Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Pont Aven, France

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 11, 1 Sam 15-17

Today's readings are 1 Samuel 15-17. Tomorrow's are 1 Samuel 18-20 and Psalms 11 & 59. 

Saul's pride begins to rise up. God continues to bless Israel, in spite of Saul. When God tells Saul to go up against the Amalekites, Saul numbers his army, something God did not tell him to do. Not only does Saul ignore God's command to destroy everyone of the Amalelkites, Saul sets up a monument to himself after the victory.

God says He "regrets" making Saul king.  We should understand this regret as a grieving heart over the state of Saul and His children. This is not to imply that God thought He had made a mistake and was changing His mind about Saul. Keep in mind that God had already signaled that Saul's days as a king were limited. What God's regret reveals is that God does indeed grieve over the lost state of His people, even as He is working out His plan of redemption to save them. We should never allow ourselves to think that God does not grieve over our sin, even as we experience His grace, the same way He grieves over Saul's sin while showing Him grace. 

The Lord removes the kingdom from Saul, sending a harmful spirit to afflict him. This truth bears some thought and meditation. While it is not clear as to the origin of this harmful spirit or how it came to be harmful, the text boldly states that the spirit was sent by God and was under His control. This clearly reveals the sovereign nature of God and the terror of rebelling against Him. Meanwhile God sends Samuel to anoint David, a young, ruddy, shepherd boy, to be king. 

When everyone in Israel cowers before Goliath, a 9 ft tall Philistine (again, the Philistines!) giant, David miraculously defeats him handing Israel a decisive military victory. 

While the popular notion of David and Goliath is to relate it to standing up to the giants in our lives, there's much more here than that. One one level, we see that the king Israel wanted, the good looking, tall one, was overshadowed in every area by a shepherd boy. The king that God quietly chose was superior to the one Israel wanted and celebrated. It is true that God had Samuel anoint Saul as well as David. But, in anointing Saul, God was very clear that Israel had rejected Him in favor of this new king.  In spite of Israel's rejection, God sends a champion and redeemer, David. He is empowered by God and given victory by His hand. 

David is representative of God's people in Judah. He stands before an unconquerable foe in a hopeless situation. David's confidence in God and his absolute faith in God to defend his name, not David's own capabilities, brings the impossible victory. In the same manner David stands against Goliath, Judah stands against the world who wants to invade and defeat them. It's just the same for us as we stand against a world that wants to invade and defeat us. Yet, David, Judah and we are God's chosen children. We are His representatives. Our confidence in God and faith in His power to defend His name will ultimately bring victory. Like Judah, there will be times when the battle is lost. But the most important battle, the eternal one, is won by God. Ultimately, God gets the glory, we get peace and an eternal home.

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