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1 Samuel 15:34-16:13

34 Samuel went home to Ramah, and Saul returned to his home in Gibeah. 35 Even though Samuel felt sad about Saul, Samuel never saw him again.

The Lord Chooses David To Be King

The Lord was sorry he had made Saul the king of Israel. 16 One day he said, “Samuel, I’ve rejected Saul, and I refuse to let him be king any longer. Stop feeling sad about him. Put some olive oil[a] in a small container[b] and go visit a man named Jesse, who lives in Bethlehem. I’ve chosen one of his sons to be my king.”

Samuel answered, “If I do that, Saul will find out and have me killed.”

“Take a calf with you,” the Lord replied. “Tell everyone that you’ve come to offer it as a sacrifice to me, then invite Jesse to the sacrifice.[c] When I show you which one of his sons I have chosen, pour the olive oil on his head.”

Samuel did what the Lord told him and went to Bethlehem. The town leaders went to meet him, but they were terribly afraid and asked, “Is this a friendly visit?”

“Yes, it is!” Samuel answered. “I’ve come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Get yourselves ready[d] to take part in the sacrifice and come with me.” Samuel also invited Jesse and his sons to come to the sacrifice, and he got them ready to take part.

When Jesse and his sons arrived, Samuel noticed Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab. “He has to be the one the Lord has chosen,” Samuel said to himself.

But the Lord told him, “Samuel, don’t think Eliab is the one just because he’s tall and handsome. He isn’t the one I’ve chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.”

Jesse told his son Abinadab to go over to Samuel, but Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen him.”

Next, Jesse sent his son Shammah to him, and Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen him either.”

10 Jesse had all seven of his sons go over to Samuel. Finally, Samuel said, “Jesse, the Lord hasn’t chosen any of these young men. 11 Do you have any more sons?”

“Yes,” Jesse answered. “My youngest son David is out taking care of the sheep.”

“Send for him!” Samuel said. “We won’t start the ceremony until he gets here.”

12 Jesse sent for David. He was a healthy, good-looking boy with a sparkle in his eyes. As soon as David came, the Lord told Samuel, “He’s the one! Get up and pour the olive oil on his head.”[e]

13 Samuel poured the oil on David’s head while his brothers watched. At that moment, the Spirit of the Lord took control of David and stayed with him from then on.

Samuel returned home to Ramah.

Footnotes:

  1. 16.1 olive oil: See the note at 9.16.
  2. 16.1 small container: Hebrew “horn”; animal horns were sometimes hollowed out and used as containers.
  3. 16.3 sacrifice: A sacrifice often involved a dinner where the meat from the sacrificed animal would be served.
  4. 16.5 Get yourselves ready: The people of Israel sometimes had to perform certain ceremonies to make themselves acceptable to God.
  5. 16.12 olive oil on his head: See the note at 9.16.
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Psalm 20

(A psalm by David for the music leader.)

A Prayer for Victory

20 I pray that the Lord
will listen
when you
    are in trouble,
    and that the God of Jacob
    will keep you safe.
May the Lord send help
    from his temple
    and come to your rescue
    from Mount Zion.
May he remember your gifts
    and be pleased
    with what you bring.

May God do what you want most
    and let all go well for you.
Then you will win victories,
    and we will celebrate,
    while raising our banners
    in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer
    all of your prayers!

I am certain, Lord,
that you will help
    your chosen king.
You will answer my prayers
from your holy place
    in heaven,
    and you will save me
    with your mighty arm.

Some people trust the power
of chariots or horses,
    but we trust you, Lord God.
Others will stumble and fall,
    but we will be strong
    and stand firm.

Give the king victory, Lord,
    and answer our prayers.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. 20.9 victory. . . prayers: Or “victory. He (God or the king) answers us.”
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2 Corinthians 5:6-10

So always be cheerful!

As long as we are in these bodies, we are away from the Lord. But we live by faith, not by what we see. We should be cheerful, because we would rather leave these bodies and be at home with the Lord. But whether we are at home with the Lord or away from him, we still try our best to please him. 10 After all, Christ will judge each of us for the good or the bad that we do while living in these bodies.

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2 Corinthians 5:11-13

Bringing People to God

11 We know what it means to respect the Lord, and we encourage everyone to turn to him. God himself knows what we are like, and I hope you also know what kind of people we are. 12 We are not trying once more to brag about ourselves. But we want you to be proud of us, when you are with those who are not sincere and brag about what others think of them.

13 If we seem out of our minds, it is between God and us. But if we are in our right minds, it is for your good.

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2 Corinthians 5:14-17

14 We are ruled by Christ’s love for us. We are certain that if one person died for everyone else, then all of us have died. 15 And Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us.

16 We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way. 17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.

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Mark 4:26-34

Another Story about Seeds

26 Again Jesus said:

God’s kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. 27 The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn’t understand how. 28 It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. 29 Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle.[a]

A Mustard Seed

30 Finally, Jesus said:

What is God’s kingdom like? What story can I use to explain it? 31 It is like what happens when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. It is the smallest seed in all the world. 32 But once it is planted, it grows larger than any garden plant. It even puts out branches that are big enough for birds to nest in its shade.

The Reason for Teaching with Stories

33 Jesus used many other stories when he spoke to the people, and he taught them as much as they could understand. 34 He did not tell them anything without using stories. But when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

Footnotes:

  1. 4.29 sickle: A knife with a long curved blade, used to cut grain and other crops.
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