This week we studied 1 & 2 Samuel and it might have been my favorite book so far because there are so many amazingly rich stories!
I never realized it, but God was basically showing the original reader what true relationship with God looked like through the life of Saul and David. God rose up Saul as the first king, however God rejected him in the end. Even though Saul did things that might have seemed “good” on the outside Saul’s heart was far from God.
Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?”
Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission on which the Lordsent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But from the spoil the people took sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
1 Samuel 15:17-21
Saul just didn’t get it. He thought he was honoring God by sacrificing the best of the best. But God didn’t want Saul to do things that seemed nice to Him on the outside. God wanted Saul to obey Him, which required a heart to heart connection with God. So Saul’s works, even though they seemed honoring to God, did not show that he had any true faith in God.
And Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice…
1 Samuel 15:22
Sometimes God may ask us to take a season of rest and timeout from serving, but I think a lot of us have a problem with that, listening to accusations that we’re lazy or should be “sacrificing” something to God. But God just wants us to follow His voice, even if that means on the outside it doesn’t appear like there is no “sacrifice” or “service” happening. Relationship is what God values more than “sacrifice.”
That’s why God raised up and established David as the second king. David exemplified fear of the Lord. He didn’t let outside pressure of man to prevent him from obeying God’s word. He wasn’t a people-pleaser. His heart was sold out to follow God in all his ways and from all of his heart, not because he wanted to impress others, but because he was truly in love with God.
Then David rose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. He went into the house of the Lord, and worshiped; he then went to his own house; and when he asked, they set food before him and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive; but when the child died, you rose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me, and the child may live.’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
2 Samuel 12:20-23
After David’s son died, David decided to stop fasting. On the outside, this appeared to his servants as a “not right.” But David wasn’t concerned of whether or not he was appearing right to others or to appease the voice of guilt in his head. His heart was to fast so that he could save his son from dying, and when he died, there was no more need to appeal to God on the matter.
But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as any vulgar fellow might shamelessly uncover himself!”
David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me in place of your father and all his household, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord, that I have danced before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in my own eyes…
2 Samuel 6:20-22
Michael didn’t approve of his dancing. She didn’t think it was the “right” thing to do. But David told her that his worship was from the heart, and he didn’t care if other people approved of it or not.
Everything David did, David did unto God. Rules didn’t matter. The disapproval or criticism of even his wife didn’t phase him. He was confident that everything he did was pure. The only voice he listened to what the voice of God, and when God rebuked Him for his adultery and murder, he listened.
Reading the story of David has helped me stop listening to the voice of the accuser. I don’t have to worry that other people might mistake my heart or not really think what I’m doing is for God. As long as I’m convinced in my own heart that what I choose to do is based out of love and trust for God, then that’s what counts. I can trust He will convict me when needed and listen to no other voice but His!
Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them.Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.