For today, One Year Bible Online links here.
It is foolish to believe everything you hear. The prudent think ahead and plan their steps. The wise cautiously evaluate the situation so as to avoid danger, the foolish are sure of their ability to handle any danger which arises and rush in without thought or plan.
This psalm is a reminder both of how short our lives are and how merciful God is. The psalmist reminds us to record the great and wonderful things God has done so that those not yet born will praise God when they read of His mercy and power.
When I have read this passage, I have always assumed that the two disciples of John the Baptist who heard John call Him the lamb of God and followed Him were Andrew and Philip. When a year or two ago a few people told me that tradition says that the other disciple of John the Baptist was John the brother of James, I was surprised. I realized that my assumption that it was Philip was not the clear reading of the passage I had always thought it was. The writer of this Gospel always refers to John the brother of James cryptically and that is certainly consistent with this passage.
The problem I have with the second of John’s disciples not being Philip (the first is clearly identified as Andrew) is that the next day when Philip talks to Nathaniel he clearly knows quite a bit about Jesus’ teaching. Enough to be convinced that Jesus is the Messiah. At this point in the account there are only three people (four, if you count John the Baptist) who know enough about Jesus to consider Him the Messiah: the two disciples of John and Peter. I will admit that I have always been biased towards this interpretation because I share Philip’s name.
I find it interesting to compare and contrast Samson and Samuel. Both were the sons of women who had been unable to bear children. Both were dedicated to God’s service from birth. Both served God in their own way their whole lives. However, Samuel lived a long life and provided Israel with good leadership to take his place (even though Saul was still in power, Samuel had annointed David). Samson, on the other hand, died a prisoner of the Philistines.
What was the difference? Samson chose poorly when it came to women. Throughout his life he chose to pursue women whose first loyalty was neither to God nor to him. I am convinced that we would do well to point to Samson as a negative role model when it comes to finding the right woman. Rather than seek a wife from among those who worshiped God, Samson asked his father to get him a woman from among the Philistines, who did not worship God. It is worth noting that Samson’s father had clearly spoiled him and continued to do so in this situation. The woman Samson had chosen nagged him to get him to give her information which would disadvantage him in favor of her countrymen. It is worth noting that Samson never learned from the mistake he made here.