Tag Archives: serving God

I Samuel 28-31; Dividing the Spoils

David and 600 of his men went and attacked the Amalekites who had raided their homes, and taken their families and property. 200 weary soldiers stayed back and guarded the supplies, even though their own families had been captured as well.

David successfully defeated the enemy and rescued the women, children, livestock, and even took plunder from the Amalekites. The 200 men who didn’t fight in the battle were reunited with their families, along with the 600 who did fight.

Now, the 600 men who had gone to war thought they should be able to divide the spoils among themselves. After all, they’d put their lives on the line, they did the dirty work. It seemed right that they should be rewarded more than the men who’d stayed behind.

David didn’t agree. In essence he said, “God gave us all the victory. He’s the one who protected us and handed over our enemies to us. Everyone will share the blessings equally.”

You might be a pastor who puts himself out there every week after hours of study and prayer. Or you might be a song leader, a musician, an elder whose face everyone recognizes.

Or not.

Maybe you’ve never taught Sunday School, or sung in the choir. Maybe you’ve never actually prayed the sinners prayer with anyone, or gone on a missions trip.

Should God give a bit more blessing to one group than another?

If your ministry is public and demanding, do you think you deserve a bit more blessing than those who sit in the pews every Sunday and seemingly ride your coattails? Beware of that attitude.

God would have us know that it isn’t about the ministry. It’s about obedience. Some are called to be obedient to preach and teach, while others are called to encourage others and show hospitality. Some people’s gifts are more easily seen, but they certainly are not more important than the ones whose gifts are used behind the scenes.

I don’t know what spiritual gifts you have. I don’t know what talents you possess. But I know God is calling you to do something to further His kingdom, to fight or support the fight against the enemy.

Let’s remember we are all a part of the same army. As Christians, we are equally blessed because we have all received Jesus the exact same way. Jesus didn’t die more painfully for some than He did for others. He died once and for all.

And He wants to lavish all of His children with blessings beyond what we ask or think.

Be faithful to use what you have been given, and don’t compare yourself with anyone else. If you have confessed your sins, you deserve what Jesus died to give you.

Himself.

 

 

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I Samuel 17; The Battle Is The Lord’s

You know the story. Little shepherd boy takes on the giant and wins. A boy armed only with a sling shot kills a warrior covered in armor and carrying an enormous sword. On paper, David had no chance. But we don’t live on paper.

It wasn’t that Goliath had been disrespecting the armies of Israel. David was upset that Goliath was dishonoring God. This wasn’t merely a confrontation between two warring nations. This was a spiritual battle at the core.

Saul wanted David to put on his armor and carry his sword to face Goliath. David just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t him. It didn’t feel right.

I was reading what J. Vernon McGee had to say about this in his “Thru The Bible Series Commentary” on First and Second Samuel. He suggests that sometimes we try to be something we’re not while serving God.

“Let’s not try to be something we are not, or try to do something we are really not called to do. If God has called you to use a sling shot, don’t try to use a sword.” (p. 98)

Oh sure, many of us would love to be that soloist whose voice is like an angel, or that teacher who has the ability to make God’s Word come alive, or that seamstress, that carpenter, that baker, that encourager, that hostess who shares God’s love through their abilities. And sometimes we decide we ARE that singer or that teacher, and often that can lead to failure.

David, empowered by God didn’t have to look like a soldier, or even use weapons that made sense to everyone else. I love what David told Goliath right before he threw that stone that killed the giant:

You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.  (17:45-47)

Do you want to see victories as you serve your Savior? Then be the person God created you to be. Hear Him call you into service designed especially for you. And remember, it’s not about you. It’s about the God you serve.

The battle IS the Lord’s!

I Samuel 13-14; Follow The Leader

If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?

Ever hear that one before? Maybe you’ve even said it to a young person you are concerned is following the wrong crowd. We all want our children to be leaders. But is there a time to teach them to follow?

My church had VBS this week. What a great time we had talking to kids about how much the Creator of the universe loves them, and how far that love goes to save them. We were Galactic Starveyors!

On our last night, when we were having our last practice before the closing program for parents, we had a visitor. An 11 year old boy came with his grandma, who was one of our teachers. I was in charge of music, and encouraged the youngster to practice the songs with us. I tried to assure him I’d help him learn the motions as quickly as possible.

“Just follow me,” I said.

Without skipping a beat the boy replied, “I’m not a follower. I’m a leader.”

I get that. He’s a good looking boy, a good student, a gifted athlete, and an all around nice guy. I hope he’s a leader in his school. I think his classmates would do well to follow his example.

But is there a time when even the best leaders should learn to be followers, too? I will tell you he got up there with the rest of the kids and did a crash course in song motions. Not an easy thing to do in front of peers who already knew what they were doing.

The Israelites and the Philistines were preparing to go to war. Not only was the Israeli army outnumbered by about a gazillion to one, on the day of the battle “not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or a spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” (13:22)

Can you spell “defeat?”

So Jonathan told his armor bearer to follow him and together they’d sneak into the Philistine post. His armor bearer replied, “Do all that you have in mind… I am with you heart and soul.” (14:7)

If your friend jumped into the Philistine camp, would you jump, too?

How do you know when to lead, and when to follow someone else’s lead? In this case Jonathan asked for God’s direction, then followed the Lord into battle – just he and his armor bearer – and defeated all the men at the enemy outpost.

Who do you follow, and why? Maybe you’re a Type A person who feels you’re the only one who can do any job, so therefore people should follow you.

There are so many theologies preached by so many different preachers, so many programs touted by so many “experts,” so many opinions voiced by so many people. Who do you follow?

My prayer is that you will weigh everything and everyone according to Scripture plus nothing. Only that which is grounded in the Word of God is worth following.

Jonathon waited for God. We need to, too. Whether it’s a building campaign, a missions trip, a city project, a Sunday School curriculum, our leader should first and foremost be God.

If God is laying some position of leadership on your heart, go to Him. Test Him. Then obey Him.

And if God is raising up another to lead you, go to God. This might just be a case where God is calling you to follow with your “heart and soul.”

I Samuel 7-10; Changed and Busy

Often when I read Scripture, God impresses on me the importance of servanthood. We, as God’s people, are not just encouraged to be involved in the work of the church. We see example after example of people who hear God say, “Go,” and they go. People who hear God say, “Do,” and they do.

Saul had been anointed by God and Samuel to be Israel’s first human king. God changed Saul that day, and he prophesied, joining in the celebration to a point where people recognized the difference God had made in Saul.

Then Samuel told Saul, “…do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” (10:7b)

Have you allowed God to change you? Have you repented of sin, accepted Jesus as your Savior, and gone from sinner to saint by His precious blood? If you have, God will nudge you toward service. He’ll place in your heart a friend who needs to hear the Gospel. He’ll give you a desire to volunteer at church, to befriend a needy person, to make a phone call to reconnect with someone who has gone astray.

What a privilege we have to serve the One who loves us and gave Himself for us. What an honor to be God’s servant, to be His arms, legs, and voice to people who need Him.

When God plants a seed of service in your mind, don’t ignore it or talk yourself out of it. Don’t just think about getting involved. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it! Because God is with you.

Be blessed, and be a blessing to someone today. In Jesus’ name, and for His sake. Good things will happen when you and God get out there and get to work.

Samuel 1-3; Knowing God

Samuel grew up in the church. No, really. He actually lived and grew up right there in the temple. His parents dropped him off there when he was a toddler. 3:1 tells us he “ministered before the Lord under Eli.” The apprentice priest. Samuel’s whole life was spent serving God.

I was struck today that, even after years of doing the right things, Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice when He called. 3:7 tells us why:

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

It reminds me of Matthew 7. Some people in this example were trying to talk God out of sending them to hell, arguing that they had prophesied in the name of the Lord, and had even cast out demons and performed other miracles in God’s name. Shouldn’t that earn them a ticket to heaven?

Jesus tells us that on that day when judgment is declared, God will say to those busy people, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

I hope you are an active, productive member of a Bible believing church. I hope you visit the sick, volunteer in the nursery, mow the lawn, and serve on all kinds of committees that help your fellowship make a difference in your community, to the glory of God.

But let me ask you if you recognize God’s voice. Do you know Him? Have you had that personal, one-on-one conversation with Him, and told Him your heart’s condition? Have you repented of sin, accepted His grace – the work of Jesus on the cross? Are you nurturing a relationship by reading what He wrote to you, by talking to Him, by listening for His voice very day?

Doing things for the Lord is great. But if you’re doing those things without knowing Him, without Him knowing you as His child, hear Him say that He sees you as an evildoer.

Samuel finally recognized God’s voice and said, “Speak Lord. I’m listening.”

I pray you’ll say the same.

Numbers 31-33; A Godly Response to Serving God

The Midianites, children of Abraham through Keturah, had turned from God and were worshiping idols. God told Moses to take some men, and go and wipe out those disobedient people. So Moses sent 12,000 soldiers to war.

The Israelites were successful. 31:7 tells us they “killed all the males” just like God had told them to. They brought home the spoils of war: women, livestock, gold and jewels. Then they divided up everything among themselves and the entire population of Israel, and gave a percentage to the Levites. Well, except for the gold and jewels. They were allowed to keep those things for themselves.

God had blessed them for their obedience.

Here’s the lesson I gleaned from these verses today, beginning in verse 48: When the commanders had a chance to count their troops, they realized there’d been no casualties. 12,000 men went to war, and 12,000 men came home. They immediately went to Moses.

Now, they didn’t go to Moses to demand recognition, or an “attaboy” for doing great work out there on the battlefield. First of all, they came humbly, calling themselves “servants” not warriors or victors or nice guys. They didn’t go to Moses to report their accomplishments, or to point out their sacrifices in the line of duty.

They came to Moses to lay their gold and jewels at the feet of their God. Scripture says they wanted to make “atonement for their souls.” God had spared their lives. They wanted Him to save their souls.

So many Jesus followers are busy doing great things in our churches and in our neighborhoods. Many spend hours preparing lessons, giving up vacations for mission work, visiting the sick, giving generously of our resources. We are on the battlefield every day, fighting this battle against the devil, and winning.

My question is, what is our attitude about all that? Are we working toward some pat on the back, some applause or recognition? Are we trying to convince God that He’s got a gem in us? Are we waiting for that blessing we’re sure we deserve?

God has given us life. God has taken our sins to the cross. God has forgiven us at a very high price. Our response can only be humility, and praise to the only One who deserves praise.

Our response to God when we are obedient, when we serve Him, should be like that of these Israeli soldiers. It’s a privilege to serve Him, and He deserves all that we are or have. And the bottom line isn’t what we do, as much as who we are in Him.

 

Exodus 4-6 Deal With It

Even though Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house, he knew he was a Jew. He’d heard that Jewish boys were commanded by God to be circumcised. But when he grew up and married a non-Jew, he didn’t circumcise his son.

So now God is calling Moses into service. In fact, God has conversations with Moses like two friends over coffee. So why, when Moses is heading to speak to Pharaoh like God told him to do, did God attack him on the road and would have killed him?

God demands obedience, and He blesses us so much when we obey. But obedience does not cancel out a sin. Being obedient doesn’t balance the scale. Yes, Moses was being obedient. But God wasn’t about to let that sin slide. And in order to be the leader God wanted Moses to be, it required dealing with the sin issue.

It’s no different with you and me. Yes, God wants us to do what He says, but first we need to deal with our own sin, confess, repent, accept Jesus’ righteousness through His precious blood. Never think that God overlooks your sin because you teach a Sunday School class. Every sin comes with a death sentence.

Deal with it.