Consider what you are going through right now. Consider the challenges and the struggles. Consider the attacks and the threats. Consider the hope and the joy. Consider what is going on around you. Are you seeing what others are dealing with in the midst of it all? Are you pouring yourself out to help them? Are you turning your focus from being self-centered to being outward focused? Are you more interested in helping others than worrying about yourself? Are you more interested in helping your family and friends than worrying about the threats, the challenges, the struggles, and the attacks that are aimed at you? Are you going out of your way to make sure they are ok? Are you going out of your way to help them be healthy and safe? Are you going out of your way to be a light that points others to the hope that is within you thanks to God?
Today’s reading begins with David and we see him go out of his way to help his family and his friends, those who are in distress, anyone in debt, and anyone embittered. Let’s see how he handles it and then consider and meditate on how we might be able to live in order to make a difference in the lives around even in the midst of threats or attacks that we don’t really deserve.
Flight to a Cave and to Moab
1So David walked from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and all his father’s house heard about it, they went down there to him. 2Anyone who was in distress, anyone in debt, and anyone embittered rallied around him, and he became their leader. There were about 400 men with him. 3Then David left from there to Mizpah of Moab, and he said to the king of Moab, “Please, let my father and my mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” 4Then he brought them to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth. 6Then Saul heard that David and the men with him were located. Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the height, spear in his hand, and all his courtiers were attending him. 7Saul said to his courtiers standing about him, “Listen now, Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you captains of thousands and captains of hundreds? 8Yet all of you have conspired against me, and there was nobody disclosing to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse! None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush—as is the case today?” 9Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing among Saul’s courtiers, answered and said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob—to Ahimelech son of Ahitub— 10and he inquired of Adonai for him, gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” 11Then the king sent word to summon the kohen Ahimelech son of Ahitub and all the kohanim of his father’s house who were in Nob. So they all came to the king. 12“Listen now, son of Ahitub,” Saul said. “Here I am, my lord,” he said. 13Then Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me—you and the son of Jesse—by giving him bread and a sword, and by inquiring of God for him, that he should rise against me by lying in ambush, as is the case today?” 14Then Ahimelech answered the king saying, “Who among all your servants is as trusted as David, the king’s son-in-law, a captain of the royal guard, and honored in your house? 15Just today I began to inquire of God for him? Far be it from the king to accuse his servant or to anyone of my father’s house. For your servant knows nothing of all this, whether little or much.” 16But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17Then the king ordered the guards attending him, “Turn around and kill the kohanim of Adonai, for they are in cahoots with David, for they knew that he was running away but did not inform me.” But the servants of the king were not willing to raise their hand to assault the kohanim of Adonai. 18So the king said to Doeg, “You, turn around and kill the kohanim!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and fell upon the kohanim and on that day killed 85 men who wore the linen ephod. 19Nob, the town of the kohanim, he struck with the edge of the sword: men and women, children and infants, oxen, asses, and sheep with the edge of the sword. 20Yet one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had slain Adonai’s kohanim. 22Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of all the people of your father’s house. 23Stay with me, and fear not; for the one who is seeking my life is seeking your life too—but with me you will be safe.”
–from 1 Samuel 22
Do you love good? Do brag about good? Do you make plans for good? Do you speak life? Do you make God your center? your platform? your foundation? your focus?
1For the music director: a contemplative song of David, 2when Doeg the Edomite came and reported to Saul telling him, “David went to Ahimelech’s house.” 3Why do you brag about evil, mighty man? God’s lovingkindness is every day. 4Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceit. 5You love evil instead of good, lying rather than speaking right. Selah 6You love only devouring words— treacherous tongue! 7God will pull you down forever, and snatch you, rip you out of your tent, and uproot you from the land of the living. Selah 8Then the righteous will see and fear, and laugh at him: 9“Here is the man who did not make God his stronghold. Instead he trusted in his great riches— and was strong in his evil desire.” 10But I—I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God. I trust in God’s loving kindness forever and ever. 11I will praise You forever for what You have done. I will hope in Your Name, for it is good, in the presence of Your kedoshim.
–from Psalms 52
In the battle will you turn to God? Will your hope and your focus be on Him? Will you allow God to be the hope that is within you? How will you live to get him exalted?
Be Exalted Over All the Earth
1For the music director, “Do Not Destroy,” a Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave. 2Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for in You my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of Your wings I take refuge, until destruction passes by. 3I will cry out to El Elyon, to God who accomplishes it for me. 4He will send from heaven and save me. He rebukes the one trampling on me. Selah God is sending His mercy and His truth. 5My soul is in the midst of lions. I lie among those breathing fire— sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongue is a sharp sword. 6Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let Your glory be over all the earth! 7They spread a net for my steps, my soul is bowed down. They have dug a pit before me— they fell into it themselves. Selah 8My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing, yes, I will make music. 9Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. 10I will praise You, my Lord, among the peoples. I will sing praises to You among the nations. 11For Your lovingkindness is great up to the heavens, and Your truth to the skies. 12Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let Your glory be over all the earth!
–from Psalms 57
Will you seek God in it? Will you seek God through it? Will you seek God for it?
You Are My God
1A psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. 2O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You. My soul thirsts for You. My flesh longs for You in a dry and weary land, where there is no water. 3So, I looked for You in the Sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. 4Since Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You. 5So I will bless You as long as I live. In Your name I lift up my hands. 6My soul is satisfied as with fat and oil, so my mouth praises You with joyful lips. 7When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You through the night watches. 8For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. 9My soul clings to You— Your right hand upholds me. 10But those who seek my soul to destroy it will go down to the depths of the earth. 11They will be gutted by the sword, and become a prey for jackals. 12But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear by Him will boast, when the mouth speaking lies is shut.
–from Psalms 63
So don’t worry! Worry changes nothing, prayer changes everything! Put your hope and your trust in God so that He will get all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Let’s build up our relationship with Him! Let’s lift Him up and trust in Him every step of every day, every breath of every moment, let’s put our hopes in Him!
A Refuge from Trouble
1A contemplative poem of David, when he was in the cave, a prayer. 2I cry aloud with my voice to Adonai. With my voice I seek favor from Adonai. 3I pour out my complaint before Him, before Him I tell my trouble. 4When my spirit grows faint within me, You know my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. 5Look at my right hand and see, for no one cares about me. I have no refuge— no one cares for my soul. 6I have cried out to You, Adonai. I said: “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 7Listen to my cry, for I am brought very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. 8Bring my soul out of prison, so I may praise Your Name. The righteous will triumph through me, for You will reward me.
–from Psalms 142
In the midst of it all, let’s allow our focus to be on God! In the midst of it all, rather than making it all about us, let’s consider how God would have us live and express our hope and love for Him to the world around us! Are we servant leaders? Are we outward focused? Are we people whose lives lift Him up? Are we believing in Him? Are we trusting in Him? Are we allowing our lives to point others to the love God has and fills us up with? What will we plant into the lives of those God has brought into our lives? Will we be encouragers? Will we be peacemakers? Will we be love, hope, joy, peace, wisdom so that they can know of God’s great love, hope, joy, peace, and wisdom they can access?
Let’s consider how Jesus lived! Let’s reflect on the truth He revealed! Let’s consider what today’s reading from Matthew shares with us…Let’s live! Let’s last! Let’s love! Let’s produce!
Simple Stories, Profound Truths
1On that day after Yeshua left the house, He was sitting by the sea. 2And large crowds gathered around Him; so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood on the shore. 3And He told them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some seeds fell by the road; and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil. They sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, they were scorched; and because they had no roots, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew and choked them out. 8But others fell on good soil and were producing fruit. They yielded a crop—some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears, let him hear.” 10Then the disciples came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11And He replied to them, “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For whoever has, to him more will be given and he will have plenty. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear nor do they understand. 14”And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but will never understand; you will keep looking, but will never see. 15For the heart of this people has become dull, their ears can barely hear, and they have shut their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts. Then they would turn back, and I would heal them.’ 16“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17Amen, I tell you, many a prophet and tzaddik longed to see what you are seeing and did not see, and to hear what you are hearing and did not hear.”
Parable of the Sower Explained
18“You then, hear the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one having been sown along the road. 20“The one sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21Yet he has no root himself but lasts only a short while; and when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22“But the one sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word; and the worries of the world and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23“Now the one sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands. He indeed bears fruit, yielding a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.”
Yeshua Tells More Parables
24He presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26Now when the stalk sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27So the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ 28But he replied, ‘An enemy did this.’ Now the slaves say to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and gather them up?’ 29But he says, ‘No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’” 31He presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32It’s the smallest of all seeds; yet when it’s full grown, it’s greater than the other herbs. It becomes like a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” 33He told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like hametz, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.” 34All these things Yeshua spoke to the crowds in parables. And apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them, 35in order to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, “I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.” 36Then He sent the crowds away and went into the house. His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one sowing the good seed is the Son of Man, 38and the field is the world. And the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one. 39The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Therefore just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who practice lawlessness. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear! 44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. And because of his joy, he goes out and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 46Upon finding a pearl of great value, he went out and sold all that he had and bought it. 47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea, gathering things of every kind. 48When it was filled, they pulled it ashore; and they sat down and gathered up the good into containers, but threw the bad away. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth and separate the wicked from among the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” 52Then He said to them, “Therefore every Torah scholar discipled for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure both new things and old.”
Unbelief in the Hometown Synagogue
53Now when Yeshua had finished these parables, He left that place. 54Coming into His hometown, He began to teach them in their synagogue so that they were amazed. “Where did this fellow get this wisdom and these mighty works?” they said. 55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Miriam, and His brothers Jacob and Joseph and Simon and Judah? 56And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?” 57And they took offense at Him. But Yeshua said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own house.” 58And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
–from Matthew 13