Have you ever wondered why there is no book of the Bible named after David? I mean after all, he was a big player in Israel’s’ history. After the darkness of the period of the Judges, the last judge comes into authority and his name was Samuel. Lots of leaders, lots of crazy nonsense takes place and then in walks Samuel. We are given a clue that things are soon going to change because the last part of his name EL means God. The first part Samu means “heard”. God heard what was taking place.
The books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel are not divided in the Hebrew Old Testament. In our Bibles they are divided just to make the content easier. First Samuel covers the time between Samuel finishing as the last Judge and then Saul becoming the first King. The people were demanding a king like the “other nations” have and they got a similar leader like the “other nations”. Eventually it becomes obvious that one man in authority that is jealous, paranoid and crazy takes its toll and King David, a man after God’s heart, unlike the other leaders, comes into power.
Every time I read this book I am amazed at how clearly God spoke and how his voice was directed to the leaders. There is such an awesome responsibility that goes with being a leader. The mantle, the weight, the warfare… you just can’t appreciate that from the church pew. God requests that we pray for leaders because He understands the full range of what they endure.
It is also interesting to read how clearly God spoke to those still rebelling against Him. Saul gets a lot of bad press when he does things his “own way”. Less than obedience is still disobedience and he found out that “cutting corners” was still not following God.
This book is written so we can see the struggle of the people who were in a dark season – they wanted a leader to tell them what to do. Mistake number one. When in the dark – look for THE Light. If we look to others instead of God, THEY WILL NEVER BE BRIGHT ENOUGH to understand our plight or everything that only God can see. It’s a good idea to get wise counsel but this was more than that- they sought direction from a human being and did not inquire of God to lead them -again and again. These folks wanted to see a person and hear from a human. Mistake number two- when feeling out of control, get your security from the King of all kings. It may feel more secure or expedient to have someone giving directions, but God doesn’t want to speak thru a mediator. He wants to speak to individuals and in the New Testament clearly tells us there is only One mediator and that is Christ Jesus. When others block that direct line of prayer it gets murky and others motivations get in the way.
I write often about women in ministry. This may be a little risky, but this book reminds of when young women want their pastors to “release” them into ministry as if God’s chain of command comes from the leader or pastor of the church. Promotion comes from neither the East or the West but from God. What if the ministry God has is on the streets or in a foreign country or just being still? Guidance is very different from commands. Leaders should confirm what the Lord is saying, not replace God’s voice. I worry when leaders get pulled by all kinds of people to give them “ministry” rather than people praying and following Christ. Isn’t that skewed a bit? We start looking like each other rather than the One who anoints, appoints and calls us and the church becomes a circus or competition. If the King is in charge, He has specific assignments for each man, woman and child. Following Christ should look like turning from sin and to one’s purpose in life. Sometimes we choose men and women to direct us rather than the King and then we are surprised when there is no fruit. Freedom may be relinquishing all our manipulation or pulling on leaders and returning to the King and asking for HIS assignment over our lives. I’m not judging anyone – I know this because I have lived and experienced this. Chasing carrots and pipe dreams have wasted many of my years. Seeking God and His pathway is so much more fun and yields so much more fruit.
So, what does it look like to serve a King? Maybe recognizing that we are children of royalty? Knowing He is the boss and His ways remain. Loyalty is certainly a theme in this book. Saul misses the boat in that regard, but David chooses the high road and proves over and again that he was loyal.
How do you worship King Jesus? Loyalty to Him would be part of that. Worship is honoring God not for what He has done but for who He is. He is faithful, kind, compassionate, etc. Praise is worshiping God for His mighty acts and deeds. Both are important. Two examples:
A man was in a car accident with his wife and 2 daughters. He was found by paramedics after the wreck worshiping God in a ditch. He told them he was thanking God for the time he did have with them rather than being angry about the time that he had lost. That’s worship. It’s thanking God without expecting anything in return. It is thanking Him for who He is and His character.
My brother-in-law recently helped our family as we struggled with grief. What a huge blessing he was to all of us in our time of need. It was not only special to have a new family member but an extra bonus to get one that loves God. When he went on a business trip this week, we sent him off with hugs and prayers. Less than 24 hours later, a tractor trailer crossed the median and hit him head on. It totaled the trailer and his car, throwing him and his business partner 50 yards in the air until they landed in a field. When people ran to the car, they both got out- without a scratch. The national news reported that the people who witnessed the accident said, “there must be a God because of what we have seen here.” That is praise, thanking God for His protection and help. Extraordinary things happen when we put our trust in God. Woo-hoo.
In a culture of many opinions and opposing factions who should we serve and give our loyalty to? When we don’t know what to do and fear bigger armies, who should we run to? When we feel danger and need a safe refuge, who will we put our trust in? All these questions have the same answer – King Jesus. He is the only one worthy of being our King.
This past weekend two beautiful worshipping ballerinas danced in our church to the song “King of my Heart”. Every movement was directed to God in worship. It was amazing. It reminded us that there is a God who is in control of the Universe who also wants to be in control of our hearts. It was a visual demonstration of grace and beauty. Hear the words:
Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
Oh, He is my song (Bethel Music)
This King does rule from the Heavenlies, but He also rules from the love inside my heart. I have chosen to make room for His kingdom in my heart and life. He is the One we seek, serve and obey. David may not have had a book named after him, a palace or army but his title, “A man after God’s own heart” is much more impressive. I don’t care about the titles so much, but I do want God to know that He is MY king. I want Him to know all my hope is in Him and that I will be loyal to Him Forever. How about you? Who is your king and how will that affect your life? How will it affect others lives?
Oh come, let us worship and bow down…