This Sunday we will examine 1 Samuel 11 and see Saul begin to act as the King of Israel. The cry for a king began in chapt 8 with the people's desire to be like all the other nations. We were introduced to Saul in chapt 9 where he was identified as the tallest and most handsome man in all of Israel ... "Mr. Israel" if there ever was one. Samuel privately anoints him as king and he's publicly identified as king by casting lots in chapt 10. Some were excited about this while others despised Saul.
It's interesting to catch a glimpse of Saul's background and get a feel for him as a person. One thing for sure, he probably felt pretty comfortable around animals: his dad sends him looking for lost donkeys (9:3) and he's responsible for tending the oxen (11:5). He seems to be very considerate of his father in that he knew his dad would concerned about his whereabouts if he were gone too long (9:5). He knew to be courteous and likely had good manners (9:7). He expressed humility in the presence of Samuel (9:21). He certainly wasn't seeking the limelight or self-glory at this point (10:21-22). He exercised self-restraint and patience (10:27). All of these are wonderful and admirable qualities that all of us should desire. But it took something rather tragic to propel Saul into active duty as king. This is what we come to in chapt 11 ... the capture of Jabesh-gilead and the threats against Israel from Nahash the Ammonite. (It might be helpful to read the last three chapters of Judges to see the connection between the cities of Gibeah, Saul's city, and Jabesh-gilead; but note that it's unpleasant reading.)
None of us like to discuss or even think about such matters, but what does it take to press us into "active duty" as a follower of Jesus Christ? Sometimes it may be hearing a great sermon, sometimes it may be an exhortation from a fellow believer, sometimes it may just be an encouraging message from a friend ... but often times it's the introduction of hardship, tragedy, threats, difficulties, pain, suffering, etc. in our own lives or in the lives of those we love. This is not a comforting prospect but it's too often a reality.
We must all examine our status and determine whether or not we desire to just hang out with the animals in the field or engage in the active warfare of the kingdom of God. In His time and in His own way, God will activate us. My prayer for Community Church and myself is that He would strongly move my heart to action without needing to resort to introducing too much hardship.
Of course the reality is that CPC will be facing some difficult days ahead in the areas of youth ministry, children's ministry, and music. With the absence of Paige and Stokes we will struggle in certain areas ... this may very well be a defining moment in the history of CPC. Perhaps this is the time we will see God stir up the army of His people at Community Presbyterian to be more active in the battle against the enemy and the advancement of His Kingdom. Consider what God would have you do!