Patience and Political Risk (Advent 17, 2020)

God regrets things.  But it doesn’t mean He’d been wrong or made a mistake.  When your raw materials are sinful men, the process is ugly, but the final result will be worth it.

God anoints Saul.  He rejects Saul.  All part of the process.

“I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night. (1 Sam. 15:11)

Samuel was angry.  He didn’t like the way the plan was unfolding and the political risk he was forced to accept.  Samuel mourned for Saul, taking the easy, routine, and complacent way, instead of saying something godly like, “I’m the Lord’s servant.”

1 Samuel 16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”  2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

There ya’ go.  Samuel is afraid.  It’s easier to be complacent with evil infiltrating an entire nation than to confront it by taking political risk that might be personally harmful. (And some people think the Bible isn’t relevant…)

Divine Intervention.  The nation was in crisis. 
The king had failed to do the LORD’s work and obey His commands. 
Divine Intervention. 
A new king, but not one that looks like what the people would want. 
These things take time.

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”…

David—the man after God’s own heart–was not there.  He was working.  But Samuel still had his anointing oil and as of this moment, had no one to anoint.  “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”…

Sheep?  What kind of king would a shepherd make? 

1 Samuel 16:12 Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David.  (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Questions for further thought:

  • Shepherds were on the low end of society.  Kings were at the upper end of the social ladder.  Why is it telling that God would choose a shepherd?
  • Think about the Christmas story and the announcement being given to shepherds (Luke 2:8-17).  Now think about Jesus as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18).  What does it say about human judgments and the ones who find favor with God?
  • It was around 15 years between the moment God told Samuel to anoint David as king with the Spirit of the LORD resting powerfully upon him … and the time he would finally rule as king.  Fifteen years of waiting!  What does this tell us about God’s view of time?
  • What does it tell us about patience on the part of David, year after year, when he knew he’d been anointed?
  • What was God doing with David during those 15 years?  What was he doing with Saul and the world?
  • Samuel told Saul the LORD’s message that he was rejected.  Saul also knew that David was to succeed him, and that put David at significant political risk.  What about faith in God defies political risk?  What does it say about one’s priorities?

Lord Jesus, in many ways You were countercultural; You were a revolutionary; and the revolution that You inspired has been God-honoring since the day You rose from the grave. We ask Lord that we might look at political risk the same way that You do, and do Your will, in the same way that You commanded giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and giving to God what is God’s.

We ask Lord that You would firm our resolve to have You as our priority. Father, that we would understand the consequences of leadership in the human realm, and our desire be an obligation according to Your word to submit to those authorities in our lives. Yet Lord we need to appreciate and acknowledge that You must be our highest priority and when those in human authority over us insist upon things that do not honor You that there is available to us, in the United States, a conscientious objection that Christians can have…to bring honor to You in all our comings and goings.

We acknowledge Your consequences upon those in leadership, for a world that has gone astray. The Bible was never more relevant than it is today! We ask for Your guidance for Christians in this difficult day and time. We ask for You to affirm our resolve, that we would stand for You no matter what the culture is doing, and that we would remain and endure as a light shining in darkness! Give us confidence, Lord, that the light that we shine is one that could never be extinguished because Jesus is the Light of the World and a city on a hill can never be hidden. A light on a stand can never be extinguished and so may we hold high this light as a beacon of our hope in Christ until You return.

We ask Lord that those family members and friends, those in our circles of influence who do not know You Lord, that they would see Your light at this Christmas Season like never before! That in the shadow of COVID and peril, this eternal Light points to You again and again just like at Lent, just like at Good Friday when all hope seemed lost, and just like Easter Sunday when it was rekindled anew.

Help us to see that Jesus is not just a helpless little baby in a manger but rather the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the eternal invading time…the Word made flesh! He rose from the grave and was victorious over death and that if it weren’t for Jesus, we would all perish in our sins. Bring us to that sure knowledge of You, Lord, that sure knowledge of Your salvation that touched the earth when You were born in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago. Help us to see with open eyes. Help us to receive with open hearts this Christmas gift of Yours to all mankind. We praise You and thank You for the faithfulness of Your Son Jesus Christ in whose Name we pray. Amen.

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Advent 2020 began Sunday, November 29th and continues to Thursday, December 24th as we celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to His Second Coming.  “Divine Intervention” is this year’s devotional study. By signing up on the sidebar of my Home Page you can receive these daily devotionals. Or they will be reposted on SeminaryGal’s Facebook page as well.

Together we will see how God has been actively involved all along as Divine Intervention for a hurting world and nations in tumult– Intervention for you and for me when our status as sinners required nothing short of a miracle.

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Acknowledging inquiries about an entire season’s devotionals for your study group’s planning purposes, Seminary Gal’s prior seasons’ Advent devotionals can be accessed via the archives to the right and are as follows: 

  • Last year’s Advent Devotional Series God’s Christmas list explored what might be on God’s Christmas list, learning what He wants from us. It began December 1, 2019.
  • Storyteller began December 2, 2018 and entered into the Christmas story through its telling.
  • The 2017 series Still Christmas, began December 3, 2017 and was the Advent complement to the Lenten series, Be Still and Know that I AM God.
  • The 2016 season devotionals were called Timeless: The Message of Christmas for All Ages” and explored how the message of Christmas is timeless truth, for all ages of people, and for all ages at all times.  Timeless hope, encouragement, grace, peace, and love as we looked into the Word, saw the face of our Lord Jesus, and experienced restoration in His presence.  His goodness and His Gospel are truly Timeless. The 2016 devotionals began November 27, 2016.
  • The 2015 season devotionals were titled Incarnation and involved digging deep–and yes, I mean deep– in this important mystery of Christian theology.  They began November 29, 2015.
  • Carol Me, Christmas! remains one of my most popular offerings and tells the Christmas story through our most beloved Christmas hymns and carols.  You can access all of the numbered devotionals from 2014 via the archives.  They began November 30, 2014.
  • The 2013 series was Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up in Person and examined the Prologue to the Gospel of John.  It began December 1, 2013.
  • The 2012 series focused on Expecting the Unexpected…the unexpected, unlikely, and uniquely divine qualities of God’s perfect plan outlined in Luke’s account of the Christmas story.  It began December 1, 2012.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 15, 2020

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