Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1 Samuel 8-11: Be careful what you ask for. And other random thoughts.

I like to find a theme and write about that, but today is a day of random thoughts.  I think about all of them simultaneously, and I want to write this post and move on with my days.  It's already 11:00 a.m.

Be careful what you ask for.
The people of Israel ask Samuel for a king.  After all, Samuel's not getting any younger, and his sons aren't particularly godly.  They don't want to go back to the days of the judges.  And besides, everyone else has a king, why can't they?

Samuel is a little offended.  But God tells him, "They're not rejecting you; they're rejecting me."
The people would rather have a king they can see than a God they can't see.

Samuel warns them that a king will take their best land, their choicest crops, and their most beautiful women.  And he'll send them to war, and they'll die.

But the people don't care what Samuel says, and they don't care what God says, and so God gives them what they ask for.

They think a king can solve their problems.
They'd rather trust a king, with his own interests, than trust God, who sees the future.
And we do the same thing.

How much better to delight ourselves in the Lord and trust him to take care care of our needs.

Sometimes lost donkeys aren't really lost donkeys.
Saul and his dad lost the donkeys, and so they set off in different directions to find those lost donkeys.  God had another plan, to lead Saul directly to Samuel.

Sometimes we get all upset over lost donkeys (or keys) or other unfortunate circumstances, and we don't even realize that God wants to lead us in a new direction.  A better one.

No, we haven't found the lost keys.  And our search for the keys didn't result in any newfound kingdoms.  But the principle is true.

God can completely change us.
Saul was a totally impressive man.  Tall.  Powerful.  He looked like a king.  But he didn't really act like one.  He was more ordinary than that.

Until Samuel anointed him with oil and gave him God's blessing.  The author of 1 Samuel tells us, "As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart . . ." (10:9).

It is this change, and not his height or his strength that qualify him to be king.
Sometimes God chooses people who look like kings, and sometimes he chooses people who look nothing like kings.  Point in fact, David.

How sad it is that Saul, chosen by God, filled with God's spirit, ultimately chooses to glorify himself instead of glorifying God.

Of note, I just read Mark Batterson's blog from a couple days ago.  He wrote some of my favorite books, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, and Wild Goose Chase.  Apparently some test graded him as Below Average as a writer.

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