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Posts Tagged ‘1 Samuel’

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.

Prevailing With God

May 23rd, 2011

1 Samuel 7:3-12
• This time looking at how the Israelites won the battle – it was God, He won the battle and Israel played their part. It was the Lord who thundered and threw the Philistines into confusion – He is the hero.
• It is humbling to us – God does the heavy lifting.
• How did God get so involved? Samuel was the great warrior – he prayed and heaven broke loose.
• Throughout history, men of God prayed and saw victory – e.g. Moses who prayed when Joshua was in battle, and he prevailed.
• The great power and efficacy of prayer. We don’t pray to feel spiritual but to know God and get things done.
• God invites us to an adventure of changing the course of events and even history.
• Prayer is not weak, pious, religious escapism or a cop-out for not doing “real” work. Prayer here is continuously fighting and prevailing with God.
• It is one of the privileges of being a Christian.
• It is hard – it’s a discipline and a struggle and a labour. But prayer is also sweet! God is our Dad and loves us.
• The more you press in, you find God is dealing with you and shaping you. We’re often tempted to pray only in the shallows.
• Jesus calls us to pray and not give up.
• We are called to live a life of prayer – living our lives with God and prevailing with Him.
• Prayer is not a spare wheel – it is the steering wheel!
• Turn your passions into prayer. Sometimes we only see prayer as a duty. What do you want? Take it to God – you’ll find out if they’re right or wrong. Take your anger to God in prayer – it’s much easier to just sit around and complain. Pour out your heart to Him!
• James 4 – you do not have because you do not ask.
• Whatever it is that angers and frustrates you can unlock and grow your prayer life.
• Sometimes you have to pray for something for years, even decades.
• Prayer is like a business product that sells really well.
• There is a danger – you can think it’s all about you and what you can achieve in your own strength in prayer.
• Samuel cries out to God on behalf of a desperate people who don’t deserve anything, and he prays for their protection and wellness. He was a sign of Someone who was to come.
• The Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest pray-er – He went back to the Father to pray and intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). He lives to pray and intercede for us. He’s not in heaven doing nothing!
• Before Jesus went to the cross, Peter was so sure of himself that he wouldn’t deny Jesus or turn away. Luke 22:31-32 – Jesus said he had prayed for Peter and that his faith would not fail, not for an easy life. Shows the importance and power of prayer.
• Jesus knows what is valuable, what’s most important about us – it is how much we trust God. All of our problems have come from us not trusting God.
• Jesus’ prayers never get denied!
• 1 Peter 1:6-7 – faith is more precious than gold. Your faith will be tested through trials and fire.
• If you don’t think you can make it, take heart – Jesus went through trials before you and for you, and now prays that you will be able to do the same.
• Romans 8:34.
• Jesus names us before the Father.
• John 17 – Jesus’ great high priestly prayer. This is what He prayed for us.

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