BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34

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Summary 1 Samuel 21:

David, now on the run, goes to Nob to the priest Ahimelech, asking for bread. He lies to obtain it since all the priestsImage result for 1 samuel 21 had was consecrated bread, which is bread reserved for the priests. But David is desperate. He is given the sword he killed Goliath with by the priest as well. One of Saul’s servants saw David at the priest’s place (which would later cost the priest his life).

David, desperate, flees to Achish, king of Gaul, who has heard of David. David pretends to be insane in order to stay.

Summary Psalm 34:

Written when David was with Achish and pretending to be insane, David is praising God for delivering him from evil, saving him from troubles, blessing him, and keeping him from want. David advises us to do good, seek peace, and don’t tell lies. He hears our cries and delivers us. He slays the wicked. He protects us and heals us.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

3) David is desperate, so he lies to the priest. God is always present, and Jesus as well.

4) The fact that they knew who he was. Word might get out to Saul where he was hiding. David pretended to be insane in order to stay. Psalm 56 tells us that the Philistines captured David and have no intentions of letting go the man who killed Goliath.

5a) David is grateful to God for taking care of him and providing all that he needs. He knows God will punish those who pursue him and do evil.

b) Personal Question. My answer: David is very positive and confident in God as he is on the run. He knows God is taking care of him and in His time, all will be as it is supposed to be. This is encouraging to stay upbeat and know God is in control and to let Him be in control.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

Unimpressed with the questions. I just felt they were cursory to say the least.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 2: 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

Commentary 1 Samuel 21:

David flees to the right place — a priest. The priest, however, is confused on why such a prominent person would be alone. David lies about his situation, which he will regret later (1 Samuel 22:22).

Many of us would have lied in the same circumstances; but that does not excuse it.

What is holy bread?

The tabernacle of the Lord had a table that held twelve loaves of bread, symbolizing God’s continual fellowship with Israel.

  • Literally, consecrated bread means showbread or “bread of faces.” It is bread associated with and to be eaten Image result for 1 samuel 21before the face of God. F.B. Meyer calls the showbread“presence-bread.” To eat the showbread was to eat God’s bread in God’s house as a friend and a guest of the Lord, enjoying His hospitality. In that culture eating together formed a bond of friendship that was permanent and sacred.
  • The bread was always to be fresh. David receives the leftovers.
  • One must be clean to eat the holy bread.
  • It was to be eaten by the priests: And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place (Leviticus 24:9).

Why did the priest give the bread to David?

  • The priest understood human need was greater than customs, as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 12:1-8

POWERFUL LESSON FOR US:

We cannot add to God’s word. God never said the bread was “only” for priests. Human traditions are never more important than God’s word itself, but we must never elevate our extension or application of God’s Word to the same level as God’s word itself.

Doeg the Edomite: The word translated chief means mighty but can also be used to mean violent or obstinate. Doeg will show himself to be a violent and obstinate man. We shall meet him again.

David continues in his lies to get his sword. It appears David is now trusting in weapons over faith in God, as shown by his continued lies. To us, God’s word should be our “give it to me” cry.

Why did David flee to Gath?

David’s next move is confounding. David is now among the Philistines. He must be discouraged or deceived to think he could find peaceful refuge among these enemies of Israel.

  • It didn’t make sense for the man who carried Goliath’s sword to go to Goliath’s hometown (1 Samuel 17:4). It didn’t make sense for the man who was sustained by the sacred bread of God to find refuge among the pagans. It didn’t make sense for the man after God’s own heart to lie.

The Philistines of Gath recognized David as the king of the land of Israel. These ungodly men understood David’s destiny better than King Saul. Here, we see the price of fame (1 Samuel 18:6-7).

David is captured by the Philistines as Psalm 56 tells us.David thought he could find anonymity or sympathy among the ungodly Philistines in Gath and disappear, but he was wrong. Psalm 56 describes David’s journey from fear to praising as a prisoner in Gath.

Psalm 56 shows that David turned back to the Lord here. Hence, the slide that had started since he left Jonathan to now stops. Saul never turned back on his path.

Why did David act like a madman?

Basically, David humiliated himself before the Philistines. The saliva on the beard was a sign of madness because men in that culture would consider this something only a man out of his right mind would allow.

David’s plan worked. Achish decided that this wasn’t David after all, or if it was he was such a pathetic specimen that he may as well let him go.

Was David walking in the Spirit or in the flesh when he pretended madness?

Some commentators believe that David was in the flesh and trusting in himself. But the change of Psalm 56 happened before David’s escape, and it made sense that the Lord would guide David into a path of escape that would humble him. When David tried to protect himself with lies and tried to find refuge among the ungodly, he really was acting crazy. Trusting in God was the only sane thing to do.

Commentary Psalm 34:

Psalm 34 is David’s declaration of joy when he escaped from Gath with his life. The title of Psalm 34 reads, A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed. Abimelech was probably a title given to rulers among the Philistines; the ruler’s proper name was Achish (1 Samuel 21:20).

A fugitive from Saul, David went to the Philistine city of Gath but found no refuge there and narrowly escaped (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1). Following that, David went to Adullam Cave where many desperate men joined him. This joyful and wise Psalm seems to have been written from that cave, and sung in the presence of those men.

The structure of this Psalm is acrostic, or nearly so. Each verse begins with another letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for the letter waw. The purpose in this Psalm mainly seems to be as a device used to encourage learning and memorization.

Psalm 34 begins beautifully (Psalm 34:1-4) as David is full of gratitude to God who got him out of a mess he himself created.

Take away from 1 Samuel 21 and Psalm 34:

  • God’s amazing goodness is shown when He delivers us when we don’t really deserve it.

David was hiding in his heart from God. Paul, in his great passage on boasting, may have remembered this saying and this episode, and so recalled his own ignominious escape from another foreign king (2 Corinthians 11:30-33.

Glorify is magnify in Hebrew. David knew there was something magnetic about the true praise of God. When one genuinely praises God, he or she wants to draw others into the practice of praise.

Magnify means to make Him larger in one’s perception. Magnification does not actually make an object bigger, and we can’t make God bigger. But to magnify something or someone is to perceive it as bigger, and we must do that regarding God.

Keys to praying:

  1. David sought the Lord
  2. The Lord heard David
  3. The Lord delivered David

Commentators are divided as to if David sinned when he feigned madness among the Philistines or if he was obedient and guided by God.

“The more we can think upon our Lord, and the less upon ourselves, the better. Looking to him, as he is seated upon the right hand of the throne of God, will keep our heads, and especially our hearts, steady when going through the deep waters of affliction.” (Smith, cited in Spurgeon)

The idea is that they draw something from God’s own glory and radiance. Later, the Apostle Paul would explain much the same thought: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18) This radiance is some evidence that one has truly looked to Him.

Radiant is a word found again in Isaiah 60:5, where it describes a mother’s face lighting up at the sight of her children, long given up for lost.” (Kidner)

What is a cry to the Lord?

  • A cry is short and not sweet.
  • A cry is brief and bitter.
  • A cry is the language of pain.
  • A cry is a natural sound.
  • A cry has much meaning and no music.

David is at a low point. A rag-tag group of desperate losers gathered to him at Adullam. David was still filled with praise and trust, even knowing that God had an angelic camp of protection all around him.

Image result for guardian angelDo guardian angels exist?

Many times in the Old Testament, the angel of the LORD is an actual material appearance of Yahweh Himself (as in Judges 13 and some other places). We don’t know if David meant that is an angelic being sent by God, or God Himself present with the believer. Both are true.

“The fugitive, in his rude shelter in the cave of Adullam, thinks of Jacob, who, in his hour of defenceless need, was heartened by the vision of the angel encampment surrounding his own little band.” (Maclaren)

David challenged the reader (or singer) of this Psalm to experience God’s goodness for himself or herself. It could only come through a personal encounter, in some ways similar to a taste or to see.

Taste and sight are physical senses, ways in which we interact with the material world. In some ways, faith is how we interact with the spiritual world. In this sense to taste and to see are trusting God, loving Him, seeking Him, looking unto Him.

“Both Hebrews 6:5 and 1 Peter 2:3 use this verse to describe the first venture into faith, and to urge that the tasting should be more than a casual sampling.” (Kidner)

Spurgeon: “There are some things, especially in the depths of the religious life, which can only be understood by being experienced, and which even then are incapable of being adequately embodied in words.”

David thought to fear the LORD was much like trusting Him and experiencing His goodness. This fear is the proper reverence and respect that man has for Deity. If you really experience God’s goodness, if you really experience the blessedness of trusting Him, you will also have an appropriate fear of the Lord.

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“The word ‘lions’ may be a metaphor for those who are strong, oppressive, and evil.” (VanGemeren)

“Were there lions prowling around the camp at Adullam, and did the psalmist take their growls as typical of all vain attempts to satisfy the soul?” (Maclaren)

Hiding in Caves

Many who were in distress, in debt, or in discontent gathered at Adullam cave (1 Samuel 22:1-2) with David. Here, David teaches them and offers advice.

  • Fear the Lord by doing right and obeying
  • Don’t speak evil
  • Don’t lie or deceit
  • Do good
  • Pursue peace with man and God
  • God listens
  • God rewards and punishes

Spurgeon on this passage:  “To teach men how to live and how to die is the aim of all useful religious instruction. The rewards of virtue are the baits with which the young are to be drawn to morality.”

Meyer on this passage:  “A bird with a broken wing, an animal with a broken leg, a woman with a broken heart, a man with a broken purpose in life – these seem to drop out of the main current of life into shadow. They go apart to suffer and droop. Life goes on without them. But God draws near.”

According to the Gospel of John, David spoke not only of his own experience, but also prophetically of the Messiah to come, Jesus Christ. John explained that the Roman soldiers that supervised the crucifixion of Jesus came to His body on the cross, expecting to hasten and guarantee His death in the traditional way – breaking the legs of the crucified victim. When they looked carefully, they learned that Jesus was already dead, and they pierced His side to confirm it. John wrote, these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken” (John 19:36).

The evil-doers own evil destroy himself or the evil-doer will be in misery.

There is no condemnation

Many centuries later the Apostle Paul would write, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Even under the Old Covenant, David knew something of this freedom from condemnation.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10

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Summary of Psalm 7:

A psalm of David’s concerning Cush, a Benjamite, David entreats God to save him and be his refuge. If he has done wrong, let his enemies overtake him. David pleads for justice to be done and violence to end. God is David’s shield and is a righteous judge. The trouble and violence one causes will be upon one’s own head. David gives thanks to the Lord and praise to Him.

Summary of Psalm 10:

Here in this Psalm, David feels God is far away. He describes the ways of the wicked who revile the Lord, are always prosperous, happy, and free from trouble, who are full of lies and murder, and take advantage of victims. David calls God to not forget the helpless and to call the wicked to account for their deeds. God is king over all and He defends the fatherless and the oppressed, so they may fear no more.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 & 10:

6) God is just. God is holy. God is faithful. God is pure. God is a refuge. God deals with evil and violence justly and righteously. God defends the helpless. Even in the bad times, God is there.

7) Those who perpetuate wickedness will be judged by God righteously. They only bring the troubles upon their own heads. Those who are affected will prevail, and God will avenge them. God shields those who are upright in heart. God will call the wicked to account. Those who are afflicted God hears, encourages, and listens to their cries, defending them, so they will terrify no more.

8 ) Part personal Question. My answer. God and justice. God and justice for me.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 emphasizes God as sanctitude and refuge and how God will avenge his believers for the evil they have done. Psalm 10 emphasizes God’s defense of the helpless and holding the wicked to account for their sins.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 Commentary:

The Hebrew title to this Psalm reads: A meditation of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite. The New King James Version translates the Hebrew word “Shiggaion” as meditation, though the word is difficult to translate and is used elsewhere only in Habakkuk 3:1. The specific occasion is not easily connected with an event recorded in the historical books of the Old Testament; it may be a veiled reference to either Shimei’s accusations against David in 2 Samuel 16:5 or to Saul’s slanders against David. More likely this Cush, a Benjamite, was simply another partisan of Saul against David. This Psalm contains both David’s cry of anguish and confidence in God’s deliverance.

Who was Cush the Benjamite?

  • When David was under attack from Cush the Benjamite, all he could trust was God.
  • “Nothing is known of Cush; but from Abasalom’s rebellion it emerged that Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, held some bitter enemies of David (2 Samuel 16:5ff20:1ff).” (Kidner)
  • Some believe that this Cush was really Saul or Shimei.
  • It appears probable that Cush the Benjamite had accused David to Saul of treasonable conspiracy against his royal authority.

God sometimes allows difficult circumstances, so they will awaken this urgency in us.

David knew what it was like to overcome a lion.

David had been accused of appropriating spoils which rightly belonged to the king, returning evil for good, and taking toll for some generosity.

Image result for psalm 7What do we learn from David’s prayers?

  • It’s a mistake to assume the passions of God are always with us or support our opinion. Many dangerous fanatics have been wrongly inspired by the mistaken assurance that God was for them when He was not.
  • David believed that God was for him and his cause; yet he did not hold this belief passively. He actively prayed for the accomplishing of what he believed God’s will to be.
  • David’s prayer for protection and vindication was not fundamentally selfish. He knew that his fate was vitally connected to the welfare of God’s people. His prayer was in large measure for their sakes, the sake of the congregation.

David wanted justice above all else. (Psalm 7:9)

While all sins are not equally sinful (some sins are worse than others and will receive a greater condemnation, Matthew 23:14); yet there are no small sins against a great God.

Adam Clarke believed a more accurate translation of Psalm 7:11 is, “He is not angry every day.”

Often wicked deeds may have the cover of respectability but are still filled with iniquity (as was the case with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day).

Violent endings of those who commit sin in the Bible include: Haman the enemy of Mordecai and the Jews, and the enemies of Daniel in the lion’s den.

Take aways from Psalm 7:

  1. God does not immediately judge the sinner out of mercy; He allows the sinner time to repent.
  2. God often brings the same calamity on the wicked that they had planned for the righteous.
  3. David could praise because he took his cause to God and in faith left it there.

Psalm 10 Commentary:

Because this Psalm has no title (in the midst of several Psalms that do), and because it shares some similar themes with Psalm 9, some have thought that it was originally the second half of Psalm 9. There are more reasons to doubt this than to believe it; this Psalm rightly stands on its own as a Psalm of lament at the seeming prosperity of the wicked, but ultimate confidence in the judgments of God.

David wrote this Psalm because it is arranged in the midst of several Psalms that are specifically attributed to David (Psalms 3-9; 11-32). Yet we know David to be a man of valiant action and warrior spirit; not the kind to stand passively back while the wicked murdered and terrorized the weak and helpless. The only exception to this would be if the wicked man were in a place of God-appointed authority, such as Saul was in Israel. Perhaps this Psalm was a cry of David for God to stop Saul because David knew that it was not his place to lift his hand against the LORD‘s anointed.Image result for psalm 10

David is expressing here what we all feel at times: concern and sometimes anxiety over the seeming inactivity of God.

Times of trouble: According to Maclaren, this was a rare word in the ancient Hebrew vocabulary, used only here and in Psalm 9:9. “It means a cutting off, i.e., of hope of deliverance. The notion of distress intensified to despair is conveyed.”

One who does not seek God and the one who does not think about God is put in the same category as the one who renounces the LORD. All are sins. Man has obligations to God as His creator and sovereign, and it is a sin to neglect these obligations.

Psalm 9:15 has the wicked being condemned; here it is a heartfelt prayer.

David asks God to not allow the wicked to prosper and to bring judgement sooner.

The wicked speech of men – which is often today regarded as no sin at all – is regarded as sin in the Psalms. Cursing, lying, threatening, and troubling and evil speech are all destructive. And these words are spoken because we believe we won’t be held accountable for what comes out of our mouths.

Characteristics of a Wicked Man

  • Secrecy
  • Bully
  • Murderer
  • Oppresses others
  • Blasphemies God
  • Curses, lies, threats
  • Haughty
  • Sneers at enemies (and God)

‘Helpless’ is a word only found in this psalm (vv. 8, 10, 14), which has received various explanations, but is probably derived from a root meaning to be black, and hence comes to mean miserable, hapless, or the like.

David wants God to take action against the wicked. And he knows God will because God has seen and God judges justly.

God had long been declared the king of Israel (Exodus 15:18), even when His people rejected His rule (1 Samuel 8:7-9). If David wrote this Psalm (especially during a time of persecution from Saul), the words “the LORD is King forever and ever” would have recognized the reign of God even over the troubled and dysfunctional reign of Saul.

Spurgeon states: “Sometimes, we have desires that we cannot express; they are too big, too deep; we cannot clothe them in language. At other times, we have desires which we dare not express; we feel too bowed down, we see too much of our own undesert to be able to venture near the throne of God to utter our desires; but the Lord hears the desire when we cannot or dare not turn it into the actual form of a prayer.”

The Psalmist reminds us that the spiritual preparation of the heart is a great gift, an answer to prayer, and a mark of God’s blessing.

Take away from Psalm 10:

  • What began with a sense of despair in times of trouble has ended with calm confidence in God’s justice and victory.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6

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Summary of 1 Samuel 6:

The priests and the diviners of the Philistines hatch a plan to send the ark of the covenant back to the Israelites: they made gold models as a guilt offering of 5 gold tumors and 5 gold rats in a cart with cows who had never been yoked before. They put the guilt offering and the ark in a cart. If the cart went towards Beth Shemesh, then it was God against them. Otherwise, it was chance.

When the ark returned to the Israelites, they sacrificed the two cows as burnt offerings to God and the large rock they set the ark down upon remained a witness. However, 70 Israelis died because they looked into the ark.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

6) The Philistines knew they had to send a guilt offering to God. By sending gold models, the Philistines hoped to send the originals out of the country as well. They put the objects in a cart and put stipulations on what it meant if the cows went one way or another, thinking the animals would prove it was by chance and not by God all of this happened. We put stipulations and meaning on objects or actions as well and say it means God is with us or it’s His will or not, when in reality we have no clue.

7) The people made a burnt sacrifice to God, using the cows sent over. However, 70 people looked into the ark and God killed them for it since this was against His laws. Believers blatantly disregard Him and His commands such as we see here with looking into the ark of the covenant.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: God is in control, and He rewards His people when they obey and puts consequences on them when they disobey. As long as I obey, I’m rewarded. When I disobey, I’m not.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

This isn’t exactly an encouraging passage. However, it does make a point: obey God or suffer the consequences.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 8, Day 3: 1 Samuel 6:

The Philistines kept the ark of the covenant for 7 months because they did not want to part with such a trophy. However, ultimately, they had to. It can take a long time before we realize the futility of resisting God.

The Philistine priests had enough sense to know they offended the LORD God. Therefore, they knew they should do something to express their sorrow and repentance before the LORD. We were not told in 1 Samuel 5 that the plague involved rats. Acknowledging God’s judgement is one way to give Him glory.

The Philistines admitted that the God of Israel judged their gods and had jurisdiction over their lands. They confessed that He was Almighty God, yet they did not worship Him instead of their gods. Big mistake.

The testing of God by the Philistines:

The Philistines decide to test God to make sure the plague was sent by Him. The test was stacked against God. Two milk cows which have never been yoked should not pull a cart at all; instead, they should have resisted their yokes. Additionally, the Philistines separated the babies from their mothers. The “maternal instinct” of the cows would draw them not towards the land of Israel, but back home to their own calves. The Philistines devised a test that “forced” the God of Israel to do something miraculous to demonstrate He really was the cause of the plagues.

God never wanted the ark to be transported by a cart. He wanted it to be carried by poles set in rings on the side of the ark (Numbers 4:15).

The ark didn’t have “handles” and was not to be carried by lifting it directly in one’s hands. Instead, it was to be carried by inserting gold-overlaid wood poles into gold rings at each corner of the ark. The poles were to remain inserted in the rings, and to be the source of contact with the ark. Apart from touching the poles, it was forbidden to touch the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:12-15).

Ironic how the Philistines were wise enough not to look in the ark of the covenant and instead placed the models next to it, but the Israelites weren’t.

Image result for 1 samuel 6Of course, the cows showed God’s glory. Two cows who never pulled a cart before with no driver left home and marched the ten miles or so to a city they had never been to. They left their own calves behind and went straight on a certain road, with never a wrong turn, never a stop, never turning aside into the fields to feed themselves, never turning back to feed their own calves. The cows were unhappy about doing God’s will cause they lowed.

The Israelites finally had God back (He had never left them, but in their minds He had).

What the Israelites did right upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant:

  • In a strict sense their offering was against the Mosaic Law. First, they offered female animals to the LORD, which was forbidden (Leviticus 1:322:19). Second, they made a burnt offering to the LORD away from the tabernacle, which violated the command in Deuteronomy 12:5-6. Yet God knew both their hearts and the remarkable circumstances, and He was no doubt honored.
  • The Israelites were careful to let the Levites handle the ark, as was commanded by the law (Numbers 4:1-615). Beth Shemesh was a priestly city (Joshua 21:16), so priests were on hand.

What the Israelites did wrong upon the return of the Ark of the Covenant:

  • The Ark of the Covenant was only to be touched and handled by specific Levites from the family of Kohath, and even they were commanded to not touch the ark itself (Numbers 4:15). The men of Beth Shemesh sinned by not only touching the ark, but also looking into it inappropriately.
  • God dealt with the Israelites more strictly than He dealt with the Philistines who just transported the ark by a cart. God did this because the Israelites, who had His law, should have and did know better. It is sad to consider that the Philistines showed more honor to the holiness of God than the Israelites.

Isaiah 55:8-9 shows this thought: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to respect the fact that God is God and we are not, and there are some things we just will not, and should not, know.

What is the holiness of God?

Holiness means that God is separate, different from His creation, both in His essential nature and in the perfection of His attributes.

Image result for holiness of godWhen Peter saw the holy power of Jesus he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). When the disciples on another occasion saw the holy Jesus shining forth at the transfiguration, they were greatly afraid (Matthew 17:6). When we meet the Holy God, we are excited and afraid all at the same time.

Holiness is part of the new man we are in Jesus (Ephesians 4:24), and we are invited to be partakers – sharers of Jesus’ holiness (Hebrews 12:10).

Though God is holy and apart from us, instead of building a wall around His apartness, God calls us to come to Him and share His apartness. As it says in 1 Peter 1:16, God calls us to be holy, for I am holy. Holiness is not so much something we have as much as it is something that has us.

We don’t know why they picked this village. All we know is the men of Kirjath Jearim received the ark and it stayed there for many years until King David brought it to the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6).