They Asked for a King…

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We could accidentally read 1 Samuel 10:24 and think that Saul becoming Israel’s first king was the Lord’s idea – “Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.’” But his story makes clear that before he was the Lord’s choice, Saul was the people’s choice. He stood head and shoulders taller than any other man. And we find that the first king, though maybe not the worst king, did not get the monarchy off to a great start. Saul makes his first appearance…not at all. The prophet Samuel stands before all the people ready to crown this guy asking where he is, and they find him hiding behind a stack of supplies! He thinks so little of himself that he hides from this highest honor. And yet, he spends the end of his life and reign so eaten up with arrogance and jealousy of his God-appointed successor, David, that he disobeys God and wastes military energy trying to track down and assassinate David. In the story of Saul we learn why it really is best to have God on the throne…no matter who the earthly king might be. There are many kings, but one Lord.

This week, I invite you to . . .

Read the Scripture: 1 Samuel 10:17-24

Engage God’s Story: I invite you to think through the answers to these questions from the scriptures themselves.

  • How does the Lord begin His address to the people?
  • What is the Lord’s tone? Is He eager to give the people a king? Does He refuse?
  • How does this passage describe Saul?
  • Now read 1 Samuel 13:1-15. What did Saul do wrong? Was it more than one thing? For what did the prophet Samuel rebuke him?
  • Could arrogance and “thinking yourself insignificant” or even hating oneself be related? How so? What would be the remedy?

Apply Your Story: There is always an intersection between the truth in scripture in our experience, because God’s story is our story.

  • Where do you see yourself in this story?
  • What truth do you find in this passage? Of who and how God is? Of the human condition? How we should live?
  • Can you relate to peer pressure? Recall an instance in your life when peer pressure or “mob mentality” took over a situation.
  • Would you dare to admit which one of these you struggle with more: thinking too highly of yourself or thinking too lowly of yourself? What perspective change is help combat this?

Be Satisfied

Sunday I was sitting in one of our worship services preparing to preach a sermon on God providing water from a rock. The story is found in Numbers 20:1-13, and it fits within the context of Israel wandering in the wilderness, receiving manna (daily bread) and comes before the short account in Numbers 21:4-9 of venomous snakes attacking the people of God as a result of their sin and rebellion. God tells Moses to put a bronze snake on a pole and whoever looks upon it will live. The message I was preparing to preach was on being satisfied. For the Israelites in the desert, God provided manna from Heaven . . . Jesus is the Bread of Life. God provided water from a rock . . . Jesus is the Rock who gives living water. God put the bronze serpent on a pole. In Jesus’ death on the Cross, we see the faithfulness of God undoing the curse of sin and death at work in our race. All who eat are filled, all who drink are quenched, and all who behold and believe receive life.

tencommandmentsAs I was preparing to preach my own sermon I was listening to the preaching of our lead pastor, Dr. Philip McVay. As He was preaching the same text God began to plant a new thought in me. It didn’t make it into my sermon, so I wanted to post it here. Jesus tells us that all the Law and the Prophets are summed up in two commands: “Love God and love others.” I wonder if there is a prerequisite to fulfilling these that we struggle with. As I reflected on each of the Ten Commandments, I wondered if each one could be summed up in one additional command: “Be Satisfied.” Let’s ponder . . .

I. “No other gods before the Lord.” (Be satisfied in Him alone)

II. “No idols.” (Be satisfied by the One who is unseen so that you don’t require gods you can see and touch)

III. “Don’t treat God’s name vainly.” (Be satisfied by His name such that you treat it with reverence)

IV. “Keep the Sabbath.” (Be satisfied by six days of labor and toil, and then say, “Enough.”)

V. “Honor your mom and day.” (Be satisfied by the earthly parents you’re given even with their faults and shortcomings, being ultimately satisfied that you have a Heavenly Father who makes up for anything still lacking)

VI. “Don’t murder.” (Be satisfied in your anger such that you don’t have to carry it out in deeds. And be satisfied in God’s justice. Vengeance is His)

VII. “Don’t commit adultery.” (Be satisfied by your spouse or in singleness)

VIII. “Don’t steal.” (Be satisfied to work for what you have and receive what you’re given with grace)

IX. “Don’t bear false testimony.” (Be satisfied with the truth)

X. “Don’t covet.” (Be satisfied with what you have)

Today, I wonder . . . Many of us read the Ten Commandments and feel as though we’re doing pretty good. We try not to kill, lie, and steal. But in how many of these areas are we totally satisfied? Are our souls so satisfied by God that we are full and free to love Him with all that we are and love our neighbors as ourselves?

Good Father, give us this day our daily bread. We pray this not only because we need you to provide, but because we need to be satisfied with what you provide. Help us to seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness so that our needs and desires are redefined. And thank you that they are all met in you. Your grace is sufficient. Amen.