Wednesday, August 17, 2016

1 Samuel 15 - Removed from Service

God is over all, He sees all and He alone can raise up or remove people in authority. Saul as King over Israel had received a word from God to utterly destroy the enemy. Saul did most of what God commanded, but failed to destroy the enemy King and the choice animals of the flocks. God is grieved that He allowed Saul to become king, since he has twisted God's commands for his own pleasure. Furthermore Saul set up a monument not for God's glory, but for his own. 

God has all authority to raise up whom He deems fit for service and to remove authority from those who do not honor God. As I look at world leaders today, there are few anyone could call great. Leaders who look to God and who stand for right in a fallen world. But each of those leaders received their authority from God to rule their lands. God looks for them to govern justly and to bless their people. When they fail, God, the righteous judge, may remove them or He may reserve His judgement for a later date. In any case, we can be assured that God sees all. 

For as long as we have kings, presidents and rulers in our land, flawed people will hold positions of authority. As our world slides more and more to degradation, the leaders follow that same course until the day of the Lord's return. God's judgment is upon them. 

There is another lesson we can apply to our own lives. 90% obedience is the same as disobedience. We have to decide in our own minds that we will follow God full on. There should be no shadow of doubt or wavering. Yet we do waver and fall. God has provided us a means of forgiveness and restitution in our Savior Jesus Christ. This is not a license to sin, but a remedy should we  fail in our obedience. 

Our leaders come from sinful stock as do the people they lead. Our only hope is found in Christ. In the case of Saul the Lord appointed a new leader and returned Saul to his humble beginnings. 

When we acknowledge that God is the source of our position, our wealth and our power, we have a different perspective about how each should be used. God looks for our gratitude and obedience. Let's commit to live full on for the Lord and thank Him for His generous provision. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

1 Samuel 14 - Following the Master

This chapter details an interesting battle where Jonathan, Sauls son gains victory (with God's favor) over the Philistines and ends up out if favor with his father, King Saul. This chapter is a wonderful depiction of a man who seeks and follows the Lord even though he stands alone. Jonathan and his armor bearer scouted out the enemy and determined they would follow the signs to determine if they should engage in battle. His father Saul continued sitting in his position of safety. The sign was given by God to Jonathan and there was a great victory as he killed 20 Philistines. God killed even more as confusion descended on the camp and the Philistines slaughtered each other. 

Saul after learning of the battle seeks direction of God through the priest. He surely knew that he should engage the enemy, and take the land. God had done the fighting for him. Saul then declares a fast among his army to the point they were faint from hunger. Jonathan didn't know of the fast and ate honey along the way. 

After Saul builds an altar and inquires of God what to do next, he gets no reply from God. He assumes it is because someone broke the command of the  King. Upon learning it was Jonathan who broke the command he was willing to slay his own son except that the army stepped in to save Jonathan. 

Jonathan stepped out in faith and won a victory in God's power for the nation that was feeling defeated indeed.  Saul was the King but used his power to his own advantage rather than seeking the good of his people. Saul was a powerful man, but a coward. Jonathan became a hero though it meant standing in opposition to his father. 

I am so glad that the Lord records these stories of overcoming impossible situations and operating in faith. When we look at our own circumstances we may see conflict and opposition, but we can trust that we serve the God of Jonathan who is able to overcome. Note that in the operation of faith, he was not exempt from battle or conflict, but IN the conflict, God intervened to give a victory. 

Where is your conflict today?  Is it a need for finances, health, success, or unity?  God is able to supply our needs according to His riches in glory.  We must be careful to place our trust in Him and not in our own devices. We also must be careful to use our devices for God's glory as Jonathan did. We may see conflict arise because we have not gone the way of the masses. We may even see earthly leadership opposition. We don't seek out the opposition, but with the armor God provides we stand in the midst of conflict allowing God to get the glory. 

Jonathan gave a model we can follow. Seek God's plan, act on it, and stand firm. God gets they glory and we see God's  hand at work for His people.

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.