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March 2, 2022 3:00 am
You probably heard someone say our walk should match our talk. It's an expression we used to encourage others to make sure our behavior aligns with our words today on Truth for Life will hear how Samuel preached a similar message to the walking contradiction. That was the nation of Israel.
Here is Alastair back, I invite you to turn with me to first Samuel and to chapter 7 and to follow along as I read from this chapter for Sanyo seven and verse one and the men of Kitty Jaron came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of the Bennett on the hill and they consecrated his son Eliezer to have charge of the ark of the Lord from the day that the ark was largest at curious Jaron a long time past, some 20 years and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord and Samuel said to all the house of Israel. If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods in the Ashtoreths from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the felicity so the people of Israel put away the bales in the asteroid, and they serve the Lord only then Samuel said, gather all Israel at Mr. and I will pray to the Lord for you. So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there we have sinned against the Lord and Samuel judge the people of Israel at Mizpah now with the Philistines, Herod, and the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the Lords of the Philistines went up against Israel, and when the people of Israel Herod event.
They were afraid of the Philistines and the people of Israel said to Samuel do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines, so Samuel took a nursing land and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord and Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel.
But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion and they were defeated before Israel and the men of Israel went out from this plan pursue the Philistines. Instruct them as far as below, Beth Carr, then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer for he said till now the Lord has helped us so the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel the cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel from Akron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life and he went on a circuit year-by-year to Bethel Gill go and Mizpah and he judged Israel in all these places and he would return to Ramah for his home was there and there also. He judged Israel the built there an altar to the Lord.
Amen. Gracious God, we turn to your word and we thank you for we thank you for the promise of the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.
So the beyond the voice of a mere man we may hear your voice and in hearing responded in repentance and in faith and in a genuine desire that the words of the song we have just sung may be the true longing of our hearts, for we pray in Jesus name, amen.
Leadership is a vulnerable position with you are the conductor of an orchestra. Whether you are the captain of Liverpool yesterday in the final of the European championship against Tottenham Hotspur. Whatever your role might be if you serve in any capacity et al. you know what a challenge it is, therefore, it is no surprise for us to turn to the Bible and to be considering the story here that is recorded for us and for Samuel to recognize that the need for stable and godly leadership was absolutely crucial in the period of time that we are considering we have seen that under Eli's leadership. If you have your Bible before you let me just remind you of a couple of places, but at the beginning of chapter 3 where it says that Samuel was ministering in the Lord to the Lord in the presence of Eli and then we immediately read and the word of the Lord was rare in those days, and the calling of Samuel, which is then for us in chapter 3 is part one. If you like of God's answer to the leadership crisis in Israel.
Part two will be Saul part three will be David. Of course the ultimate leadership is to be found in the one to whom all of this points namely the Lord Jesus, and Samuel has grown up under this tutelage. In chapter 3 again. He grew and the Lord was with him and noticeably let none of his words fall to the ground of all the things that you might say about somebody in the Lord was with them grew stronger.
The Lord was with him and he was very influential what it might've finish that sentence but know it is significant. Things were about to see is that as the prophet of God.
It was the word of God that was doing the work of God, no chapter 6 just in case you were a whirling rehearsal away from chapter 3 chapter 6 ends with the man of Beth Shamash relaying from the deathly blow that has been struck in verse 19 he struck. That is, God struck 70 men of them and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. So the chapter ends with them recoiling from this impact and asking fundamental question who then is able to stand before a holy God. If this is what happens. Whether you're a Philistine or an Israelite who is able to stand and the cartilage of question which you would see that in your text is who can we get to take the ark of the Lord off our hands because vizard is not actually proven to be the kind of blessing that we thought and so that man of curious given verse one of chapter 7 the men of. Jeremy oblige coming to take the ark of the Lord into the house of a been a dab noticeably on the hill. Clearly the people to settle areas of the W lived up on the hill means absolutely nothing to us are told is it is really another hill but nevertheless the detailed areas of significance. Eliezer was given charge of the ark of the Lord, and quite remarkably. Verse two tells us that the ark is no parked in the house of a been a dab for some 20 years for some 20 years very important when we read our Bibles, we read them carefully, because this is significant when the last time we saw Samuel, he was that he was a growing youth.
The first time we saw him he was in utero, so to speak, and now all this time is elapsed and so were dealing with somebody of significant age. What exact age we don't know, and it raises the almost inevitable question what was happening during those 20 years you've got 20 years discovered in half of a sentence and then the story goes on with the reemergence of Samuel while one answer to that is if God had wanted us to know what was going on in the 20 years there will be another chapter and it would have contained all of that information.
The silences are as purposeful as the sounds and so we can assume that what was going on was what goes on business, family life, people getting married old people dying the visit of foreigners and in the midst of all of that with the ark out of sight up in the been a dab's house on the hill. The people were seduced by the attractiveness of the foreign gods they realized in much the same way as happened way back when Moses was taken up to the mountain that a lot of what they had going for them as well.
It seemed seemed rather team in comparison to what was offered around the and so it almost inevitably, people said well we we don't really have very much in our department, but if you pay attention to what is there and you can get into some very interesting things though presumably in those 20 years as well.
Samuel wasn't just sitting on a rock that Samuel was engaged in the task that God had given and that he was presumably moving amongst these communities exercising the ministry that God had given him and waiting. If you like for the opportune moment to step forward and do what he'd been called to do.
you will notice that if these things unfolded as I'm suggesting to you the occasion cause them to reflects but not to change so Samuel may have come to one of the times and said you know it is wrong for you to be engaged. In this way and they said well you know will give some thought to that were not going to change. It was sufficient for them to lament the effects of their sin, but not enough to turn from their sin dear ones, are such a difference between feeling sorry about the impact that our sins of cause and actually repenting of our sins. I feel sorry about what happened. I wanted to mention is but have you repented of you turned to God and acknowledge that you see they were willing to tolerate certain things. Presumably the death of the 70 over time was now a dim recollection for the they had been able now to ignore it, perhaps even in some cases even to forget. Just think, for example, about what it means to have the two have been born after the falling of the Berlin wall little generation goes out and they knew nothing about the Berlin wall unless somebody tells that there was a great division that was there and it was put there to keep people in. They could not get out and freedom all of it was that I have no clue what you're talking about in the same way, there would've been children the grew up and said you know on one day, God struck down 70 of our men. There were 70 funerals here one afternoon really why.
Let me tell you know it is in that kind of framework that verse three comes and Samuel said to all the house of Israel is and say he appeared, but he clearly appeared.
Otherwise, he couldn't of said but it is from his lips that the message comes now, quite straightforwardly, I want you to notice Samuel here are preaching. He's preaching they are lamenting all verse two lamenting after the Lord before the Lord are beginning to seek the Lord is then addressed by Samuels preaching and so within the space of relatively few verses we discover that the people are moving from despondency there in verse two after victory that they're moving from corruption.
If you like to consecration and the ministry of Samuel we should notice the ministry of Samuel was in some ways just peculiarly boring. All right you say we are not allowed to say that about Samuel. I just did what I mean by that is we are not introduced to Samuel at any point in the preceding as something of a man of great military might, or a person who is able to exercise political muscle or someone whose personality just sets the header on fire or somebody whose creativity and his fund of ideas and expectations and consuming plans just stirs all of the people.
None of that none of the know only the fact that God Almighty did not let the words of Samuel fall to the ground because the words of the prophet are the words of God, the words that Samuel spoke were the words that God gave them to speak. That is true of Jesus. Remember, he said the words that I speak to you are not my own. They are the words that my father gave me to speak to you this is the role that is assigned to the prophet and this my friends is the prophetic word in terms of contemporary life, not some notion that IR somebody else pops out of nowhere but the prophetic word is surely to bring the very word of God to bear upon the people of God in the context of contemporary life and to see this is what this means and this is why this matters God's word. During God's word.
11 centuries BC. Same thing. Mark Ashton will exercise a wonderful ministry for a good number of years in Cambridge where addressing this as many church leaders agonize over how they can move the congregation from one condition to a better state.
The answer is by preaching, not by springing ideas, however biblical, they may be on the elders, but by feeding the flock with the word of God regularly so that God's word pastors leads diuretics and changes. Both individuals and the whole body, let me say that to you again, so that God's word. God's word pastors, directors, leads, changes both individuals and the entire body, that is God's pattern Uganda account. For example, for the impact of the Spurgeon in Victorian England be beginning with such a handful of people and and and eventually filling the Crystal Palace with with with falls every everybody there to listen and listen to Spurgeon to his congregation.
I charge you before the most high, never depend upon my ministry when online. What is there in me, I speak and when God speaks through me, I speak with a power unknown to man in whom the Spirit dwells not, but if you leave me. I am not only as weak as other men, but less than the for. I have no wisdom of years, I have no human learning. I have taken no degree in the University. I wear no titles of learned honor.
If God speak by me, he must've all the glory.
If he save souls by such a free will being, he must've all the glory gave unto the Lord glory and strength lay every particle of the honor at his feet, but do continue to pray, do you plead with God for me that his power may still be seeing his arm still put mightily to work. Prayer honored must be recollected when we set up the Ebenezer and say thus far the Lord has helped me so you see, when a congregation understands the place of preaching, properly understood, it actually minimizes the preacher and glorifies God in properly embraced it glorifies the preacher and minimize school pathway one blessing pathway to bondage chaos and eventual dissolution read your Bible you find that it is the case, so all this to remind us that the Samuel came preaching and he preached very straightforwardly didn't think it was a very long sermon, at least here as it is recorded for us. He says I want you to know that if you are genuine. I've heard a lot of lamenting.
If you're really serious about this, then prove it is nobody says if you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then prove longer sit around here and and and try crying your coffee do you see what they were doing was able to were tolerating these things they were incorporating these things, the things of the Philistines, they began to see themselves. Look, there's really no harm in this at all. This is is perfectly fine. We don't have to worry about this but yes they did and so do we not a limited time this morning to unpack the sordid horrible details of the bales and the astronauts can do that on your own time. Suffice it to say that the appeal of these foreign gods was straightforward and actually repeated again and again throughout history and that is these foreign guards offered the chance to combine sexual indulgence with religious devotion your reader for yourselves and you'll find out that in the very heart of it is perversion and corruption at the level of human sexuality. Is it any surprise that here we are of the 21st century, and at the very nice thatch of the future of the Evangelicalism in the United States of America.
Is this very question.
Is it okay to do this.
Is it fair enough to tolerate this and so long. The same question. Years of gone by, were far away, but no you see the activities in which they were being seduced to engage in were entirely in compatible with the law of God, okay answers. Three. You will have no other gods before me. Which part of that the Lord might say are you having difficulty in understanding okay so is not an issue of understanding. It is a moral issue is not an intellectual issue. It is a moral decision. It is an immoral decision not to notice okay for us. We can have the arguments up on the hill somewhere were not worried about the art right now. Not only were far more exciting things going on here without the church overhears kind of boring. All they are doing. There is preached, but over here there's authors so much stuff over here very excited. God does not tolerate a hybrid religion where we pick and choose the parts we want to keep from Christianity and blended in with the appealing aspects of the surrounding culture listing the Truth for Life with Alastair Bragg to avoid being seduced into idolatry or hybrid religion.
It's important for us to spend daily time in the Bible. If you don't currently subscribe to the Truth for Life daily devotional. You can sign up for it for free when you do each day you will receive a passage of Scripture, along with the corresponding commentary from Alister delivered to your email inbox.
The daily devotional is a great way to start or end your day reflecting on God's word, you can subscribe for free go to Truth for Life.org/lists many people ask the question is attending a local church in person really all that important.
The Bible points again and again to the local church as the primary place for Christian fellowship and belonging, and today we will recommend the book to you titled love your church that explores some of the obstacles that prevent many people from fully engaging with their local church community. If you'd like to increase your local church participation the book. Love, your church will motivate you to take the next step. This is a great book to help you enjoy the benefits you'll find in being an active member of a local church. This is what Alister had to say about the book love your church said, this book reminds me why it was that long before he became a pastor. I was thrilled to be part of a local church. I commended enthusiastically and hope that each member of my church will read Mark inwardly digest and live out the lessons learned Kuester copy of the book love your church when you donate today to give click the image you see in the mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate or you can call us at 888-588-7884 and if you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to Truth for Life at PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 Bob Lapine thanks for joining us today. We hope you listen tomorrow we will find out why idolatry is ultimately an inside job Bible teaching of Alister Bay is furnished by Truth for Life with Learning is for Living