Serve the Lord

1 Samuel 7:1-6

1So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. 2The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all. Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. 3So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”

4So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only. 5Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader of Israel at Mizpah.

Sports Discrimination

After a Canadian player won a Tennis tournament for the first time in 50 years, observers have commented on prizes given to women which are lesser than prizes given to men who are champions in the same sport. One commenter suggested that to avoid discrimination, ask men and women to play in the same sport, and the winner whether man or woman will get the prize.

Still someone added that Kenyan runners should not be allowed to join in a long distance marathon because they always dominate. Win or lose, there will always be people who are not satisfied with the result.

Speaking of marathon, most if not all long distance runners are skinny as compared to short distance runners, say, 100 meter dash, why? Short distance runners have sculptured muscles similar to body builders. In contrast, long distance runners (e.g. 20k) have lean muscles as if they were deprived of food.

Such reality has similarity to ministry involvement. Many believers get involved in ministries but only a few could endure longer ministry involvement.

Why? Apostle Paul testified in Philippians 3:14, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

While serving the Lord on short-term basis may not be forgotten, it should be our lifestyle to serve the Lord with rejoicing whenever we’ve got a chance.

When the Ark of God came to their place, the people of Beth Shemesh had rejoiced but not for long. Their rejoicing was cut short when the Lord killed those who looked into the Ark. They were so scared, and they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath Jearim to take the Ark of God and bring it to their town.

Abinadab’s son Eleazar was consecrated to guard the Ark of the Lord.

1. Consecrate

1So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord. They brought it to Abinadab’s house on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of the Lord. 2The ark remained at Kiriath Jearim a long time—twenty years in all. Then all the people of Israel turned back to the Lord. 3So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”

Of all residents in Kiriath Jearim, why did they bring the Ark of God to the house of Abinadab? Was it because his house was on the hill, a very strategic place to secure the Ark of God? Probably, because they consecrated Eleazar to guard it! It implies that the presence of guard may restrain intruders, right?

Interestingly, the name ‘Abinadab’ can be translated as “noble father.”

Abinadab is properly interpreted as “father of generosity or father of willingness.”

Despite of the tragedy in Beth Shemesh, he was willing for the Ark of God to be kept in his house for 20 years. That should define Abinadab’s noble generosity. Did Eleazar his son do nothing for 20 years but to guard the Ark of God? It was not recorded if there was compensation for such noble and voluntary service.

Service to the Lord is not limited to church ministries. Church ministries should serve as training ground for lifetime ministries. While full-time ministry is commonly understood and referred to the office of the pastor, everything we do as believers should be full-time ministries since there is no part-time Christian.

It says in Ephesians 6:7-8, 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

God expects full-time believers to serve Him full-time, may it be as parents, students, or retirees. Service that God expects from us does not originate from human effort. We serve God when His Spirit prevails in our hearts. When we let Christ reign as Lord over our life, we’ve got joy and peace to serve Him.

It says in Deuteronomy 11:13-15, 13So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—14then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

This command was originally given to the Israelites but its principle about service to the Lord is applicable to us. The Lord who gave the command to Israel is the same Christ whom we accepted as Lord of our life. He expects faithfulness in our service to Him. Faithfulness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Faithfulness is consistency of service. Consistency is proven in a marathon or lifetime service.

Marathon

Long distance runners consistently practice. They gradually accelerate, increase distance, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, everyone may not be called into full-time ministry but as full-time believers, we must be consistent serving God. What is the reward in serving God? Deuteronomy 28:12-13 says, 12The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

Can you believe that this promise is applicable to us, in our generation?

Voluntary works are rewarded in this generation. God knows our needs. Should He not sustain our practical needs and not just spiritual needs?

Samuel challenged the Israelites to serve God and confess their sins.

2. Confess

4So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only. 5Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah, and I will intercede with the Lord for you.” 6When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Now Samuel was serving as leader of Israel at Mizpah.

Like Eleazar who was consecrated to guard the Ark of God, anyone who serves God must be consecrated, set apart for the Lord. Confession or to admit our sin is a necessary step for consecration for the service of God. Some are frustrated when they serve God. Their service to God is futile and useless.

Service that results in frustration didn’t originate from God. It originated from human effort, and does not expect anything from God. So, frustrating! Ey!?

Service that comes from Him results to faithfulness! Faithfulness is fruit of the Spirit, together with joy, and peace. To avoid frustration, we have to rely upon the Lord? Additionally, we believe that God rewards on the basis of our service.

The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 16:27, 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Apostle Paul said 2 Corinthians 8:11-12, 11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

 The context of what Paul said was giving. We also service God with our giving. This principle of giving is willingness to serve according to ability, spiritual gifts, available time or resources, such service is what the Lord accepts.

Retire

A master builder was about to retire in few months and his boss said, “Okay! Build this final project, then you may retire!” The master builder did his best as lasting legacy of his service. After the special project was completed, it was the most beautiful house in a subdivision. His boss was impressed.

When the master builder gave the keys of the house, his boss said, “Oh! Come on! Keep them! That house is yours. It’s a gift for your faithful service.

Faithful service will always be rewarded, one way or another!

The Lord is sufficient in all things. He doesn’t need anything from anybody. Faithful service to the Lord is not meant to benefit the Lord. He commanded us to serve Him faithfully for our own good and reward. We benefit when we serve the Lord with faithfulness because the presence of the Spirit of Christ in our life is more realized and confirmed, that He is real in our life to guarantee our eternal life, and that we live with Him in His heaven for eternity.

May God raise more faithful servants from our church, Amen!

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