"The Edge" features creative perspectives and reflections associated with the subject matter presented on the Current Lesson page.
Study Series: HOJN
"Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the LORD has set a king over you. "If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes. Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the LORD, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the LORD by asking for yourselves a king." So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. Then all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king."
Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away." (I Samuel 12: 13-25 NASB)
"Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: … Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. … and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them." (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 6-7, 14 NASB)
Our study this week illustrates what happens as a result of disobedience. We all know what consequences are. We all have things in our life that we wish we would have never done, or wish we would have done differently. And for some of those things we have suffered consequences. And for some of those things we have missed God's promised blessings had we chosen His way. Sometimes the effects are costly and prolonged and sometimes they are a smaller loss, extending for only a brief amount of time. Yet when we choose to live in a state of disobedience we are essentially in a state of exile, serving whatever king we set over us. Could our king be the pursuit of more money, an obsession with physical appearance, happiness or pleasure-seeking, personal power or success, our precious precious time, intellectual knowledge or wisdom, or bigger and better (and more) material things? Our it could be a much loved hobby, an imprisoning addiction, or even another person? Maybe even a preoccupation with what other people think. This is only a diminutive list – it could go on and on. Whatever the king may be, it in essence becomes our enemy (even if it is not necessarily a bad "king") for it rises up against us, blinding and paralyzing us from the one who is able to defeat if before us. But just as Jerusalem was prophesied to have hope, so do we, no matter what king we put in front of God Himself.
It's really very simple. Jesus gave the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB): "And He said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'"
So where does that leave those of us that have or may still (or will likely again) put another king in the forefront of our lives? Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:11-16 (NASB), "But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time -- He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen."
Our pursuit of the one and only King of kings is an ongoing pursuit. He alone will bring us out of exile. He alone is our hope.
Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.