Showing posts from June, 2018

The Lord looks at the heart- David is chosen

1 Samuel 15:34 - 16:13

We find the prophet Samuel in mourning. Israel’s first king, Saul, is a failure. The one Samuel anointed, the one God chose, has failed. …

But, God speaks up, “it’s time for something new. I know we had high hopes for Saul, but he’s just not working out.”.

Samuel gets his oil and sets out for Bethlehem. He is careful not to raise suspicion, so he takes an animal for sacrifice. He’s just doing his rounds- caring for the people’s souls. If Saul found out what God was planning, he might try to kill Samuel and anyone who looked like they were helping him.

When he arrives in Bethlehem he invites a man named Jesse and his sons to the ceremony. A prophet doesn’t come to town for no reason. They know something is up. The prophet has Jesse present his eldest son to him. He is tall, attractive and strong. Samuel gets out his oil, but God stops him saying,
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The …

don't change me, change the system- 1 Sam 8- the call for a king

1 Samuel 8:4-20; 11:14-15
God is so amazingly gracious that He works for us even when we work against God. In Romans 5:7-8 Paul says, 
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We can imagine dying for someone who has been important to us. We would be willing to die to protect our child. Or, we would be willing to die for a parent or a mentor who has loved us and treated us well. … But, would we be willing to die for someone who sued us? Would we be willing to die for the playground bully? Would we die for an enemy? … Paul says that is exactly what God was willing to do. God worked to save us while we were actively working against God and God’s good plans for the world.

We see that same character trait at work in today’s reading from 1 Samuel. The elders of Israel come to Samuel, and they are not impressed with Samuel…

Hearing God's Voice- 1 Sam 3

1 Samuel 3:1-10
We meet Samuel in our reading as the nation is on the doorstep of a major transition. The nation was made of a number of tribal groups, who were sometimes led by judges (something like a mixture of warrior and a prophet). The book of Judges is a book about the deterioration of God’s people. By the end of the book they are in a deep dark hole. During Samuel’s time the people will transition to being a kingdom under the rule of a king.

The spiritual state of the people probably has something to do with why it says, “The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.” It could be that God wasn’t active in communicating, but I suspect it is more likely that the people had entered into a space where they were unwilling to hear and live according to the word they might hear. In the book of Judges the people were stuck in a pattern or turning away from God, which led to things going badly for them, then they would turn to God for help; God helped them, …