David Pawson - Samuel Pt1
Thoughtful Thoughts, 17 May 2019, Samuel Part 1
From prophets to kings.
We walk a step further through the Bible each week, using David Pawson’s “Unlocking The Bible” series, and so we can see how the Bible hangs together as God’s history book, like providing the picture of a jigsaw puzzle, so we see how the pieces fit together. That cannot be done by plucking a text out of its context.
At first, God used the “Patriarchs” to lead Israel, (ie like Abraham, etc). Then He used prophets, and Samuel was the last in that category of the prophet rulers. (There were obviously other prophets who came later, but they didn’t double up as rulers.) And so in 1 Samuel we have the transition to rule by kings being recorded for posterity. In this transition period, there is an overlap between the prophet who is already leading Israel, (Samuel), and the one being anointed to be a king, to also lead. (Today the Americans would call this the separation of church and state!)
Samuel complained to God about that conflict, by saying the people had rejected him as their leader in favour of a king. God replied that it was He who the people were trying to replace as king, as He had been their ruler.
Samuel had seen how rotten the religious leaders were and how much damage they did by putting people off God, starting with the sons of Eli the prophet. Samuel was woken up by God and he ran to Eli thinking he was calling him. The third time Eli knew it was God and told Samuel to answer Him. The message Samuel had to deliver to Eli came back that Eli and his family were finished. All his family would die prematurely for leading the people away from God. That all happened whilst they were being paid to provide spiritual leadership as religious leaders.
After they died, Samuel replaced Eli.
Samuel ruled at a difficult time when he had to take sides by appointing David as the next king, even when Saul was still on the throne. That became necessary after Saul’s heart changed to become disobedient and rebellious to God. His disobedience led on to evil spirits taking him over, which led on to his heart becoming murderous. He went on to murder some remaining faithful priests, whilst trying to find David so he could murder him too.
Romans 1 warns us that when we turn to evil ways, God leaves. That happened with Saul, and then demons entered him. In fact, only David’s godly music could calm Saul down, so now Saul had a conflict of needing to employ a man he hated. He even ended up throwing his spear at David in his own court. When on the run from Saul, David responded by letting Saul live, not just once, but twice! Saul had his army out trying to track him down, to kill him.
Saul started fighting battles without God and died on the battlefield. His own son Jonathan remained loyal to his father even when he knew God was no longer with him, and he died fighting his father’s battles.
Jonathan’s loyalty to David meant he gave him “tip-offs” when his father was coming to get him. That loyalty to David resulted in David looking after Jonathan’s surviving son, as there was no one else alive in Jonathan’s family David could help, to pay back Jonathan for his loyalty. That word loyalty has the same meaning to God as love. (Cf. the difference between Judas and Peter.) The thinking that says it is easier to do what you want now and ask for forgiveness later, is against the teaching of the Bible. In 1 Samuel Saul just went from bad to worse, ending up having a seance with a medium, which had been forbidden by God. Saul paid for his sin in the next life, because God is righteous as well as merciful. But David paid for his sin in this life through God’s punishments, because he repented and God could work with him to bring him back on track - because God is merciful as well as righteous. So here we have in this book Samuel preparing the people for a new royal line of someone who had the heart to follow God;- David.
A heart for God.
God wants those who have a heart for Him, which we will be coming to next week. David discovered that we have to bear the consequences of our decisions, even after God forgives our sin, which we will come to next time. David’s sin became a turning point not just in his own life but also in Israel’s history. So continue following the story of Israel, as it teaches us about human nature as well as God, and our New Testament uses the ‘Old’ Testament for teaching, throughout. There were many characters who had the opportunity to be key figures in God’s plan but who decided to put themselves before God, and they simply disappear from God’s plans. God looks on the heart and not the physical appearance, which most of us can take comfort from! You too have the opportunity to find favour with God, but only by following Him, in His way. You won’t find it in any other way, (ie. “...doing what is right in your own eyes”.) As Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father, but by Me”.
A song we sang in my old Bible college choir, was, “You can find salvation if you will. You can find salvation if you will. Sinner look and live is the message still. You can find this great salvation if you only will.” Next week, we will look at David in 2 Samuel, both his bad and good sides and what we can learn from both.
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.
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