Tuesday, 25th July 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
God has already given us His Word, He calls us to arise and shine, but how do we respond? It seemed that our lives are separated from the Word of God. We hear the Word of God, we know the Word of God, but we still go on with our own ways of living. God wants to build a strong foundation for us, He loves us and give us another chance to change our ways. In I Samuel, what a great blessing it was that God chose Saul to be the king of Israel? But did Saul treasure the Word of God spoken to him?
V1-2 ‘Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent.’ When Saul first anointed the king, God gave him 330,000 men, but he only chose 3,000 men. When Saul faced pressure and temptation, he chose to give up and he chose to run away. Saul sent the rest of people away it may be because they didn’t like him or because they didn’t listen to him. Saul did not train them but sent them away.
We are also like this, for the people God gave to us, do we treasure them and pass down the fragrance of Tree of Life? Or when we face conflict and disappointment, do we just give up? We must stand firm in what God gave to us, stop focus on our own feelings, and face the challenges ahead of us. The enemy knows our weakness, and they are seeking every opportunity to attack us.
V5-6 ‘Then the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. And they came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth Aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits.’ The Philistines were strong and they gathered to come up and fight against the Israelites. Saul didn’t treasure the the 330,000 me God measured for him, furthermore, he thought he was strong enough to fight the Philistines on their own.
V7 ‘And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.’ The people followed Saul was fearful, they didn’t have peace. When we follow God, what is our attitude? If we are afraid and if we don’t have peace, then we are not really following God, we are following people and we are following the environment, at the end, people will let us down. The people following Saul ended up hiding and running away, because they didn’t have faith in God and they were using their own ways to fight their battles.
V8-9 ‘Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering.’ When Saul saw the people leaving, he was worried and he panic. He was unwilling to wait for longer. Paul was waiting an answer, but he didn’t treasure the time waiting on God. He just wanted an answer, he just wanted a solution, and he wanted his waiting to have a return. God never needs to prove Himself because true love is worth waiting. It’s just like how a mother will wait for ten months for her baby to be born.
V10-12 ‘Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, “What have you done?”
Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.”’ Saul was unwilling to wait, so he acted out of flesh, and when Samuel asked him why he didn’t wait, Saul blamed others for his action. Even at the end Saul didn’t see his own problems.
When we face temptations and challenges, what is our attitude? What is the life we live out? A life of Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God is giving us a chance to return, He is asking us, what are we doing? Are we following the Word of God and change the lives of those following us? Saul continued to follow his own ways, after he became the king, he didn’t give them weapons or armours, he didn’t prepare for them and he didn’t protect them.
V22 ‘So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.’ God has already given us the people but we don’t treasure their lives, and at the time of battle, they will only enter death. What is God telling us today? Through I Samuel, God is reminding us to be awaken, do we treasure the everyone God gives us? Do we equip them and give them weapons so they can fight their battles?