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800 Hurley Ave
Rockville, MD, 20850
United States

Midweek Devotionals

Published weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Midweek Devotional 5/10/2016

Robert Chen

Dear Church:

1 SAMUEL 16:1-13A

1The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." 2Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me." And the LORD said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you." 4Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?" 5He said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is now before the LORD."7But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any of these." 11Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." 12He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; for this is the one." 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.

"I would shoot it in the head," said Bob to a friend of mine who was considering whether to wrap up his ministry in this area. When Bob said this, it was confirmation to close shop. But Bob's words also helped him to move on without worrying about how the people he was leaving behind would fare. 


Sometimes human empathy, sympathy, sentimentality, obligation, or attachment prevent us from doing what the Lord wants in our lives. 


Samuel the Prophet had grown attached to Saul the King. YHWH had moved on from Saul to someone else as King of Israel. Saul had been given many opportunities to walk with the Lord and the Lord had been gracious and forgiving of Saul's many mistakes and sins. But enough was enough. A continued kingship under Saul jeopardized Israel the nation itself. For the sake of Israel, the Lord had to move on from Saul. Kings were made for nations, not nations for kings. And what the Lord loved most was His people. Individuals came and went. Kings were enthroned and dethroned. YHWH's constancy was His steadfast love for His people.


A different leader was spotted/chosen by YHWH. This time around, the next king would be "a man after God's own heart."


The idea of the good becoming an enemy of the great is not new of course. The good of human attachment can become an enemy of the great of spiritual obedience.


To leave one's family and comforts and material security for the sake of God's call is never easy, but necessary, if God is calling you thus. To stay put in a place when you want to leave for greener pastures is also not easy if God is asking you to stay and be faithful. 


What is important is becoming faithful ourselves to the Lord without condition or constraint on what God can ask or command. 


Fears and doubts that arise about following the Lord unconditionally are based on false views of God. For example, that God will not take care of you, that God will make your life worse if you follow him 100%, that God will make you a martyr, that God will bring a lot of suffering into your life, and so on. Because of these subterranean/subconscious beliefs we have about following God, we find it nearly impossible to trust Him fully and follow Him fully. We operate at a "passable" or "above average" level, but not at a maximal level, like St. Francis or Apostle Paul.


But, the truth is, We can! Not out of heroic effort or some crazy brave boldness. But out of a true knowledge that the Lord who calls you is always for you! Whatever the Lord calls you to do actually fulfills God's desires and your essential [original design] desires. 


To live for the Lord without restraint and regret is, in the end, the only way to truly live.


Let's pray: Father God, we want to submit to your good will today and all the days of our lives. Help us to trust you and follow you without complaint and without condition. We confess you are good and all the time you are good, toward us. In Jesus' name, amen.