Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Parthenon at night

Friday, April 8, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for April 9, 1 Sam 9-12

Today's readings are 1 Samuel 9-12. Tomorrow's are 1 Samuel 13-14.

God chooses a king at Israel's request, Saul. His primary qualifications seem to be that he is tall and good looking. He doesn't seem to be overly wise or resourceful. Saul is easily accepted by Israel based on this limited set of attributes. Perhaps there is a lesson for us today in all this.  
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Saul encounters Samuel in Zuph (Ephraim) where Samuel anoints a reluctant Saul as king (1 Sam 10:1). Note, Saul is anointed but not yet announced. Reluctant as he may be, he is the man god has chosen for Israel's king. As we have seen before, God supernaturally enables those He calls to do what He calls them to do. Saul has a transforming experience (1 Sam 10:6). Saul's transformation is so startling that it is evident to those around him. When God changes someone by the power of His Spirit, the evidence will be seen. 


Even though transformed, Saul remains hesitant. He hides when Samuel proclaims him king over a backsliding and rebellious Israel, Samuel's proclamation over Israel sounds more like a rebuke than a commendation.

Still, God blesses. He speaks to Saul, leads him and gives him a significant military victory (1 Sam 11). The kingdom s renewed and the people are excited...but not repentant.



There are consequences. Before he dies, Samuel issues a warning to turn back to God and repent. There are blessings in store if they are obedient, curses of they are not. As a results of their rebellion and as a display of His power, God destroys the harvest. The people repent for asking for a king our of their own selfish reasons. But, keep in mind, God's intention was for them to have a king all along. What Israel needed to repent form was their desire to be like the world. They were meant to be set apart as a unique and holy people. 

In all this, God still promises to bless, leaving them with this warning, "If you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away..."

God's grace is unfathomable, abundant and never ending. Yet, we repeatedly see that He sheds it on an unworthy and faithless people. God incessantly reminds them to obey him. They, just as incessantly, fail to do so. He never disowns them, never abandons them, never stops being their Father. There are, however and at every turn, earthly consequences for their actions. In spite of their rebellion and faithlessness, they are God's children. He has put his seal on them.

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