Even though these verses are not in today's reading they have extremely important implications to what we are going to read today. 1 Samual 8:7 - The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
1 Samuel 8:19-22 - But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight out battles. When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, "Listen to them and give them a king." Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Everyone go back to his town."
Israel desperately wanted to look like the rest of the world and they felt that their leadership should be the first thing they should change. They recognized that they were leaderless yet they did not understand why. They failed to recognize that it was their rebellion against God that had caused them to be leaderless. Not because God failed to lead but because they failed to follow.
Israel thought that they needed someONE (a human) to lead them and fight their battles. The problem though is that someONE will be flawed and will never adequately do the job. THE ONE, God himself, had set the nation of Israel apart and had placed them in the seat of honor. He had been their provider, their protector from the very beginning and had showed His faithfulness time and time again. (As many of you who have been reading with us this year have seen over and over so far in Israel's story.)
So we have Saul, the first king of Israel. The man chosen by God at the request of his people to replace himself. (I have always found it odd that they essentially request that God be replaced but they go to his prophet in order that he might ask God who it is that God would like to put in that place. It seems a bit illogical) But at the end of the day the people got what they asked for.
So now that Saul is king we begin to see what kind of king he will be. Today we read about the beginning of his 42 year reign as king and are immediately shown a couple of glimpses into who Saul is and what kind of king he will be.
We see him make a foolish and rash oath that is put on all the people. An oath taken to the point of almost killing his own son. And we see him take the place of the prophet of God, offering sacrifices when he should have waited.
Saul had decided that his timing was much more important an relevant to the situation than God's timing. He took it upon himself to do "the right thing" because that was what was supposed to be done despite the fact that he went about it in the wrong way. He became impatient with God and decided to move the point forward. He treated the offering up of offerings, something that only Levites and the prophets of God were instructed to do, with contempt and arrogance.
Now even though this is easy to see from our vantage point, we need to step back and evaluate for a moment, how this might be happening in our own life as well. Many of us are facing "battles" in life right now. Battles where we want to see some resolution take place. But have we taken the place of God and decided to act on our own to expedite the situation? Or have we waited on Lord and trusted in his plan and his timing.
So far this year we have seen many times that God's timing is always on time. To those in the midst of the battle or storm it may appear to be dark, but "God has not left the planet" so to speak.
We saw it in Abraham and Sarah. She could have become pregnant that first night when they were told about the child that would come but instead it was years later and by then they tried to hurry things along but involving Hagar.
We saw it when Joseph was put into prison for something he was innocent of and ended up being there for 13 years, but God had a plan.
We saw it in with the nation of Israel when they were slaves in Egypt for over 400 years. God had not left them but he was multiplying them and preparing them for the Promised Land. God had a plan to reveal himself, as he has never done in the history of the world, to not only Egypt but to his chosen people as well. He had a plan when he instructed the people about the passover. He had a plan when he detailed all that they were to do for that meal that night. He had a plan when asked them to take the blood of the lamb and smear it over their doorposts. He had a plan.
In just the same way God had a plan for his Son to come and to die for us. He could have sent Jesus the day after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden and tidied the whole thing up in a day. But God had a plan. He knew that the heart of man had transformed and that it needed a savior. He knew all of this before he even created man and yet he did anyway. Our God is Great, Awesome, Amazing, Faithful, Loving, Enduring, Forever, Lord, King, Alpha, Omega, Glorious, Just, Righteous, and the list could go on and on. AMEN.
God has a plan.
Today is Good Friday. Today is when this part of the plan came to forefront of history. Today the plan for the salvation of man was realized as Christ took the punishment that we were fully intended to take and he drank every last drop of the wrath of God in our place. He was the perfect, spotless lamb who had no defect (sin), His blood was shed and covers us and our sin so that we don't have to taste death, if we would choose him. Just as at the passover when Israel was to take that perfect lamb and the blood on the doorposts caused death to "pass over" them.
This Good Friday; the day we are reminded that God has a plan, the day we are reminded that Sin was taken care of, the day we are reminded that it is not in ourselves that we can attain any sort of salvation; are you in need of replacing who is king in your life? Have you pushed for a king that looks like the world, one that meets your timeframes and your schedules, operating how you dictate and decide? Are you ready to take the King of kings, Jesus Christ, and put him instead in the place that was planned for him, the place that God put him and the place that he will forever be no matter what or who we try to replace him with? If you are I would encourage you to take some to talk to God. Take a moment to ask him to come back into your life, making him "king" over your life. I would also invite you to join us this Sunday as we celebrate Easter and the glorious resurrection of our Lord and King.