Twenty-First Day of Lent

Scripture: 1 Samuel 9:15-26

At a church where I was serving as an intern, one of the pastors resigned a week before I arrived. There were so many stories travelling around the congregation about what "really happened" that I didn't know what to believe. Certain families were leaving the church over the decision. Others were vocally upset and complained about the decision. Others were silently rejoicing over the departure of this pastor. In short, it was an absolute mess that revealed to me that the people of God are incredible sinners. The question I was faced with is how do we respond when the people of God have done something wrong?

The prophet Samuel knew this rebellious people. They had rejected their true King because they desired to be like the nations around them. In spite of all this, Samuel looks to serve the people of God. Samuel, by the command of God, invites this "king-in-waiting" to both a sacrifice and a celebration feast. In this home, Saul is given the place of honour, the best of the food and a place to sleep. And in the following chapter Samuel anoints him king over Israel saying, "Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over His people Israel?" Samuel does not grumble. Instead, he serves.

When you and I are grieved by the church and her sin, how do we respond?  Many of us are willing to start an argument or to simply leave the community itself. It is easier sometimes to leave the church than love the church. Even though Samuel was grieved by the decision, it did not change his commitment to the people of God.

Samuel reflected God’s commitment to us. God was grieved by the decision as well but it did not change His commitment toward His children. God, in His mercy, provided a king who would save the Israelites from the hand of the Philistines (1 Sam 9:16, 1 Sam 15:47-48). God did not abandon His people but sent them one to deliver them. Although Saul would ultimately fail in his calling, God would not fail. God was not going to leave His nation, He was going to love her. God would love so deeply that He would send us His Son who would die for us while we were still sinners. God does not leave us, rather He loves us. May we reflect that same love.

Andy Gilkinson
Minnedosa ECC
Minnedosa, MB