Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Three (Wise) Guys

The Story of Scripture: The Three (Wise) Guys 1/16/11
I Samuel 8, II Samuel 7:1-17, Luke 11:29-32

Let me get this straight:
God’s covenant (agreement) was that:
· A land would be given to you
· You would live in cities that you did not build
· You would eat from vineyards and olive groves
· The people would have life and prosperity.
· The people would increase in number.
· God would be Israel’s king
· God would lead Israel to victory when battle occurred.
· Joshua testified that every promise given by God had been fulfilled.

Yet the people wanted a human king.

Samuel tells them what would happen:
· The king will take the sons and make them serve in the armies, on the front lines.
· The king will make other plow the kings ground and reap his harvest.
· The king will make others manufacture weapons and chariots for the king.
· The king will put everyone to work.
· The king will take 10% of the grain harvested (remember another 10% was already committed to keeping the priesthood provided for)
· The king will take the best of the fields, vineyards and olive groves and give it to his workers.
· The king will take the best of the servants, cattle and donkey for his own use.
· The king will take 10% of your flocks.
· You will become the king’s slaves
· When you cry about it, God will not answer you.

You are willing to accept these conditions because you want to be like the other nations around you…even though God has promised to make you better and more prosperous than the other nations and you would be his treasured possession from throughout the earth.

What exactly am I missing here?

The Story of Scripture:
Genesis: the creation of Israel
Exodus: the redemption of Israel
Lev-Deuteronomy: the sanctification of Israel
Joshua: taking up God’s promise
Judges: falling away from order.
Samuel: a special prophet for unique times.

God would be their King. The Law was given for their society and order was to be provided by the priests.

And the people wanted a king.

Today, in our year long story of Scripture: the people get what they want.
And sometimes, once you open the door, you can’t reverse your decision.
We look at the big three, the first three kings of Israel: Saul, David and Solomon.

(I thought about going down the road that I perceive a parallel with first 3 U.S. Presidents. Saul and Washington were Generals, David and Adams were diplomats, and Solomon and Jefferson were thinkers/philosophers.)

Oh, the books that we could fill with Israel’s first kings…and generally speaking, they were the good ones.

In a sentence: Impressive in appearance but generally speaking, a psychopath.

General story line: respectful and humble before the prophet Samuel when they meet, he is secretly anointed King. He experiences a conversion shortly afterwards and is seen partaking in a procession of prophets. When Samuel is ready to publicaly anoint him King, Saul is hiding. He comes out to the cry of the people: Long live the king. His reign lasted 42 years, and was (mostly) successful as a military leader against the Philistines, but gains God’s anger and rejection for not following commands against the Amalekites. God declares that he is grieved that Saul was made king.
After David is anointed by Samuel, Saul lives the rest of his time as King incredibly insecure and angry. He is troubled in his spirit and actively seeks to kill David (several attempts). He is infuriated when a song compares him unfavorably to David. He ultimately commits suicide rather than fall at the hands of the Philistines.

Relationship to the (real) King:
Mixed. A good start with a bad finish. God changed Saul’s heart. Saul danced when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in public celebration. Saul sought comfort in the music of the Lord by a young musician named David. But Saul also ignored God’s commands. He sought mediums instead of God. His anger and insecurity drove him from God.

In a sentence: Israel’s golden standard.

General story line: You want murder, intrigue, close calls, adultery…the story of David has it all. There really should be a motion picture made of this guys life…it would be rated R. And yet the contributions of David as King and poet are remembered forever. Perhaps you have heard the words: The Lord is my Shepherd.

David is close friends with Saul’s son Jonathon. David is one of the few people that Scripture records “Loved his neighbor as he loved himself”, a wonderful spiritual legacy. He is anointed king by Samuel despite being in the fields as a shepherd and the youngest of his brothers. He attempts great things for the cause of God, including slaying Goliath. David’s youth is spent being on the run from Saul. Yet after Saul dies, David is grieved in his spirit. While running from Saul, He ends us making partnerships with radical fringe groups and enemies of Saul, having multiple wives. He becomes king and secures his kingship through assassination of his political threats. He becomes successful in his military endeavors and is promised that his throne will be established forever by God. Yet because he is a warrior, he would not build a temple for God. David succumbs to his power in the story of Bathsheba, which includes assassinating his friend Uriah. Eventually David’s sons seek to take the throne from him and seek to take his life. After more running, he eventually returns to Jerusalem to end his days, and, in an intense moment toward the end of his life, anoints his son Solomon as heir to the throne. By the way, Solomon is the son of Bathsheba.

Relationship to the (real) King:
Do you like Roller coasters? Then you’d enjoy David’s spiritual life. The lasting contributions include about half of the Psalms that we have today. David is the central figure in the heritage of Jesus Christ. His name endures forever as a historic figure in faith and Israel’s heritage. Some pretty amazing statements are made about David, including the “he loved his neighbor as himself line”. David reminds us that our pride creates obstacles to our relationship with God, but that God’s forgiveness and grace allows us to have quite a story. At the end of the day, David loved God.

In a sentence
: most world renown King of Israel.

General story line: Solomon is made king hastily before David’s death. David gives him the plans and charge to build a temple for God. Solomon, in an encounter with God where God offers one wish to Solomon, asks for wisdom. We see this wisdom in the famous ruling of the two mothers claiming a child as their own, and in the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon for his wisdom. Solomon obtains political and economic partnerships and builds multiple palaces as well as the temple. (See Solomon’s splendor 10:14-29). His sons rebel against him in an attempt to dethrone him and after 40 years of reign, he died.

Relationship to the (real) King:
Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Good starts don’t always lead to good finishes.

“Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father David except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.” (I Ki 3:3)

Because of his political alliances, Solomon has over a 1000 wives, and the idols of the nations that he had partnership with.

Yet he also wrote Song of Solomon, Proverbs and a list of other important historical documents for Israel. And he was wise because of the blessing of God.

What does this mean for us:

1. The People always looked for a King.
2. They had one if only they recognized it.
3. The struggle between Divine fulfillment and human legacy.
4. The pursuit of a good life is filled with obstacles of our own making.
5. Our main story line is commitment to God as King, the kingdom of

The benefits of the kingdom of God are the easiest and toughest sell in the world.
We have met one greater than the Solomon.

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