A weekly recap of the message and madness at First Presbyterian Kings Mountain, NC. 06/07/15:
The people wanted a king! Give us a king! They wanted to be like everyone else, like every other country. They had a king, for goodness sake…
Ok, God said. You want a king, you got it. (Even though God had been faithful and true to the Israelites, they couldn’t see Him, feel Him, touch Him, control Him…). Sound familiar?
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Text: 1 Samuel 8:1-22, 11:14-15
1When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
6But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7And 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. 8As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
10Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11He 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. 12Some 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. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16Your male and female servants and the best of your cattlec and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
And in Chapter 11:
14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
The Takeaway: We all choose our king(s). And more often than not, that king is not the King of Kings, Jesus the Christ.
We (in the church) are obsessed with church growth strategies, social justice, leadership principles, evangelism principles, and so much more. Good things, in and of themselves, but…
Alexander MacLaren said, “It’s all too possible to serve the ‘god’ of serving Jesus as opposed to serving Him with a heart that is totally consumed by His beauty and love.”
We self-righteously mark ourselves as ‘successful’ in our spiritual walks, based on the mistaken belief that our works (involvement/activities in church and community) are pleasing to God. We are serving the ‘god’ of serving Jesus, and not Jesus Himself.
My mom has always said that “it really is all about Jesus.”
Okay, this is not my mom, but everyone always said she looked like June Cleaver. And I do have a best friend who is a tad Eddie Haskell-ish.
By the way, what did the Apostles teach the growing church of the first century?
Acts 5:42: “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”
Acts 8:5: “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them.”
Acts 9:20: “Immediately Saul preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”
Mom is right…
Don’t give us A king; give us THE King!
Len Sweet and Frank Viola flesh out these thoughts in a marvelous exposition: their book Jesus Manifesto can be found here.
Sunday afternoon was a lake party! Our ‘End-of-the-Year-Party’ was held at Lake Montonia, and much fun was had by all. We really do have a great group of children and youth. Their parents aren’t half-bad either.
Have a great week, and may His Peace be with you.