Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 17-18
Of all the events in the life of David, no account is more well known, even among unbelievers, than David’s encounter with Goliath of Gath. Sports announcers freely use the expression of “David vs Goliath” despite the fact that most Americans do not read their Bibles or attend worship with any degree of regularity. As much as I love this great story that I’ve known since childhood, I find chapter 18 more intriguing. I love the repetition of “David behaved wisely” (cf v 5, 14-15, 30) with the resulting, “Saul was afraid of him” (v 12, 15) and “Saul was afraid of him” (v 15, 29). When we earnestly desire to do right, those who are evil are made afraid. That fear manifests itself in a variety of ways, including avoidance, mockery or persecution (cf v 11). Our Lord said as much in John 3:19-20, when he said that those who practice evil hate the light. On the other hand, when we do right, we attract those who appreciate light. If you want to surround yourself with good people, be a good person!
New Testament reading: Mark 7-8
“You’ve got it all backwards.” In Mark 7, Jesus shows us how the true source of defilement comes from within and not from without. Like the whitewashed tombs that were beautiful on the outside but were filled with the defilement of death, the Jews concerned themselves with the outward appearance of piety and devotion while giving no thought to pursuing purity within. So long as what was outside was clean, everything was fine. Jesus’ illustration not only rebuked that attitude, it served to set aside on the specific laws of Moses, namely, the food laws forbidding some types of meat. Jesus used this same truth to illustrate to Peter the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Gospel or Church Age (Acts 10:9-16). Paul later reaffirmed this same principle in 1 Timothy 4:5. And THAT’S why I get to eat catfish and pulled pork Bar-B-Q! Getting back to the primary intent of the text, our words and deeds are first rooted in our hearts before they are made manifest to the world. Nothing comes out of my mouth that wasn’t first in my heart. Take care to fill your hearts with good things (cf Phil 4:8)!