“Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them”. 1 Samuel 8:1-22 I remember when I was young, for months my sister and I talked my mother in to buying Lucky Charms cereal. She knew we wouldn’t like but we were so certain that it was the cereal we wanted. She finally gave in and bought the cereal. We both hated it. The cereal sat until it went stale. There’s an old saying “Be careful of what you ask for – you just might get it.” The people of Israel wanted a king. Samuel knew it to be a bad idea, but after conferring with God Samuel anoints Saul. True to God’s warnings, Saul’s kinship was a disappointment. The people of Israel wanted a king because they wanted to be like other nations. The problem was that they weren’t like other nations, they were anointed. Through Christ we too are anointed, protected and cared for by the one true King who gives the desires of our heart, even sometimes, when our heart is misguided. We may forget that God is King, he never forgets that we are his anointed.
When they were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in the land,
Wandering from nation to nation
and from one kingdom to another,
He let no one oppress them
and rebuked kings for their sake,
Saying, “Do not touch my anointed
and do my prophets no harm.” Psalm 105:12-15
Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. Acts 9:1-20 “Living the Sermon” In the movie “42” these are the words Branch Rickey spoke to Jackie Robinson as they struggled together to make integration of baseball a permanent reality of a once very segregated society. I believe he said this to help Robinson understand the depth and significance of enduring the struggle. The statement caught my attention for it’s significance in recognizing the narrative of Christ in our own lives when challenged with doing the right thing. Today as we strive to weave the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, to each and every one of us who are called there comes a point and time when we realize that we too live the sermon in the narratives of Christ. We don’t always recognize the part we play in this journey because the issues of society cause us to lose focus. As believers we are anointed to live the narrative of Christ. We are encouraged to do the right thing and we are supported and guided by the integration of God’s spiritual presence within us. To live in Christ means we no longer walk with our eyes wide open and yet unable to see.
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen… (Isaiah 50:4) A power scripture to begin the month for those touched by God on the journey that seeks truth. To live is to die, but to die is to gain more of what the spiritual life in Christ has to offer. For like the prophets God touches the mouth and like the disciples God touches the hands that reach out towards the anointed hearts yearning to hear what the Spirit is saying to its own and we – we must listen like the one who is taught and set our face as one already redeemed, reconciled and vindicated. In spite of everything along the path God is steadfast in his promises.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backwards.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up. (Isaiah 50:5-10)
Lent: Day 33 – They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Mark 10:32-45
This Lenten season is just about over. Perhaps we are not quite at a point in our lives where it seems darkest before dawn, but in the life of Christ, he is preparing to make his way to Jerusalem. We know that the worst, at least from a physical standpoint is about to happen and those who followed Christ were afraid. Even today, at least for me, it is hard to imagine walking towards your own death especially when you are both innocent and not guilty of any crime. Who among us is both innocent and not guilty? Yet by the grace of God, with every step Christ takes towards Jerusalem we are all lifted up. Although the walk is hard to envision, because of Christ’s walk I can envision his death and burial into the darkness of the earth, as God reaching down to the depths of his creation for all who believe. Before I understood God’s Love I walked in that darkness of sin. So today I arise with Christ ahead of me and I’ll joyfully take this walk again, afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. Instead of darkness I envision light. Instead of death I envision resurrection. Instead of continual bondage I envision eternal freedom. We are the forgiven. We are the righteous. We are the anointed. We are the children of God.
Psalm 143:1-12 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 …it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.
Tuesday-July 26, 2011
Sometimes we put our faith in the wrong people, not realizing that beyond an earthly standpoint they have no power. Furthermore, when we put our faith in someone who’s motive for helping us is inconsistent with God’s purpose for us, I believe eventually that motive does not prevail. It reads in 2 Samuel 3, Abner a servant in the House of Saul (who has died) is becoming quite strong. In other words politically, he is rising very quickly. The problem is that Abner’s loyalty is in the wrong place and is soon accused by Saul’s son of violating his father’s household. We know that God has already anointed David to be King, here we see that God’s protection of his anointed extends well beyond immediate threats. Abner subsequently defects to David but his character is questioned and it’s too late. First and foremost our faith, hope, and trust has to be in God and he who is faithful will guide other faithful people into our lives who also put God first. Let us remember even Christ who desired the daunting task of feeding the five thousand, first looked up to heaven. Will we encounter other people and events intending to do us harm? Yes. But trusting in God first is our assurance that he has already prepared for that. God has already foreseen the collisions (including the ones we create our selves), and is working it out because through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we too are his anointed, no longer sheep without a shepherd.
Psalm 62:5,7 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
2 Samuel 3:6-21; Psalm 62; Acts 16:6-15