First United Methodist Church of Conway, South Carolina
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Week 11

Annotated Reading Guide
Judges 17-21,Ruth 1 Samuel 1-16
 
Mar 8: Judges 17-21 – Various stories
     “In these chapters, the era of the judges has ended. Idols are worshiped. Priests are hired for personal gain. Defenseless foreigners are mercilessly attacked. Strangers are mistreated. An Israelite woman is brutally raped and murdered by Israelites. The entire Israelite tribe of Benjamin is nearly exterminated by fellow Israelites. Additional Israelite men, women, and children are killed. Other women are kidnapped and forced to become wives of Benjaminite men. Israel seems oblivious to the extent of its disobedience and disloyalty to the covenant with God.” – New Interpreter’s Bible
 
Mar 9: Ruth 1-4 – Naomi, the Story of Israel
     The book of Ruth tells the story of Naomi. Naomi’s story is the story of Israel. There is a Hebrew word that occurs twelve times in the first chapter. It is translated using a variety of English wards such as "turn" and "return." In the context of the story of Ruth and Naomi, the word conveys the spiritual sense of redemption.
Read this story with the understanding that is about much more than a woman from Bethlehem and her faithful Moabite daughter-in-law. Rather, this is the story of Israel.
 
Mar 10: 1 Samuel 1 – The Birth of Samuel
     As you read the story of Samuel’s birth, note the similarities with the birth of Samson.
 
Mar 11: 1 Samuel 2-3 – Samuel (and Eli’s sons) at Shiloh
     These chapters introduce recurring themes in Samuel and Kings. God is faithful; the people are sinful and self-indulgent. God is working to provide for Israel and bless Israel. There are tensions between God and Israel, prophets and kings. Israel struggles with itself. Holy and faithful leaders have sinful children they cannot control. This plays itself out through the kings of Israel and Judah.
 
Mar 12: 1 Samuel 4-7 – The Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant is central to these chapters. The Ark illustrates the power of God for both protection and destruction. On Sunday, we will sing the hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." 1 Sam 7:12 tells us what it means to raise mine Ebenezer. As you read about the Adventures of the Ark, consider reminders of God help and safety in your life.
 
     Mar 13: 1 Samuel 8-12 – Wanting a King
Still the people want a king. The recurring cry reminds us of the whining in the wilderness – “we were better off in Egypt…” The desire to “be like other people” is still a very real temptation and snare for God’s people.
 
Mar 14: 1 Samuel 13-16 – The Reality of Having a King
     The people want a king, the people get a king. Now the people must live with the reality of having a king. Yet, their experiences with Saul are but a foretaste of things to come. Some very real lesson for us today - wait patiently for God’s time, trust in God’s provision, leaders must not let the desires of the multitude lead them into sin.