"Come, let us go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows".... "Nothing can hinder God from saving whether by many or by few" 1 Samuel 14:6. In this chapter we see how Saul and his son Jonathan greatly differed in their obedience to the will of God
Armed with trust in God and courage he ventured out to destroy the Philistines. He saw the Philistines as the enemies of God. He was in a vulnerable and difficult position with only the support of his armor bearer. He took great risk. He did not mind losing his life, but was determined to do the Lord's will.. to destroy His enemies. Jonathan knew that great numbers were not necessary for God to give victory in the battle. He recognized God as the Savior of His people. We understand this from his statement, "Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving whether by many or by few. He saw the Philistines as uncircumcised unbelievers under divine judgment.
Though he was the anointed king of Israel, he was resting comfortably under a pomegranate tree surrounded by his soldiers. Saul did not have a proper view of his role as the king of Israel.. He viewed the Philistines as his personal enemies and the battle with them as his personal battle... not the battle of the Lord. He was selfish. He issued a foolish command that nobody should eat anything till "he had avenged himself on his enemies." He gave more importance to rituals.. He built an altar to the Lord and discouraged people from eating meat with blood.. But he failed to appreciate the importance of submitting to God's will.
It was only because Ahijjah the priest suggested that Saul inquired of the Lord. He was blind to his own sin but accused hs son Jonathan.
Dear friends, let us be like Jonathan willing to take risks for the Lord.Let us dare to do great things for the Lord. Let us relinquish our will and submit ourselves totally to God's will. Let us not be carried away by rituals and traditions but let us focus on living Christ like lives.... pleasing to God and building His Kingdom.
Manjula Premraj, Chennai
A Leader With Integrity
Prophet Samuel led Israel as Judge for 40 years. After confirming Saul as King, he called all Israelites to Gilgal. He was giving his farewell speech in the presence of Saul. (1 Samuel.12)
Hear I stand; Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. (1 Sam.12:3)
He is asking few questions.
1. Whose ox have I taken?
2. Whose donkey have I taken?
3. Whom have I cheated?
4. Whom have I oppressed?
The reply which Israelites gave to Samuel. "You have not cheated or oppressed us" they replied."You have not taken anything from anyone's hand" (1 Sam.12:4)
Samuel's purpose was to declare his innocence from any blame and to provide an example for Saul in his new responsibility as King. He wanted to affirm the fact that he had not exploited the people of God. He had not become rich by doing spiritual service. He had never oppressed a person with his position of authority. He had never taken a bribe. He never misused temple offerings. He never spent anything for his luxuries.
It is good to have a clear conscience before God and people and a life without regrets. Samuel had lived a holy and exemplary life before the people.
How is our conscience before God and people?
What could be the answer of people around us, if we ask those questions to them?
Let us be people of integrity like samuel.
For the sake of His great name,the Lord will not reject His people...1 Sam12:22
Samuel in his farewell speech said that God will not abandon His people. Because they were His children,He may punish them for their disobedience,in order to bring them to the right relationship with Him.
For the sake of His great name He will not reject His people.He will treat them mercifully because of His divine saving grace or favor.He will always keep His covenant promises even if His people donot.God' name will be glorified.
Lord Thank You that You will never leave us nor forsake us.Thank you for the promises that strengthen us
I Samuel:13: 13 "Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly: You have not kept the command of the Lord, your God......"
Saul was the first king in Israel chosen by God. He was handsome and taller than any of the people. When he was anointed by Samuel, God gave him a new heart. He was humble and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In fact, he began very well. We have a saying that " well begun is half done". But as far as our Christian journey is concerned it is not relevant. We have not been called to end our journey in the middle, for one reason or other. We need to strive for our destination. One of the last sayings of our Lord Jesus on the cross was" It is finished". Paul said, " I have finished my race...". Here, Saul's life gives all of us an opportunity to examine, whether we have committed any foolish deeds, to interrupt our journey. (If you feel this message a bit longer, please bear with me) Why should we look into the failures on the part of Saul, deeply? Paul states the reason: "Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction. Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands, take heed lest he falls". (I Corinthians: 10:11, 12)
Lessons from Saul's failure:
Sin is serious.
⚡ Saul never really took sin seriously. This is evident for a number of reasons.
⚡He always made excuses rather than confessing his sin before God.
⚡He was quick to blame others for what he himself had done.
⚡ We never find him repenting-he wept from time to time but never turned to God in repentance.
⚡Saul thought he could cover up his sins, but that will never work (Prov: 28:13) By comparison, David committed more serious sins than Saul, but there was a difference.
⚡ David is found repenting time and again before God.
⚡ God's plan for dealing with sin is clear (Confession- Repentance-Forgiveness)
⚡But Saul never learned this lesson.
Spiritual decline is gradual.
⚡At first Saul was humble, but pride and envy began to work in him (Hatred followed envy and murder followed hate)
⚡He began as an obedient servant of God, but soon became stubborn and independent.
Spiritual decline is also gradual.
⚡ It is possible for our spiritual life to deteriorate without our realizing it.
⚡However, God sends us warnings through his words (we might have received so many warnings during the days of our 240 days
Bible reading program)
⚡If Saul would have listened to the warnings sent from God he could have avoided the shame and disgrace that came upon him.
Obedience is the key to victory and success.
⚡God must be the Lord of our life.
⚡God made Saul king.
⚡He annointed him and empowered him.
⚡But it was up to Saul to allow God to control his life.
⚡The same is true for each of us. God never forces himself upon us. We must yield ourselves unto Him and allow him to have control.
⚡We must make God's will our will.
⚡We can't argue with Him nor should rebel against Him.
⚡We should not run ahead of Him or lag behind.
⚡ We need to obey immediately all that we know God would have us to do.
⚡ Sacrifice is no substitute for obedience.
⚡ Saul failed to understand this truth. We often try to rationalize what we do and unilaterally make deals with God.
⚡But the only sacrifice God wants is our heart.
Spiritual lives must be built.
A spiritual growth does not come automatically.
⚡ Spiritual growth also is gradual. There is no quick and easy path to spiritual maturity
⚡ It must be determined and will come as a result of effort.
⚡We never find that Saul ever built a spiritual life
⚡ He trusted in his natural abilities more than in his spiritual gifts and in the power of God.
⚡Some can go for a while in their own strength, but eventually, failure will come.
⚡Saul's failure could have been avoided if he had built his spiritual life We must build our lives spiritually
⚡ God will keep us from falling if we build our spiritual lives.
The steps are:
⚡We must have these qualities in our lives, and we must allow the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth of His Word.
⚡When we live for the glory and majesty of God, it will make a difference in our lives.
⚡Saul was more interested in his glory than in God's glory.
⚡ The result was that he lost his crown.
If God tells you today," you have done foolishly, " what will be your response?
Dr. Thomas David.
Repentance after a family fight
The Israelites had fought with their brethren, the Benjaminites, because a Levite’s concubine was killed by the men of Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. This angered the Israelites and they fought the Benjaminites and defeated them. When they realised that they had almost decimated the tribe of Benjamin, they went to Bethel and sat there in the presence of God till evening. Loudly and bitterly they mourned saying, Lord God of Israel, why has this happened? Why is the tribe of Benjamin about to disappear from Israel? (Judges 21:2-3)
An all too familiar situation in many families nowadays. Brothers and sisters in their prime age fighting for supposedly legitimate reasons, but in the end leaving bitterness in their relationships. Some of them might repent like how the Israelites did, but only after much harm has been done. God wants brothers to live in harmony.
How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God’s people to live together in harmony! It is like precious anointing oil running down from Aaron’s head and beard, down to the collar of his robes. Psalms 133:1-2
Let the peace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ abide in us Believers so that we are able to resist the evil and live in harmony. All for the honour and glory of God.
Dr Marina Thomas
Chapter 12:3 “Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”
This chapter explains Samuel’s farewell speech. And this speech marks the final transition from the period of the judges in Israel to the time of the kings. Samuel is the last judge of Israel, and Saul is the first king.
In his farewell speech,he stood before the people like a book, he opened himself for people to examine and evaluate his life.
Samuel made himself accountable to the people. He wanted to know what kind of integrity he built over the years of faithful service to God and to the people.
This is a challenge for all of us, especially who are in a position of leadership; no matter what field of life.
……. Have we maintained a good reputation before God?
Could we stand up before the people who know us best and say this?
Have we wronged anyone?
go and make it right.
Go and apologize.
Go and ask for forgiveness.
Go to them and be reconciled.
Keep your conscience clear before God and man.