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