"When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord!" 1 Samuel 5:3
Can you hear the boy Jesus shouting and jumping when this was read to him? The Philistines had captured the ark and proudly placed it in their temple to Dagon at his feet, symbolizing the God of Israel was subject to their god. Hope seemed to perish in that moment, until the morning came!
It seemed God had been defeated, but the truth was He allowed himself to be captured so he could do by Himself what the Israelites were attempting to do without Him, defeat the Philistines.
The Philistines, stunned I am sure, stood their idol back up only to find him fallen again the next morning, but this time his head and hands were severed from his body symbolizing he was powerless before the God of Israel. Over the next 7 months the Philistines sent the ark around from town to town only to be plagued by tumors and death everywhere it went. What they celebrated as a victory ultimately turned into their defeat.
It is clear that Jesus took this story to heart and allowed it to move him deeply. All around he saw men and women trying to defeat the enemy of sin and Satan on their own. His people were hopelessly struggling to win without Him and failing terribly. Jesus came and entered our battle, but in order to defeat the enemy, Death, he would first have to allow himself to be captured by it. Satan, sin, and death roared in victory as his body was placed in the darkness of a sealed tomb. They celebrated their victory, certain they had overcome.
But Jesus had heard this story and from it he knew that in order to win, he would allow himself to be taken into the enemy's camp, placed at the feet of their god, but in the morning things would change.
Death would be found on its face before him. Satan and Sin would attempt to prop it back up, only to find Death fallen again, but this time it's head and hands severed, and Death rendered powerless.
Jesus knew that in order to set his people free, he would have to follow the lead of His Father and allow himself to be captured momentarily by the enemy! However, in doing so, He could finally do what his people had been attempting to do without him, He could set us free!
What a story! What a God! What a Savior!
1 Samuel 7 tells of the people of Israel turning back to God and God delivering the Philistines into their hands. For 20 years the people lived in peace. God had defeated the Philistines and humiliated their false god Dagon. He had afflicted the Philistines and here in chapter 7, delivered the people from the oppression of the Philistines.
Yet, in chapter 8, as Samuel's sons are found accepting bribes and not being honest, the people come and fulfill what God said in Deuteronomy 17:14, they ask for a king. With these words they declare they no longer want to be lead by God himself, but they want a physical representation of a leader "like all the other nations."
I imagine Jesus as a young boy/man maybe being shocked by this reaction of the people. Maybe he was disgusted by how they acted toward God. But eventually I believe he realized why they hated him so much as the Messiah.
Just like the people in Samuel's day, the people around Jesus wanted a physical king. They desired a Messiah who would rescue them from the Romans. They wanted to rule and reign on this earth and they believed a king on a earthly throne would give them their hearts desires. The people around Samuel rejected God as their king, and through this story Jesus learned that the leaders of the people in his day would reject him as their Lord and Messiah.
Sadly, I wonder if this is not a heart issue I struggle with today. It seems that what I really want, what we as a people clamor for, is an earthly kingdom.
God gave them what they wanted, and what they wanted He warned them would enslave them. Jesus came and declared his kingdom is not of this world, yet his people still wanted a king they could feel, touch, and see. But Jesus, like his Father, had something far better in mind.
Like the people of Samuels day and the day in which Jesus lived, he allows those of us who want an earthly kingdom to have it, knowing it will treat us like slaves. But to those who accept Jesus as King of a kingdom far greater than the one we see, he gives life and life more abundant.
Which king do we want Jesus to be? A king like those of other nations, or the King of Kings?
Lord, teach me your ways and set my heart on seeking Your true kingdom!
"The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophecy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you." 1 Samuel 10:6-7
What a charge that was given to Saul, Israel's first king. He had been hunting his family's donkeys and found himself anointed to be the first king of Israel. Saul did not go looking for this position, but God chose him from the smallest tribe of Israel and the least of the clans in that tribe (9:21). To confirm he was chosen, God had Samuel give Saul a sign of the promise he was giving Saul in 10:3-7.
The end of this sign came with a prophecy of the spirit of the Lord coming on him in power and a charge to "do whatever your hands find to do for God is with you.
What power these words carried with them down through the ages to when a young man named Jesus heard them. Jesus, like any other Israelite boy, was intent on learning the history of his people. He had watched through the stories the people's rejection of God as their leader as they wished for an earthly king. He had seen the destructive power of sin in the land and the story of redemption as God continually restored the people back to Himself.
However, in these short words of 10:6-7, not only did Saul receive a charge, but so did Jesus. Jesus was sent with a mission to accomplish, to restore God's people back to Him. Saul was chosen to be their first king, Jesus was chosen to be the King of Kings. Saul was doomed to fail because he was afraid (10:22), Jesus was sent to be victorious. Saul came from the least of the tribe of Benjamin, Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger, but he roared from the tribe of Judah!
Just like Saul, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jesus in power and he too knew he could do whatever his hands found to do because God was with him! Jesus was anointed as our King above all Kings and God solidified his anointing when Jesus was baptized and the Spirit came upon him and God himself testified, "This is my Son in who I am well pleased."
Praise God Jesus accepted his position and lived his life in the power of the Spirit. Praise His Name he did whatever his hands found to do, which was to lay down his life for his sheep. Praise God today he sits at the Right hand of God while his enemies are made his footstool. Praise God that the hands of Jesus found the work of taking the keys of death and Hades into his own hands and he now reigns supreme. Praise God that Jesus, unlike Saul, realized that this power he was given was not for his own glory, but for the glory of the one who sent (appointed) him to his position.
And Praise God that Jesus declares to all who are his people that the Spirit of the Lord has come upon us in power and we have been changed into different people and that we are to do whatever our hands find to do, for God is with us!
I pray today that I will live like Jesus in this power and live for the one who has appointed me to be a co-ruler with Christ, delivering the good news of freedom from death and sin and the power of life in Jesus Christ. I pray I will not be like Saul and hide in the baggage area, afraid of my anointing, and I pray I will never see myself as anything more than a servant of the King of Kings and forget where the power comes from and for whose glory it is to be used. I pray that each day I live like Jesus lived. Impacted by the power of the word and the power of the Spirit of the Lord!
So a little thing called "laziness" set in the past two days and I failed to journal my thoughts. What is sad is that there is so much in the passages I read that had impact on Jesus. So forgive me as I try to do a three in one day and condense it.
1 Samuel 11:6 tells of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Saul in power. He went and rescued the Israelites at Jane's Gilead from the Ammonites. From there he was regarded as the ruler of the people and Samuel pronounces in 12:14-15 that as long as Saul and the Israelites obey the Lord, then all would go well. But if they failed to obey, they would be "swept away." (12:25)
Chapter 13 is the story of Saul attacking the Philistines, but before he wanted to make an offering to the Lord seeking Gods favor. Samuel set a time he would come, but Samuel was late showing up. So Saul took matters in his own hands and did the sacrifice himself, completely ignoring the law of God. When Samuel showed up, he was shocked at what Saul had done and he pronounced that God was going to take the kingdom away from Saul and "give it to a man whose heart is after God's own heart." 1(3:14) because Saul did not obey the commands of the Lord.
1 Samuel 15 tells us again of Saul disobeying God and doing things his own way. When sent to destroy the Amalekites completely, Saul kept the king alive as a trophy and the best of the livestock. Samuel shows up and is furious and tells Saul the kingdom was going to be torn from him. Saul, who started out humbly is now acting in selfish pride. He forgot that he had been lifted up by the power of the Spirit of the Lord and was now living in his own power and strength. Because he "rejected the word of the Lord, he was rejected as king."
All these stories would have again played a huge part in Jesus' life. The Old Testament is filled with stories to encourage Jesus in the way he should go, balanced with stories to warn him of what would happen if he rejected the word of the Lord and did things his own way. As Jesus grew into the knowledge of who he was and what he had come to do, be a man after Gods own heart and lead His people, he realized the importance of relying on, depending on, and following the ways of the Lord. He realized any power he was given was from the Lord and was to used for His glory.
Then in 1 Samuel 16, he learned that God was not seeking the best looking, the smartest, or the one everyone else would choose! What God was interested in was a man's heart. 16:7
Jesus made a choice to set his heart on following all the commands of God, then being anointed as our Savior, like David, he entered the enemies camp (last part of chapter 16) and from there obeyed the Lord and has set his people free!
Something tells me that Jesus loved the story of David and Goliath as much as any other boy growing up. Here, this enormous, seemingly unbeatable enemy has stepped forward and challenged God's people. He boast and laughs at them, wondering where their "mighty God" might be hiding.
Jesus probably sit on the edge of his seat every time he heard about David being sent by his father to check on his three oldest brothers. Jesus probably wondered what is was like for David to see fighting men all ready for war. I imagine Jesus was a little confused, like David was, that no one had gone out to fight the man named Goliath. David heard rumors of what would be done for any man who could defeat the behemoth.
I can see Jesus understanding how David must of felt as his brothers scoffed at him. "Who did you leave those FEW sheep with little boy? You are just a thrill seeker here to see battle! Go home you little punk!"
I can also see Jesus soaking in Davids resolve to ignore the detractors, even those in his family. David knew His God and what God was capable of doing. He had seen God deliver a lion and bear into his hands with the sheep, and this "giant" was no different than those wild animals to David. David did not see a invincible man, he saw a big target His Father would help him beat.
I believe Jesus listened with great focus as the giant swore to feed a boy to the wild beast and birds, but the "boy" responded by saying "No, I am going to feed you and your whole army to them!" David was confident, not in his own strength, he was confident God would not allow any man, great or small to defy Him, and David was willing to be the "arm of the Lord" that day.
I believe Jesus cheered with glee as Goliath slammed face first into the ground and David chopped off his head. The victory was won in that moment, but the battle continued as the Philistines were driven away.
Jesus, faced with an unbeatable foe, Sin and Death, chose not to look at the size of his enemy, but rather, he remembered this story from the book of Samuel, and instead of running in fear, Jesus remembered all His Father had done, he believed all His Father promised he would do, and Jesus went on the battle field, not dressed in the Armor or any man, but rather he went into the battle armed with the Rock of His Salvation, the Love of His Father! Jesus confidently offered himself to win the battle, not for the riches and glory of men, but for the glory of the name of God! Because he faced Sim and Death and David did Goliath, Jesus now holds high the keys to death and Hades as David held high the head of a giant.
Today, may we rejoice in the victory, but may we also join Jesus in finishing what He has begun by telling all we know, great and small, that Jesus has won, the victory is secure, and Jesus reigns as our King of Kings and Lord of Lords!