Tag Archives: Samuel

Waffling

“’But I did obey the Lord,’” Saul said.  ‘I went on a mission the Lord assigned me.  I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.  The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.’”  1 Samuel 15:20-21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 15-16, 1 Chronicles 5, and Matthew 1.

King Saul was a big-time waffler.

He was told by Samuel to do a specific thing BUT altered the details of the intended completion to suit himself.  Then when confronted, tried to justify his actions.

God clearly knew the difference!

How often do we rationalize our actions?  The answer is, “Often.”

If I am walking tight with God, I will obey Him precisely.

When I am walking apart from Him there is a regular need to create an explanation for my behavior that puts it in a better light.

Saul, as in yesterday’s entry, is confronted by Samuel about his disobedience.  Today he decides to blame his soldiers for his disobedience.

The pattern of behavior was established and God moved on from Saul.

I want to do what God wants me to do.  It needs to be COMPLETE obedience.  Will I do His thing in the midst of options?

Will I immediately own up to mistakes?  Will I realize that even though I am older and educated I am not always wiser?

“O Lord, so much here for me.  Too often I flounder on the details of obeying You.  Too often I choose a “better” way that certainly isn’t.  Forgive me.  Fill me with You as You toss out the sludge that I have allowed entry.  O Father, have mercy on me a sinner!”

Do you follow God to the letter?  That is what He expects.

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Praying right

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”  1 Samuel 12:23.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 11-12, 1 Chronicles 1, and 2 Corinthians 11.

Samuel had reason to turn against the Israelites.  They had insisted that they needed a king and in the process rejected his leadership as directed by God.

Samuel, however, announces that he would still pray for the Israelites anyway.

How selective is my praying?  Do I decide who I should pray for or do I pray as needs come to my attention?

The Israelites certainly needed prayer because they were embarking on following the lead of a human (Saul).  There would be trouble ahead for sure and Samuel could have beaten them to death with, “I told you so” but chose not to.

I must learn to be spontaneous with my prayers.  A need comes and I must connect to God.  A problem is averted I connect to God in thanksgiving.

God’s ways are not always my ways.  I want them to always be my ways, however.  Linking my life to Him is the only way to make this happen.

Samuel connected to need rather than to character.  That should my way as well.

“Lord, I am weak and You are strong.  Teach me Your ways, Lord.  I cannot rightly function apart from You.  Prick my conscience when I get it wrong so that I can change.  I want to honor You in everything I do.  In Your strength I can.”

Are there folks you won’t pray for??

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Saul: Just like us?

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos

“God changed Saul’s heart…” 1 Samuel 10:9.

“the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him..” 1 Samuel 10:10.

“Has the man come here yet?  And the Lord said, ’Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.” 1 Samuel 10:22.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 8-10, and 2 Corinthians 10.

Next time you go off the spiritual deep end, think of Saul.

Note the sequence: Saul is chosen and God is in him but later Saul tries to hide from his calling.

Think of how often we bask in God’s glory and later act as if we have forgotten Him.  It is a brutal sequence.

Why does it happen?  Think of the contrast between Samuel and Saul: Samuel is filled while Saul has only had a small dose….of God.

In my life I know that I still have spiritual ups and downs.  I am much more like Saul that I want to be.

On the plane yesterday (to Turks and Caicos) I again read the Brother Lawrence book on practicing the presence of God.  Simply told, the key to the best of spiritual living is constant awareness of God.  Can I live that way?  I certainly want to.

I must stay closely tied to God.  In the amazing setting I am now in (Turks and Caicos), it is simple to marvel at what God has done.  In other settings I must be just as keenly aware of Him.  Like Saul the settings determine, and they shouldn’t, how I’m doing.  That must change!

“Lord, I thank You for Your blatantly obvious beauty in my midst here at TCI.  What a Creator You are!  Open my eyes to You in “every” midst.  Forgive me for missing You.  I love You, Father.  Elevate me to a steadiness with You.”

 

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Samuel intercedes

“He cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him.”  1 Samuel 7:9.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 6-7, Psalm 72, and 2 Corinthians.

I love this verse and probably have chosen it in each of the six times I have read this section of chapters.

God is tuned in to His people.  He knows what’s going on.  He hears us when we pray to Him.

This verse is a great encouragement to folks with troubled family members.  To follow Samuel’s lead, we should present the troubled ones to God.

In one section of Scripture, Abraham interceded for Lot.  God was going to wipe out everyone in Sodom but because Abraham loved his nephew Lot he asked God to spare some folks in Sodom including his nephew.

In another section of Scripture, God was ready to wipe out Israel entirely and start over with Moses as the one God’s people would descend from.  Moses interceded for Israel.

And then there’s Ezekiel 22:30: “I looked for someone among them to build up the wall and stand before me in the gap so that I would not have to destroy the land but I found no one.”

God is looking for us to get involved.  See a need?  Bring it to Him.  There is precedence in the Scriptures above that God will honor the intercessions of His people.

“Lord, You are my God.  I love You.  I thank You that You hear me when I pray.  I thank You that we have examples in the Bible where You changed situations upon request.  You know what is best.  I trust You.  However, I beg You to intervene in the lives of those in my family who are apart from You.  Touch them.  Bring someone into their lives to turn them to You.  I fear for their futures.  I love You, Father.”

Who are you interceding for?

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Obeying God on my own terms

“’But I did obey the Lord,’ Saul said.” 1 Samuel 15:20

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Samuel 15-16 & 1 Chronicles 5 & Matthew 1)

Saul was given specific instructions: Destroy the Amalekites completely.

What does Saul do? He destroys the people but keeps the best of the livestock. When called on this one by Samuel he first of all claims that the livestock was kept to be used as sacrifices. Then Saul put the blame for keeping the prize livestock on his men.

It all seems so unseemly to say the least. And as always it is easy to point a finger at someone else’s missteps. How could Saul do what he did?

But then I consider my own life. How often I rationalize my behavior. How often I provide my own version of His guidance.

God is not fooled by me. He knows my heart. When I claim to follow Him, He will sometimes give me opportunities to prove it.

Some of life’s choices are easy. I know that such in such is wrong and I am not drawn to it. But what if I am drawn to things less clear cut. Maybe both are good by themselves but when put into a choice, what will I do?

What happens when the choice I make blows up in my face? Then I would be on the threshold of where Saul found himself. The opportunity to rationalize my decision sits there ready for use.

What should I have done before and after? From the get-go I must be tightly aligned with God. I don’t believe that decisions are nearly as hard to sort out under that condition. It is also essential to know quickly that a decision was a bad one and seek to undo the damage in Godly ways…..”I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

“Lord, thank You for yet another Scripture with a life lesson I needed. I must be close to You or risk making bad decisions. I need You every second. I don’t need Your help I need You running me entirely. Help me, Father!”

 

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Bad choice

“But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God was your king.” 1 Samuel 12:12

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Samuel 11-12 & 1 Chronicles 1 & 2 Corinthians 11)

Where do I turn in times of trouble?

In the story connected to this verse, we learn that Israel chooses a king over the King of Kings.

God had sent the Israelites prophets and judges to carry out His Ways. The history of this going on was truly remarkable. The victories against overwhelming opponents had been numerous.

But this way of life involved complete obedience. The Israelites were sinful and punishment was sure to follow. In some convoluted thinking they thought things would be “better” with an earthly king. I suspect they hoped for more lifestyle leeway.

It all seemed good in their heads but God wasn’t pleased because in doing this they had rejected Him once again.

When I turn to counterfeit gods I am rejecting The God. What would cause me to do such a thing? I have lost sight of Who God is and what He has already done.

God is the Creator. He is my Savior. He has given me every good gift I have. This doesn’t mean that I don’t buy insurance. It does mean that my ultimate assurance is beyond my insurance. God is in control.

“Lord, forgive me for turning to other gods. My ultimate trust is in You. You are the layer above anything this world offers as a god. Those gods have feet of clay and are all terminal. You are forever. I love You, Father.”

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