Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 3 May 18:
1. 1 Samuel 7:3 — “If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart…. direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you.” You cannot serve God and your own personal interests. Serve the Lord wholeheartedly, Him only.
2. 1 Samuel 7:5 — “I will pray to the LORD for you.” God wants you to pray for other Christians who need to return to The Lord.
3. 1 Samuel 7:14 — “The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel.” God can restore what you lost in your sin.
4. 1 Samuel 8:3 — “Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain.” Faith remains a personal decision. Parents must raise their kids to follow God, but they must ultimately choose to follow God or not. Samuel’s sons made the very common choice of serving self over God.
5. 1 Samuel 8:5 — “Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” It is very tempting for Christians to want to do what seems to be working for the world instead of doing what God wants. God’s ways usually don’t make sense to the world. It takes faith to choose God’s ways.
6. 1 Samual 8:7 — And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” From Henry T. Blackaby: “The Israelites were to be a nation unlike any other. Every other nation had a king or ruler, but Israel’s king was to be God Himself! Still, the Israelites complained that they wanted to be like other nations and have an earthly ruler! As we read about the Israelites, we marvel at their foolishness. Yet we are prone to make the same mistake, choosing our human wisdom over God’s leadership. There is much discussion these days about leaders and managers. According to popular teaching, leaders have the vision and set goals for people or organizations to follow. Managers handle the day-to-day marshaling of resources under their charge. In the Christian life, God is the leader of our lives, our families, and our churches. God sets the direction; He establishes the priorities; He provides the resources. We are the managers. We take what He gives us and do with it as He directs. The biblical term for leader is Lord. As our Lord, Christ has the authority to reveal the direction for our lives. As Lord, He chooses our careers, leads us to our marriage partners, and helps us set our daily priorities. We are to be good managers of the mind, body, and spiritual life He gives. He is the Lord of our families. He knows what is best for our children. He knows how to make marriages strong. Our responsibility is to obey Him as He leads our families to Christlikeness. Christ is the Lord of our church. He takes responsibility for expanding it (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:18). Only He knows what is best for our church. Our task is to faithfully perform the role He assigns us. Do not foolishly trust in human wisdom and leadership as the Israelites did. Follow your Lord and trust Him alone.”
7. 1 Samuel 8:11-18 — “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of 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 orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” Nothing has changed with politics. Our hope is in God and God alone. In the Book of 1 Samuel, God’s people put their trust in government rather than in God and offered their allegiance to a king rather than the KING. Therefore, God turned them over to the leaders they chose over Him. Today, we have placed the laws of man over the Law of God, and we have allowed ourselves as Christians to become offensive to no one but God in an era (and error) of “political correctness.” As a nation, God will turn us over to what we have preferred. Christians must remain faithful to the Kingdom of God. While everyone else is talking politics, proclaim the Gospel, and pray for repentance and revival.
– God warned his people of abuses of power that would come from government officials who are chosen by those who have rejected God and who have placed their trust in government rather than God.
8. 1 Samuel 8:22 — “Go every man to his city.” God gives the rebellious what they want, turning them over to the consequences of their choices.
9. Proverbs 3:3 – “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck.” Love and faithfulness go hand-in-hand.
10. Proverbs 3:7 – “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” Human wisdom leads only to sin; true wisdom can only come from God and is beyond human reasoning.
11. Proverbs 3:12 – “…for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” God disciplines those He loves.
12. Proverbs 3:19 – “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens.” God’s wisdom is the foundation of all Creation. How important is it to live by God’s wisdom?
13. Proverbs 3:35 – “The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.” Only godly wisdom brings honor in the end.
14. 1 Corinthians 1:1 — “Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.” Paul was called by God’s will, not by his will.
15. 1 Corinthians 1:2 — “To the church of God…, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ….” You have been set apart and called to be a saint. How are you doing with your calling in life?
16. 1 Corinthians 1:7, 8 — “Jesus Christ… will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus makes you guiltless, not your efforts.
17. 1 Corinthians 1:10 — “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Christ unifies. Where there are divisions there is a lack of godliness because there is not unity in Christ. When everyone has the mind of Christ, everyone has the same mind, unity. Read John 17.
18. 1 Corinthians 1:17 — “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” We need not attempt to use wisdom to convince others that Jesus is The Lord and Savior. Disbelief is a spiritual issue, not an intellectual issue. The word of God is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict people of the need for repentance and Salvation. Proclaim God’s word, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest through the Power of God.
19. 1 Corinthians 1:20 — “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” Don’t get wrapped up in pointless debates over the Gospel with unbelievers. No one comes to the Son but the Father draw Him.
20. 1 Corinthians 1:22, 23 — “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” Those who demand proof of Jesus have the same problem as those who demand miraculous signs: their hearts aren’t really seeking God. Jesus said that proof will never satisfy the unbeliever. Many people who trust in their own understanding negate what they cannot see. Therefore, they remain out of touch with the Spirit which is unseen but the source of all wisdom. How foolish is it for people to think that reality is defined by their perceptions and limited intellect?
21. 1 Corinthians 1:29 — “…so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” If it were possible to convince others to surrender to Jesus, we would take the credit. God intends to leave no doubt that it was His power that changed the heart.
22. 1 Corinthians 1:31 — “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” We share no glory with Jesus; He does it all and gets all the credit. Paul was saved when He was not seeking Jesus; so were you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 May: Truly consider your thoughts, words, choices, and deeds today. Question the motivations behind them. Are they motivated by unconditional love for God and love for others? Does selfishness remain? Do temptations remain? Identify the dark closets in your heart where you need the Holy Spirits help to do some cleaning. Be honest with yourself today and do some real soul searching. Share the word of God with others and your testimony without trying to appeal to others with clever arguments. Trust God to do the convicting and convincing. (1 Corinthians 1:20-31)