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2 Samuel 5:1–6:23 (LEB)

David Anointed as King over All of Israel

5 So all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and they said, “Here we are, we are your flesh and blood. For some time, when Saul was king over us, you were leading Israel in and out. Yahweh had said to you, ‘You shall be the shepherd of my people Israel, and you will be the leader over Israel.’ ” All the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron in the presence of Yahweh; then they anointed David as king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign; he reigned forty years. He reigned over Judah at Hebron for seven years and six months; and he reigned over all Israel and Judah at Jerusalem for thirty-three years.

The Capture and Growth of Jerusalem

The king and his men went to Jerusalem, to the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land. They said to David, “You will not come here, for even the blind and the lame can turn you back, saying, ‘David cannot come here.’ ” David captured the fortress of Zion, the city of David. David had said, “On that day when we attack the Jebusites, one must attack the lame and the blind, those who hate the soul of David, by means of the water supply.” For thus the blind and the lame would say, “He cannot come into the house.” David occupied the fortress and called it the city of David. And David built all around it from the Millo and inward.

10 David continued growing stronger and stronger, and Yahweh the God of hosts was with him. 11 So Hiram, the king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, along with cedar trees and craftsmen skilled in wood and in stone masonry, and they built a house for David. 12 David realized that Yahweh had established him as king over Israel and that he had exalted his kingdom because of his people Israel. 13 David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the ones born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua and Shobab and Nathan and Solomon; 15 Ibhar and Elishua and Nepheg and Japhia; 16 Elishama and Eliada and Eliphelet.

War with the Philistines

17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David as king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David, but David heard and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come, and they spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 And David inquired of Yahweh, saying, “Shall I go up to the Philistines? Will you give them into my hands?” Yahweh said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.” 20 So David came to Baal Perazim and defeated them there; and David said, “Yahweh has burst through my enemies before me like the bursting of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim. 21 They had left their idols there, so David and his men carried them away.

22 Once again the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 So David inquired of Yahweh, but he said, “You shall not go up. Rather, go around to their rear and come to them from opposite the balsam trees. 24 And it shall be that when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then pay attention, for then Yahweh has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 25 So David did thus, just as Yahweh had commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines from Geba all the way to Gezer.

David Brings the Ark of Yahweh to Jerusalem

6 David again gathered all the chosen men in Israel, thirty thousand. David got up and went and all the people who were with him, from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God which is called the name, the name of Yahweh of hosts, upon which the cherubim sit. They loaded the ark of God on a new utility cart, and they carried it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Now Uzza and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new utility cart along. So they brought it out from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill with the ark of God, and Ahio was going before the ark. Now David and all the house of Israel were dancing before Yahweh, with all kinds of musical instruments made from ash trees, and with zithers, harps, tambourines, sistrums, and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzza reached out to the ark of God and took hold of it, because the oxen had stumbled. Then the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Uzza, and God struck him down there because of the indiscretion, and he died there beside the ark of God. David was angry because Yahweh had burst out against Uzza, and he called that place Perez-Uzza until this day. But David feared Yahweh on that day and said, “How can the ark of Yahweh come to me?” 10 However, David was not willing to bring the ark of Yahweh to himself, to the city of David, so David caused it to turn to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 So the ark of Yahweh remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and Yahweh blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.

12 It was told to King David, “Yahweh has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and all that is his because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the city of David with jubilation. 13 It happened that when the carriers of the ark of Yahweh had marched six steps that he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 Now David was dancing with all his might before Yahweh, and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of Yahweh with shouts of joyful acclaim and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 It happened that when the ark of Yahweh came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked down through the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before Yahweh, and she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of Yahweh and set it in its place in the middle of the tent which David had pitched for it. Then David offered up burnt offerings and fellowship offerings in the presence of Yahweh. 18 When David had finished from the sacrificing of the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh of hosts. 19 Then he distributed to all the people, to all the multitude of Israel, from man to woman, to each: one ring-shaped piece of bread, one cake of dates, and one cake of raisins; and all the people went each to his house.

20 When David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David. She said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today by uncovering himself before the eyes of the maids of his servants, as the total exposure of a worthless one.” 21 So David said to Michal, “In the presence of Yahweh who chose me over your father and over his household, to appoint me as leader over the people of Yahweh, over Israel, I have celebrated before Yahweh. 22 I will demean myself again more than this, and I will be abased in my eyes, but with the maids whom you mentioned, with them I will be honored.” 23 So for Michal the daughter of Saul, she had no child until the day of her death.


1 Peter 4:1–11 (LEB)

The Time for Behaving Like the Gentiles is Past

4 Therefore, because​ Christ suffered in the flesh, you also equip yourselves with the same way of thinking, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, in order to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for the will of God. For the time that has passed was sufficient to do what the Gentiles desire to do, having lived in licentiousness, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and wanton idolatries, with respect to which they are surprised when​ you do not run with them into the same flood of dissipation, and so they​ revile you. They will give an account to the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead. Because for this reason also the gospel was preached to those who are dead, so that they were judged by human standards in the flesh, but they may live in the spirit by God’s standards.

Serving to the Glory of God

Now the end of all things draws near. Therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for your prayers. Above all, keep your love for one another constant, because love covers a large number of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it for serving one another, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as the oracles of God; if anyone serves, let it be as by the strength that God provides, so that in all things God will be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.


Psalm 136:1–26 (LEB)

Praise to God for His Creation and Deliverance

136 Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good,

for his loyal love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods,

for his loyal love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his loyal love endures forever.

To him who alone does great wonders,

for his loyal love endures forever.

To him who made the heavens with skill,

for his loyal love endures forever.

To him who spread out the earth above the waters,

for his loyal love endures forever.

To him who made the great lights,

for his loyal love endures forever.

The sun to rule the day,

for his loyal love endures forever.

The moon and stars to rule the night,

for his loyal love endures forever.

10 To him who struck Egypt through their firstborn,

for his loyal love endures forever.

11 And he brought Israel out from among them,

for his loyal love endures forever.

12 With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,

for his loyal love endures forever.

13 To him who divided the Red Sea in two,

for his loyal love endures forever.

14 And he let Israel cross over through the midst of it,

for his loyal love endures forever.

15 But he tossed Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,

for his loyal love endures forever.

16 To him who led his people through the wilderness,

for his loyal love endures forever.

17 To him who struck great kings,

for his loyal love endures forever.

18 And he killed mighty kings,

for his loyal love endures forever.

19 Sihon the king of the Amorites,

for his loyal love endures forever.

20 And Og the king of Bashan,

for his loyal love endures forever.

21 And he gave their land as an inheritance,

for his loyal love endures forever.

22 An inheritance to Israel his servant,

for his loyal love endures forever.

23 Who remembered us in our low estate,

for his loyal love endures forever.

24 And he rescued us from our enemies,

for his loyal love endures forever.

25 The one who gives food to all flesh,

for his loyal love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,

for his loyal love endures forever.


July 20

When we avoid community, we may develop an inflated opinion of our own character. It’s easy to think we’re kind people when we’re not held accountable to others. It’s easy to think we’re always right when no one disagrees with us. Conversely, it’s in our relationships that our true selves are often revealed. When we’re actively involved in a community, we face hundreds of instances where we need to make choices. These choices either serve others, or they serve our own desires.

When Peter states, “Above all, keep your love for one another constant, because love covers a large number of sins” (1 Pet 4:8), he’s saying that choosing to love often sets all motives in the right place. It dispels our own pride and puts issues into perspective. When we are truly loving others, it’s not about our pride or “being right.” It’s about helping others grow in faith by using our God-given gifts.

Peter goes on to show just what this looks like: “Be hospitable without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift, use it for serving one another, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as the oracles of God; if anyone serves, let it be as by the strength that God provides, so that in all things God will be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 4:9–11). When we love others and use our gifts for their benefit, our actions do more than serve the other. Since they find their origin in Christ’s love, they serve to honor and glorify Christ.

Living in community with others may often be difficult. We’ll meet with challenging people and situations that will require us to continually pray to the giver of gifts for renewed strength and the ability to serve. We’ll face conflict that needs to be met with wisdom and love. Through prayer and the work of God in our lives, we can love and serve others with the love of Christ.

How are you exerting your own pride in your relationships with others? How can you serve them with your unique, God-given gifts?


Rebecca Van Noord is editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. She has developed content for several Bible reference products, including Lexham Bible Dictionary and Faithlife Study Bible.


Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.