1 Samuel 31:1-10; 28:15-19
Mon, 13 December 2021

The Lamp Shining in Darkness


How are we to understand the battle scene at Mount Gilboa?

Deeper Reflection
IN VERSES 1 TO 10, the narrator uses nine verbs specially to tell “a tale of brutal disaster”9 in the battle between Israel and the Philistines on Mount Gilboa. The nine action words, with some repeated, are: flee (three times) – “the men of Israel fled” (vv.1, 7); fall/fallen (four times) – Israel “fell slain” (v.1), Saul and his armour-bearer “fell” on their own swords (vv.4, 5) and “Saul and his three sons fallen” (v.8); “the Philistines killed Jonathan” (v.2); Saul “was badly wounded” (v.3); Saul asked his armour-bearer to “pierce me through” with his sword (twice – v.4); the Philistines “stripped” the slain Israelites (twice – vv.8, 9); Saul’s head was “cut off ” (v.9); Saul’s dead body was “fastened” to the wall (v.10); and Saul, his armour-bearer and his three sons “died” (four times – vv.5-7). What “a dark time for the kingdom of God”10, not just Israel! But we must know how to look at this very dark scene. What had happened was but God fulfilling His Word spoken to Saul through the “disturbed” Samuel: “the LORD will give you and Israel into the hands of the Philistines” (1 Sam 28:19). Saul and Israel may fall, but the Word of God will not fall. The Word of God will and has surely come to pass. The Scripture is the “completely reliable prophetic word” that we “do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Pet 1:19-21). “In darkness or in light what matters is having a God who speaks a true and faithful word.”11
9 Dale Ralph Davis, 325 10 Dale Ralph Davis, 325 11 Dale Ralph Davis, 325

What does it mean for me to pay attention to the Scripture as to a lamp shining in a dark place?

Lord, in times when following You faithfully, I walk in darkness and have no light,12 let me see that God Is Light and God Is Love as revealed in the living Scriptures, the lamp of God that shines even in the darkest darkness. Your Word never fails, for You who have spoken the Word is faithful and true. Help me to make Your Word as the anchor and compass of my life.
12 Isaiah 50:10
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise:
  • Pray for leaders
  • Pray for significant people:
  • Pray for those in need:
  • Pray for self:

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Daily Devo
Daily Devotional Journal
Daniel 10: 4-19
Sat, 30 September 2023

Strengthened by the Divine Touch


What is the significance of the repetition of the terms “strength” and
“strengthen” in Daniel’s encounter with God (vv.8, 16, 17, 18, 19)?

Deeper Reflection
When God sent His Word to Daniel in a vision, it was he “alone saw” the “great vision” (vv.7-8). It was a special privilege of divine sovereign grace. The vision was also a vision of God’s holiness and glory manifested in the awesome appearance of a heavenly being (vv.5-6). Daniel was so utterly overwhelmed by the divine vision, that “no strength was left in me” (v.8). The description, “no strength”, is emphatically repeated four times in Daniel’s encounter with God (vv.8, 16, 17). We may not experience such an utterly overwhelming encounter with God like Daniel’s, but we do experience “no strength was left in me” in utterly overwhelming adversities like being “afflicted in every way” (2 Cor 1:8; 4:8-9).When we have “no strength”, we need the divine touch. God responded to Daniel’s fourfold “no strength” with a threefold divine touch (vv.10, 16, 18): He “touched me again and strengthened me”. When we are so greatly afflicted, that we feel no strength is left in us, and yet we persevere in faithfulness, it is because we are being “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of great endurance and patience” (Col 1:11). Note the intensity and immensity of this divine power at work in us! This is the divine touch of “the surpassing greatness of power” from God (2 Cor 4:7-9). But we feel the physical and emotional pains more than the Spiritual power. The greater is our suffering, the greater will be the strength from God in us, and the greater will be our steadfastness in God.

What is my experience of the Word of God and spiritual warfare like in my
discipleship journey?

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 Church Board: To know God’s power that is perfected in weaknesses
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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