May 4, 2020
I was reading from 1 Samuel this morning. I love the story and example of Samuel. His birth was miraculous; he was an answer to his mother Hannah’s prayer. He began his career as a priest at a very early age. Even though he was raised in a very dysfunctional home he lived a life of consistent integrity.
When the nation requested a king like the other nations, he complied only because of the Lord’s precise instructions. He anointed Saul as King because the Lord told him to do it. He warned the people about the dangers of following a King. Samuel’s farewell speech confirms his integrity and the nation affirms it.
NIV 1 Samuel 12:1-5
Samuel said to all Israel, "I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. 2 Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. 3 Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right." 4 "You have not cheated or oppressed us," they replied. "You have not taken anything from anyone's hand." 5 Samuel said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand." "He is witness," they said.
Later Samuel confronts Saul about his half-hearted obedience.
NIV 1 Samuel 15:22
But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Religious rituals can never be a substitute for simple obedience to God’s word. Samuel had earned the respect and devotion of the nation by obeying the Lord. From his childhood he cried,” Speak Lord for your servant is listening.” May we follow his example. Listen to the Word. Obey it. And leave the rewards and consequences to the Lord. If we do, we will live a life of integrity as Samuel did. Dare to be a Samuel!
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Too many are concerned about the shadow of recognition rather than tree of character.
The first psalm makes a similar comparison.
NIV Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-- whatever they do prospers.
What does your “life tree” look like? May this be a season of delight and meditation in the Word which leads to intentional obedient steps.