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Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Saturday, April 7, 2018, Yujin wrote,

Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you (1 Samuel 10:7).

God chose Saul to be king over Israel although he belonged to the smallest tribe and to the most insignificant clan (1 Samuel 9:21). Even so, Saul's dad was a "mighty man of valor" (1 Samuel 9:1) and Saul himself looked formidable, for "he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward" (1 Samuel 10:23). But the critical point of this narrative is neither the insignificance of the clan or the impressiveness of Saul's stature; rather, it is this: God had chosen Saul. Samuel propesied a series of signs to validate this claim. The culmination was God's very presence with Saul to lead him and empower him.

Friends, some have told me that they labor in prayer before God, seeking to know what He wants them to do. They don't want to miss out on God's specific will for them. Perhaps they have in mind this Scripture: "Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is" (Ephesians 5:17). But is this what this verse means?!

Paul was not telling the Ephesians to seek to understand something they did not know but to understand what they already knew. The Gnostics pushed for some "secret" knowledge, but Paul spoke of mysteries that had already been revealed and a Gospel truth that they already knew. In fact, both he and the Apostle John sternly warned against anyone, human or otherwise, that preached a message different from what they had heard. 

Scripture never tells believers to find God's will, as though God intentionally hides it from His children. On the other hand, Scripture repeatedly calls believers to be faithful to what they know and what has been given for them to do (1 Corinthians 4:2). In fact, Scripture is a revelation of all that God intends for us to do in order that we might be "fully equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Believers are called "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).

Therefore, friends, stop seeking God's specific will for your lives, and get busy obeying what you know, and serve Him in the opportunities He has presently given you. God is not only with you, as He was with Saul. He is also in you. Conequently, as you humbly obey Him in what you know, He will reveal, guide, and empower you to do whatever else He has already prepared for you to do.

If you are too anxious to discover God's specific will, you may, like Saul, be trying to get ahead of God. Like Saul, you may find yourself forsaking faithfulness for expediency. And God may reject you altogether from His service, just like He rejected Saul.

Therefore, dear friends, don't be anxious about what God has not revealed to you. Trust that He has a reason for it. Thank Him for choosing you to be His child, and faithfully obey Him in the opportunities He has given you now in keeping with your calling and gifting: "Do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you."


Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Monday, April 7, 2014, Yujin wrote,

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for considerwhat great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.” (1 Samuel 12:23-25).

Samuel declared that he would pray for the people of Israel whether they obeyed the LORD or not. He would do the same for King Saul as well, even when the LORD had rejected him. In fact, the LORD had to stop Samuel at some point from praying for Saul anymore because God had totally rejected him (cf. 1 Samuel 16:1). Samuel was faithful to his calling. He understood that he was not seeking the approval of people but God. Israel was the people of God and Saul was God's anointed king. Until he was persuaded that God had finally rejected the king, he continued to pray for Saul. Following Samuel's lead, this is also how David would treat Saul. And Samuel prayed for the people of Israel until his death, for he knew that God would never completely reject them because of His eternal and unconditional promises to them.

Friends, we should all learn from Samuel's example. For instance, I know that many of you may feel that those that left our Martial Organization are "traitors" and would not consider giving them any more thought than to speak invective against them as enemies. But this is not right. It is one thing for us to acknowledge the wrong that they did and resolve not to do the same thing, but it is wrong for us to continually harbor ill will, since we too are constantly in need of grace, and it is God's right alone to condemn. Instead, we ought to pray for them. And I don't mean for us to pray that God would simply forgive them, but that He would help them to think and do rightly again, for there is no forgiveness apart from repentance. This has been my practice. I continue to remember and pray for everyone that I know of that have left our organization, especially those who were leaders. And I will do this until I sense the Lord wants me to stop. 

And on the other side too, when it is I who have left a group, I pray for those that remain. I left a church because I believed that the leaders were taking it in a wrongful and unbiblical direction. I continually pray for the pastor, the elder-deacons, and other leaders. I pray that God might graciously set their minds straight, break through any stubborness of heart and attitude of unteachableness, show them the error in their thinking and the danger in their present course for themselves and the congregation. 

Friends, I'm not preaching that one is more righteous than another because one group prays for the other while the other may not reciprocate. Prayer is not enough. It must be connected with truth. Just as Paul taught that zeal is not enough. It must be connected with right knowledge (Romans 10:1-4).

Yet, we must pray, for God is the final judge and not we ourselves. We must pray, because we recognize our frailty and ignorance and our need for His wisdom, discernment and grace. We must pray, for by it we acknowledge that true spiritual change is not wrought by human persuasion but by the power of God. Thus, by prayer we declare our dependence upon the Lord.

And along with prayer we must be constantly and deeply in God's Word. Prayer must be combined with truth. Consequently, truth is greater than prayer, for prayer may fail, but God's Word never fails. Just as faith means nothing without a proper basis and object, so also prayer is empty apart from the substance of God's truth. 

Therefore, friends, let us be daily and deeply in God's Word. And let us be regularly praying for one another, even for those that are on a wrong path. 

Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Friday, April 8, 2011, Unmi wrote,
In the previous day's reading, the people clamor for a king and Samuel warns the Israelites of what a king will do. The king will reign over you, he will take your sons, your daughter, your servants, the best of your animals and crops.
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.  He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.  He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.  Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.  He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. (1 Samuel 8:10-17)
In Samuel's farewell speech, in contrast to the above description of what their king will do, Samuel describes what he did as a judge of Israel.  He did not take their animals, did not cheat them, did not oppress them, did not take brides.
As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 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.” (1 Samuel 12:2-3)
Throughout Samuel's life as a judge, he was a fair and just judge and did nothing deserving of rejection from the people of Israel. God himself tells Samuel that the people are rejecting the Lord as their King, not Samuel as their judge.  And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. (1 Samuel 8:7)
During his farewell speech, Samuel reminds the Israelites what God has done for them thus far, how He saved them from their enemies. As a confirmation of what Samuel said,  the Lord sent thunder and rain as a sign and the people ask Samuel to intercede for them for their sin. I love how Samuel response:

“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.  As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.  But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.  Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” (I Samuel 20-25)

Even though his position as a judge has now officially ended with the start of the monarchy, he says that he will remain and pray for them and continue to teach them the ways of the Lord as a priest and prophet of God. I thought this was very noble of him and consistent with the life of upright character that he has lived so far. His last message as a judge of Israel is to fear the Lord, serve the Lord, remember the Lord and do not persist in doing evil. We would all do well in remembering these admonitions from Samuel.

Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Thursday, April 7, 2011 (Last Updated on 4/7/2013), Yujin wrote,


Today I was deeply moved once again by a verse of Scripture in the context of the life of Saul, the first King of Israel. Israel had rejected God as their King and clamored for a king like the nations. God graciously and sovereignly granted them their request, choosing a man in appearance, valor and ability befitting the greatest of kings. While the selection and beginning of King Saul's reign were both glorious and auspicious, we most often judge the man by his later deeds and in contrast to his successor, David. Let us clearly understand that whatever pride, sins, and inglorious behavior Saul would display later in his kingship, that would be his own doing, but at the beginning God gave Israel in every respect a truly great king. And not just great in appearance and valor but also in character.

Saul's character was depicted in his treatment of the rebels that despised him and brought no presents to his coronation (cf. 1 Samuel 10:27). After Saul led Israel into a great victory over the very enemy, King Nahash of the Ammonites, that convinced Israel that they needed a king like the nations, the people called for the deaths of the rebels that despised Saul's kingship. But Saul had a different attitude. We read in 1 Samuel 11:13, "But Saul said, 'Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel.'" Killing these rebels would have made everyone glad and provided him sweet revenge, but he did not want to dampen the occasion with bloodshed. And why not? Because "the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel." Saul does not take credit for the victory. He gives the credit to God. In effect Saul is rightly saying, "It is not about my coronation or me getting revenge. It is about God receiving the glory for His gracious deliverance of His people." Wow!

If I were among the people, my heart would have swelled with delight that God had given such a great king for His people. Unfortunately, Saul's story does not end well because he does not continue in humility and faith toward God. He would begin to fear men more than God. And he would allow his position and power to rob him of his devotion to God.

As we would read later in Ezekiel, it is not how a person is at the beginning of his life that is important, but how a person is at the end (cf. Ezekiel 3:16-21; 18:21-29; 33:12-20). Therefore, friends, let us continue to stoke the flames of faith in our own lives by constantly meditating and diligently applying the Word of God.

Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Thursday, April 7, 2011, Stephen wrote,

“It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of Egypt. 7 Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the LORD as to all the righteous acts performed by the LORD for you and your ancestors.
 8 “After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the LORD for help, and the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place."

The inception of the Kingdom of Israel is described here in today's reading. Whether this was done from the evil intention of the Israelites, God graciously granted their wish and gave them an earthly king who turned out be a man of not only physical attractions but of humility as well.  After the great victory against the Ammonites, he had a chance to avenge the insult inflicted by the scoundrels earlier when he was announced to be a king before all the Israelites by Samuel but he graciously let it go and turned the honor of the victory duly to God.  They asked for a king like other nations around them but God gave them a king who is humble and gracious.  Many times we ask for things that are not aligned with His will because "we do not know what we ought to pray for" and yet He always hears and answers our prayer with His grace. 
I noticed that when all the prophets including Samuel preached to the Israelites for any occasions, they were reminded of the great deliverance from the oppression in Egypt by their God.  As a christian, we must be reminded and remember everyday that we were the objects of God's wrath and have become the objects of mercy through the work of redemption done by Jesus our precious Lord.  Not only that but we also teach our next generation about God's redemptive work for the worthless.  God did not come to save us who is worthy of His divine, loving attention and who happened to be ostracized by this society!  He is not a loving father because of that.  He is the loving Father because He loves us despite the fact that we were worthless and didn't have anything lovable.  I had a conversation with my coworker the other day and she said that her church is on the brink of division because of their homosexual elder.  Half of her church supports the elder to remain at his position even though he is gay because we need to cover the sin with love and the other half is totally against it.  She believes that church should accept him as he is because God is love.  The distorted view of God prevails among people these days and the view of God's justice and holiness is compromised.  People think unconsciously or consciously these days that they are saved because they are good but became bad due to the circumstances and that God has compassion on His good children who have gone astray influenced by the devil.  Is that really true?  Do we really have in us anything good or favorable in His eyes?  No!  All humanity is bad, and God is perfectly just to send all of us with no exception to the eternal damnation.  He graciously chooses to save you and me without any merit on our part.  Let us remember this amazing love everyday so that we may humble ourselves and be obedient to Him even to death!

Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Wednesday, April 7, 2010, Matt wrote,

Jeremy, I agree wholeheartedly.  In fact the passage you referenced really stuck out to me too.  Notice the first and last verse.  Both direct us to serve the Lord with all our heart.  This command is one of the most telling for who God wants us to be.  What I find interesting is that God gave us a sinful nature but also tells us to serve him with all our heart.  Why?  I don't know but if he didn't I guess there wouldn't be much struggle in serving with all our heart.  Blessings!

Passage: 1 Samuel 9-12

On Wednesday, April 7, 2010, Jeremy wrote,

20 "Do not be afraid," Samuel replied. "You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

I think Samuel could give me this message today and it would be equally as pertinent.