Ponder: 1 Samuel 8:8-18
Perceive: Samuels characterization of Israelite kings is a great description of government yesterday and today. As the government grows, so grows the need for more resources. Just like human resources are wanted for a monarchy's maintenance, money and equipment resources are wanted for increasing entitlements for domestic causes as well as local and national defense. Unfortunately, large quantities of materials are needed to sustain a bureaucracy. The bigger the bureaucracy, the more resources are needed. Six times Samuel uses the word take in his description of a ruling king. Unfortunately, take and more take is the normal process for growing government. Placing this growing burden on the backs of citizens eventually reduces them to slaves. Later on the people cried out for relief from the king as though he were an enemy and the Lord was slow to answer and give them relief. We too have a choice in whom we elect as our leaders. Poor choices can have great consequences. Today far too many people feel their leaders are an enemy to their way of life and their exercise of freedom and it feels like the Lord is slow to answer. Could it be we are reaping the consequence of a miss-placed faith?
Pray: Lord, help me today to pray for those who are in governing positions of our nation. Convict them of their need to see your face, to know your word, and to make laws that help all the people live better lives. Convict them of their sin.
Ponder: 1 Samuel 8:6-9
Perceive: Samuel was a godly man and even though the request of the people disturbed him, he took it to the Lord in prayer and the Lord answered him. His people wanted a change in their nation but not in their hearts. What they need was a rekindled faith in God not a trust in a strong willed man. When we seek God to lead us but continue to live by the world’s standards and values, our faith is flawed and weak. God must lead the heart and rule the mind.
Pray: Lord, help me with the demands of the people in my life and ministry. Forgive me for allowing the world to impact my faith versus my faith to impact the world. Help my home, church, state, and nation rekindle a trust in You.
Over the next few months, my blog will focus on the Life of David through a chronological reading of Scripture. I hope to create a devotional for anyone who wants to become a man or woman after God's own heart. Our story begins with the nation rejecting God and asking for human king.
Ponder: 1 Samuel 8:1-5
Perceive: Changes in leadership often reveal the true character of followers. In this situation Samuel’s sons were so bad that even their father could not deny the nations concerns. It is in the solution, Samuel struggles. The people wanted a king to lead just like other nations. In reality the people were rejecting God and His divine leadership for a nation that ran on human inspiration and presence. The situation for us is similar: Do we rely on God’s strength and leadership or follow the way of the world and human reasoning?
Pray: Lord, help me today to walk in your ways, listen to your word, and strive to be a man of God, a man who gives you the throne of his heart.
Christians are facing massive persecution all across the middle east, may have lost everything fleeing from Da-ash (ISIS) and other forces hostile to their faith. Our school created this film to be a light and encouragement to the church in the middle east, that even as wars rage around us, God has given us the Victory in Jesus! Please share this film and spread the word!
10 minute version - https://vimeo.com/132228804
30 minute version - https://vimeo.com/134556152
During our quiet time this morning, the author made this comment, "Trouble is inevitable, but misery is optional. Attitude has to do with the way I choose to think about things." This is very true.
As the apparent wickedness of our culture seems to grow and appear as though it is prospering, more and more people are developing a sour disposition and an angry spirit. Me included. The word fret means to burn with anger. Everyday I fight a spirit of anger at what the world and our country leadership continue to promote as law.
The Psalmist writes, "
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
This is one of the ways the godly persons attitude is tested. We live in troubling times and wicked people appear to prosper. Are we looking up or looking within to see God act on our behalf?
"The cross of Christ and the swastika do not need to oppose each other, and must not do so, but rather they can and should stand together. One should not dominate the other, but rather each should maintain its own meaning and significance." This is a quote from a tract (1) written in 1934 during the rise of Adolph Hitler by a German church leader. The Nazis put a lot of effort into the movement, but it ultimately failed.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
When someone or some situation causes you pain, how do you react? When people come alongside your life on that day, what will they see, what will they hear? Words of self-pity, or a song of trust? Will they hear a sigh of sorrow, or a psalm of praise?
Paul said, "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). ESV.
I think almost all of us have at one time or another, rolled our eyes at someone or looked down on them. Granted sometimes it may have been in jest. Haughty eyes are eyes that are lifted up in arrogance. The position of the eyes describes the attitude of the heart. The arrogant spirit may vaunt itself against any and all people, but fundamentally this reflects haughtiness before God and refusal to reckon with one’s limits and human attributes.
Contrast this with the teachings of Jesus. There is something of a contrasting parallel arrangement with the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. It has seven blessed things to answer these seven hated things; moreover, the first beatitude (“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Matt 5:5) contrasts with the first hated thing (“haughty eyes,” v. 17; i.e., “a proud look”) and the seventh (“peacemakers,” Matt 5:7) with the seventh abomination (“stirs up dissension,” v. 19). (1)
Which would you rather reflect in your life?
(1) Ross, A. P. (1991). Proverbs. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 935). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
This weekend, I heard my pastor preach another great message from the life and ministry of Christ. During his message he referred to the things God hates. And, yes God does hate some sins. We find the list in Proverbs 6:16-19.
There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,
A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers (NASB).
The seven things that the Lord hates are specific, personal attitudes, and actions.
The first five things the Lord hates are body parts set in a sequence that moves generally from the head to the feet (eyes, tongue, hands, heart, feet), and the last two are specific types of persons (the false witness and the troublemaker). Also, note that the first five items concern general moral characteristics (pride, deceitfulness, a violent or conniving character, etc.), whereas the last two (v. 19) specifically belong to a judicial or governmental setting.(1)
(1) Garrett, D. A. (1993). Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (Vol. 14, p. 97). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.