New Adventure

1 Samuel 12:16-25

16“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! 17Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.”

18Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel. 19The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

20“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”

Grilled Egg?

One tough reality in life is to venture in uncommon enterprise or adventure.

Can you remember how it feels when you enrolled in school for the first time in your life? Or, Can you remember the first time you cooked food for yourself?

Somewhere in the countryside, a hungry child asked for food. His mother was busy and told him to find food for himself. The child took one egg from the chicken nest and grilled it directly over the fire. A sound of not so loud explosion prompted his mother to rush to the kitchen and found her child in shocked.

Adventurous people have ridiculous experiences when they venture in things not familiar to them. Not wanting to commit hilarious mistakes prevents many Christians to explore ministries they have not been exposed before.

It says in Psalm 91:2-6, 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

To have the Lord as refuge, we’ll be secured from unpredictable things that may cause no productivity or not very successful endeavor. So, when we venture outside our comfort zone, the more we may realize the love and grace of God.

1. Realize

16“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! 17Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.” 18Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel. 19The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

Accordingly, Israel has two seasons:  winter (late October to mid-March), which is cool to cold and when rain pours down, and summer (April–October), which is warm to hot and virtually rain-free.

Planting barley and wheat start in October until December when rain drops consistently. Barley harvest begins in mid-March to May. Wheat harvest begins in mid-May to July when season is dry. Ancient and modern Israel has the same agricultural schedules of planting and harvesting.

When Samuel called on the Lord to send thunder and rain, the Israelites cannot deny that God answered the prayer of Samuel. The Israelites had done evil thing in the eyes of the Lord when they asked for a king.

Samuel prayed that God would send thunder and rain to make it very clear to the Israelites that he was telling the truth when he rebuked them that asking for a king was evil in the eyes of the Lord. They just cannot wait for God’s timing.

Truly, the Lord had planned long ago that Israel will eventually have a king.

Jacob prophesied about Judah in Genesis 49:10, 10The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.

A scepter is a decorated stick or wand which symbolizes or an emblem of supreme power and authority of a king. Can you accept that Jacob prophesied that the Israelites will have kings from the tribe of Judah? Yet, why did the Lord consider it evil thing when the Israelites asked for a king? It was not for them to decide when to have a king. It’s the Lord’s decision and timing to give them king.

God’s Time

It says in John 7:3-6, 3Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 6Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do.

The Lord, who inspired Jacob to prophesy that Israel will have kings from Judah, is the same Lord who answered the prayer of Samuel to bring thunder and rain in summer as a practical sign that the Israelites had done evil thing when they ask for a king, is the same Lord who was born as human Jesus Christ. When His brothers told Him to go to Judea, Jesus said that it was not His time yet. He added that anytime will do for them. And, the narrative reveals that the brothers of Jesus did not believe Him at that time. What does that imply?

The Lord has His right timing for everything He does. He has right time for His decisions or actions to be done. So, to order the Lord what He planned to do ahead of His designated time, it is a display or proof of unbelief. Unbelief is sin.

It says in Hebrews 3:18-19, 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Unbelief caused the Israelites to ask for a king. They were scared when God sent thunder and rain. Prophet Samuel reminded them to serve God only.

2. Remind

20“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.

Prophet Samuel reminded the Israelites that the Lord had chosen them to be His people. He told them to serve the Lord.  Actually, many believers find it hard to believe that serving God is best lifestyle for Christians. Why? It implies oppression. Why? To serve God with faithfulness is to ignore our own inclination.

 23As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”

The requirement of service for the Lord is faithfulness with all our heart. It’s no secret that many believers have decided to serve the Lord partially. Remember: Service to the Lord is not relegated to church ministries. Instead, when working in a secular setting, it can be considered as service for the Lord.

It says in Colossians 3:23-24, 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Church Ministry

There was a pastor who suggested to church leaders to find opportunities to start Bible Study in their offices. As managers of a company, their influence is undeniable. But, instead of praying about it, the church leaders said that they’ve got no time for Bible Studies because they are not fulltime in the ministry.

Such is a common misunderstanding that busy Christians are exempted from ministries outside the church setting. There are no part-time Christians. We know that! So, inside or outside church setting, involvement in the ministries of God is not assigned to few believers but for all believers, employed or not.

It says in Ephesians 4:11-13, 11Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Our goal as a church is to reach unity in our faith and in the knowledge of Christ and mature to the fullness of Christ. Ministry involvement helps to reach that goal, and to grow mature to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Pray that the Lord will guide you to ministry opportunities He prepared for you specifically and personally experience the empowerment of His Holy Spirit.

It says in Romans 14:23, Everything that does not come from faith is sin.

So by faith, we serve the Lord and not rely upon our human effort but by the empowerment of Christ’s Spirit. Always seek the empowerment of the Lord!

May this New Year be more productive spiritually for everyone!

><((‘> … ><(((‘> tmec\2020 <‘)))>< … <‘))><

 

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