The Story - Chapter 10 – Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Mark Siebert – Five Smooth Stones (IDES)
The Story of God is that He made us! He made Adam and from Adam God made Eve! Eve gave birth to Cain, Abel and Seth. She also gave birth to daughters.[i] We simply don’t know their names. Speaking of births - Nicole Chilcote gave birth to Quinn Roslyn Chilcote this past Monday Night. Quinn was 6lbs and 7oz. and 20” long. Everyone is doing great!
But Adam and Eve sinned. Their sin told God – we don’t want to walk with you – we do not want to live the way you say we should live. Eight-year-old Maggie was getting ready for school, her Dad peeked into her room and said, "You call THAT a made bed?" "No, Dad," Maggie replied. "It's just a rough draft."[ii] Creation pre-Noah was NOT a rough draft. People choose not to walk with God. So God started over by calling NOAH! Watch this! (Noah Trailer 2014) Noah is the beginning of a new life with God. From Noah we trace Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From Jacob come his 12 sons. One dreamed dreams and received visions from God – his name was Joseph. Joseph would prepare the way into Egypt and Moses would make the way out of Egypt. After Moses comes Joshua. But when Joshua dies at the age of 110[iii] the children of Israel find their nation without a leader. Without a leader to remind them of God’s word they forget God – so the people do as they see fit[iv] – it’s the theme of the book of Judges. It’s time for us to look at Israel’s last Judge. His name is Samuel. Open up your Bibles to 1st Samuel 8:1. Do you need a Bible? Please locate your handout. Inside is THIS Connect Card. This card creates dialogue. Please fill it out, tear if off and drop it in the basket in the back. I do want to announce a Leadership Affirmation Vote during all services the weekend of December 7 & 8. Ministry Partners 18 and older will affirm the elder’s decision in regards to elders, deacons and two ministry staff positions.
Let’s read 1st Samuel 8:1. OLD! Old is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not sure what OLD means to you! John MacArthur believes Samuel to be around 60.[v] Since I’m now 52 I think 60 is REALLY young! I was listening to the radio. Several of my rock tunes came on - songs from Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Prince and Def Leopard. Then the announcer said, “You’ve been listening to Oldies 93.3. WHAT? All my songs are part of the oldies station. Allot has happened in Samuel’s 60 years on this earth! His birth and childhood were unique! Go to chapter 1 verse 1. (Read 1-2) but Hannah had none. This is the main reason why he takes on wife #2. Hannah can’t have children. Peninnah can. And Peninnah wants to make sure Hannah never forgets that. Slide down to verse 6. (7) This went on year after year.
Hannah is desperate. She has cried so many tears. She pleads with God to end her misery. She prays a vow to God. Find verse 10 in 1st Samuel 1! God honors that request and gives her a son and she names him Samuel. Find verse 20.
Hannah will drop Samuel off to Eli. He’s no longer nursing. He’s eating solid food. Samuel was probably between 2 & 3[vi] when Hannah says goodbye. She will see her son yearly but not daily. Hannah devotes Samuel’s life to God! My son Sam has a friend named Matt. Matt called Sam so Sam called him back. The conversation went something like this. Hey Matt, did you call me? No, I didn’t call you. Are you sure? Oh man, I’m so sorry, I must have butt dialed you! I didn’t mean to do that. Who hear has accidentally butt dialed someone? Samuel has been called by God period! There is no accident in his calling. Eli will raise him and point Samuel to God. Eli was a good priest but a lousy father. Go to chapter 2:12. Fast forward 57 years. Samuel followed Eli’s example – examples can be good and bad. Go back to 1st Samuel 8:1. (Read 1-3)
Both Eli and Samuel saw behavior in their sons that dishonored God and they ignored it. I cannot make my children follow God, but I MUST point them constantly in the right direction. Parents – use teachable moments to point out God every day. Don’t wait until Sunday to point out God! When your child brings up music, cussing, peer pressure, bullying, video games, money, career and dating always say, “Well, the Bible says…” God says we should listen to HIM! Samuel’s sons are NOT listening to God. Let’s read 1st Samuel 8:4! (Read 4-5)
We want to be like the nations around us. I can hear them now. We want a king! We want a king! We want a king! Samuel was both sad – my sons are a mess, but he was also mad. Find verse 6. (Read 6-7) Here again is our lower story. We are willing to make anyone or anything KING in our lives and often whoever is king in our lives will not give but take! God tells Samuel tell my people what a King will TAKE! And Samuel says, “He will take away your sons, daughters, servants, land, crops and ultimately your freedom! But the people are determined. Go to the end of chapter 8. Find verse 19. (Read 19-22) It’s time we select a king! So what should be the criteria be for picking a king? Brilliant mind, excellent integrity, deep trust, compassion for the oppressed - not to mention a heart for God!?! NO, here was their criteria! Saul was tall. Look at verse 1 of chapter 9. (Read 1a-2)
What did height have anything to do with being a king? (8:20) The Israelites wanted their king to go out and fight their battles. A tall king is impressive. He can see things we can’t. Since he’s tall he has to be strong. I bet he could hurl a spear a mile away. And his height just makes him that much better looking! Saul won the very first People’s Choice awards. He was their choice, not God’s. And why was he chosen? Because oh did he ever look good!
There’s a camper at Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park who decided to take a dip in the lake despite signs saying, "Beware - No Swimming - Alligators." This person swam to an island about 75 yards from the shore, then saw some alligators and refused to swim back. Someone eventually noticed and called 9-11 and the dispatcher sent a ranger. The ranger who retrieved her in a canoe asked, "Didn't you see the signs?" And she replied, “Sure, but, I didn't think the sign applied to me." The signs weren’t put up for the alligators. “Greg – this OT stuff doesn’t apply to me!”
God wants his people to be distinct, holy or separate. God wants us to listen to Him and NOT to the nations or peoples around us. How are WE doing today when it comes to Peer Pressure? Last week we considered two women. Today I want us to consider three men! Elkanah, Samuel and Saul! Elkanah was afraid - Samuel was distracted and Saul was disobedient! Elkanah felt peer pressure. He was afraid he would not have kids so in his fear he married another woman. He had two wives. What he didn’t know was God was the ONE preventing Hannah from having children. It just wasn’t the right time! No woman in her right mind is going to give away her first born baby – maybe after two or three but not her first born! God needed Samuel to be his prophet. He needed Samuel to be devoted to His purposes. To be raised by Eli! Peer Pressure tells us to be afraid about everything. The Bible tells us to fear only ONE – God himself! What fear in your life has become KING? Samuel was a prophet. A man of prayer, but he became distracted. Like the nation’s around him – it’s all about success and success to us is spelled BUSY! Samuel was busy doing the work of God and lost sight of his own sons! What distraction in your life has become KING?
Saul was tall but he was also disobedient. Peer pressure shouts to us – who cares what God thinks! Everything unravels for Saul in 1st Samuel 15. Turn to verse 1 of 1st Samuel 15. (Read 1-3!)
These people were descendants of Esau. God tells there are actions in our lives so hideous they deserve death. They deliberately disobeyed God and God said that one day they would pay for their actions. Today is that day! Drop down to verse 9. (Read 9a-10a, 13) That’s not true! Saul did what we do. He rationalized. “C’mon Pastor, I live in the real world. Everyone I’m around cusses, so I cuss. Everyone I’m around cheats, so I cheat! Everyone drinks, so I drink. People live together before marriage – it’s just part of life. All my friends play violent video games, so I play them too!” Sometimes I have to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I rationalizing disobedience?”
God wants his people to be different. I didn’t say weird (In 2004, doctors in France found 350 coins in a man's stomach) or stupid or judgmental. To be His chosen people in the Old Testament and the Body of Christ in the New Testament. He wants us to BE like Jesus Christ! When my daughter Jeanna was little we went sledding one time and she did not want to be recognized by her friends. So she said to me, “Dad, call me Janice. Not Jeanna.” So I did. Do you want to be acknowledged as a Christ follower? If you do it means this – WE LISTEN TO GOD! And God said this – the only way you can get to me is through my Son! If you know Jesus you know me. To be like everyone else is not God’s plan for us. Here is God’s plan! Make Jesus YOUR KING! STAND OUT! How? Be HIS salt. Be HIS light. Be known by HIS love. Be like JESUS!
Caleb Denorme baptism
[i] Genesis 5:4
[iii] Judges 2:8
[iv] Judges 17:6
[v] John MacArthur, MacArthur Bible Commentary, 314
[vi] John MacArthur, MacArthur Bible Commentary, 305