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Saul’s Folly

Text: I Samuel 14:24-52
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: July 27, 2008

The theme of I Samuel is “Looking for a Leader”. Who will be fit to lead the people of God? Saul is the people’s choice – Mr. Tall Handsome Warrior. Sadly he quickly fell into disobedience (I Samuel 13). His lack of fitness for leadership is further shown in this week’s text as he causes great harm to Israel (and nearly kills his heroic faithful son, Jonathan) because of his foolish pride.

Sadly, many leaders today, of nations, homes, businesses, and churches, resemble Saul as they abuse the authority which God has entrusted to them. Those who are supposed to serve those under their authority are often self centered, domineering, harsh, manipulative, arbitrary and hypocritical. Thank God that we have a King (Jesus) who came not to be served, but to serve His people. Pray for those in leadership that we will be like Him.

By Many or By Few

Text: I Samuel 14:1-23
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: July 20, 2008

Last week we left Israel in what appeared to be an impossible situation. They were overwhelmingly outnumbered and outgunned by the Philistines. After a hopeful beginning their new king had failed a crucial test and seemed to have lost the confidence of the people. God delights in using our situations of extremity and hopelessness to demonstrate His great power through us. Saul’s son Jonathan, along with his armorbearer, attacks the Philistines outpost leading to a great victory for the Israelites.

Our text contains one of the great statements of faith in all of Scripture. As Jonathan faces the Philistine stronghold he encourages his companion, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for The LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”

We too are called upon to assault strongholds, not militarily, but in the realm of truth (II Co. 10:3-5). Sadly, we are often prone, like Saul, to sit back and wait when we should be engaging the enemy. We have hope for victory by God’s power. After all, didn’t He save us from spiritual rebellion and death?

Saul Sacrifices His Kingdom

Text: I Samuel 13
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: July 13, 2008

A couple of years ago we studied Hebrews 11 which surveys figures from the Old Testament who set a great example of faith and obedience. There are other figures in the Bible from whom we can learn as a bad example of unbelief and disobedience. If there were a Hebrews 11 of bad examples, Saul would definitely be included.

Saul’s life is tragic. He enjoyed a promising start when he was anointed as king (I Sam. 9-10), led Israel to victory over the Ammonites (I Sam. 11), and then participated in the renewal of the kingdom (chapter 12). God graciously offered blessing to him and his kingdom, in spite of their sins, if only they would be faithful to the covenant. Yet when his faith was tested Saul took his eyes off of the LORD and took matters into his own hands disobeying God’s clear commandment. His sin is compounded by his many lame excuses and his misuse of religion. As a result his kingdom is taken from him.

I have to confess that I sympathize with Saul. It is hard to trust and obey God when the chips are down and everything in the flesh cries out for you to seek your own solution. We sometimes take obedience to God’s commands too lightly and then make excuses for our disobedience. Sometimes churches are more concerned about losing followers than offending God by their compromises. We too suffer the consequences of our sin. We should marvel at His patience towards us. How we thank God for our King Jesus who succeeded where Saul (and we) failed.

Samuel’s Farewell Address

Text: I Samuel 12
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: July 6, 2008

There have been many famous farewell addresses. None in American history is more significant than that of George Washington who, when leaving the presidency, appealed to his countrymen to avoid debt, regional squabbles, and foreign entanglements. There are also famous farewells in the Bible including Moses and Joshua in the Old Testament and Paul in the New Testament (II Tim. 4).

I Samuel 12 contains Samuel’s farewell address to Israel. While Samuel is not leaving public life all together, his speech marks the end of the era of the judges as he hands power over to King Saul. The point of his speech is to call Israel to faithfulness to the covenant. Though they have sinned against the LORD by seeking a king to deliver them, the LORD will bless them and their king if they wholeheartedly serve Him. The church, like Israel is prone to wander from God who is gracious to work out His purposes in our lives in spite of our sins and failures.

Samuel by his exemplary life, his persistent intercession, and his teaching is a model for all spiritual leaders. However, Christ is our true prophet, priest and king who perfectly intercedes for us and instructs us.

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