Today’s faithful daily read is 1 Samuel 10 and Col 3:18-25
We see in our reading of Samuel the anointing and commissioning of Saul, the ‘first’ king of Israel… but not the true king. Samuel reminds the Israelites that their demand for a king is a rejection of God himself as the true king (v 19).
In an external sense, Saul was the most likely king that Israel could wish for – tall, ridiculously good looking, strong, a mans man… a veritable George Clooney or Ryan Gosling of ancient Israel. Although perhaps, unlike George Clooney, Saul was reluctant to take the throne – even to the point of hiding amongst the luggage! However, Saul, like all of us, was not chosen because of his external appearances or because he had anything of particular note to offer God (such as being an expert player of hide and seek). Saul was chosen by an act of grace by a loving heavenly father in response to an act of rebellion. Read that again… a loving father’s response to an act of rebellion. The mind boggles.
It is not difficult to see the reflection of Christ in this narrative. However, unlike Saul, Jesus, the least likely but true king of Israel had no dazzling features to draw us to him – Isaiah tells us ‘he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him’ (Is 53:2-3). Indeed, Isaiah goes on to say that ‘he was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… he was despised, and we esteemed him not’. When Jesus, the son of the living God came clothed in human flesh – taking on our fragile form and humbling himself, our response was to reject him as true king and nail him to a cross. Yet this too was an unfathomable act of grace by loving heavenly father in response to an act of a rebellion! The result – not to save us from the Philistines (as was Saul’s charge) but to save us from an eternity separated from God. The mind continues to boggle!
How then do we live in response to this? We know (or we will learn) that the line of Israelite kings is not the success story that Israel hoped for. They are a ragtag bunch who seldom live up to God’s call on their lives – they continue to rebel against God, even in the face of such enormous grace. The Colossians reading reminds us that our response to grace has significant application to our lives. Paul states that we are ‘serving the Lord’ when we submit to others out of love for Christ. We must ‘in humility, count others more significant than yourselves‘ (Phil 2:3) – and this is particularly demonstrated in how we submit to those in authority. How do you go with that? I know I struggle with this all the time. However, as I look to Christ’s example I am encouraged to reconsider the value of elevating myself… the true King died for me… and that knowledge bids me to put myself to death and follow Him.
Today, may we learn from the (poor) example of the Kings of Israel and be reminded to receive the grace given freely to us… and respond in surrender to the true king.