Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 13-14
Lack of personal discipline characterized Saul’s reign as king. What began with great success and promise (chapter 11, cf vv 12-13) quickly crumbled as Saul did not restrain himself or confine himself to the authority of God’s word. Good intentions (13:12) are no excuse for acting outside Divine authority (v 13). This problem became the signature of Saul’s reign. Saul’s inability to control himself led Samuel to identify the one who would succeed him. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be his son Jonathan, a great man and Saul’s greatest earthly asset. Rather, Samuel said that God would take the kingdom and give it to one “after His own heart” (v 14). Moreover, Saul’s lack of discipline and foresight placed his son Jonathan in the crosshairs of consequence regarding his rash decisions and vows. Lesson to be learned? Others are adversely affected by our personal lack of discipline. Moderation is key to protecting ourselves and our loved ones from unintended consequences.
New Testament reading: Mark 3-4
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov 22:1). In introducing the apostles, all three synoptic authors (Matthew, Mark, Luke) tag Judas Iscariot as the one who betrayed Christ. Though “all the disciples forsook Him and fled” (Matt 26:56) and Peter denied the Lord three times (Matt 26:69-75), this was something they never got over, even though these accounts were written some years after the fact. Judas besmirched what would have been a perfectly good Bible name. To this day, the other eleven apostles and Matthias have countless namesakes. You can go to most non-Muslim places in the world and find a multitude of males with the names Peter, James or John, but we don’t hear of many named Judas. Also of interest is the statement of Jesus’ own people concerning him, saying, “he is out of his mind” ( This corresponds to John’s statement in John 7 that Jesus’ own brethren did not believe in him. How sad that their savior, their own flesh and blood, lived among them in sinless perfection and they failed to recognize him! Sometimes overlooked in this is the account at the end of chapter 3 where Jesus separates Himself from His earthly kin (vvv 31-35).