Saul’s victory is a great affirmation, unification and celebration. In fact right at ‘payback time’ (see yesterday) Saul declares in a statesman-like speech that nobody will die in revenge on his watch. The crowd love it. Everything is working out like a script fit for a king.
…then Samuel steps forward and rains on the coronation parade (metaphorically and literally). He reminds Israel that despite the victory, all the high fives and slaps on the back, to ask for a king was still an act of treachery to Yahweh.
Why? Because they didn’t trust that God could save them against the Ammonites—they wanted a political leader so they could play ‘my king’s bigger than your king’ to the other nations.
The people blush and want to reverse their decision (now that they are safe from the Ammonites) but Samuel says, ‘too late’. They will have to put up with all the politics and abuse that comes with human power. However, if they keep themselves from idols and serve God with all their hearts He will bless them.
It’s within this tension that the monarchy hall of infamy begins.
Even when we make poor decisions, if we humble ourselves before God He will still work His good purposes. We may have to live with the consequences of our actions, but you’d be surprised what God can make out of disastrous choices—like bringing His Messiah through the line of kings.
In our NT reading, Col 2:4-6, I can’t help but notice the pattern for mission
JUST ONE… “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should”
and our Communities of Mission model… “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace…”
Have a great day, as you watch and pray for an open door for the good news this Christmas season,