Saturday, November 3, 2007

Set apart for The King

1 Samuel 8:4-20 “…they (the Israelites) said to him, “Behold, you (Samuel) have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations. But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.’ … The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them…The people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go our before us and fight our battles.”

The dark period of the judges exuded a signal of hope when God raised Samuel as a prophet, priest, and judge. Samuel, though imperfect, was committed to keeping the ways of His Lord. Though Samuel was appointed as a mediator to the Israelites' true King, they began to plead for an earthly king. They begged for one to rule over them in order that they may “be like all the nations.” They wanted a judge, one to go before them, and someone to fight their battles. Samuel was no longer enough, and as they cast their glances of comparison at their enemy nations, they opted that they too needed a king.

In 1 Samuel 8:11 – 17, Samuel told them of the LORD's words regarding the negative repercussions that would follow from them gaining a king. What would it look like for the Israelites to have a king? Here are some of the things the LORD said: he will reign over you, he will take your sons and they will run before his chariots, he will take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers, he will take the best of your fields, he will take a tenth of your seed, he will also take your male and female servants and use them for his work, he will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.

“Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:18)

In His permissive will, God allowed the Israelites to obtain that for which they wished. Samuel appointed a man named Saul as the earthly king over the Israelites. Saul failed to obey the commands of the Lord, missing the mark towards the victorious king for which the Israelites had hoped. Nonetheless, a system of earthly kings ruling over the people of Israel had been established. All the kings to follow would be unsuccessful in meeting the Israelites' hopeful expectations.

Even in the midst of the Israelites' plea, which was actually a rejection of Yahweh, God's glory is not reduced. He does not fight for His rightful lordship over His chosen ones, but sets the stage for the completion of the Gospel by using the lineage of the kingship that He permitted. For in the disobedience and failings of Saul and all future kings, the kingdom clock ticked to display one who would disrobe His divine kingly garment. And this One would be the fulfillment of all that the earthly kings lacked. Samuel was a prophet, priest, and judge. Christ is the fulfillment of the prophecies, the Great High Priest, and the Judge. Christ is King. Christ is Lord. Christ is Master. Christ does indeed judge, go before them, and fight their battles. And His glory is made known.

It seems dumbfounding that the Israelites would know ahead of time the harmful consequences (v. 11-17) of their getting the king for which they asked and yet still plead for one! They would lose sons and daughters to the king’s service, he would reign over them, and even they themselves would become his servants. Yet they continued to ask, thereby rejecting the LORD.

And yet, don’t we do the same sisters? Do we not knowingly sometimes reject the LORD as Lord over our lives, searching and pleading for another ‘king’ to rule over us? We want to be like “all the others” even though the God of the Universe has called you unto Himself, chosen you for Himself, and declared that He would be YOUR King (Ezekiel 37:27). He would be YOUR Deliverer (Romans 11:26). He WOULD lead you in triumphal procession (2 Cor. 2:14). He WOULD love you with an everlasting satisfying love.

Sisters, when we forsake the Kingship of the Lord over our lives, we are allowing another to rule over us. It is not that there is a void on the throne of our hearts. Someone or something takes reign. Sometimes it is a relationship, sometimes it is a materialistic goal, sometimes it is the hope of a future job, move, or image. Sometimes it is even ourselves. Sadly, it often takes us too long to see the sin that results. In our rejecting His Kingship, we will set ourselves up for loosing our 'sons and daughters and the ‘best’ of our income and goods' to the false king. In allowing an idol to reign, we have become its servants. The thing we think we are in control of, or have by the reigns, likely has us in its grips if it is anything less than the complete freeing rule of Jesus Christ.

Sister, I love you too much to share only the ‘feel-good’ truth of His Word with you. If you feel that the reign of your Lord is constricting over your life, then tell Him. I assure you He can handle it. But if you could dare put any weight in these words of a sinner saved by grace, then I need you to know that His laws of perfect liberty really do set you free. His Kingship is of a perfect Kingdom that endures, that wins, and that goes before all things. For in Him, all things hold together. He is all that you could ever ask or imagine.

You are not supposed to be “like all the others.” You are called to be set apart (1 Peter 2:9). Choose Christ for yourselves dear one. “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” (1 Samuel 12:22). I beg you not to miss the beauty and freedom of Christ as King over your life in exchange for another earthly king. He is pleased to make you His own. I believe wholeheartedly that He is pleased when you make Him your own. Beloved, go for it.

PS - If you want to know what's been going on in my life lately, and ensure that I haven't fallen into permanent osmosis with my Greek textbook, go here :) I love you all!


Kristin said...

Hi. Even though I have only commented a few times on your blog, I do check back often, so it was so great to hear from you! It was fun to catch up on what you have been up to, and to see that all is well with you. I could relate very much to this post. About a year ago I became a little obsessed with finding a new home for our family. And even though I was very prayerful about where God wanted us to be, this little "mission" took root in my heart and pushed it's place to the head in my life. Needless to say, we are still in the same house, and I am more content to sit and wait on His perfect will and timing without spending every spare moment dwelling on it. Because as you well know, He has it all figured out, and He really doesn't require my help in the matter! Thanks for your words today!
In Him ~ Kristin

Lisa said...

Girl, have I missed you!!! It's so good to have you back. I've really missed the way you bring the Truth of His Word in a way that really touches my life.
Love you Sister!!

Leigh Gray said...

it is so good to see the young wisedom back on the blogging world!! I am so proud of you - like if you were my own. I know this is kind of silly, but I am so proud that when I do see pictures of you I have never seen anything questionsable. It is one thing to love the Lord and want to serve Him, but then to allow that to flood over to other things even clothing is huge! I hope you know that! He is pleased and I am so proud to see the favor of the Lord poured out over your life!! Keep smiling my sister!

Sharon said...

Thank you for the comment on my verse. Sometimes we need a reminder that praise works better than pouting. ;)
The rough spots make for greater glory!
Study hard!
Make your Mamas proud!

Sue @ praise & coffee said...

I have missed you!!

So good to see things are going well, I will check out that link after this.

Awesome post girlfriend, just the way I like it- lots of toe stepping.

Blessings and hugs,

Bev Brandon said...

You are a servant of the Word of God - Titus 1:1 - for the knowledge of the truth and that leads to changed lives...I just love your heart for learning not just for the sake of learning but for love. For knowledge just puffs us up, says Paul, but love edifies. And you so edify people! Knowledge forms so keep on getting it @ Seminary but Love forms and keep on letting Him have His way in your heart. You're awesome!

BethAnne said...

Amen, Sister! We are to be set apart and different than everyone else so that others see Jesus in us and around us. GReat post!

Lindsee said...

I love it, Shelly! This is EXACTLY what I am learning right now. In my own quiet time, and in my bible study!! I've missed you in blog land, but glad your back for the moment!!


Amy Kate said...

Sometimes we've even KNOW that somethings going to get us into trouble because we've been there before and done the same things...and yet we still choose to serve another master. I often wonder why in the world God bothers to put up with us crazy kids who get ourselves into so much trouble then beg Him to get us out only to jump right back in eventually lol. I guess that's why His love is one that we can't completely comprehend.

And oh my word...yes we both know the same precious girl. I lived on her hall while I attended there for 1 1/2 years. We got to know each other pretty well when I started going to church with her. I'm actually going to visit her in a few weeks. I'm sure you know her much better than I do though lol. I love how small the world is sometimes!

Hillary said...

I LOVE that you wrote about this! I vivdly remember hearing this preached on a few years ago and God used it to totally change the way I pray! Just last week I was talking about it to someone. God constantly brings it back to my mind. Thanks for sharing!

connorcolesmom said...

That is such a true and good word. We have had an experience recently where some have chosen to follow and beg for a leader/king. They now have their king and the rest of us are fleeing. We are seeking the One and Only King and want only He to guide and rule over us. Sorry so cryptic but I really related to your post - thank you!
Love ya,

Natalie said...

Shelly~ I came across your blog from another one and just let me say that you are too darn cute. I could sense the childlike faith in you just from reading your posts. I believe God is really gonna use you in a mighty way and you seem to have a way with words. Enjoy all these moments you have to just focus on your relationship with the LORD. I am married with four children and I can tell you that life gets real busy and the stresses seem to pull you away from your First Love at times.

No matter what, never lose faith. I can sense Him now smiling over you!!!

Heather Blankenship said...

It is about time you showed back up in blog land! I have missed your writings! : ) Glad you are back!

jennyhope said...

oh do i feel you here. I know exactly what you mean. very timely.

jennyhope said...

Shelly I would love me an update sometime via email. Only if you get time. i love you girl!

Jackie said...

Just want to say Hi and I hope you are well. I know you're busy like the rest of us and withe the holidays approaching its only getting crazier!! Love ya siesta!

jennyhope said...

just sittin' at Panera and I was thinking of you. Hope you are getting some good studying done. Learn some for me and pass it on. I think of you and Abby when I am at panera. I just ate a bagel in honor of Abby! :) love jenny

The Preacher's Wife said...

i always love your insights, girl...i think and pray for you all the time!