Wednesday, July 29, 2020

2020.07.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 14:47–52

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Saul established (1 Samuel 14:47)? Over whom? Against which six nations and their kings did he fight (1 Samuel 14:47-48)? What is all this fighting said to have accomplished at the end of verse 48? How many sons and daughters of Saul are mentioned here (1 Samuel 14:49)? What were their names? How many wives are mentioned here (1 Samuel 14:50, cf. 1 Samuel 21:8)? What was her name? What other official is named in verse 50? What was his relation to Saul? What does this make their fathers’ relation to one another (possibly through Saul’s mother)? Who was Saul’s father (1 Samuel 14:51)? Who was Ner’s father? What did Saul have with whom, during all of his days as king (1 Samuel 14:52)? How many of whom did Saul take for himself?
This passage has the flavor of a news report or an encyclopedia entry. From the standpoint of what men generally think kings are for (cf. 1 Samuel 8:19–20), Saul did pretty good. He successfully defended Israel on all sides (1 Samuel 14:47-48), and maintained an elite standing army, under a trusted command (1 Samuel 14:50-51) to counter the continuous Philistine threat (1 Samuel 14:52).

It’s a surprisingly positive summary statement. But that’s part of the point, isn’t it? Sure, some of the point is that God was willing to deliver the people through the king, despite their treachery in asking for one (cf. 1 Samuel 8:71 Samuel 10:191 Samuel 12:12)—what grace! But surely having a positive note sandwiched between chapters 13–14 and 15–16 heightens the contrast.

God isn’t looking for success but submission, not conquest but compliance—for disciples after His own heart (cf. 1 Samuel 13:141 Samuel 14:7; Acts 13:22).

When we judge by outward appearance, we might be impressed with the ungodly. Cain’s line (cf. Genesis 4:20–22) and the wicked in the days of Noah (cf. Genesis 6:4) were men of renown. But to Scripture, to the believer, to God… the final assessment is that they were wicked and cursed. Surely that is our overall impression of Saul and his kingship. And the positivity of this passage just highlights it by contrast.

What are we running after with our lives? What do we put our heart, and plans, and time and money into? If it’s just the kind of stuff that goes into a man’s-perspective summary of our lives, we have wasted our earthly life and should question whether we have any eternal life at all.

Praise God that the ultimate King that He has provided is our righteousness before Him! And, let us by His Spirit and Word, seek to have our hearts conformed to His, that we too may be people after God’s own heart.
What pursuits in your life threaten to compete for attention with the pursuit of godliness in your life?
Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH446 “Be Thou My Vision”

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