Joel Virgo

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Jealousy

March 5th, 2012

1 Samuel 18:6-30

  • David is a huge celebrity after killing Goliath and Saul is jealous.
  • Fame is a poisoned chalice. We live in a culture where we lift people up to be able to shoot them down easily. It looks so blissful but countless celebrities say they can’t find their identity in all the glory.
  • David is different, he doesn’t get seduced by the fame while Saul is in agony watching people chant David’s name.
  • David is not impressed with himself ‘who am I?’
  • Saul cares to much about the opinions of people and it amounts to violence in his life.
  • Jealousy is what the devil got thrown out of heaven – we are not safe from envy.
  • We need to guard our hearts from jealousy as it can trap and poison us.
  • Samuel 18:10-11. Saul tries to kill David but David evades him twice.
  • Saul thinks David’s got it in for him but David doesn’t take himself too seriously.
  • We need to watch our hearts and recognise when we are being envious of good looks, career success etc. The Bible shows that envy can take you down.

How do we respond to envy?

  • We try to find ways of tearing the objects of our envy down in order to hoist ourselves up.
  • Proverbs 27:4 – There is such a thing as good anger but there is only bad envy.
  • Saul uses his daughter to accomplish murder. He’s become a monster and it doesn’t feel pleasant when there is corruption in your bones.
  • Jealousy is different to covetousness. Jealousy is where you’re not happy till everyone’s unhappy.
  • Esther 5:13 – jealousy prevents you enjoying the good things in your life.

How do you get free from jealousy?

  • Getting freedom from jealousy through revenge doesn’t work.
  • Saul bid David bring him 100 foreskins. Saul wanted to get rid of David and assumed he would be killed.
  • If you try going against someone that God is raising up, you’re doomed. Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him.
  • Saul’s problem is with God. He is consumed with being King.
  • We’ve all got a kingdom. God sends Davids into our lives – we can try to fight but we are doomed to lose.
  • We need to remember grace and thank God for our role in anything, even if that role in in the shade – it is God’s mercy that we be involved at all.
  • We need to throw ourselves into the grace of God on our lives. We are treated with such love and are able to sit with Him on the throne.
  • Jesus took all of the poison and ugliness out of our lives and took it to the cross so that we can be free.

 

Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: , ,

The Warrior Part 2

February 20th, 2012
  • We consistently face the challenge of taking on the status quo or the prevailing way of doing things.
  • Or we have opposition, like David had his bother Eliab.
  • How did David prevail against Goliath? Faith. He was a man of faith and the Bible teaches that faith is the way to please God and He looks for it.
  • How can we learn to grow in this gift? We take faith to be something it isn’t. The secular world sees faith as something we believe when we know that it’s untrue but faith is a deep persuasion of things that we know to be true. Hebrews 11:1
  • We see God’s hand in creation, in our circumstances, God speaks to us and we have evidence of Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Sam 17:46 – live under peace about what God’s going to do.

Faith is characterised by:

Glorifying God

  • Spend time obsessing about him and get taken up with it – you will grow in faith.
  • Abraham was given children even though he was old. God told him he was going to be a father of many nations – Romans 4:18-21. Abraham grew in faith by giving glory to God

Taking the word of God seriously

  • Samuel 17: 26 – We are a people of God and enemies should be driven out.
  • Most people in the world think the bible is embarrassing. We are always trying to build a bridge between the bible and culture.
  • Listen to God’s word and live by it. The Devil undermines God’s word.
  • Jesus says ‘it is written’. Living in confidence grows your faith.

Taking Risks

  • Our faith is expressed by our actions.
  • David takes risks – he ran toward the battle and had courage.
  • Faith causes us to see things differently when making decisions. Our perspective is changed.
  • The David and Goliath story can be depressing –‘search for the hero inside yourself’ but you won’t find him.
  • We (should) find ourselves in Goliath’s shoes in this story – left to ourselves, that’s what we are, we defy the will of God and his Glory to exalt ourselves. Rom 1:21.
  • People who think they are Davids rather than Goliaths are wrong – ‘nice people’ meet God in the bible and tremble at the presence of God.
  • Cities like Brighton need to recover the shock of the holiness of God.
  • Rev 19:11-16 Jesus is a terrifying Jesus – do not reduce him to Jesus ‘meek and mild’. His best friend fell on the floor like he was dead.
  • One day we will face him – we have all replaced God with ourselves and should be terrified.
  • We should long that God reveal himself to those around us.
  • We need to repent which is bad news and we need to see the bad news before we see the good news
  • The lady was about to be stoned for adultery but Jesus asked ‘whichever of you is without sin’. Jesus knew he was going to take the blame, He knew the part he was going to play and was able to say ‘your sins are forgiven’.
  • Col 2:13-15. Every single piece of guilt and shame was nailed to the cross with Jesus
  • Peter turned into Goliath and cursed Jesus’ name because he tried too much to be like David.

 

Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: ,

The Warrior Part 1

February 7th, 2012

1 Samuel 17:1-30

  • This is one the most well-known, great stories of the Bible. The core message of the story – the weak defeating the strong – has been retold countless times in books, films, etc.
  • We automatically rise to this story – we love to hear it. Strange though – the weak triumphing over the strong goes against the modern, atheistic notion idea of survival of the fittest.
  • One of Richard Dawkins’ famous statements – “there is no meaning, no good, just ‘blind pitiless indifference’ and random chance”. But deep down we feel there must be good and meaning in life.
  • There must be some story to this universe, some purpose – we know this deep down. Our sentiments betray this knowledge.
  • God has a purpose and a plan through history. Nobody would’ve known how God would plan to take down evil – through weakness and humility. He humbled Himself and became weak in order to defeat the giant of sin, death and evil. Jesus is the Greater David.
  • The Bible is teaching us that we are in a war – we face battles, we have to fight – even truer if you’re a Christian. You made an enemy when you became a Christian – an evil, wicked enemy who doesn’t play by the rules. We are enlisted for war.
  • Matt. 10:34.
  • Following Jesus is meant to be a battle – He said it would be.
  • Most of the heroes in the Bible were soldiers, who lived by the sword. There’s a hint there.
  • Christianity is not a passive walk but an active one.
  • However weak you are, you are in Christ and He wins and has the victory.
  • Preparation to reign.
  • 2 Tim. 4:7 – Paul summarises his life as a fight.
  • The first enemy David has to face is the status quo. The Israelites seemed to just hope that Goliath would go away – they won’t face him.  David challenges that prevailing mindset of “just coast and cope” that they’d had for 40 days.
  • Being a Christian is the same – often you have to go against the status quo, even in the church! Often the church gets passive and someone has to rise up and challenge it.
  • We always need courage to follow Jesus in order to keep moving forward. Courage is often the thing we least appreciate. Maybe there’s been a Goliath you’ve been staring at for ages; courage is needed.
  • David had to press through.
  • Specific courage David needed – in the battle with his own brother, Eliab.
  • We all have “big brothers” / “Eliabs” who have the ability to drain all the confidence out of us because we so crave their approval. Who is the Eliab in your life? We all have to face it – Jesus even had to face it, also from his own brothers.
  • Jesus said “woe to you when all men speak well of you”.
  • Matt. 10:35-39.
  • Jesus and the Bible are very pro-family – but not putting family and their approval above God.
  • You’ll be surprised who opposes you (e.g. Lord Shaftsbury who opposed William Booth, when effectively they were on the same mission).
  • David’s reaction isn’t defensive – he doesn’t care about his own honour or reputation but about God’s.
  • People who know God and the security they have in Him are very hard to take down.
  • The worst people can at about you is not as bad as the truth!
  • God knows everything about you – all the dirt – but what does He do with it? Jesus died for it and justified us.
  • Remember who you are: a sinner by yourself but justified and righteous in Christ.
  • Don’t be an Eliab – why do you need to drag people down? Remember what Jesus did for you.
Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: , ,

Evil, Music & Grace

January 30th, 2012

 

1 Samuel 16:14-23
  • Curious passage – involves a “harmful spirit from God”. Seems contradictory.
  • We would be tempted to think the Bible is contradictory and mythical. The idea of a devil is not a modern idea – has been made more into a bit of a joke with the image of a red cartoon figure. But if you were the devil, you’d probably want people to think you were too silly to exist.
  • The greatest trick the devil ever pulled as convinced the world he didn’t exist – at least in the Western world.
  • When Jesus was on earth He helped people who were tormented by demons. Satanic power is real.
  • Using the devil as an excuse for doing wrong – not how it works. We are responsible for our own actions – e.g. Judas who was influenced by Satan but made his own decision.
  • Romans 1:24-25 – everyone has rejected God as the authority over their lives. We don’t trust Him but rather want to be our own masters.
  • God does not take away our free will but allows us to reject Him and gives us over to what we want, in the hope that we will see how bad it gets and turn to Him.
  • When we reject God we give ourselves over to another master. We become a slave to what we thought would make us free and give us control.
  • Saul is being given over to his turning away from God – now influenced more by evil.
  • Matt. 18:34-35 – unforgiveness leads you to handing yourself over to tormentors (the “jailers”).
  • Who or what have you been giving yourself over to for years? It will have you. You will be a servant of something.
  • God is in control even of the bad spirits – this is not dualism, Satan is not equal to Him. God is above all and can even use the evil to accomplish His plans.
  • Here we see that music has spiritual power.
  • Music has an awful lot to do with who we really are.
  • There are some clues in the Bible to suggest why music is powerful:
  • The morning stars sang together when God created – sense of celebration, what words cannot convey.
  • The earth is going to be recreated. Isaiah 55:12 – creation will sing and make sound! Creation now groans.
  • Music can cause people to think there is more to life than what we see.
  • Col. 3:16 – we are to sing!
  • V.23 – clue to a lack in this kind of therapy: Saul goes to a musician and it works there & then but it doesn’t last.
  • We see later in 1 Sam. 18:10-11 that the therapy is wearing off.
  • That’s the best any kind of therapy or cosmetic solution will do – you can’t soothe a volcano. The music was not God!
  • God gives us good things to enjoy – food, friends, music, beautiful places – but their capacity to give you joy is limited. These gifts are to lead you the Giver, God.
  • We want these things to serve us – our greatness or comfort.
  • Saul has turned in on in himself and he’s losing control.
  • Even religious people can do this – church just gives them a nice feeling but they never repent or change and they’re heading towards danger, giving themselves over to wickedness.
  • If you want to be changed by God you need to entrust your whole life to Him, give everything over to Him. It will be painful but only for a time. God wants to set you free to be the person He made you to be.
  • Saul decided that God can’t be trusted. You need to decide whether God is trustworthy.
  • What Saul needed wasn’t David but the Great Descendant of David – Jesus.
  • Jesus took the groans of all creation on that cross so that we could sing and enjoy the song of redemption. It was only possible because of what He did at the cross.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: ,

God’s training, God’s timing

January 26th, 2012

15th January 2012

1 Samuel 6:14-23

  • There can be confusion about the main character of 1 Samuel – which is David – as he doesn’t turn up until quite far into the book.
  • David here is back still as a shepherd – a huge lesson for us about God’s process for preparing people.
  • The more significant the calling of God on our lives, the more time and possibly pain it will take for preparation.
  • God will prepare you for anything He wants to accomplish through you.
  • Sometimes we have a sense of amazing destiny – called to a great task. But great things come about through long process – so that they are done right.
  • We want instant results and we can get addicted to the “sudden” and “crisis” moments, where essentially God bails you out.
  • God sometimes closes your “lazy eye” – i.e. the sudden moments of life – so you can grow and become strong and balanced. When this happens we often assume we were wrong about the destiny – but it might actually be proof that it is right.
  • David gets on with the humdrum, everyday work even though he has great destiny on him.
  • We often view the workplace as unspiritual and meaningless. Huge mistake – God means for us to work; He Himself is a worker! He views it as very spiritual. We are made in His likeness. We are to work and bring order where there is chaos.
  • Psalm 8:5-8 – what are humans here for? Dominion over earth.
  • The Bible condemns selfish ambition, but it is wicked not to be ambitious! Your life is an opportunity to achieve great things!
  • Some people struggle with doors not opening to them – but God is in control over all the doors. His plans are for good for you.
  • V.18 – amazing how God can reverse circumstances in one move. BUT it’s never just about the “one move” (the crisis moment) – just like chess, it is about a series of moves.
  • In hindsight you usually see how and why the process worked out the way it did.
  • Don’t make too many assumptions about the season you’re in.
  • It is Christ that you’re serving through everything, whatever season.
  • Don’t assume that what you’re doing now is pointless.
  • God is training you to reign! We are called to be kings and queens, to reign with Christ. Revelation 5:9-10 – our destiny.
  • Be free from trying to “be someone” as our culture defines. Jesus sets you free
Author: Categories: What Kind of King? Tags: ,

Where is your treasure?

January 24th, 2012

Matthew 6: 19-24

  • It’s easy to slip into the mind-set of thinking God needs our money. But you can’t pay God for favours and He doesn’t need our money!
  •  We tend to think that good works and kindness to people will get us on his good side but if this was the case, we’d never be able to pay back the debt we owe God because it is so vast.
  • We have given ourselves so much to those things that displease him – even from birth we are living for ourselves and not him and this is what sin is.
  • We’re laying up this debt all our lives and one day we will stand before him and face up to this debt and give account for every moment of our lives.
  • Thinking that we can settle our debt by putting a few quid in the offering shows how blind we can be spiritually. We owe him every breath – it’s all a gift from Him.
  • When we understand how needy we are, it’s a shock to think that he’s continued to let us live and chosen to forgive us and pay our debt for us.
  • He’s forgiven us so much but the only way he could do this was for someone else to pay the price of our sin.  Jesus suffered and was crucified so that we would be utterly forgiven and given a fresh life and fresh hope. All that was against us is placed on him and all of his perfection is placed on us.
  • Romans 8:32 God has given us his son, the thing he most cherished on an eternal level.  He gave him up for us so that He could treat us as His sons and daughters.
  • When we understand what God has done for us and how generous He has been,  it changes everything
  • One of the ways you can tell someone’s a Christian is that they give away their money – you cannot be a worshipper of both God and money.
  • Christians know that our money is not really ours. When we know that we are safe and eternally secure in God, we see money differently.
  • We are stewards of money. We look after it and hold it lightly and are entrusted with responsibility to use it wisely.
  • If God blesses you with wealth, don’t just divide your money up (a portion for God and the rest is yours). What would Jesus do with it? All of it is His.
  • How are you stewarding your wealth and what does this mean? It doesn’t mean living in total prosperity, nor does it mean living in total poverty.
  • What are God’s priorities? He’s passionate about Jesus becoming famous and having a global church that populates the world.
  • What does your bank balance say?  Are you passionate about Jesus being glorified?  People who have met Him will give freely to Jesus’ mission.
  • In the Old Testament, there’s a lot about tithing which is giving 10% of your income to the Church. The first tenth is devoted to God, making Him the first priority.
  • It’s not that different in the NT, although Jesus mocks those who tithe when their hearts are far away from God. It is made legalistic.
  • Tithing is taught at CCK but it’s a starter’s amount.  We’re on an adventure – the more we talk and pray to God, the more excited we get about investing our finances into something that’s going to last forever! The church is God’s eternal plan.
  • Were planting sites and will plant sites and churches in the future. God’s vision is big. We’re going to bring God to a continent that has decided that He doesn’t exist. God wants us to be a David that takes down Goliath.
  • Some of us are good at Gift day giving, which Jesus loves, but weekly giving is just as important. We need to be both hearers and doers of the Word and step out in faith.
  • Know that God’s got your back. Giving 10% is a good place to start and being faithful with little will make you faithful with much.
  • If money is a subject that causes anxiety and guilt, God is a father who carries the heavy load and fills us with hope and peace.
  • For those in debt, Jesus was crucified for our shame to take it away from us.  Say sorry for foolish decisions and God will remove that shame.
  • God puts you with people you can talk to, wise people who will not accuse or judge and will pray through it with you. This is what  Small Groups are for.
  • Be ambitious each year and you’ll never regret it. You can never out give him and he can be trusted to look after you.

 

 

Author: Categories: General Tags: , ,

How to ruin your life: Can you miss destiny?

October 10th, 2011
  • Saul was a tragic figure – he did not fulfil his potential. Let that not be our story.
  • We may ask, how can we shape our destiny when God is sovereign and in control of everything? The simple answer is – don’t try to be too clever. We are responsible for our own decisions. We must hold these two truths together, even though we can’t fully understand it. God comes down to our level and relates to us like a parent does with a child.
  • God is not thrown by our intelligence or cleverness.
  • God is responsive to our actions. Those who honour God, God honours them.
  • Saul’s heart grew farther and farther away from God – he didn’t fulfil God’s plan for his life.
  • Two ways we can ruin the destiny of our lives:
  1. Avoid Jesus
  • Saul did encounter God in great ways – but he gradually turned away.
  • You can resist God all your life. We are all born to resist, reject and avoid God.
  • Luke 7 – the religious leaders avoided the baptism of John – and it said ‘they rejected the purpose of God for themselves’.
  • In being too clever and proud we can be in real danger of missing out on God’s plan for us.
  • The heart is the issue – we make up all kinds of excuses for avoiding God and we think our rejection of Him is all intellectual – but the real issue is our heart that is fundamentally against God.
  • Left to ourselves we don’t truly want God – or even heaven, the place where Jesus lives and rules over absolutely everything.
  • Sin is basically saying God is not important enough for us, is not as important as we are. Therefore we are all sinners.
  1. Drifting
  • Saul gradually lost his priority with God.
  • We can so easily do this – it is incredibly easy. All we have to do is not keep God the focus.
  • We can drift in very subtle ways.
  • Let us fix our minds on Jesus.
  • You can drift by letting distractions carry you away.
  • It’s possible to be saved by to miss what God saved you for.
  • The Saviour of the world who was the great son of David was supposed to be the son of Saul.
  • God has signed you up for custom-made plans.
  • Israel refused to trust God and they put Him to the test several times. Therefore they didn’t reach the destiny God had for them and they died in the desert.
  • Don’t be presumptuous about the promises/plans/calling of God – both individually and us as a church.
  • Desire to do something with your life.
  • 1 Corinthians 11 – Paul talks about the people who were sick and dying as judgement for messing around with communion. God doesn’t want a ludicrous Church. He judges His Church and may bring some home early, like taking them off the pitch.
  • If you’ve messed up for your life and have been resisting God, there is hope. Saul was told off so that he might change and repent.
  • God is more long-suffering and merciful than we think. His ways are not our ways.
  • King David messed up horrendously – but he repented and turned back to God and God took away his sin, and the plan for David’s life continued.

Jesus died on the cross so we could find grace and be able to turn back to Him.

Author: Categories: How to Ruin Your Life Tags: ,

Attempt Great Things, Expect Great Things

September 30th, 2011

1 Samuel 13:19-14:23

  • This was the stage in Israel’s history where they had hit another war problem, decades later. The Philistines were intimidating and bullying them, who were God’s people.
  • Jonathan was so different from the others and from his dad Saul. He stood out amongst a category of failing men in the book of 1 Samuel.
  • People who become successful want to hold onto their success and the fruit of it. Success can be very bad for you – it can stop you from going forward and continuing what you set out to do for fear of risking what you’ve already accumulated.
  • Israel were in this place – staying safe and simply holding onto what kingdom they had. Jonathan breaks the inertia.
  • As we as a church break out and move forward and take risks, we need to be like Jonathan and freshly trust in God. We don’t want to sit safe and simple “manage”.
  • Features of Jonathan that made him different:
  1. Jonathan trusted in God’s favour

▪   1 Sam. 14:6 – circumcision was significant because it symbolised belonging to God, like a wedding ring symbolises being married to someone.

▪   Jonathan is looking beyond the superficial – he’s asking who is God really with?

▪   We should do the same with looking at the church in this country. On paper it seems that Christianity is failing and declining. In the same way, it appeared that the Philistines had everything and Israel was dwindling.

▪   Jonathan is persuaded that God is with them. It’s dangerous to think that God has given up on His people.

▪   It’s kind of in our genes as British people to be cynical and not believe that things will really work or succeed. But God wants to do extraordinary things through ordinary people.

▪   Matt. 25:24-25 – the servant who did not do anything or have faith for anything or risk anything was called wicked. To us it may sound humble and pious and wise just to do nothing and play it safe, but it isn’t. If you somehow believe God is a hard person and doesn’t want to use you and has got it in for you, then naturally you won’t do anything and you’ll hide your faith in the ground.

▪   Luke 12:32 – it’s the Father’s good pleasure – He wants to give us the Kingdom! The Kingdom is God doing amazing things, changing people’s lives and blessing the world.

▪   1 Sam. 14:7 – do what’s in your heart. Yes there is sin in there, but there are also many things from God. Don’t spend all your efforts continually evaluating your motives and not doing anything. A lot of desires are given from God – step out and see. You will it wrong from time to time but you can’t always wait until you’re absolutely certain something is the right thing before you act. You learn to hear God, making mistakes along the way.

▪   If we give up risking for God then we might as well give up altogether.

▪   Jonathan took the Philistine’s mocking as a sign that God was with him. We often see adversity as the opposite.

▪   We take the risks and God takes the field – we need to be prepared for both.

  1. Jonathan shared the victory

▪   Some Israelites who joined Jonathan when he was winning were traitors who had been with the Philistines – and yet Jonathan shares the victory with all of Israel, and he points to God winning it.

▪   Jonathan points to another Son of a King. The primary purpose of these heroes in the Bible is not for us to merely try and copy their example. We should aspire to be like them of course, but the main aim is to point us to Jesus, the true Hero, who saved His people all alone without an armour-bearer.

▪   Jesus was mocked and took it all upon Himself because He was trusting His Father.

▪   Matt. 27:52-53 – the dead rose and shared in Jesus’ victory.

▪   Let us desire to live more in the favour of God – to recognise His favour on our lives more and more.

▪   Jesus won the victory over all that traps us and holds us down. He won the victory over fear.

Hatred, Anger and Criticism

June 28th, 2011

1 Samuel 10:25-11:13

  • Saul has just become king and faces his first test. With new jobs/roles come new challenges – applies to the Kingdom of God as well as all anything in life. We get tested when we’re called to do something.
  • All of us should be viewed in some way as having responsibility like kings. Adam and Eve were charged by God to rule – God has given this to us as humans. In the Garden of Eden, the test came along – the snake, who got Adam and Eve to trust in him instead of God.
  • Saul’s “snake” is Nahash – a cruel, savage, violent man. He also shows arrogance, so convinced he is invincible. “Nahash” even means snake/serpent.
  • Adam handled the test badly – he lost. But Saul has success – points to the Greater King, who took on the snake and crushed him completely.
  • There are lessons here for us to learn for how to handle tests.
  • Saul is last to get the news – he is looking after the oxen, showing he is still the same unassuming man, obedient to his father, even though he has just been named prophet and king. Something to learn here – he is wisely waiting for his time.
  • You will have to be ready to fight spiritually – you need to prepare. But you don’t turn every opportunity into a fight. You don’t need to look for fights – your enemy will come to you.
  • Some apparent “snakes” are just earthworms – they’re not a big deal and you don’t need to pick a fight with them. Saul was being criticised but he let it go.
  • Temptation is high to respond to criticism and negative talk about you – wanting everyone to like you and respect you. You can become obsessed with it and with winning every argument. Save your bullets and fight wisely. Ask what is on the line and whether it is worth fighting for.
  • The more you serve God, the more you will face criticism.
  • v.5-6 – the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul and the result was that his anger was kindled. Anger is a misunderstood emotion. Eph. 4:26 says be angry but do not sin. There are things you should be righteously angry about, because God is.
  • When God became a man He got angry on occasion. He is slow to anger but He does get angry at all that is wrong.
  • This is the first time Saul shows any passion – and it is when the Spirit of God comes on him.
  • Anger makes no sense without God – it is a problem for atheists. If we are meaningless, evolved collections of atoms then there is no right and wrong and therefore no reason to be furious about injustice.
  • Anger is a gift from God. Our problem is that we’ve distorted it and use it for our own selfish reasons and purposes.
  • Christ redeems our anger – we learnt to channel it and use it for fruitful, godly reasons.
  • How does Saul use his anger? For one thing, he doesn’t nag or whinge but he vividly communicates to Israel that they will participate in the battle. If the Spirit calls you to act, He will cause people to rise up and join you. If He didn’t, you’d have to resort to nagging.
  • If you’re called to do something and rally others, you need to pray first that God would do a work in people’s hearts. Principle for all of life – instead of nagging, pray – about your spouse, family, work colleagues, etc. Even if you gain something by nagging, you lose something far greater in the process. Pray then be wise with the timing of when you speak to the people involved.
  • Leadership sometimes goes out a limb – there is risk involved. Will people follow you?
  • Saul also doesn’t isolate himself – he joins with Samuel. He needs leaders, men of God alongside with him. It is very tempting to strike out on our own and make something for our own name. Humble yourself and draw in support.
  • Israel win and have total victory in the end.
  • After the battle, some soldiers carry on in anger, but wrongly – but Saul won’t allow. He doesn’t care about his reputation and he is in line with God. He has such the right perspective – he recognised it was God’s work.
  • The battle for our life is to kill our pride, in light of the gospel of grace which humbles us. Remember who you were and what you’ve been forgiven of.
  • Don’t just try to be like Saul – even Saul couldn’t be Saul without the Spirit of God. Look to Jesus who loves us and gives Himself for us.

Let God Exalt You

June 14th, 2011

1 Samuel 9:1-4, 10:2-16

  • Saul is an amazing man but a tragic figure – his story begins with a great deal of promise. He is an impressive man but his story is very sad and ends tragically. His heart is shown to be something other than what first appeared.
  • The other characters so far have included a lot of bad sons – Eli’s sons, Samuel’s sons, etc. They have not been good or true to their fathers. But here we have Saul who is shown to be a good son – one who works hard for his father and submits to him. Counter-cultural, certainly now in our day and age.
  • Saul worked hard to serve his dad.
  • The donkeys – essential for livelihood. God was involved in the missing donkeys because He wanted to get Saul, to next man he wanted to use.
  • God works even through the “smaller” or less disastrous problems of our life. It’s easier to turn to God in the midst of real pain and suffering, but you can still find God in the other troubles – big and small – in your life. He always has a plan in the midst of it all.
  • An interesting thing to note about Saul – his lack of assumption. His heart towards going to see Samuel seems to be genuinely humble – he didn’t have an agenda.
  • God loves it when He finds humble people. He resists the proud.
  • If you’re faithful with the small, you can be trusted with more.
  • It’s sheer mercy that we get to do anything for God.
  • There seem to be a lot of “coincidences” going on in this story. It is as if God is in control of everything!
  • We can be confident that if God wants to lift up someone, He will.
  • Phil. 2:5-11 – Jesus of all people had a sense of entitlement, but He humbled Himself and God exalted Him.
  • If you pursue your glory independent of God it will not go well for you.
  • 1 Pet. 5:5-7 – humble yourself so that God may exalt you.
  • God wants you to be great but for His purpose and glory.
  • In heaven, all believers will be kings and will reign. God’s preparing us for regal authority.
  • We should desire to do great things for God – that’s a good desire – and you start by humbling yourself. He will exalt you at the proper time.
  • Waiting can be tiring, so God tells us to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:5-7). Otherwise your cares will end up killing you! Don’t forget God’s capacity to care for you.
  • Samuel prophesies in detail – Saul is getting confirmation that God is with Him.
  • God will equip and empower us for what He’s called us to do.
  • Saul kept quiet about the promises of being king – he was wisely quiet. We need to do the same – to be wise about what we do with promises we’re given, like Mary did as well. Prov. 18:16.
  • If you’re called to do something, you get on and begin doing it and humbly give yourself to God, like Jesus did.
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