HOPE CHAPEL - Sunday, October 3, 2021
Teaching Series - “Our Family Tree–Through the Bible in 2021"
Weekly Topic - “Getting What You Asked For”
Text – 1 Samuel 8-9,16
Prayer Emphasis Week – “God’s Power Made Perfect in Weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Have you ever insisted on having your own way even against the advice of others? Have you ever regretted getting your own way? [opportunity to share experiences]
“ISRAEL ASKS FOR A KING”
1 Samuel 8:1-9 – As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. 2 Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. 3 But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. 5 “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”
6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. 7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
The people didn’t want Samuel’s sons to act as judges and for good reason, but in the process also rejected God. They recognized a problem and jumped to conclusions about which solution would serve them best.
But we are rarely good judges concerning what is best or most needful—God sees the whole picture, we only see a snapshot…and snapshots can be misleading. It reminds me of a story I have heard a number of variations of.
“There is a Chinese Proverb that goes something like this…
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the mares and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The villagers cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all the able-bodied boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, still recovering from his injury. Friends shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
We can be too quick to judge a situation and determine the next best course of action. The Israelites did it and ended up rejecting God in favour of a flawed human ruler. “We want a king to rule over us!”
1 Samuel 8:10-20 – 10 So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. 12 Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. 13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. 14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. 16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
What did Samuel’s warning predict would happen? [get responses]
Even with this warning, the people’s minds were made up. Did they think that Samuel was just a sore loser…an old stick in the mud…that he was exaggerating to show his disapproval? For years they had sought Samuel’s advice, but now that he tells them something they don’t want to hear they wave it off with a “Yah, yah, whatever. We want what we want and we’re not interested in hearing anything that doesn’t support what we want.”
It reminds me of when I was a teenager. I had moved away from home when I was seventeen and a year later, I began the process of purchasing a car. I wasn’t entirely certain it was a good idea…but I really wanted a car. I prayed that God would show me what I should do; I even prayed that He would put roadblocks in my way if He knew it would be better for me to hold off. Well, He did…and I hurdled each and everyone of them, determined to have my way, no matter the words I had prayed. I ended up struggling to make payments, borrowing money from sister and eventually my first car met its demise in a head-on car accident…but an accident that proved to be the turning point in my life for getting serious about my relationship with God. He knew that a car would cause me problems; He knew I’d end up in the hospital; but He also knew it would force me to choose between taking His word under advisement and really listening. God allowed me to have what I wanted, but for a different reason than was my intent.
So, too with the Israelites.
“GOD GIVES THEM WHAT THEY WANT”
1 Samuel 9:1-2 – There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.
God gives the people a king, Saul, the seemingly perfect candidate. They traded God for a tall, good-looking son of a rich man. They had set the bar really low and God delivered what they sought—a king! Saul became king at the age of 30 and he reigned for 42 years, but at some point, this man who began as a rather reluctant leader became overconfident and even assumed the role of priest for himself, making a sacrifice he was not entitled to make. He had developed the attitude that many in positions of privilege can fall into the trap of…feeling he was above the law. After that, his downward trajectory simply continues to pick up speed.
We might think that God would take this opportunity to provide the people with an all-knowing “I told you so!” Instead, rather than attempting to get the people to go back to the old way of doing things, He gives them a king of His choosing…someone that, from all outward appearances, didn’t quite fit the bill, but whom God knew was a better choice than Saul.
“GOD ENACTS HIS OWN PLAN”
1 Samuel 16:1-13 – Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” 2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.” 4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”
5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.
6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” Samuel said, “Send for him at once. We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”
13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
God chose David over Saul, and over each of us his seven older brothers, but he was not anyone else’s first pick—not Samuel’s and not even his own father’s. But, despite David’s youth and inexperience, he was a man after God’s own heart and his confidence was in God—not himself. This alone would make him a better king than Saul.
What can we learn?
· Be careful what you insist upon…you might get it!
· Take God’s warnings to heart…He knows what He’s talking about.
· Our ‘ideals’ often fall short of God’s best.
· Sometimes God let’s us learn the hard way by letting us have what we are so insistent on, so that after learning our lesson we are more willing to try things His way.
During our Prayer Emphasis Week, we have seen how God works in our weakness, as we humble and submit ourselves, in our suffering and when we actively choose to live in His wisdom through obedience. No matter what we face in life, God is fully aware. Nothing escapes His attention; nothing is outside of His knowledge. So never insist on your own way, but rather wait…trust…obey. We want God’s power to move on our behalf, but it requires that we recognize our weakness—not only in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties, but always and everyday. When it comes to knowing what the future holds, we can never out-guess God’s knowledge.
Sunday, October 10, 2021- “After God’s Own Heart” - In-person and Online – Thanksgiving Luncheon
Pastor Jane Peck, Hope Chapel
(Collingwood EMCC Church)
"Learning and Living the Way of Jesus!"
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!