To Faithfully Serve
I. Background of a really good start.
A. 10:27 Nahash oppressing Gad an Ruben
- This guy is the reason they wanted a king in the first place. They feared his cruelty.
- Gouging out the right eye of all the men
- [Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the people of Gad and Reuben who lived east of the Jordan River. He gouged out the right eye of each of the Israelites living there, and he didn’t allow anyone to come and rescue them. In fact, of all the Israelites east of the Jordan, there wasn’t a single one whose right eye Nahash had not gouged out. But there were 7,000 men who had escaped from the Ammonites, and they had settled in Jabesh-gilead.]
- This paragraph, which is not included in the Masoretic Text, but is found in Dead Sea Scrolls.
B. Israel was caught between the Ammonites and the Philistines
- They were the buffer between them.
- So they sent messengers to Gibeah where Saul was, They found him plowing his own field.
- The spirit of God came on Saul and he became angry… There is a righteous anger.
C. Saul sends word that he will rescue them
- He launches a surprise attack and routes the Ammonites completely… 11:11 no two of them were left together.
>>> The Lord’s supernatural enablement is the key to effective leadership.
II. The kingship crisis is resolved
1 Samuel 12:1-5 - Then Samuel addressed all Israel: “I have done as you asked and given you a king. 2 Your king is now your leader. I stand here before you—an old, gray-haired man—and my sons serve you. I have served as your leader from the time I was a boy to this very day. 3 Now testify against me in the presence of the Lord and before his anointed one. Whose ox or donkey have I stolen? Have I ever cheated any of you? Have I ever oppressed you? Have I ever taken a bribe and perverted justice? Tell me and I will make right whatever I have done wrong.” 4 “No,” they replied, “you have never cheated or oppressed us, and you have never taken even a single bribe.” 5 “The Lord and his anointed one are my witnesses today,” Samuel declared, “that my hands are clean.” “Yes, he is a witness,” they replied.
A. Samuel is laying down his credentials
- He must give some hard truth. Righteousness matters. Around here we call it living a life worthy of imitation. Integrity.
- Because Samuel has lived this life he can address the people and they can trust his words.
B. The Lord has ever been faithful
1 Samuel 12:8-13 - “When the Israelites were in Egypt and cried out to the Lord, he sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them from Egypt and to bring them into this land. 9 But the people soon forgot about the Lord their God, so he handed them over to Sisera, the commander of Hazor’s army, and also to the Philistines and to the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10 “Then they cried to the Lord again and confessed, ‘We have sinned by turning away from the Lord and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth. But we will worship you and you alone if you will rescue us from our enemies.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, and Samson to save you, and you lived in safety. 12 “But when you were afraid of Nahash, the king of Ammon, you came to me and said that you wanted a king to reign over you, even though the Lord your God was already your king. 13 All right, here is the king you have chosen. You asked for him, and the Lord has granted your request.
- They do not really need a king in order to be secure, for the Lord has demonstrated his ability to deliver them from their enemies throughout their history, including the most recent threat.
- The people have violated their covenant with the Lord at the most fundamental level by not believing in him in the radical, countercultural manner he expects.
1 Samuel 12:19 - “Pray to the Lord your God for us, or we will die!” they all said to Samuel. “For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king.”
- Confession is so important. We don’t say oops, we must say, "You are right, I am wrong."
C. God does not reject them.
- Yet the Lord does not reject them and is willing to restore his covenantal relationship with them. His prophetic agent, Samuel, challenges the nation to obey the Lord and warns the people of the consequences of disobedience.
- Samuel’s credentials as the Lord’s representative and makes it clear that the people and their king remain subject to Samuel’s authority, which is derived from the Lord.
- This sets a pattern for the future: Israel’s kings are to be subject to the Lord’s prophetic revelation.
- But this account demonstrates God’s unswerving covenantal commitment to his people. It reminds them that the Lord, not a human ruler, is the one who provides security for his people. Yet Samuel’s speech makes it clear that security is not automatic.
1 Samuel 12:20-25 - “Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him. 21 Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you—they are totally useless! 22 The Lord will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you his very own people.23 “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. 25 But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.”
- You must fear the Lord and faithfully serve Him.
>>>So this how the kingship started. The wanted a king to provide them security from Nahash even though the hand of the Lord himself had brought them this far.
III. God is always faithful. Are you?
A. Even when his people rebel, the Lord offers them security in exchange for their renewed covenantal allegiance to him.
- The Lord offers cleansing from sin in exchange for repentance.
1 John 1:9 - But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
- Confession means to agree with God that he is right and that you are wrong.
- He is faithful and ready to restore our relationship with Him. When we repent.
B. Obedience matters
- He expects those who have received his mercy to demonstrate their loyalty by obeying his commandments, the greatest of which is to love one another
John 15: 9– 17 - “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
- Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments.
- Last week we said that God has a purpose for everyone. He has appointed you with a task. Raise you children share Christ whatever God is calling you into.
- To remain in his love is to do what he’s leading you into.
C. Faithfully serve.
Samuel said, "But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him."
What does it mean to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him?
1. Fear the Lord. Is to recognize that God is real and that he is watching and weighing everything you do.
- He doesn’t do this because He is waiting for you to screw up.
- He wants you to know that even though He knows your deepest darkest secrets that He still loves you and wants your joy to over flow.
2. Faithfully serve.
- Faithfully serve is not an expectation of perfection.
- To faithfully serve is an expectation of confession and repentance.
- To be faithful is to understand that sooner or later you will be led astray or you may willfully rebel. To be faithful is to comeback. Never give up.
The greatest truth I can tell you today is" Gods faithfulness does not depend on yours! Praise his wonderful name.
Robert Robinson wrote the song in 1757 "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." In it is a phrase I cling to:
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.”
As I live in this sin sick world I feel it. Faithfulness is not perfection. Faithfully serving is confession and repentance that leads to obedience.