In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“6Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the LORD for advice.7″Do as they say,” the LORD replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them.”
-1 Samuel 8:6-9
It’s an interesting concept that we don’t feel like we need God when things are good. When we are on top of the mountain-even when it’s clearly the provision of the Lord-we want to claim the credit. We let other things become important-become the “king” we choose to follow, because it’s the source of our new happiness (that we see). When God blesses us financially, some people begin to follow that money and chase it and try to obtain it. When we have a good relationship, that person begins to consume us wholly. It’s whenever we think we have it figured out, our human pride tells us we can choose another king than God to rule us.
Obadiah 1:3 says that “3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?'” (NLT). We feel like we are invincible. But we aren’t. Taking a look at the scripture for today, God says that ever since He brought them out of their desolation, they want to walk on their own. Isn’t this typical? We walk under our own power, even when we may be praying and reading and doing the right things. We think that we figured something out, because life is good. But it’s this very arrogance that will bring us back to a place where we realize we need God. Things begin to fall apart and we realize the complacency and the arrogance we’ve settled into. We slowly shift what king we follow. I’ve been there many, many times. When I started college this past August, I started out reading and doing devotionals every day. I was so happy that I was doing good. I was doing the right things. As time has passed, the busyness of life caught up to me and I slowly began to slip. I was following a king called Pride. Before I knew it, I was in a place where I was depressed and overwhelmed-to the point of contemplating suicide.
It’s amazingly scary how fast we can fall off our pedestal. That’s why it’s important to recognize that WE don’t belong there at all. God needs to be the complete Lord and Ruler; He needs to be seated on the throne of our hearts. Colossians 1:16 declares that “For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him”(ESV). Here are some more verses that discuss the ultimate authority of God:
“Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”-1 Timothy 6:16 (ESV)“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God”-Psalm 90:2 (ESV)
There is no desire in me to let any other “god” rule my life when I compare them to the majesty and awe and power of God Almighty, Elohim! It’s so sad to see that when people let God go as the ruler of their lives and hearts, the things that replace God are always lesser. It takes much more of them to even begin to fill the void left by Christ. A person who doesn’t have God spends a lifetime trying to fill a bottomless hole.
In conclusion, God is the ruler of the entire universe. He is the one that allows us to be brought low, and He is the one that helps us to be able to have abundant joy and peace and zeal and life. He wants to bring us life and life abundantly! I still believe Paul says it best in Philippians 4:11-13:
“11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
In all things, I need to learn that Christ is the ruler. Christ brings me out of my Egypts-therefore, I want Christ to remain as my King. There is no other person, or emotion, or possession, that will sit on the throne of my heart other than the one who gives me life. I want to be faithful to Christ, to let Him rule me completely and totally. As Joshua says, “15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:15. No matter what anyone else chooses, I choose to let God be my King. I will serve Him as long as I live
“He will protect his faithful ones,
but the wicked will disappear in darkness.
No one will succeed by strength alone.
10 Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered.
He thunders against them from heaven;
the Lord judges throughout the earth.
He gives power to his king;
he increases the strength of his anointed one.”
-1 Samuel 2: 9-10
This is part of a song of praise that Hannah was singing as she rejoiced over the birth of her son. The next part of the chapter talks about the wickedness of Eli’s sons. (Eli was taking care of Samuel). At first, it doesn’t seem relevant. But when you look closely you see that the rest of the chapter outlines exactly what Hannah was praising God for. The Lord is a God that works through people who are humble, who are in low places; broken vessels. Even Jesus entered the world and worked humbly before God. Philippians 2:5-8 shows us why:
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Jesus came as the lowest of the low. The Bible speaks of Him being even ugly to look at. He was nothing, as far as man standards. And that made Him able to do God’s work.
This isn’t to say we should go out of our way to be outcasts, to look different, to be “set apart”. Just living for Christ will automatically change our attitudes and how people see us. What we should do is just be HUMBLE in all that we do-we need to adopt an attitude of humility, to be gracious in all we do. It means not being prideful, not taking any glory for ourselves, even when we do great things. All glory goes to God. When we are in this way of living-giving God all possible praise, and being broken and willing to be used by Him-then He will use us. It’s when we begin to think we are something useful that we become useless. Eli’s sons thought they were the best of the best, but they end up dying horribly. Pride will kill us spiritually too, in terrible ways.
In order to be a man after God’s own heart, I need to be continually humbled before Him. I want to be used by God-not for any glory of my own, but because I want to see Gods outpouring in my school and city and nation.