1st May - The Holy Spirit - Learning from 1 Samuel
Everyone was so happy - ‘Long live the king! (1 Samuel 10:24). Everything seemed to be so promising - ‘The Spirit of God came mightily upon Saul’ (1 Samuel 11:6). God’s people were victorious (1 Samuel 11:11). God’s people ‘rejoiced greatly’ (1 Samuel 11:15). This is not, however, the whole story. Things were to get worse, much worse - ‘You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you’ (Galatians 5:7-8). Remember the parable of the sower: ‘Satan immediately comes and takes away the Word... When tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately they fall away... The cares of the world and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful’ (Mark 4:15,17,19). Pray - ‘Deliver us from evil’ (Matthew 6:13).
‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (1 Samuel 16:4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’(1 Samuel 16:7). ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart’ - This is something we must never forget!’. ‘It’s the presence of Your Spirit, Lord, we need’ (Songs of Fellowship, 256) - This is the lesson we must learn from the stories of Saul and David. The great difference between the two men is summed up in 1 Samuel 16:13-14: ‘the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David... the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul’. David exerted a good influence upon Saul (1 Samuel 16:23). Sadly, however, Saul’s best days were behind him. He was only a shadow of what he could have become if he had chosen to become ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (1 Samuel 16:13-14). Don’t settle for second best when you can have God’s very best!
David defeats Goliath. This is not only a story about David and Goliath. It is about the Israelites and the Philistines. It is about ‘God’ and the ‘gods’ (1 Samuel 17:43,46). Victory comes from the Lord. It is given by grace. It is received by faith (1 Samuel 17:47). Notice the contrast between the attitude of Saul - unbelief -and the attitude of David - faith (1 Samuel 17:33,37). Unbelief is all around us. Don’t be pulled into it. Don’t forget God. Remember what He has done for you and thank Him that He will not fail you now (1 Samuel 17:37). Put off the armour provided by men. ‘Put on the whole armour of God’ (1 Samuel 17:38-40; Ephesians 6:11). We will not win the victory if we fight in our own strength. We must draw our strength from the Lord. He helps us. We are ‘strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man’ (Psalm 121:2; 124:8; Ephesians 3:16).
Saul sinned against the Lord. He brought God’s judgment upon himself: ‘Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord... the Lord has done this thing to you this day’ (1 Samuel 28:18). ‘Saul disguised himself’’ - he thought he could get away with his sin. He was wrong: ‘Be sure your sin will find you out’ (1 Samuel 28:8; Numbers 32:23). There is no hiding from God - ‘Before Him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do’. God’s Word warns us: ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’. Do not ‘trample the Son of God under foot, treating His blood as an unholy thing and outraging the Spirit of grace’. Don’t fight against God. You will be the loser! Don’t ‘shrink back’ and be ‘destroyed’. ‘Believe’ and be ‘saved’ (Hebrews 4:13; 10:29-31, 39; Acts 16:30-31).