1 Samuel gave me so much life today! It took me over an hour to read five chapters because I kept stopping to jot down my thoughts and impressions. Sometimes, one over-arching theme will jump out at me, and that will be the topic of my nightly post. But, there were more than a few good ones today, and I’m having difficulty choosing just one to write about.
So, this is one of those nights when I’ll be sharing some of my raw notes as they occurred...verse by verse. (The Scripture references are clickable links that will take you to the actual text.)
9:17 - The chain of events described in chapter 9 are so remarkable to me.
If the donkeys had not run off.
If his father had not told him to go searching for them.
If he had not brought that servant with him.
If they had not ended up near the town where Samuel was.
If the servant didn’t suggest going to ask Samuel about the donkey’s whereabouts.
If the servant didn’t have silver to offer Samuel.
If Saul didn’t agree with his servant’s suggestion to try this last ditch effort, he would not have gone to see Samuel at all. Saul was crowned king, and it all began with his father, Kish, losing his donkeys.
THE LESSON: When things happen to us that we consider to be a loss, it could just be part of God's grand plan of putting us in position to serve Him. See how God lines everything up, animate and inanimate objects, to bring about His will?
NOW THAT'S FAITH!
9:23-24 - That’s what I call believing God’s word! Samuel acted upon it well in advance of it coming to fruition. He arranged a dinner gathering and set aside food for the honored guest (Saul) who didn’t even know he was expected until after he arrived.
THE LESSON: Believing in God’s Word means taking action on it.
10:9-10 - God gave Saul another heart. Whenever the Spirit of God rushes upon people, they prophesy! Does this mean speaking in other tongues here? Or does it mean speaking and teaching wisdom from God? This reminds me of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Jesus' disciples on the day of Pentecost.
THE LESSON: A new heart means being filled with the Spirit of God, and what comes with that is a new language. A new way of communicating. A complete transformation to such a degree that people will ask, “Is that the same person we just saw the other day?”
OLD HABITS DIE HARD!
10:19 - The people STILL wanted an idol. And God gave them what they asked for. A tall handsome king. A reluctant king, perhaps. But a king nonetheless.
10:16,22 - Are these indications that Saul was a reluctant king? Was he afraid to accept this calling?
12:17 - It's wicked to desire a king? Maybe he's saying that this particular group of people were the only ones on the face of the earth who had the Almighty God as their king, yet they wanted to first replace Him with hand-crafted idols, then with a human idol for a king. I suppose that would be the ultimate insult and slap in the face.
THE LESSON: It’s human nature to want what you see other people with, instead of being satisfied with what you have...even when what you have is better.
12:21 - When we turn away from God, that's when we start looking for things, ideas, and people...empty things...to profit us or deliver us. This is true to this very day!
THE LESSON: The more things change, the more they stay the same. People still seek fulfillment in substances, relationships, material wealth, status...all of which they’ve made their idols. The very purpose for their existence revolves around one or another of these things.
FEAR THE LORD ONLY!
12:24 - THE LESSON: Fear meaning care about, serve, love, respect, honor, follow, obey. Don't fear what society says about you. Don't fear what will happen to you if you don't get a degree. Don't fear the economy. Don't fear poverty to the point you're chasing paper instead of God. Don't fear celebrities and other rich folks by doing what they do, saying what they say, loving what they love, and hating what they hate. Don't fear your peers or colleagues for the same reasons. Don't fear yourself by letting your pride and ego drive your passions. But do fear the Lord, and only the Lord. Amen.
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