Friday 22 February, 2013

1 Samuel 10:9-27

9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart. All of those things happened that day. 10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met Saul. Then the Spirit of God came on him with power. He prophesied along with them. 11 Those who had known Saul before saw him prophesying with the prophets. They asked one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also one of the prophets?” 12 A man who lived in Gibeah answered, “Yes, he is. In fact, he’s their leader.” That’s why people say, “Is Saul also one of the prophets?” 13 After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place to worship. 14 Later, Saul’s uncle spoke to him and his servant. He asked, “Where have you been?” “Looking for the donkeys,” he said. “But we couldn’t find them. So we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 Saul replied, “He told us the donkeys had been found.” But Saul didn’t tell his uncle that Samuel had said he would become king. 17 Samuel sent a message to the people of Israel. He told them to meet with the Lord at Mizpah. 18 He said to them, “The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘Israel, I brought you up out of Egypt. I saved you from their powerful hand. I also saved you from the powerful hand of all of the kingdoms that had beaten you down.’ 19 “But now you have turned your backs on your God. He saves you out of all of your trouble and suffering. In spite of that, you have said, ‘We refuse to listen. Place a king over us.’ “So now gather together to meet with the Lord. Do it tribe by tribe and family group by family group.” 20 Then Samuel had each tribe of Israel come forward. The tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 Next he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward, family group by family group. Matri’s group was chosen. Finally Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen. But when people looked for him, they realized he wasn’t there. 22 They needed more help from the Lord. So they asked him, “Has the man come here yet?” The Lord said, “Yes. He has hidden himself among the supplies.” 23 So they ran over there and brought him out. When he stood up, the people saw that he was a head taller than any of them. 24 Samuel spoke to all of the people. He said, “Look at the man the Lord has chosen! There isn’t anyone like him among all of the people.” Then the people shouted, “May the king live a long time!” 25 Samuel explained to the people what the king who ruled over them should do. He wrote it down on a scroll. He placed it in front of the Lord in the holy tent. Then he sent the people away. He sent each of them to their own homes. 26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah. Some brave men whose hearts God had touched went with Saul. 27 But some evil people who wanted to stir up trouble said, “How can this fellow save us?” They looked down on him. They didn’t bring him any gifts. But Saul kept quiet about it.

I find this passage deeply challenging; maybe a little distressing.

It’s possible for me to have a new heart from God yet be gripped with fear and hide among the baggage.  It’s possible for me to be filled with the Holy Spirit and exhibit spiritual gifts yet lose it all later in life (16:14).  It’s possible to “stand head and shoulders above everyone else”, be anointed to lead and slay giants yet become disqualified and have my calling be given to someone else (ch 17).

In this passage God gave Soul a new heart.  When I became a Christian God gave me a new heart also.  Sometime I forget though that it’s my responsibility to take good care of this new heart.  It’s my job to protect, strengthen and guard it at all times so that it doesn’t get cold, hard and polluted.

Fortunately, the One who gives new hearts also provides the resources I need to take good care of it.  He is the one who gives me “the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph 6:14) through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – protection that I need to leave on at all times.  He is the one that gives “the peace to guard your heart and your mind” (Phil 4:7) that I need with me constantly.  He is the one who will “strengthen my heart”(1 Thes 3:13) if I just allow Him.  For all this protection I need just to come to Him and ask.

Lord, please don’t let what happened to Soul happen to me.  I humbly pray before you

and ask that you would forgive me for abusing this new heart that You have given me.  Please help me take hold of all the resources You’ve generously provided. Help me keep my heart safe and healthy so I can walk with You and serve You all the days of my life.  Thank you.

Written by Boudy van Noppen

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