Monday, August 15, 2011

God is bigger than your past

I've not been perfect. I've sinned and failed and gone off course. Have you? I've been asked, "Since I sinned can I ever be in the will of God again? I left the chosen path, right?" Is God bigger than your past?

From the time God liberated his people from Egyptian bondage He had always been their king. The confession of God as king was included the liturgy of Jesus' day. After the Hallel (Pss 113-118) the people prayed this, "From everlasting thou art God; beside thee we have no king, redeemer, or saviour; no liberator, deliverer, provider; none who takes pity in times of distress or trouble. We have no king but thee." Just like the people of Jesus' day rejected their King, calling for his crucifixion, the Israelites of Samuel's day rejected God as their king. They demanded a human king.

God continues to be God in spite of the rebellion of his people. He leads Saul to Samuel. He whispers to Samuel that He has chosen Saul as king to deliver his people from the Philistines.

And the Philistines step onto the scene. Nahash the Ammonite initiates military agression against Israelites, offering a peace on one condition -- that he can pluck out their right eyes.

When Saul hears of this the Spirit of God comes upon him and he is stirred to anger. With an inventive and poignant appeal he rallies the nation to defeat Nahash.

The Jewish nation celebrated their new king. They were delivered!

Did this mean that God applauded their choice to rebelliously seek a human king? Samuel had something to say about that:

Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.

The God of all wisdom and grace is still guiding your life. He still has a generous plan for you. Just follow him faithfully today and let the past be the past.

(Read more about it in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel chapters 8-12)