“But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’” – 1 Sam 10:19
Then the people shouted, “Long live the King!” – 1 Sam 10:24b
The Israelites were warned and even now, God gives them a chance to repent by telling them it has been God that has looked out for them. And yet they have made their final rejection against God and cry out “Long live the King!” They have spit in the face of God and all of His grace, mercy and love; they have turned to the love of men over the love of God.
Our country does not look much different than Israel did back then. We fight and hate on each other over our president and representatives. Rarely does God enter the conversation in our political ire. And many have forsaken God all together, regardless of all He has done for this country. They have cried out, we want a king to take care of us.
How long will our Lord be patient? How long will He withhold His anger? How long will His hand of protection remain on these United States? We have rebelled against Him and have spit in the face of His mercy, grace and love when we follow our own wants and wishes instead of following His.
The current statistics for Church attendance tells a very real story. Only 20%, a very generous number, of the population attends Sunday Service on a regular basis. Yet, every Sunday during football Season the average regular attendance of people watching football, whether live or on television is about 53%. That means over half the people can sit for 3 hours and watch a football game and commercials, while only 20% can sit for an hour and a half worshiping God with other believers.
God suffers with His patience for only so long, as we have seen in Israel. The US has become a land of idols and worshiping pagan gods. It is high time the Church become relevant again. We must repent ourselves of our idols and short comings. We must cry out to God, that we want Him as our King. We can no longer accept the rule of men, it must be the rule of God lest we fall into captivity just as Israel did.
Stand up today if you are a Christian. Repent and decide that God is going to be your King and Lord. Put Him first, love the Church (the people), and make them a priority, not just on Sunday but all week long. Let us turn our hearts fully upon God. God please forgive us as we repent and claim you as our King.
God is My King,
Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you say such things to me.” – 1 Sam 9:21
Saul is being called to be the King of Israel. He has been chosen personally by God to do His work for the people. It is always amazing how God does things in this world. What we think would happen or should happen is rarely how God does what He does. His logic flies in the face of worldly wisdom. He has chosen a man least of the tribes of Benjamin, least of the tribes of Israel.
Do you ever feel like you are part of the least of these? Feel as if God could never use you to do great things? I am hear to tell you that God loves to use the meek to take down the arrogant and prideful. He loves to use the smallest to take on the biggest. Just look at David vs. Goliath or Israel, which defeated Egypt. God says that He chose Egypt because they were the least among the nations, not because of their might.
What we fail to realize is that all that we do is for the Lord and so when He calls us to the impossible, we find that it is not we who are doing this thing, but it is God. That is what are great deeds are supposed to point to, God. That is why He chooses the seemingly week and insignificant, it is because to Him you are significant and He can work all kinds of impossibilities through those who are willing.
Today, I just want to sit back and thank God for working with the least of these like myself to do His works in life. We may not change the world, but we can change the world for someone today. Someone in our community today needs God, they need the Gospel message. There is no greater task for us to accomplish than to provide the Gospel to the people. Now God works through us, there is no such thing as insignificant. God can work through you too, if you are willing and because He loves you.
When Samuel heard all the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” – 1 Sam 8:21
The people ask for a king, of course the irony is that they already have a King, God. They were warned that this king would claim portions of their lands, the children, their families and their food. Yet they beg Samuel for a king so they can be like all the other nations. They want a replacement for God, He isn’t doing a good job.
When things are bad and the chips are down, it is easy to cry out to God. We cry out because we have no semblance of control in our lives and we need something more powerful to guide us. However, when things get better, I am always amazed at how quickly people bring back their idols and toss God out the window.
In the best of times is the hardest time to remember that we need God. One way to do that is to remember to be thankful for what you have. Remembering that the good times are a result of the blessings that God has poured out upon us. Yet, in the good times, we often time think we got here by ourselves and we are doing a great job without God.
God had just defeated the Philistines for Israel and yet they cry out for a king that can lead their armies in victory. They have not been grateful for the deliverance and therefore forget where their provision comes from. Even in the warning that Samuel gives them from the Lord they ignore the warning and want a king anyway.
It reminds me of being about 5 and crying and throwing a fit for ice cream. My mother told me my belly would ache because I had already eaten too much. But I did not listen to her and I cried for the ice cream. So, she gave me the ice cream and sure enough about an hour later, there I was crying about my belly.
God says, if you cry out for me to let you go, I will. But I don’t want to hear your belly aching later on when the stuff I told you would happen, comes to be. “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Sam 8:18) If you make your bed you will have to sleep in it says the Lord. I don’t know about you but I want the king sized plush bed that I can just sleep in with all comfort, that is found only in God and His plan. Help us Lord to remember that in the Good times as well as the bad, help me to always be thankful for your plan in my life.
To God Be the Glory,
Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
1 Sam 7:3
When Israel turned back to the Lord, Samuel had one important instruction for them, if your serious, then you need to put away your idols. All the distractions in life and all the things that are pulling you away from my love.
In my life, that means putting away my distractions that take my attention away from the Lord. I am not talking about taking away our leisure items, but I am talking about when we watch 3.5 hours our television every night before we go to bed. I am talking about our love for sports that prevents our families from being with our Church families. I am talking about anything that takes most of our time, energy and money.
These things are the idols in our lives. They steal not only our time and our money but also our hearts from the Lord. My mentor, James once said, “Where people spend their time and money is where you will find their hearts.” That is a trustworthy statement and in today’s culture of spending thousands of dollars on televisions and phones, we begin to see where our hearts lie.
So, we must repent and turn back to the Lord, but only if we are willing to let go of our idols. We must put those things away; we must destroy them in our lives. If we continue to allow our attention to be taken from the Lord, it will not be long before our lives follow the path that our heart has laid out for us.
Today, I repent. I repent Lord of the things that steal my attention away from you. I repent of my idols and my idolatry. I refuse to let the things of this world take one more minute of my time and energy and another cent of my money that belongs to you. I repent Lord and praise you alone. Thank you for your loving patience and glorious grace that lead me home and to the Truth.
Remember at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. - Eph 2:12-13
For Christ to be near us, we must draw near to Him. He is the unmovable, the one solid foundation that never changes, never moves. This means that I have to be the one who moves, because it is I who is separated from Him, not Him from me. I have got to cross the bridge of Christ, which spans the gap. Sure, Jesus did the work to build the bridge, but it is still my choice to cross the chasm and come to life in Him.
Am I truly alive in Christ or merely on life support? Are there signs of life in my Christian walk or am I just merely surviving? People need to know that we are alive in Christ. How? It is in the very things that we do, what we make a priority in our lives. Where you spend your time and your money and that is your priority in life.
Is our priority the Church anymore? In the first century there was no doubt who the people where who were alive in Christ. It was in the very way they walked and talked. Today we would call those people Jesus freaks. I want to be a Jesus freak, I want to make my life and priorities about God. Why?
I find that when I am close with Christ and alive in Him, my life is never better. I find more happiness and joy and strength. I have more energy and more fight. When I am putting the Church high on the priority list, I find comfort and a sense of accomplishment in my life. You will never know a greater feeling that being a part of leading someone to Christ, period.
Just to know you played some small part in their decision for Christ, and knowing now they are eternally secure, gives you that sense that you are doing something more important than ever before. It is a blessing from God and it makes us truly feel alive in life, instead of feeling like we are just spinning our wheels.
You want to know the meaning of life on this Earth, Matthew 28:18, “Therefore go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you until the very end of the age.” If you want to be alive, be alive in Christ, get off the life support and make Jesus and the Church a priority again in your life.
May the Lord Guide Us,
Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. – 1 Sam 6:13
The Philistines wanted to push God away, but the Jews rejoiced at the sight of their creator, at least where He said He would reside. They loved God and wanted His presence near. They took the ark and sacrificed and rejoiced in the return of the Lord.
The question for us today is: Do we want to be the Jew or the Philistine? Do I relish in the presence of God? I love the Lord and I want Him near. So much so that it has defeated many of the desires of the flesh in my life. He has conquered sin and death for me, yes I want to be near Him.
When I am near to the Lord, His joy and peace wash over my heart and I am healed. I feel more energized and purposed in my life. I am grounded in that which never changes and is ever increasing in my heart. When I am close to Him, it like nothing can touch me and I can accomplish all things in His will.
The same applied for Israel, they knew what it was to be close to God and therefore, they rejoiced at His return. They loved that His presence was back and that they would once again be protected by their God. That thought of protection and security is just comforting in life and that is a state of being that can only come from God.
So today, draw near to Him. Let His comfort, peace, security and joy wash over you today. Let Him guide your steps and see if He isn’t a wonderful and merciful Savior of His people. He relishes in providing for you. He wants us near and wants to bless us with peace, all you have to do is let Him.
Peace of God be with You,
As the ark of God was entering Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel around to us to kill us and our people.” So, they called together all the rules of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the God of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.”
The Philistines stole the ark from Israel without thought of repercussion; they did it out of pride and arrogance. Then, when in their sin, He strikes out against them, they want to flee from Him and His punishments. They want to send God away, so they can return to their sinful lives.
When we are in sin and God tries to discipline us, sometimes we say, get away God. When something bad happens people often turn from God saying, “He can’t exist, what kind of God would do something like that.” Never once is the responsibility for the sin in their own life placed upon themselves.
How about instead we turn from our sin, repent and give glory to God, His discipline would relent. He would turn His anger away from us and bring us into glory. God isn’t a mean old bully; He is a caring father who wants to see us turn from our wickedness so He might bring us peace and joy.
So instead of saying away from me God, send Him back to where He came from, let us instead ask how we can repent and turn toward Him. For the lost it is no different, the more they struggle against God the harder life becomes because He wants us to repent and come to Him. I think it would have been the same for the Philistines if they would have let go of their pride and fell on their faces at the One True God, He would have relented His punishment from them and taken them in.
Realize who God is today; realize His life-giving love; realize His want for you to be near Him. He doesn’t hate you; He loves you. I discipline my children not because I am angry with them, but because I love them and know what is best for them. Turn to the One God who knows you and knows what’s best for you. Repent and be saved.
God Be Praised,
So the Philistines fought, and the Israelites were defeated and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was very great; Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died. – 1 Sam 4:10-11
What happens when we let sin run rampant in our midst? Well God disciplines His people. Here we have the two sons of Eli running a muck in the temple, spitting in the face of God’s sacrifice and no one has done anything to prevent them from being so foolish. So, God withdraws His hand of protection on Israel and allows them to be disciplined by the Philistines, even to the point where they are allowed to take the Ark, removing God’s presence from them.
I don’t know about you but that is a pretty big slap in the face. When God doesn’t even want to be around you anymore, wow. Sin causes so many waves in the lives of people and yet we continue to ignore it, even in our own congregations because we are afraid of what men might think.
What if I confront them and they decide to leave? Do I really know what’s going on? I don’t want to judge someone? All questions I have herd and answered for people. When we see sin in the congregation, we have to deal with it. When we see sin in our lives we must do the same. We must repent, lest God remove His hand of protection from us.
I always want my God near me, I always want His comfort and joy to be present, but if I am rebellious in my sin, then I am moving away from Him and He from me. He will not force His people to stay where they do not want to be. So for me and my house, we will repent when sin is near and we will squash out that which seeks to take us from His light and glory.
God Bless and Be Near You,
Then Eli said, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.”
Eli just got the report that his family would no longer be a part of the priesthood ever. That the sins of his family would never be atoned by the sacrifices or offerings, no matter what. See they had committed the unforgivable sin, the high-handed sin against God. Eli’s sons blasphemed the sacrifice and had spit in the face of God’s grace and mercy. And yet here we have Eli willing to continue to serve and willing to take the responsibility for his son’s actions.
The question for me today, is: Am I willing to take from the Lord what is handed down to me? Am I willing to say, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes.” I have to pray and contemplate on that a while because that is huge. What if God asks for me to have cancer so that I may minister there or what if He asks me to pick up and go to Africa that they might here the Word. Am I willing?
Am I even willing in the small things? I have to be willing to give up my sins, which He has already called us to do. I have to give up my gluttony, my lusts, my selfishness, and my anger. I must give it all up for Him because I have to be willing to let God do what is good in His eyes. When I am in sin, as Eli’s family was, it is never a good thing that God will do. But when I am found in Christ’s righteousness then, I know all things will work together for my good.
Today, I must be willing to accept what is before me. I must be willing to accept the journey and the road God has called me to. I must be will to allow Him to pour out onto me all that He wishes, so that I might serve Him well. In all of this I will remember that this life is temporary and that one day I will be with Him in glory. On that day I want to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
May We Serve Well in the Lord Today,
Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: “I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.” But now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. – 1 Sam 2:30
Here we see God declaring to Eli that His descendants would not as priests. His boys were making a mockery of the sacrifice to God and bullying the people into all kinds of evil. And because Eli would not stop this evil he too was held accountable.
The question for me becomes, do I respect men more than God? Am I willing to stand against evil and sin, especially in the Church when we see it? Eli saw what was wrong and did not intervene. These were men in the “Church,” priests of the Lord. It was their duty to honor God and to serve the people.
I choose to stand against sin and evil. Especially when I see it in the Church. I cannot sit back and abide wickedness, but must root it out. I must do so with loving care and much salt. But I cannot stand back and allow sin to continue. To allow sin to flourish is to allow evil to prevail in the Church. This is to respect men more than God.
Too many times I find fear as the main motivation to keep quiet. They might leave the Church, what if it effects the worship. Perhaps I shouldn’t push them away, doesn’t God want me to love them? All of these are excuses not to do as God commanded. It wasn’t just in 1 Sam that the issue is brought up, in Matt 18, Jesus addresses this very issue.
So, let’s stand strong and resolute. First, I will start with me and my sin, then I must lovingly deal with any other sins in the Church. We can no longer be afraid and respect men over God but must give glory to Him by honoring and keeping the Church Holy.
God Be With You,