Under the Pomegranate Tree

1 Samuel 14:2, “Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron. And the people who were with him were about six hundred men.”

New American Standard Bible

Notice the phrase, “the pomegranate tree which is in Migron.” The Bible does not say, Saul stayed under “a” pomegranate tree but “the” pomegranate tree which is in Migron. What was special about that tree?

“Under a pomegranate tree. Under Rimmon, which not only signifies a pomegranate tree, but also a strong rock, in which 600 Benjaminites took shelter, Judges 20:45. Probably it was in this very rock that Saul and his 600 men now lay hidden.”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible,
Abridged by Ralph Earle,
1 Samuel 14:2, p. 306

It was more than a pomegranate tree but I am not surprised that Saul chose that place because I believe he liked to eat. So do others. Me, I am the others!

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I have a strange relationship with food. If I have an abundance, I give most of it away. When shopping, I buy just enough for a week and then I break that chocolate bar into 7 pieces and only eat 1 piece a day!

I count my cheese, lunchmeat, graham crackers, bread, and coffee pods before I have seconds to make sure I don’t run out before my weekly Aldi’s run.

I learned something about myself this weekend. I have food rules:

  1. Clean up your plate.
  2. When eating at someone’s place, eat everything offered to you.
  3. Don’t waste food – save the leftovers.

Saturday night, we had our annual Star Awards Volunteer Banquet. This year’s theme was “A Taste of Italy.”

They served: lasagna, chicken alfredo, salad, breadsticks, and chocolate cheesecake. After my second breadstick, I was too full for cheesecake! I thought I would eat it during the awards presentation.

I was part of the “Chicken Dance Flash Mob” and ran around a lot during the “People Bingo.” Surely, I would have room for cheesecake after that!

Nope.

After taking pictures?

Nope.

After the “Dad Jokes?”

Nope.

During the awards?

Nope.

The highlight of our evening was when our son Derek and his wife Rachel were named the youngest recipients of the “Volunteer of the Year!” You can only win that award once!

As we gathered our things to go, Derek said, “Mom, that cheesecake is no good.” (It had been on the table for over 3 hours.)

“I know,” I replied.

Still, I put it and the other piece that was left on the table on a plate to take home.

Why? Because of my food rules. I put them in the refrigerator and after 4 days, my conscience will let me throw them away.

Where did my food rules come from?

I grew up in Bible Schools where my father served as the maintenance man. He was a handyman who could fix anything. Part of his salary was food. We ate what the students ate.

(Liver, three times a day for a month. We had a “chef” cooking when a truckload of liver was donated to the school.)

During the summer months, we lived with Grandpa and Grandma on the farm. Dad worked with my uncles who were electricians and mom helped with the gardening, butchering chickens, making homemade catsup, and canning.

We ate whatever Grandma made. We cleaned up our plates and didn’t waste food.

I was taller than my sisters and slender because of my high metabolism. Until I got braces, I had difficulty chewing my food. I ate slowly. They kept trying to put “meat on my bones” by adding a bit more food to my plate.

It never worked. I stayed slim until I turned 40 and my metabolism slowed down.

I am glad to know why I struggle with weight loss. It is my “food rules.” But Saturday, I decided to change them. I will take half-portions to avoid stuffing myself. I will leave the leftovers for others.

I said all of that to say, I can relate to Saul. I like food!

David and I at the “2022 Star Awards Volunteer Banquet.”

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The Bread is Gone

Israel wants a king. Samuel prayed and the Lord tells him He has a man in mind.

1 Samuel 9:1, “Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, …a mighty man of valor.”

New American Standard Bible

The Bible describes Kish as a “mighty man of valor.” But he is not the man God has chosen. He chose his son, Saul. Saul is described as “choice, handsome, and tall,” v. 2. Later in the chapter we see another characteristic of Saul – he likes to eat.

In verse 5, Saul told his servant they should return because his father would be worried. Was he truly thinking of his father? Or his stomach?

1 Samuel 9:7, “…For the bread is gone from our sack…”

New American Standard Bible

The servant told him he had a little money, v. 8. If Saul was led by his stomach, he would have thought, “We can buy food.” He would have been happy to hear there was a sacrifice that day, (v. 12), because there was plenty of food, even for travelers.

When we are out of bread, we want to buy what we can get or have someone give us what we need. God wants to give us exceedingly more than we can ask or think, Ephesians 3:20.

1 Samuel 10:24, “Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it before Saul.”

New American Standard Bible

The Bible does not say what animal was sacrificed. It could have been a leg of lamb or the leg of a bull! God continued to provide food for Saul and his servant.

1 Samuel 10:4, “And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand.”

New American Standard Bible

As we encounter empty shelves at our local stores, we need to remember this. We are not dependent on the amount of money in our pocket. We are not dependent on the charity of others. We depend on God. He is an extravagant giver.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we ran out of carrots and potatoes. I had hoped to find a 5-pound bag of potatoes and a 1-pound bag of carrots. The shelves were empty. That afternoon my sister showed up with 10 pounds of white potatoes, 10 pounds of red potatoes, and 5 pounds of carrots. She wouldn’t take any money for them. You can read about it here.

Do you need food? Ask God!

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February 2022 Chapters

February 2022 Chapters

  • 1 – 1 Samuel 16; Psalm 23; 1 Samuel 17
  • 2 – 1 Samuel 18, 19; Psalms 58, 59
  • 3 – 1 Samuel 20, 21; Psalms 56, 34
  • 4 – 1 Samuel 22; Psalms 52, 36, 37
  • 5 – 1 Samuel 23; Psalm 63; 1 Samuel 24; Psalms 57, 142, 7
  • 6 – 1 Samuel 25, 26; Psalm 16
  • 7 – Psalms 17, 22, 54; 1 Samuel 27
  • 8 – 1 Samuel 28-30; Psalm 35
  • 9 – Psalm 109; 1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10; 2 Samuel 1, 2
  • 10 – 2 Samuel 3-5
  • 11 – 1 Chronicles 11, 12; Psalm 133; 1 Chronicles 14
  • 12 – 2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13, 15, 16
  • 13 – Psalms 24, 26-29, 96, 101, 103
  • 14 – Psalms 104-106
  • 15 – Psalms 108, 123, 124, 131; 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; Psalm 1
  • 16 – Psalm 86; 2 Samuel 8; 1 Chronicles 18; Psalm 60; 2 Samuel 9, 10
  • 17 – 1 Chronicles 19; 2 Samuel 11, 12; Psalm 51
  • 18 – Psalms 25, 32, 38-41
  • 19 – Psalms 69-71; 1 Chronicles 20; 2 Samuel 13
  • 20 – 2 Samuel 14, 15; Psalm 9
  • 21 – Psalms 10-13, 31, 55
  • 22 – 2 Samuel 16; Psalms 3-6, 8, 64
  • 23 – 2 Samuel 17, 18; Psalms 61, 62
  • 24 – 2 Samuel 19, 20  
  • 25 – 2 Samuel 21, 22; Psalm 18
  • 26 – Psalms 19-21, 65-68
  • 27 – Psalms 138-141, 143-145  
  • 28 – 2 Samuel 23, 24; 1 Chronicles 21 

The chapters for the year are posted under the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide menu.

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It’s Out of My Jurisdiction

The Pharisees “plotted together how they might trap Him,” Matthew 22:15. They asked him if it was “lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” Matthew 22:17.

“…keep in mind the separate jurisdictions in the Bible: (1) the individual, (2) the family, (3) the church, and (4) the government.

…For example, the Bible speaks of bearing the sword to punish wrongdoers (Romans 13:14), but this verse is for civil government, not the other three.

…When we see a command in the Scriptures, we should always ask ourselves: To which sphere(s) did God direct this command?

…At the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Jews lived under a political system they hated and from which they were seeking a Messiah to deliver them, but it was a capital offense to stir up opposition to Rome or Roman law.

…If Jesus answered, “No,” it would be considered civil insurrection and the Romans would execute Him. But if He answered, “Yes,” He would lose support among the people, …Jesus answered this potentially lethal question by reminding them of the proper jurisdictions…”

“To Whom is God Speaking,” The Founder’s Bible, The Origin of the Dream of Freedom, pp. 1489-1490.

The Sadducees questioned him on a command to the family. They were unsuccessful.

Matthew 22:34, “But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.”

New American Standard Bible

Next, they tried to trick him with a command for the individual, “Which is the greatest commandment,” Matthew 22:35-40.

Then Jesus pointed out all the ways the Pharisees exploited the commands to the church, Matthew 23:13-36.

As an individual, I do not have the authority to inflict punishment – that belongs to the civil government. I do not have the authority to discipline others children – that belongs to their parents. I do not have the authority to decide how the saints are equipped, (Ephesians 4:12), – that belongs to the leaders God established in my church.

My job is to “love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself,” Matthew 22:37-39. If I love my neighbor, I would never: murder him, sleep with his wife, steal his belongings, lie about him, or wish I had his belongings.

When I do as Jesus commanded – love my neighbor as myself – the “don’ts” are never a consideration. It is not a matter of “Don’t murder” but love, not hate, because hate leads to murder. When I do as Jesus instructed, I don’t desire to break any of those five commandments. When I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, and mind, I don’t desire to break any of the first five commandments.

Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.”

New American Standard Bible

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Receive a Hundred Times as Much

God weighs my motives when I give. Am I giving just to get something? Am I giving grudgingly? Am I giving to impress someone? Or am I planting a seed expecting a harvest later?

Mark 10:30, “But he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”

New American Standard Bible

Persecution? That is not something I like to see on the list! But even those who give everything to share the love of Jesus Christ will endure persecutions. The ultimate reward for us all is eternal life.

“And having secured the approval of our hearts by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty…let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raiseth up and pulleth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as He pleases.”

John Hancock, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
Louie R. Heller, early American Orations 1760-1824 (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1902), pp. 48-49, John Hancock’s Oration on the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1774

A faithful and unwearied discharge of my duty will secure the approval of my heart.

A servant will become great, and a slave to all will become first. Just as Christ came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many, Mark 10:42-45.

“But remember, my dear friend, that ‘none liveth to himself’ (Romans 14:7). Even our old age is not our property. All its fruits of wisdom and experience belong to the public. ‘To do good’ is the business of life. ‘To enjoy rest’ is the happiness of Heaven. We pluck premature for forbidden fruit when we grasp at rest on this side the grave.”

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration
‘Letters of Benjamin Rush,’ ed. L. H. Butterfield (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951), Vol. I, pp. 478-479, to John Dickinson on July 15, 1788.

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“Understandably, the Founding Fathers would have very much preferred to live their lives quietly secluded with their own families…

George Washington…as a young man…called away from his home…to lead…in the French and Indian War.

…Years later…called on him to serve them in the Continental Congress, …he was chosen to lead all military forces in the American Revolution.

…He was called out of retirement to head a convention that produced the U. S. Constitution…

…Once more called him from retirement to lead the new government…”

The Founder’s bible, The Origin of the Dream of Freedom, pp. 1526-1527

Our Founding Fathers understood duty and service. They didn’t sit on their laurels but shared their wisdom and experience when called. Their objective was to do good and please their Heavenly Father. How can I do less?

Proverbs 20:5, “A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

New American Standard Bible

Dear Merciful God, draw me closer to you. Heal my country. Show me what I should do. Amen.

Daniel 9:18, “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.”

New International Version

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January 19, 2022

Matthew 19, 20

Matthew 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.”

New American Standard Bible

I have not given up much!

Matthew 19:30, “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

New american Standard Bible

Missionaries and evangelists will receive the greatest rewards.

Matthew 20:12, “Saying, ‘These last men have worked only an hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.'”

New American Standard Bible

Those who believe Jesus died for them while on their deathbed receive the same gift of salvation as those who believed as a child.

Matthew 20:16, “So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

New American Standard Bible

Others sacrificed more than me and I worked longer than others. My reward is based on my intentions and motives as I worked. I must be careful to keep the right attitude – the attitude of a servant. Other servants work harder and longer. And some servants carry lighter loads for shorter distances. My job is to do the work assigned to me with a cheerful heart to please my master, Jesus.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I did the right thing with the wrong attitude. Amen.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13, “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13) each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.”

New American Standard Bible

Please share a verse(s) in these chapters that answered a question, calmed a fear, gave direction, or was a new insight for you in the comments below.

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