Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
You know how the game show Family Feud works, right?
They go out, and ask 100 people various survey questions, and then your FAMILY has to guess what the most popular answers were.
Well, back in 2012, they asked 100 people the following question:
“When someone mentions “the King,” to whom might he or she be referring?”
Do you want to know what the answers were?
81 people said “Elvis Presley”
7 people said “God”
3 people said, “Martin Luther King, Jr.”
2 people said, “The guy on the Burger King commercials”
This morning, we are diving back into our Monarchy Series on the Book of 1 Samuel in the Bible.
And we’ve called this series “Monarchy” because Monarchy means there’s just 1 ruler. 1 King.
And it’s God.
And this is perhaps THE great theme of 1 Samuel: That there is 1 King.
And it’s not the creepy moving statue guy from Burger King.
We did a number of messages on 1 Samuel back in February and March
If you’re new to Renovation since then, here’s what you missed in the first 7 chapters.
1 Samuel takes place a little over 1,000 years before Jesus.
So, 3,000 years ago believe it or not!
At the beginning of the book, God’s people, the Israelites, have mostly forgotten about God.
So God sends them a great leader, named, you guessed it, Samuel.
We studied a few chapters about Samuel in his boyhood, and also some of the decisions he made as the leader of God’s people
Now, as we rejoin the book in Chapter 8, we’re going to see that Samuel’s gotten old.
He’s at that age where he’s thinking, “A Beach House in Florida would be nice right now”
I could play some Shuffleboard, some bingo, and put up my sandals and relax for a bit!
So his plan is to put his sons in charge.
Except, we’re going to see in a moment here that that doesn’t really work.
And Samuel is still going to continue to play a prominent role for quite some time still in “1 Samuel”
(1 Samuel 8:1-22) – NIV
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” 6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” 10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”
So what’s going on here?
Israel thinks that they have a problem.
They’ve had great leadership for a long time.
Samuel listened to God…he was a prophet…and God guided the people.
But now, things haven fallen apart quickly with Samuel’s sons in leadership, and Israel thinks, “Hey! What we really need is a KING!”
“A KING to lead us! And go out before us and fight our battles!”
And did you catch their reasoning on why they needed a king?
They say in verses 19 & 20, “We want a king. Then we will be like all the other nations!”
It’s crazy when you think about it. Absolutely crazy.
This is 1,000 years before Jesus, so this is long before Christianity has spread across the globe and millions of people from all nations can call God their King.
The people of Israel were God’s chosen people at this time.
They were the most special nation on earth. God’s people.
Because they were the ONE nation where God was their KING.
The one true God was leading THEIR nation!!
And what did they want?
To be like every one else.
To be like “all the other nations”
They had GOD Himself leading them, guiding them, speaking to them, FIGHTING for them…
But they just want to be like everyone else.
The older I get, the more I think we rarely mature past our childhood problems.
We just find ways to cover them up.
Adults still break all the rules from Kindergarten:
They can’t keep their hands and feet to themselves and they still call each other names.
I mean, at first glance, today’s topic seems a bit like a problem for children and students, doesn’t it?
“But everyone else is doing it”
It sounds like a great message for the junior high girl who just wants to be like the popular girl rather than being satisfied in the amazing way that God uniquely made her.
Or maybe for every 12 year old who’s main reason for why they need a cell phone is: “Because Michael and Emma have one!”
Or maybe it sounds like I should just go back to our nursery (which seems to double weekly), and preach this message
I find this hilarious about toddlers.
I guarantee you that right now there is a toy in that room that no toddler is currently playing with.
But in just a few minutes, one kid is going to pick up that toy, and all of a sudden, 3 other kids are going to be crying because THEY want to play with toy camera that sings a creepy version of the ABC’s!
And like I said, I don’t think this is a problem that we grow out of very easily.
Two weeks ago, I went to visit one of my college roommates in Madison, and while we were chatting about growing up, his wife said, “I think the 90’s was the last great decade”
And we started talking about how much the world has changed since 1995.
In 1995, I was 13 years old…and I had no idea what the internet was (nobody really had it), and I didn’t know a single person with a cell phone.
Think about that. 13. No internet. No cell phone. And I was fine J
And now, 20 years later, if people go 20 minutes with out their smart phones, they start getting the shakes.
But it’s not just teenagers getting the shakes.
It’s people, like me, in their 30’s…or in their 40,’s, 50’s.
People who used to be perfectly fine without a cell phone.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find this fascinating.
Maybe it’s our human nature, or maybe the marketing gurus have pulled one over our eyes.
Think about it: How is it that something like 20 million people now have an Apple Watch?
5 years ago, were the same 20 million people thinking, “What I really NEED is to check my emails on my WATCH!”
Reaching into my pocket first to watch to YouTube videos is simply too much work.
This is how much of the fashion industry makes its money too
This is fascinating stuff.
You ever look back at old pictures of you and your friends in high school, and think, “How did anyone possibly think it was attractive to dress like that?”
But there was a time when bellbottoms were hot.
When jean jackets were all the rage.
When Jinco Jeans reigned.
And the crazy thing is…to our eyes, at the time, they actually did look good.
And then the fashion industry told you, “No, that doesn’t look good anymore”
Cuz they gotta make money and do something different.
Crazier yet, 15 years from now, you’ll look back at what you’re wearing right now (which looks perfectly fine), and go, “What was I thinking?!”
As humans, its like we can’t stop ourselves from just wanting what everyone else wants at the time
Even if it’s not logical.
Even if 2 years ago, you felt absolutely no need to have that product or dress a certain way, if everyone else around you is now doing it, guess what?!
You want to too!
And in the last 10 years, social media has driven this sinful impulse in us to be even more pronounced.
Because now, social media has made you even more aware of how everyone else lives.
It used to be the only people you ever kept updated on were your neighbors, family, co-workers, and maybe some folks at church.
Now, you can’t escape what your old high school friends are doing, your old drinking buddies (before you knew Jesus), and 500 other people you sorta know
And the demand to “be like everyone else” is even louder
But why do we need to be like anyone else?
How is that actually going to help us?
If the world is so fickle that flannel is in one day, and out the next…and then in again…then why am I chasing after the world?
This was Israel’s problem.
Who cares that everyone else around you has a King!
God said you don’t need one…so nothing else really matters.
What does the rest of the world know anyway?
And yet, how often do we fall into this trap?
We think we know better than God
What’s interesting about this particular chapter is that Samuel goes into this lengthy warning speech about how getting a King is going to wreak havoc on their lives…
And yet, Israel says, “Thank you, but no thank you, we would like a King!”
And as Christians, this happens to us every day.
You’re about to sin…you KNOW God doesn’t want you to.
God, or the Bible, has told you that this isn’t going to end well.
Maybe you’ve seen the warning signs (like Samuel gave them)…maybe you even felt it in your spirit first…
But, like the Israelites, you don’t truly trust God, and you just do it anyway.
And in this particular case…you’re doing it…WHY…because, well, it’s what everyone else is doing.
One of the best things you can do here is just call yourself out on this.
When you say it out loud, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
Just say it out loud.
You don’t have to do it right now, but when you’re in your car this week or at home by yourself, just say, “I’m disobeying God because I wanted to do what everyone else is doing. That’s crazy”
I want everyone to call themselves crazy…out loud…sometime this week J
This sort of thinking just pervades our lives as Christians.
It influences our spending
We don’t want to trust God that we should give 10% back to him (even though He gave us 100% of it)…
Well, because, that’s not how EVERYONE ELSE is living.
Everyone else is buying boats, going on vacations, buying a new Playstation, buying the latest clothes, buying a new car, and “I WANT TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!”
Just stop and say to yourself, “That’s crazy talk.” J
This sort of “group think” doesn’t just wreak havoc on our spending and consumerism…
We want to be like everyone else morally, too
We think, “everyone else” is sleeping around, looking at pornography, gossiping at work, getting divorced, you name it…
“They don’t seem to think it’s a big deal, so why should I?”
But when you live by “let’s just be like ALL THE OTHER NATIONS” type of thinking, it never works.
Because what do they even know?
Their current knowledge is just a blowing of the wind.
In just a matter of time, it’ll be blowing an entirely different direction.
But that’s not how the wisdom of God works.
He’s the King. The real King. The wise King.
He’s the UNCHANGING king.
His wisdom, His ways for you…they never change.
He never changes.
Because He doesn’t need to.
His ways were true 3,000 years ago, and they still are today.
GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
And yet, if we decide to go forward thinking that it makes more sense to follow what “everyone else” is doing instead of God…God often does something really interesting
Often, He lets us go forward anyway
And that’s what happens in this story.
God lets them have what they want…a King.
And it’s not going to go well for them.
I remember taking a class on the OT, and my professor gave us a chart of the list of all the Kings that will come from this moment onward.
Then next to their name was the verdict for how they did.
The Bible often ends a person’s reign with saying something like, “And this king did evil in the eyes of the Lord”
And the chart just read like, “Evil, evil evil evil, good, evil evil evil”
Kingship didn’t work out very well…just as God warned them!
So then why did God let them have it?
Sometimes letting us have what we want is only way for us to recognize the truth.
It’s the hard way around…but it often works.
We do a similar thing as parents sometimes.
For instance, let’s say that your kid is throwing a fit because they want to try something that you know is WAY to hard for them to do yet
And you’ve tried telling them that if they try it, it’s not going to go well for them.
They’re going to be frustrated, mad, and shed a lot of tears.
But sometimes, they’re so stubborn, that you know the only way to get your point across, is to just let them try it and find out for themselves.
We know that they’ll never going to see truth any other way besides experiencing the failure of their own way
And God does the same thing.
He’s thinking, “They are never going to take my word on this, so fine, you want a king, let me know how that works for you…
This goes back to the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for
Some have said that the “real difficulties of life begin when you actually get what you want.
It’s one of the reasons that the safest prayer is just “Your will be done”
Not…this is what everyone else wants, so I want it too
Not even…this is what I want!
Just…your will be done…
Not that you never pray for what you want, but you can see that our ideas of what is best for us are certainly quite limited.
DISCIPLESHIP IS TRUSTING THE MONARCH
Recognizing that God is the all-wise King is a major part of growing spiritually over time.
If your aim is to become more like Jesus…if your aim is to become more Godly…to see more of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life (his joy, love, peace)…and I hope all of those things are true for you…
Then one of the most foundational things you can do…is simply recognize that God is King.
He’s the Monarch. One King.
God and society are not coregents.
Just one King.
It’s a Monarchy.
Culture is not equal to God.
When you can trust in His ways…even when the world thinks you’re crazy, you’re going to grow.
You’re going to grow to become more like Him
Don’t be like everyone else.
Remember, Israel had the most special thing in the world.
The God of heaven was leading them, and they settled for being like everyone else.
Don’t settle when you already have the best.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7, that when you trust in His words (even if EVERY other nation has a king…even if every other person isn’t living like you’re living)
When you trust in His words, it’s like building your house on the rock.
But when you don’t trust Him, and you trust the world around you, it’s like building your house on the ever-changing, ever-shifting, sand.
So if God is calling you to something right now, and obeying it is going to make you look “funny” to everyone else…push aside your fear and trust Him.
Build your house on the rock. Not the shifting sand.
If God is calling you back to obedience…to trusting Him…to trusting the Words of the Bible…even if no one around you currently is…Trust Him.
Build your house on the rock.
God is never wrong. Ever
The world is wrong…all the time.
God is never wrong.
His ways are often challenging.
That’s why Jesus calls it the narrow road, not the wide road.
But He’s not wrong.
So trust Him…
Don’t be like the Israelites and get to the point where God allows you to experience the pain of your poor choices because you were too stubborn to heed his advice.
He’s good and He’s true.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.
JUNE 7, 2015