Day 152

You Have the Energy of God

Wisdom Psalm 68:28–35
New Testament John 19:28–20:10
Old Testament 1 Samuel 29:1–31:13


The world is running out of energy – oil, coal, gas and so on. How do we ensure sufficient energy supplies to sustain life? Where will we find this energy? Now, we are searching anxiously for power ‘from above’ – trying to harness the almost limitless power of the sun.

All of us face the same problem as the physical environment, but on a spiritual level. You stand before a choice: do you look for the energy you need in yourself and the resources of your intelligence and your entrepreneurial spirit, or do you look for it ‘from above’, from the risen Christ, the Sun of Righteousness?

In the passages for today we see something about the extent of God’s energy, power and strength. Whereas on a physical level we struggle to harness even a fraction of the power of the sun, God has given you full access to his endless energy through Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Psalm 68:28–35

28 Summon your power, God;
   show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
   kings will bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds,
   the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.
  Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver.
   Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come from Egypt;
   Cush will submit herself to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
   sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
   who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
   whose majesty is over Israel,
   whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
   the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

  Praise be to God!


Where does it come from?

Energy, power and strength come from God. This psalm ends on a note of confidence as David proclaims that ‘the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!’ (v.35). Amazingly, God promises to give you his power and his strength.

David prays, ‘Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before’ (v.28). In contrast, he is dismissive of any attempt to seek power elsewhere. He talks of the worldly power of an evil regime, ‘Rapacious in her lust for silver, crushing peoples’ (v.30, MSG). Yet he knows that ultimately such power ‘will submit… to God’ (v.31). David knows from his own experience that God’s power is more than enough for all his needs.


Thank you, Lord, that you will give ‘power and strength’ to your people. Fill me today with your energy, power and strength.

New Testament

John 19:28–20:10

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

The Burial of Jesus

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

The Empty Tomb

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.


What is it like?

God gives to you the same energy, strength and power that he used to raise Jesus from the dead.

I remember a time when I was speaking at a conference for church leaders. I had been speaking for several hours each day and felt completely exhausted and drained. During a break, I happened to open The Message Bible translation at Ephesians 1:19–20: ‘The utter extravagance of his work in us who trust in him – endless energy, boundless strength! All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death’. I felt re-energised from above.

In this passage, John emphasises that Jesus had truly died. When he had ‘completed’ (John 19:28a) the job he had been given to do, thereby fulfilling the Scripture (v.28b), he cried out, ‘“It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up (paradoken) his spirit’ (v.30).

His last act was to give the gift of the Spirit. He breathed out his Spirit as later he would breathe on his disciples and also give them his Spirit.

Death by crucifixion could be sped up by breaking the person’s legs. In Jesus’ case, this was not necessary, as he was already dead (v.33). ‘Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water’ (v.34). At death the clot and serum of the blood separates, and this would look like blood and water. John provides good medical evidence that Jesus was truly dead.

It may be that there were already people at the time arguing that Jesus did not really die, but only seemed to. This view came to be known as ‘docetism’ from the Greek word dokew, meaning ‘seem’. Mohammed was influenced by docetic views. The Quran states, ‘They did not kill him, neither did they crucify him; it only seemed to be so’ (Sura 4:157).

John emphasises that Jesus really did die – he gives the physiological evidence. He also shows that Jesus’ death was in accordance with the will of God revealed in Scripture: ‘These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced”’ (John 19:36–37).

In the blood and water flowing from the side of Jesus, we see a symbol of hope. The ‘blood’ symbolises his life poured out for us. Water symbolises the Spirit. The water flowing from the heart of Jesus will heal, cleanse and energise us all.

The body of Jesus was wrapped in linen cloths and seventy-five pounds (34 kg) of spices. If anyone had removed the body, surely they would have removed the lot. No thief would have left the only items of value. Jesus certainly could not have taken the grave clothes off himself (humanly speaking). Yet the disciples found ‘the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself’ (vv.6–7, MSG).

William Temple, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, pointed out that the language used is extraordinarily vivid, and ‘such as no invention would devise, no freak of imagination conjure up’.

On this evidence, it is hardly surprising that when the disciples saw, they believed (20:8). At this stage no one had even seen the risen Jesus. Yet the evidence of the state of the tomb and the absence of Jesus’ body was enough in itself to convince them of the resurrection.

They had believed that Jesus was the Messiah before. But this was different. They ‘saw and believed’ that God’s power and energy had raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was alive again. This was unexpected sunshine. Winter was over. Spring had come.

When the New Testament speaks of God’s love, the focus is the cross. When the New Testament speaks of God’s energy, power and strength, the focus is the resurrection (Ephesians 1:19–20). We rightly think of power belonging to God. Yet we so easily forget that God’s power is also ‘for us who believe’ (v.19).

The same power and energy that raised Jesus Christ from the dead now lives in you.


Lord, thank you for your extraordinary love; that you were willing to die for me. Thank you for your resurrection, and that the same power now lives in me. I pray you will fill me with that energy today.

Old Testament

1 Samuel 29:1–31:13

Achish Sends David Back to Ziklag

29 The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?”

Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”

4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favour than by taking the heads of our own men? 5 Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:

  “‘Saul has slain his thousands,
   and David his tens of thousands’?”

6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you. 7 Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”

8 “But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”

9 Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’ 10 Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”

11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David Destroys the Amalekites

30 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.

3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.

7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod. ” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”

“Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue. ”

9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. 10 Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.

11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat— 12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.

13 David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?”

He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. 14 We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”

15 David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?”

He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”

16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. 18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”

21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. 22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”

23 David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike. ” 25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.

26 When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the LORD’s enemies.”

27 David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir; 28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29 and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak 31 and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.

Saul Takes His Life

31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.

4 Saul said to his armour-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”

But his armour-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armour-bearer and all his men died together that same day.

7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.

8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armour, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10 They put his armour in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.


How do we receive it?

Do you ever feel exhausted, at a low ebb, not knowing how you will be able to cope with all the problems you are facing?

These were terrible times for the people of God. David had reached a low ebb in his life. He had got himself in the position of being about to fight for the Philistines against Israel. But then, even the Philistines decided that they didn’t want him.

He gets back to find that the Amalekites have captured his and his men’s wives, sons and daughters. The result is an explosive mix of grief and anger. The whole company was distraught at what had happened, and David’s followers then turned the blame on him, threatening to stone him (vv.4–6).

But in the middle of all his problems, ‘David strengthened himself with trust in his God’ (v.6b, MSG). This was the turning point in David’s life. Those who, like David, have turned to God in their deepest distress have been repeatedly amazed at the speed with which he has been able to change their fortunes.

As the men return from battle, some of his men did not want to share what they recovered with those who were too exhausted to fight (vv.21–22). But David was wise enough to see that everyone has a part to play in God’s work. He replied, ‘No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us… The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be same as that of him who went down to the battle. All shall share alike’ (vv.23–24). Those who do the less glamorous work are just as important as those who hit the headlines.

As we read of the death of Saul and his sons, it is clear what a brutal world they lived in. Saul takes his own life in order to avoid being abused in the way that Samson was. Faced with such dangers and barbarism it must have meant so much to David to strengthen himself ‘with trust in his God’.

Follow David’s example – spend time with God strengthening yourself, being re-energised and then trusting him wholeheartedly, believing that he is in you by his Spirit and believing that you are able to do whatever you need to do through him.


Lord, thank you that whether we are at our lowest ebb or facing great trials and challenges or just facing the ordinary struggles of life, we can all find strength and energy in the Lord our God.

Pippa adds

In John 19:39, it is so good to see Nicodemus back and a continuation of his story. His original conversation with Jesus in John 3 must have had a huge impact on him. It could have been a one-off discussion, but here he is collecting the body of Jesus having bought, at great expense, seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. You never know the impact of one conversation with someone.



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William Temple (ed), Readings in St John’s Gospel: First and Second Series (MacMillan, 1963), p.360.

The Bible with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel (commentary formerly known as Bible in One Year) ©Alpha International 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Compilation of daily Bible readings © Hodder & Stoughton Limited 1988. Published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited as the Bible in One Year.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from The Message, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.

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