Covered: 1 Samuel 1-3, 8-10, 13-16
Not Covered: 1 Samuel 4-7, 11-12
Scripture Memory: His Faithfulness – Lamentations 3:22-23, Numbers 23:19
As we move quickly through prophets and kings, let us not lose sight of the fact that this was not the Lord’s desire for His people. It is easy to be swept up into the excitement of the choosing of the kings and the victories that followed. However, we see that quickly following the victories led by these kings who were empowered by the Spirit of God comes deception, lack of obedience, pride, adultery, and murder. Why?
These failures must lead us back to the truth. The request for a king was a rejection of the Lord. (1 Sam. 8, 1 Sam. 10:19) The Lord desired to lead His people because He knew the weakness of man. Only the Lord could lead them perfectly. Only the Lord knew what was best for His children. The choosing of a king was, in fact, the Lord stepping back from what was best to give what was requested. The people said to the Almighty God that they would rather be like other countries and have a king than be led by the One who parted the waters and victoriously led them into the Promise Land.
Here is where we see a window into God’s heart. If we look closely, we will see it today in our own lives as well. The Lord gave His people what they requested. Much like the quail in the wilderness, He grants them their wish. Knowing that these men would eventually lead them astray, He works through the kings and continues to fight for them in battle. Unfortunately, instead of being moved to worship and gratitude after winning a battle, we see in 1 Sam. 11:12 (not found in your F260 reading), the people saying to Samuel, “Who said that Saul should not reign over us?” In other words, “See God, this is working fine!” Essentially their pride and desire to be like the other nations cloud their hearts and minds. They fail to see the Lord offering mercy, grace, and lovingkindness in spite of their rejection of His plan.
Oh, if only our hearts could break as we see the many ways we follow the same patterns of the Israelites! As we read through Samuel, we can learn many truths about how the Lord works as we strive to follow Him while trying to blend with the culture around us.
- When we seek to go a different way than the revealed will of God, He sometimes grants our wish. This is never the best plan for us. And there will be pitfalls ahead that we cannot foresee.
- Just because we find pleasure or success in our own plans, does not mean that the Lord is pleased that we rejected His. His love follows us, and He will not abandon His children. “May we never equate His faithfulness to us in times of rebellion with His endorsement or tolerance of our choices.” (Priscilla Shirer). And we will never know what we missed by doing it “our own way.”
- When we find ourselves in this place, we must acknowledge that following the world around us instead of God’s way reveals that we have idols in our lives.
- As we realize that we have chosen our way over God’s best, we can ask the Lord to reveal the specific idols of our heart. As we discover the idol(s) that lured us away from our Lord, true repentance can occur.
Last week as I sat around a table and listened to godly women sharing what the Lord had shown them that week, my heart was moved. Like many other times, the Spirit revealed truth through one of these friends. This one particular woman began to list idols that she saw in her heart. Specific ones. Wasn’t I also convicted of sin in my heart that week? But I let it be slightly vague as I asked forgiveness, thought about it off and on while asking the Lord to change me. At that moment I realized I had skipped a step. Moving on from revealed sin and repentance requires that we go to the root.
The action of the Israelites consisted of choosing a king to lead them instead of God. The root sin involved wanting to be like other nations. Only when we identify the hidden idols can we prevent the same sin from reoccurring.
Lord, let our hearts yearn more to follow You than to be like those around us. Reveal our hidden idols and help us to follow only You.
Written by: Sherry Fox
Photo Credit: Naian Wang