Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Prayer, not panic

"Israel demands a king" J. Winter
"Israel demands a king" J. Winter
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 5-8; Psalm 79

TO CHEW ON: "Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, 'No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.'" 1 Samuel 8:19,20.

The people of Israel are tired of being the only nation without a king. At least that's what their elders make it sound like when they come to Samuel begging for a change in government style.

Samuel is hurt. It feels to him like the people are rejecting him. (And in a way they are, for his two corrupt sons, the fruit of his own fathering, are the catalyst for the peoples' request.)

But God makes it clear that Israel's rejection of the judge mode of government isn't a rejection of Samuel or his sons so much as a rejection of God himself and His sometimes unorthodox but effective methods and people (e.g. a cloud by day and fire by night, judges like Samson and Gideon).

How little things have changed. These people are operating like we see most people around us still today. If something is wrong, figure out a human way to change it. Surely a new leader or political party will be able to keep us safer, make us more prosperous, leave more money in our pockets, guarantee we have jobs, houses... Forget "most people," I often find myself thinking that way too. Don't you?

Contrast that with some of the Bible declarations of where our real trust should be:

  • "Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless (Psalm 60:11; 108:12).
  • "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes" (Psalm 118:9).
  • "Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man in whom there is no help" Psalm 146:3.
  • "Thus says the Lord: 'Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord'" Jeremiah 17:5.

The challenge for us, for me, is to acknowledge that God is behind our human governments and governors. If our countries need change, we bring it about most effectively by going first to the power behind the throne, or oval office, or wherever our leaders make their decisions. That is, going to God in prayer about our governors and the things of government.

We can do this on a personal level too, as we put our trust in God over our CEO, or boss, or supervisor, or whoever seems to be pulling the strings in our life or career.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to give more than lip service to the fact of Your sovereignty in human affairs. Remind me to go to You first with all my problems and concerns. Amen.


MORE: When we are in fear...
"When we are in fear we can do nothing less than pray to God, but Our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His Name should have an understanding confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the reliable ones. Our trust is in God up to a certain point, then we go back to the elementary panic prayers of those who do not know God. We get to our wits' end, showing that we have not the slightest confidence in Him and His government of the world; He seems to be asleep, and we see nothing but breakers ahead..." - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, August 12 reading.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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