Thursday, 25th March 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
I Samuel 11 – The Weakness of Men and the Sovereignty of God
Section One: V1-3 Walk in the Flesh
V1 the people of Jabesh Gilead did not come together with the Israelites to fight against the tribe of Benjamin when they sinned in the Book of Judges. They were a group of people, who only cared about themselves, they hid away and did not want to battle. And even when the Ammonites came out to attack them, they forgot about their identity in God’s kingdom as a people who could take possession of land, but chose to give in instead of seeking help and fighting back. Often we are also like the people of Jabesh Gilead, when enemy attacks us or when we face difficulties, we chose to rely on ourselves, to give up or compromise with the enemy instead of relying on God.
V2 the Ammonites did not just want victory, they also wanted to shame the Israelites by requesting the people of Jabesh Gilead to take out their right eye. The right eye is the strong eye for most people, and if the enemy took out the right eye of people in Jabesh Gilead, they would never be able to use their full strength but become slaves forever.
Furthermore, the whole Israelites will be put to shame. The people of Jabesh Gilead did not see their position as part of Israel, the people of God, they lived like hermits but they did not know they actions also would influence the whole Israel.
V3 when they faced problem they didn’t seek God, they went to people and thought if no one was willing to help then they would give in. They only relied on the things they could see on this earth. They didn’t know God had already chosen Saul to be their king! Because they lived in the cave and were unwilling to have fellowship with other tribes.
Section Two: V4-13 Walk in the Presence of God
V4 in the times of Judges, when the Israelites came together to fight against the tribe of Benjamin, they killed all the women. Later on, in order not to completely destroy one tribe of Israel, the Israelites decided to take the women of Jabesh Gilead to marry the men of Benjamin, so the two tribes become relatives. Therefore the people of Jabesh Gilead first sought help from the people of Benjamin in Gibeah.
V5 at the time, Saul was coming back from the field, even though he was already anointed by Samuel and by God as the king, but he was willing to keep quiet and wait for God’s timing. In Chapter 10, Samuel already instructed Saul to wait, and God gave Saul a new heart.
Everyone who follows God is given a new heart, so are we using this new heart? Or do we allow the old self to overtake the new heart God has given us? Saul changed himself when he received the new heart, he started to care for others. This contrasted with the people of Jabesh Gilead, who did not care about what happened to others.
V6-8 Saul was angry when he found out what had happened, so he cut the oxen into pieces and sent them out to all the Israelites. Saul was a farmer and when he did that he was also showing how he would no longer just care about his own field, but he was willing to stand up and live for God. The oxen is so important for a farmer, but Saul killed his oxen, put down himself and walked in God’s Way.
He also wanted all the Israelites to follow him and Samuel. Saul no longer saw himself, but he knew that he could be the king was also because of Samuel. Today we are chosen as the people of God, but do we cherish our positions? Are we walking in the flesh or walking in the presence of God? The Israelites came out as one. God wants us to come up in unity, have the same heart just like one person. Saul counted the men of Israelites, 300,000 Israelites and 30,000 from Judah.
V9 330,000 of people responded to the messengers of Jabesh Gilead. When we walk in the presence of God, His authority is greater than what we can imagine! When He revealed His Sovereignty, 330,000 people could come out as one and agreed as one. Do we believe God has this power to unite? Miracles happened in the Bible seem like mission impossible, do we believe they will all come to past because God rules and reigns?
V10-11 Saul assembled the army and put them into companies early in the morning. It’s just like how we come together early in the morning to have Morning Devotion, this is the important part of battle, in order for us to have victory over the enemy.
Judges 7:19 also says, “Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands.” Every morning when we come together to the Morning Devotion, we are winning the battle over the enemy. God’s Spirit is with us and the enemy will flee.
V12 at the time when people rebelled against Saul when he was first anointed as the king, nobody responded. But now after they won the battle, they saw Saul’s ability and changed their mind. A lot of time we would go to whoever is stronger or has more ability, we put our eyesight on what we see, not on what God sees.
V13 when we are in the leadership position, do we lift up God? Do we bring people to God or do we bring people to ourselves? If we bring people to ourselves then when they see our weakness they will be disappointed. But if we bring people to God then we don’t have to always act out a perfect image, but to boast about our own weaknesses and God’s victory over us.
Section Three: V14-15 Who is the Leader?
When Saul was willing to lift up God, then Samuel decided they would head over to Gilgal. In Joshua 5:9 it says, then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day. Gilgal was the place that reminded the people how God had set them free from slavery and led them into victory in the past and until present.
The Israelites received what they wanted, a king. But as they were celebrating, Samuel was about to leave. Because the people did not want to follow God, but to follow their flesh and a king on this earth. Do we see God is our King of kings and Lord of lords? He has led us out of the valley of death into the Promised Land. Today we should examine ourselves, do we think about the things in the Heaven? Or just our own earthly matters? God is our sovereign God, He sits enthroned until forever!
Pursuit & Respond
Lord, this morning, show us how You see us, give us Your eyesight. You have chosen us to be Your people and You did not give up on us. You want us to follow the Holy Spirit and to follow our authority, You have given us a new heart and let us come together as one. Forgive us for not using the new heart You have given to us, instead we rely on our old flesh.
When Saul activated his new heart, he no longer saw his own personal matter. He killed his oxen and stood up in the position God has appointed him. Lord, You have chosen us and led us into victory; You brought us together in the morning to Gilgal, so we can rolled out our old flesh. Lord, let us respond to You this morning, we declare we will fully rely on You, we will not give in to the challenges in life.
Activate our new heart to follow the Holy Spirit and the teaching of our authority. You are our sovereign God, we are willing to follow. Bless us to live under the tree of life, though You, we can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit and our lives will be renewed. Amen!
V1 基列雅比 – 根据士师记的记载，当以色列众人打仗的时候，唯独他们没有出来，说明他们比较是喜欢单顾自己的人。如今他们被亚扪人攻击，却没有看到自己的身份 – 他们属于以色列迦得支派，是能得地为业的，反而遇到困难选择放弃、与仇敌妥协，没有倚靠神的权能对付挑战。当我们走在血气的时候，我们面对攻击，也会这样选择倚靠自己而不是倚靠神。
V2 亚扪人想要的不是攻击基列雅比人而已，而是以此羞辱全以色列人，可惜基列雅比人只看到自己的软弱。我们若走在血气里，就无法看到神在我们身上的命定，只想自己安然无事就好。可是当我们放弃神给我们的身份，仇敌不仅要打败我们，还要“剜出…各人的右眼”- 就是让人失去战斗力，一生只能做奴隶。