Psalm 150 The Voice (VOICE)
If Psalm 150 is any indication, then the worship of the one True God ought to be full of life and energy. Consider what it must have looked and sounded like in those days: voices lifted, shouting for joy, trumpets blaring, stringed instruments playing, people dancing, pipes humming, tambourines keeping rhythm, cymbals crashing. There are times when worship ought to break out in joy. Is it possible that our worship is too quiet, too reserved, too structured?
1 Praise the Eternal!
3-4 Praise Him with the blast of trumpets high into the heavens,
This doxology not only closes Book Five, but it also closes the entire Book of Psalms. Up until now, the songs in this book have reminded us of all the reasons we should praise God. Some songs have even commanded us to praise Him. But this closing remark takes the command to praise one step further: everything alive—humans, animals, and heaven’s creatures—must praise Him. Praise is what God created us to do; it is one of our highest purposes in life. So it is no wonder that the longest book of the Bible is purely devoted to helping us do just that.
1 Samuel 17:1-23 The Voice (VOICE)
17 Now the Philistines had gathered an army for battle at Socoh, which is in the land of Judah, and they pitched their tents in Ephes-dammim between Socoh and Azekah. 2 Unwilling to allow another Philistine invasion of their nation, Saul and the forces of Israel went out against them. They camped in the valley of Elah and formed ranks against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on one mountain and the Israelites on another, with the valley between them.
4 Then a champion emerged from the Philistine camp, Goliath of Gath (one of the five capital cities in the Philistine confederation), who was over nine feet tall.[a] 5 He wore a bronze helmet and a chain-mail coat that weighed more than 100 pounds of bronze. 6 His legs were protected by bronze shin guards, and he had a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders, ready to throw. 7 The shaft of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam, the iron head of his spear weighed 20 pounds, and his shield-bearer went ahead of him. He was a fearsome sight.
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the watching Israelites.
Goliath: Why have you come to fight us? Am I not a Philistine, a warrior for a powerful empire? And don’t you serve Saul, your so-called king? Choose yourselves a champion, and send him out to me. 9 If he kills me when we fight, then we will serve you; but if I defeat him and kill him, then you will serve us. 10 Today I challenge the entire army of Israel: send me someone to fight!
11 When Saul and his army heard the Philistine’s words, they were shocked and frightened.
No one compares physically to Goliath. A hand-to-hand battle would be a slaughter, and the Philistines would conquer Israel anyway. Who can save them?
12 David was the son of Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah who had eight sons. At this time, Jesse was already an old man. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons, Eliab (the firstborn), Abinadab (the second), and Shammah (the third) had gone with Saul to the battlefield. 14 David was the youngest son; and while the three oldest went with Saul, 15 he went back and forth between Saul’s battle and his father’s sheep in Bethlehem taking provisions to the troops and bringing word from the front line.
16 For 40 days this Philistine giant, Goliath of Gath, stepped forward, challenging the men of Israel every morning and evening. But no one was brave enough to accept the challenge.
Jesse (to his son David): 17 Take ⅗ of a bushel of roasted grain and these 10 loaves of bread to your brothers in the camp. 18 Also take these 10 blocks of cheese to the commander of their company. See how your brothers are doing, and bring me some word from them. 19 Saul, your brothers, and all the men of Israel are arrayed in the valley of Elah fighting against the Philistines.
The story of David and Goliath is one that has grown in popular attention, and many people who have never read the Bible know it as a simple story of the underdog defeating the favored warrior. Although there is another story of how David is noticed by the king (when he was brought to Saul’s court to play his music), in this story, David comes to the king’s attention as God’s warrior, contrasting Saul in almost every way. A mere boy, David doesn’t trust in his own strength or in armor or in fancy weapons. David places his trust in God, and his courage comes from belief that God can use him, as small as he is compared to his opponent, because God is all-powerful.
20 David rose early the next morning, left the sheep in the care of another, took the provisions, and obeyed Jesse’s instructions. David reached the camp just as the army was lining up and shouting its war cries. 21 Both Israel and the Philistines prepared to fight against each other. 22 David left the provisions with the person in charge of baggage; he ran to the front lines and shoved his way through the soldiers to greet his brothers. 23 As David talked with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, emerged again and shouted his challenge to the men of Israel. This time young David heard his words.
Acts 5:12-16 The Voice (VOICE)
In these formative days, God sends some strong messages about His work in the church: the power to heal, the beauty of life in the Spirit, and His hatred for arrogant religion. If God does not rebuke the married couple who chooses to make a show of their supposed generosity, then Christianity might drift in the wrong direction. While the Jewish leaders are using religion as a means to gain power and increase their reputations, the teachings of Jesus lead down a path toward the kingdom of God rather than toward human advancement. God chooses to expose these bad motives quickly, so that the church can give out of pure motives rather than out of a desire to appear righteous.
12 Those were amazing days—with many signs and wonders being performed through the apostles among the people. The church would gather as a unified group in Solomon’s Porch, 13 enjoying great respect by the people of the city—though most people wouldn’t risk publicly affiliating with them. 14 Even so, record numbers of believers—both men and women—were added to the Lord. 15 The church’s renown was so great that when Peter walked down the street, people would carry out their sick relatives hoping his shadow would fall on some of them as he passed. 16 Even people from towns surrounding Jerusalem would come, bringing others who were sick or tormented by unclean spirits, all of whom were cured.
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