Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 26-28
David’s righteous is again on full display as he again spares Saul’s life. In addition to delivering Saul from a much deserved violent demise, David is angered at Abner, who had been entrusted with Saul’s protection and keeping. David rebuked Abner as deserving to die for failing to protect Saul’s life. Finally, David declares that the Lord will repay him for his fidelity, “May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and faithfulness” (26:23). I expect Ahimelech’s words returned to haunt Saul, “Who among all your servants is as faithful as David?” (1 Sam 22:14). It appears Saul finally resigns himself to David’s ultimate deliverance (26:25), but David takes no chances and allies himself among the Philistines. I readily admit this is a odd alliance and I do not understand it. But David used it to advance the Lord’s cause against his enemies. Saul’s use of a medium teaches us a lesson about the afterlife, namely that Samuel retained his identity after his death, and he remembered the words he had previously spoken to Saul during his life. Compare these truths to Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.
New Testament reading: Mark 15-16
“He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Mark 16:16 contains the simple statement of Jesus concerning what one must do in order to be saved. Namely, believe the gospel (cf v 15) and be baptized. While many want to quibble over the absence of baptism in the latter part of verse 16, it should be understood that the verse is composed of two independent clauses. Being independent, neither has bearing over the meaning of the other. Each stands on its own without affecting the other. The first clause instructs on how to be saved and the latter on how to be lost. My standard response to those who want to make this tired, much answered argument is this, “Tell me what the verse says to do to be saved. The second half of the verse tells me how to be lost. I am not interested in the second half of the verse, as I have already been lost and have no intention of going back. So tell me what the Lord Jesus said one must do in order to be saved.” This is a fair and reasonable way to deal with the passage, and it puts those who reject it in the unenviable and inextricable position of opposing the Lord.