1 Samuel 22-24
Basically speaking, Saul and David are playing a game of cat and mouse. Saul is tracking David for the purpose of trying to take him out. David, receiving guidance from the Lord, eludes Saul several times. Finally, David has a chance to end Saul’s life and prevent being slaughtered. But instead of taking out Saul, he only cuts a small corner of fabric from Saul’s cloak. Ultimately, a covenant is made between the two men and the chase seems to be over.
This psalm goes hand in hand with the story of David from 1 Samuel. David is feeling the pressure from an enemy coming for his life. David calls out his tormentor for his evil plots and says that God will deliver him from this evil plot.
In the first half of this chapter, some apostles and believers who were circumcised (Jewish believers) were being critical of Peter for eating with people who were uncircumcised. At the time, there were many who believed that one must become Jewish and be circumcised before becoming a follower of The Way. Peter puts them in their place by telling of a vision of the Lord instructing him to go to the Gentiles to preach to them too. After this vision, Peter is immediately summoned to a house to speak to group of people, who immediately speaking in tongues.
The second half of this is about how the church continued to grow in number. I think the most significant part of this passage is that it is in Antioch that the followers of The Way are first called Christians. According to a timeline I found on BibleHub (see this link), the events of Acts took place about 7 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
I think there is a common thread that weaves each of these passages together. In all three passages, we see examples of relying on and trusting in God’s plan, even if it goes against the grain of society. In the cave, David’s men wanted him to kill Saul while he had the chance, but deep in David’s heart, he knew there was a different outcome meant to be true for Saul. And as a result, Saul lived. In the psalm, David is being chased and he fears for his life. Yet, he knows that God is on his side and will deliver him from the evil that lurks behind him. And Peter goes to teach to the Gentiles, even though it was not what the other disciples and apostles thought should be happening. And as Peter was meeting with the Gentile people, the Holy Spirit makes an appearance, demonstrating that God wanted more than just Jewish people as followers. The kingdom of God is open to all who believe, and not just the circumcised Jews.
Here is 2018, it is very easy to find people who maybe are somewhat like what the Gentiles were thought of 2000 years ago. It is easy to point out immoral behaviors and automatically write people off as hopeless in terms of their path to eternity. But I would like to believe that is the complete opposite of the truth. I think that if Peter were walking the Earth today, he would be dining and spending time with the people who many people would not give the time of day to. I can remember many times being told by people who are Christians, not to associate myself with people who don’t live what they consider to be a Christian life. But I think that is exactly the opposite because people are less likely to become Christian while being voted off the island by the people who call themselves Christians. I always go back to the hymn, They Will Know We are Christians By Our Love. We have a better chance at non-Christians becoming Christian by demonstrating time and time again what a Christian life being lived out looks like. So my hope is that we listen for God’s plan for us, and to live out that plan, even if it means doing something that isn’t the most popular. Dine and talk with the “Gentiles” of 2018. And who knows, maybe the church will start to grow in numbers similar to what happened in the growth of the early church.