I samuel 16 part 1–Moving On

God let Israel have the kind of King they wanted and as a result, he quickly became a king just like every other King in the world—Selfish, proud and independent of God.  God knew his Children would not last under such a king.  God told Samuel—it’s time to move on.  God was about to enlist a King that would Love and follow Him.  A king that was after his own heart.  He wanted a leader that would draw the people to God not pull them away. That is the kind of leader we need to be.

In our lives, God simply wants us to follow him.  If we choose not to, he will try to lead us back, but if our heart is not willing to submit, he then moves on. He will never force us into submission,  That does not mean however, that he will encourage or condone our personal rebellion.  No God will seek out those willing to trust and follow him and those people he will bless.  The critical issue for us is one of following.  If we are willing to come after him, he wants to provide for and protect us. If we choose to be independent of him, he will allow us that privilege and move on.  Help me Lord to submit and follow you.  Please never Move on from my life.

God Bless You

 

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”  But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”  Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

I Samuel 15 part 3–Arrogance and Rebellion

 There is a point that is too far. As we journey with the Lord, there comes a time when our arrogance and rebellion set the stage for the remainder of the journey. Cain’s murder of Abel, Samson telling Delilah his secret, and Saul’s decision to run the battle his way were turning points in the lives of these men.  It was at that point they rejected God and he rejected them.  See, as most fathers, God wants for us to be free and blessed.  But as we continue to fight him for our independence, he will ultimately oblige us and allow us to be independent of him and let us struggle with the bondage and misery our independence brings.

We should not favor independence, we should favor freedom.  When God led his people out of Egypt, he was leading them to freedom from slavery.  As they followed–they were truly free. The more they tried to walk away from him, the more they found themselves in bondage. The same holds true for us.  If we can submit to his leadership and truly seek him, we will be free—free to follow and free to experience his peace and provision. But the more we wrestle with him over who will be boss of our lives, the more we find ourselves entrapped and enslaved. Our arrogance and rebellion will be perceived as witchcraft and idolatry.  Truly, the god we then worship is ourselves.  Just as Saul was building a monument to himself at the battle with the Amalekites.   It is simple, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness—and all the remains will be added to you.  Help me Lord to avoid arrogance and rebellion in my life.

God Bless You

But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”

26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”

I Samuel 15 part 2–I surrender Some

There is an old hymn that I sang as a child—I Surrender All, by J.W Deventer that always haunted me.  The Hymn is very straight forward and simply speaks of a walk with God that pictures complete surrender and the freedom that brings.  Sadly, as I compare that to my life, I find that rather challenging.  So did Saul. God’s command was clear.  Completely destroy the Amalekites, leave nothing alive.  Saul mostly destroyed the Amalekites, he kept the King and some of the livestock, but, the issue was not an issue of misunderstanding, it was an issue of Lordship.  This became obvious as Saul was building a monument to himself after the battle, it was also obvious as he told Samuel he kept livestock to sacrifice to the Lord “Samuel’s” God. God always looks at the heart, and Saul had made Saul lord of his life.

We often battle the same temptation.  We set out to follow the Lord and surrender to his leadership, but, somewhere on the way, we decide to amend God’s plan to benefit us –just a bit.  We think ourselves clever—we figure God will understand.  Sadly, the Lord does not take partial allegiance.  His throne only has one seat.  He is a gentleman—he will only take charge if invited to.  But, he will never condone partial surrender.  This journey has to be under his care and authority.  That allows God to provide and protect those in his family. If we only partially surrender, there can be no consistency and no real faith.  When circumstances get easier, then we reassert our Lordship—We do it our way.  As with Saul, God says, I cannot allow a shared throne, I neeed a leader that is seeking me with his heart.  As Joshua said—choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house—We will serve the Lord.

God Bless You

Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves[b] and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”

13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”

I Samuel 15 part 1–The Face of Rebellion–Part 1

When we look at the nature of rebellion from God’s perspective, we often expect to see idolatry and Sin in every form.  But, sometimes, rebellion seems so minor and inadvertent that we forget that it is not so much the acts but the attitude that demonstrate the failure to submit and follow the Lord.  From the beginning, God has always looked at men’s hearts when evaluating their relationship with him.  Saul started as king humbly and reluctantly. After time had passed, he became more confident and less dependent on God.  Jonathan showed God as the true warrior at the battle just prior and Now Israel was a  thriving army once again.  Now God gave them a simple task. Destroy the Amalekites.  He made no exceptions or difficult requirements—Saul would lead the Army to avenge Israel.

Often in our journey, God gives us things to do.  Follow, submit, seek and pray.  He is most time most interested in the attitude of our heart more than anything else.  Are we willing to follow him and submit to his leadership.  If we feel we know better than God and always seek to do our plan not his, then he will not bless us or protect us. As his kids, first and foremost we must seek him and follow his lead.  As we do, he will bless and protect us day by day—“Seek first the Kingdom if God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

God Bless You

Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

 

God as Warrior–I Samuel 14 part 3

When we follow God’s Lead, it can completely change the world.  Israel was stuck on the sideline—no weapons, afraid and hopeless.  Jonathan trusted the Lord and followed him into battle and God caused a panic, re-invigorated the Israelite troops and routed the mighty Philistine army. All because Jonathan followed the Lord into battle.

In our lives, there are times when the battle seems lost, troops defeated and hope completely gone.  But, as we continue to follow the Lord into Battle, he can completely change the course of the battle and the condition of our hearts. He gives strength to the weary and hope to the hopeless.  He brings victor out of certain loss and humility out of utter pride. If we remain faithful, he will lead us to victory in his time. We can never give up, give in or lose hope.  Help me, Lord to follow you into battle and to see your mighty hand disrupt and defeat our enemy!

God Bless You

Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Watch God Go 1 Samuel 14 part 2

It is an amazing thing to see God at work.  When he takes control, the miraculous looks easy, the impossible manageable.  Jonathan stepped out in faith and watched to see what God could do.  He persuaded his armor bearer to step out with him.  the two of them waited on the Lord’s direction and then stepped into battle.  Little did they know that their faith would save the nation.

We need only believe and step out in faith to see God do amazing things.  When we do step out, we will find that those that know and love us will be inspired and step out as well.  When that happens, we begin to see Miracles as well as the true sovereignty of God.  It is a joy to follow the Lord, it is the most exciting and interesting thing to watch.  Help me Lord to follow and watch you do your thing

God Bless You

 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.”

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

I samuel 14 part –Perhaps the Lord Will Work for Us

Many times to be effective for the Lord, one need only be available, committed and moving forward.  Israel was in a desperate situation.  Saul had 600 men and no weapons, while the Philistine army had many troops and plenty of weapons.  Despite the odds, Jonathan—the king’s son, trusted God and decided to step out in faith and simply see what GOD would do.  He did not ask his dad, he did not ask the priest, he simply trusted the Lord.  Armed with faith and little else Jonathan set out to make a difference.

 Many days in our journey, we find ourselves similarly situated. Armed only with faith—we step out to meet the enemy and trust that God will execute his plan and honor our faith.  It can be scary and seem hopeless, but in the end, as we trust him, he will provide, protect and astound us.  Many times we have no idea how he will accomplish his plan, we simply have the assurance that he will.  It is then that he usually does the amazing.  Our mantra should echo Jonathans—Perhaps the Lord will work for us today!

God Bless You

One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.

On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”