1 Samuel 8 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine. And we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
Good evening. What a gorgeous night this turned out to be. I was worried a little while ago, when they said it was going to be 94, with particulate in the air from the fire in Arizona, and that things are heating up really bad. But I don't know. This feels pretty perfect to me.
Yesterday, I was in Dallas, Texas. And it was in mid-80s with humidity. And it was, if you were to be outside, intolerable. So I was just, boy, you know. what a difference. We live in such a great spot, don't we?
Great weather. Well, we are in the scriptures tonight in the book of 1 Samuel. So turn in your Bibles to 1 Samuel, chapter 8. Even though I finished chapter 7, and I did that technically. I did it on a technicality. I'm going to dip a little bit back into chapter 7 for context sake.
And then we'll get into chapter 8. It's a short chapter. And then we're going to take the Lord's Supper as we end our time together. We'll have communion.
And I love not only that we're meeting outside. I love the fact that we're having communion. I love the fact that we just sang a song. And I hope you sang it with great feeling and meaning. But it encapsulates right where we are at in the scriptures.
We said, Lord, send revival. Send it now. You've done it before. Do it again. And we're looking at a particular portion of scripture where a revival in ancient times, a spiritual revival, was taking place in the land of Israel.
Now, let me tell you a story about a guy who was known for revivals. His name was Rodney Smith, oh, a name you've probably not heard of. He's from England. He was born in 1860. He was born in the Epping Forest, just north of London, England.
And I mean not born in a house in the forest. He was born in a forest. He was born in a tent. He was the son of gypsies. His father and mother were both gypsies. They traveled around. There was a sizable and still is a sizable gypsy population in the United Kingdom.
And little Rodney was born into that family. His mother was a staunch believer in Christ. Dad had some problems but eventually was converted himself. And little Rodney Smith was converted to Christ at age 16. He eventually went by the nickname Gypsy Smith. That's what he is known by in most books.
Gypsy Smith became a preacher, a revivalist. In fact, he once met William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. William Booth was so impressed with young Rodney, that he asked Rodney to be one of his preachers for the Salvation Army.
So gypsy Smith saw enormous crowds, saw lots of people make decisions for Christ. And once, somebody asked him, what is the key? What is the secret to seeing a revival?
He said, if you want to see a revival, go into your room, close the door, get a piece of chalk, kneel down on the floor, and draw a circle around you. And then ask God to revive everything on the inside of that chalk line. When God answers your prayer, revival is on. Let it begin with you individually.
You want to see revival? I do. I pray for it. But I realize I need to pray that God would really revive me, make me on fire for the Lord, not looking back to a time when I used to be on fire, when I used to be walking with the Lord, but praying that God would revive everything on the inside of that circle.
Well, this is happening in this section of the Bible. And last time, we looked at some key elements that was bringing that revival. First of all, the people were restless for God. They were restless for God.
It says that all of Israel lamented after the Lord, that is, they longed for him. They wanted what they once enjoyed. They yearned for revival. They were restless for the Lord.
And then second, they were receptive to the Lord. Samuel began to speak. As the people longed for a revival, Samuel started preaching to them, speaking to them the word. We're told in chapter 7, verse 3, "Then Samuel spoke to all the House of Israel."
The third step in this revival was repentance toward the Lord. We are told in the following verses that Israel put away, or got rid of, their worship of Baal, their worship of Ashteroth, all the pagan gods and goddesses that they once prayed to and sung songs to and gave sacrifices to. They got rid of them.
Now we come to what might be called a fourth key to revival. And that is they rallied around the Lord. That is, they didn't just pray for revival in the inside of the circle. They took what happened on the inside of the circle and got together with other insiders in a big group. They rallied together. They gathered together.
It's important that we gather together frequently. We're told in verse 5 of chapter 7, "And Samuel said, gather all Israel to Mizpeh. and I will pray to the Lord for you. So they gathered together at Mizpeh." They drew water and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day and said, we have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpeh."
As they rallied together, as they gathered together, at this place called Mizpeh-- which, incidentally, means a watchtower. It's a place in Benjamin. It's a place not far from Jerusalem, where people could gather. Evidently, it was a place where soldiers stood watch to make sure that the enemy wasn't coming, to make sure they could defend their position.
So they gathered together at Mizpeh. And Samuel the prophet begins to pray for them. Now, I'm going to add this as a fifth key to revival. And that is making request, making request of God.
Remember what it says in Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6? Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which trespasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
So they made their request. They prayed. Samuel the prophet prayed for them. Then I read it, though I didn't explain it. "They gathered together at Mizpeh, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord." Now, what's all that about? Why put water in a jug, only to pour it all over the ground?
Well. It was symbolic. And the symbolism is, I'm pouring out my life for the Lord. I'm pouring out my worship to the Lord. I'm in absolute emptiness and surrender before him. That's the idea. It was known as a water libation.
I'll tell you another story. We'll get to it in the second book of Samuel, chapter 23. But King David is fighting a battle with his soldiers against the Philistines. And David utters a desire. He says to his soldiers, Oh, that I had some water from the well at Bethlehem. And then he added, which is by the gate. So he was sort of giving them directions, hint, hint. Boy, it'd be great to have a glass of cool water from my hometown of Bethlehem, and it's by the gate.
So three of his soldiers left their position fighting the Philistines, went over to Bethlehem, David's hometown, got him a jug of water to refresh his parched lips. David looked at it, was thankful for it, and then poured it on the ground. And you say, what a waste.
But he said, this is the blood of those who have jeopardized their lives. How can I drink this water? He saw drinking it as a selfish act. So the idea is, I'm pouring it out. I'm pouring out myself. I'm offering myself. That's the idea here as they poured water before the Lord.
"And they fasted that day and said there"-- now here comes the confession-- "we have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpeh." They added to all of these steps prayer.
Listen carefully. Every great work of God starts in prayer. It is preceded by prayer. And I don't just mean shooting up a quick one-- Lord, bless this time. Amen. I mean really seeking the Lord, depending on him, seeking his face, praying specifically. Every great work of God is preceded by prayer.
When we first started this church, we were in a little apartment complex about a mile or two down the road, in a meeting place. And we began a Thursday night Bible study, and it grew from about 4 people to about 40 people, then about 125 people, 135 people.
And we couldn't fit any more people in that little room. They were spilling outside into the hallways. And somebody came to me and said, now what do we do? And I gave them the answer. I have no idea what to do. I've never done this before.
I never attended Church Planning 101. I just went out to see what would happen. And this happened. And you're asking me, now what do we do?
And so I announced to the crowd that night, after a few people said, now what do we do? I said, what we're going to do is here, we are meeting on Thursday nights. If any of you have Monday nights free, we're going to meet here again. And we're going to ask God, now what do we do, Lord? Let's pray. We'll just ask him for direction.
I don't know what he wants us to do, but I want to find out what he wants us to do. So we began to pray. And the Lord has done this from meeting together and praying together.
Last week, I mentioned to you a guy by the name of Charles Finney, who, in the 1800s, was in Rochester, New York. And during I think it was the year 1830, he saw 30,000, 30,000 people make brand new commitments to Jesus Christ. That's revival. 30,000 people that year under his ministry in Rochester, New York, came to faith in Christ.
And people said, well, how do you explain that? He said, I can explain it by the fact that there was one man who faithfully prayed. He never attended a meeting, but he always prayed that God would pour out his Spirit. And he did.
Some years later, in the later 1800s, D L Moody, from Chicago, went over to London to conduct several campaigns, several crusades-- very successful. He credits the success of his crusades to one humble bedridden girl. She couldn't get out of bed, but she could pray. And she prayed for the ministry of D L Moody, specifically in London, and God poured out his Spirit.
Now let me tell you another quick story. I was one day walking through the auditorium, the main auditorium, of our church facility. Nobody was in there, but I saw one man sort of wandering around through the pews-- through the pews-- through the chairs toward the back left of the sanctuary. I noticed he was sort of ambling, meandering, just prayerfully, head down, a middle-aged, older gentleman.
And I approached him, and I introduced myself. And he introduced himself, and he introduced himself as a pastor, a local pastor, in the city. And he said, I just wanted to come here today and thank the Lord. You see, I prayed for years that God would send revival to Albuquerque, that God would strengthen his church and pour out his Spirit. And I was always hoping it was going to be through me and my ministry.
But I came to find out it is through you and your ministry. But I am happy to be a partner with you in it. And I thought it was such a humble gesture for that pastor, that local pastor, that man of God. I gave him a big hug and said, I'm humbled to be a partner with you in this ministry. Thank you for your faithful years of praying. Because God has poured out his Spirit through many churches to many people in this town.
So they gather together at Mizpeh. They confess their sin. Samuel prays. And you would think it's a done deal. Everything is hunky dory. They can all go home and rejoice. No.
The Philistines get a little antsy. They attack the children of Israel. They attack their positions, taking advantage of the fact that they're worshipping God.
The children of Israel are worried. They come to Samuel. Samuel says, go fight your battle. I'll pray to God for you. And we're told that the Lord thundered from heaven and gave his people the victory in that battle. I don't know the details other than it thundered from heaven, and it spooked the Philistines. They got weirded out, and they ran away. The children of Israel prevailed.
So look at verse 11. And again, we read this last week, technically, but I didn't get to explain it. "And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh and pursued the Philistines and drove them back as far as below Bethcar. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpeh and Shen and called its name Ebenezer, saying, thus far the Lord has helped us."
Don't you just love the fact that the prophet Samuel named a rock. Do any of you remember, back in the '70s, there was a thing called Pet Rocks? I had one. You'd spend money. It was a dumb way to spend your money, but you'd buy a rock.
And it was packaged even with little breeding holes in the box, as if the rock could breathe and needed fresh air. But they packaged it that way. Some even came in a little cage. And you had a little eyes on it. And you would put it on your desk or by your bed.
It was a crazy, dumb little stunt, but it sold, well, like crazy. Because there was enough of us crazy people to buy them. And it was a pet rock. Has nothing to do with the text. It just reminded me of it, when he named the rock Ebeneezer.
Ebeneezer means stone of help. Now, we in the West, when we hear the name Ebeneezer, you know what most of us think of? Ebenezer Scrooge. We think about what Charles Dickens left us with in that famous story-turned-movie, Christmas Carol, where there was a miserly, penny-pinching, parsimonious man named Ebenezer Scrooge.
So when you name something or someone an Ebenezer, you think of somebody who's a penny-pincher, somebody who is narrow-minded, or something like that. That's because the name Ebenezer comes to us from that book and then that movie. But it. doesn't. It actually comes to us from the scripture.
And I remember singing a song. I had heard about Ebenezer Scrooge. I had not read this story yet. And yet, I remember going to church once and hearing this very famous song. You know the song. It was written in the 1700s by Robert Robinson, called "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Tune my heart to sing thy praise. You know the song.
There's a verse in that song that says, here I raise my Ebenezer. And I would sing that song. (SINGING) Here I raise my Ebenezer. And I turn to somebody and go. What's an Ebenezer?
I'm thinking of Ebenezer Scrooge. But you follow the song. Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy grace I come. And I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me while a stranger, wandering from the fold of God. He to rescue me from danger-- listen-- interposed his precious blood.
Now, that's written by a song leader, a worship guy, in the 1700s. And he's writing about Ebenezers and interposing. I mean, who writes like that? I mean, how many worship leaders know their Bibles that well to write such depth?
And I read that hymn, and I thought, Lord, bring that stuff back. Give us worship leaders that write with that kind of depth. It seems like, over the years, we as the Christian church, we get dumber and dumber, not smarter and smarter. That was written in the 1700s, and they're writing with such Biblical depth and literary depth.
And that's why I love the hymns. I love the hymns because of the depth of theology, the depth of thought. And so what he, the hymn writer, was thinking about is this. Here I raise my stone. That's-- is a testimony. That says, this is a stone of help. The Lord has helped us.
So that when you would be on the road, and your kids would see that large stone, they'd say, Mom, Dad, what's that stone standing there for? And Mom and Dad would say, that's our stone of help. It's to remember what the Lord did in this place when he defeated the Philistines. And son, when you see that stone, just remember God will help you through anything.
And I think we need our own Ebenezer. We need our journals. Some of you write a journal, and you write down what God has done. Or you have some token, some memorial, that when you look at it, you recall to mind some great thing that God has done for you or for your family, raising that stone, that Ebenezer stone. So that's chapter 7.
Now we get into chapter 8. And chapter 8 is a transitional chapter. And all we're going to do is look at these verses in chapter 8. And then we're going to take the Lord's Supper together.
Chapter 8 is a transition between the period of Judges and the period of the monarchy, the united monarchy of Israel. The united monarchy lasted 120 years. It includes three kings, not the three kings from the Christmas carol, "We Three Kings," but these three kings-- King Saul, King David, and King Solomon, those three kings. Those were kings that reigned over a united kingdom-- not the United Kingdom, England-- the united kingdom of Israel and Judah thousands of years ago. And it lasted 120 years.
Saul was the first King. And Saul was outwardly impressive, but he was spiritually unimpressive. He was a spiritual wimp. He was self-serving. He was not really God's choice.
The second King David was God's choice, was a man after God's own heart, was the hymnist, the songwriter, for the nation of Israel. He was a shepherd as an early child, but he became a great king. In fact, he becomes the standard by which all the other kings will be evaluated thereafter.
Then his son King Solomon will sit on the throne. Solomon will bring great peace, great prosperity, will expand the kingdom, will bring in a navy, develop a merchant marine, bring trade in from all over the world. And during those 120 years, Solomon was probably the most successful at doing that.
The story begins with Samuel, not a king, but a prophet. Now, we have seen him throughout this book. But here, we find Samuel the prophet on a circuit. And he goes from town to town, judging Israel, teaching the nation, always coming to his hometown, back to Ramah.
So it says in chapter 8, verse 1, "It came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel." What a great name-- Joel. It means, Yahweh is God. The Lord is God-- Joel.
"The name of the second was Abijah." And Abijah means, Yahweh is Father. So God is the Lord, or the Lord is God, and then God is our Father. "They were judges in Beersheba." But Beersheba is way down south.
I think that Samuel just sort of wanted the kids. He knew they weren't really up to snuff. They weren't really as godly, so he just put them in this outpost town to keep an eye on them, see how they did.
"But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. And all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him."
By the way, if any of you make it over to Israel on a tour-- and I've had several of you ask, when you're going to do one again? We're going to have another tour to Israel. It'll be in 2022. It'll be May of 2022 . We're already scheduled for that.
But if you go, and if you spend an extra day or two, and you want to, you can see Ramah. It's right outside of Jerusalem. In fact, it's a bedroom community of Jerusalem. I have a friend who lives over in Ramat Eshkol, which is Ramah. And he lives at the base of what was the town where Samuel the prophet lived and was buried.
And they have the remains of that town. They have the ancient city walls they've dug up. So if you want to see where Samuel hung out, where he lived, where he died, you can see it. You could walk there, if you want to, from Jerusalem, or take a cab, or just see where he lived.
Now, I'll just warn you. If you do that, there's another hill not far away that others claim is the real Ramah. And these are denominational people who have built a church there, and they don't want to lose their notoriety or their finances. So they claim, this is really the real Ramah. That's the fake Ramah.
So you've got two different places contending for Ramah, the birthplace and the life and death place of Samuel. One tour guide solved the problem and said, well, that's 1 Samuel and that's 2 Samuel.
[LAUGHTER] So if you go there, you can see that. So he gathered them together at Ramah. They came to him, and they said, in verse 5, that this is the people of Israel saying to him, look, you are old. Nobody likes to be told that, by the way. Boy, you look old. Boy, I've seen you for a long time, but boy, you look a lot older now. You're old, man, "and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations."
This is going to break Samuel's heart. He understands their request. The people are looking for visible leadership. They want to see who their leader is. They want to see who their king is.
Now understand something about Israel. Israel was unique as a nation. They were not to be like other nations. They served an invisible king. God wanted it that way.
Instead of having a king, who would tax the people and run an army, they wanted just the people to trust the Lord. His original plan, and by the way, his ultimate plan, is not going to be a monarchy, is not going to be a democracy. It's going to be a theocracy.
That's what God originally intended, a theocratic kingdom, where God would rule. He would use vice regents, like Moses, like Joshua, et cetera. But people basically had to pray, get direction, and trust God. Now, that's hard to do that for a lot of people. Because people want something visible.
Now, let me tell you how well it worked. It worked this well. When they did not have a king, but they were trusting God, God opened the Red Sea. When they did not have a king, but trusted the Lord, God caused the walls of Jericho to fall down.
When they didn't have a king, but trusted the Lord, as we saw in the previous chapter, the Philistines were defeated as the Lord thundered against it. So it's worked out pretty well for them not to have a king. It's worked out pretty well for them just to trust the Lord.
But the people grew weary of that. They wanted visible leadership. So they said, "make us a king to judge us like all the other nations. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, give us a king to judge us. So Samuel prayed to the Lord."
Think about this. We as Christians live by faith, right? We talk about our faith. At the same time, we're uncomfortable living by faith. In fact, we hate faith. We would rather have something more tangible and more visible.
We want to make sure the check is in the mail, not I'm just trusting the Lord for the next meal. I'm just believing that God is going to provide. We hate that. But when somebody says, check's in the mail. Yes! That's tangible.
When I was in college, things were tight for me financially. And I remember, I would make Hamburger Helper, that my mother would give me. She'd give me the box. She'd give me a pound of hamburger. I lived about an hour away, and so I'd make a pan of Hamburger Helper.
And I'd put it on the stove. I'd eat a little bit. I'd cover it up with tin foil, leave it on the stove. Next day, I'd eat a little bit more off that pan on the stove, cover it up again. Next day, I'd eat a little bit more. Now, it had been a few days unrefrigerated. I had a refrigerator. I just didn't want to move it all the way across the kitchen to the refrigerator.
It's just so much easier just to take a slice at a time. So by the fourth day, you kind of scrape off the mold, and stuff, and get past that, and build up your immune system, and eat a little more. And I remember, one week, I was finishing my Hamburger Helper. That was all the food I had left, except some peanut butter and jelly and a little bit of bread.
So the next day, I had peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. The next day, the bread ran out. So I had peanut butter, a little bit of jelly, but mostly peanut butter.
Then the next day, I went to the mailbox. I looked in the mailbox. It was a letter from the United States government, in fact, from the IRS. It was my tax refund check. I had money in the mailbox. And I remember grabbing that and jumping up, going, hallelujah, thank you, Lord! Bless the Lord, oh my soul! Let all of it is within me bless his holy name! I was so excited.
And it was as if the Holy Spirit tapped my heart, nudged me a bit, and said, you weren't that excited when you read my promise in my word this morning, that I would provide for you. You didn't jump up and down. You read it. You weren't all that excited, but you're excited now.
I said, but Lord, because you answered my prayer. It's a check. It's from the government. And he goes, well, how do you know they'll pay up? How do you know they're good? Well, it's the United States government. Of course, they'll pay up.
In other words, I had more faith in what was written on that check than I had in what was written in his word. And the Lord convicted me of that. I should be as excited, when I read the promise in scripture, that God is never going to leave me or forsake me. He's going to take care of me. But you see, we hate to live by faith. We love it much more when the check is in the mail, when the money is in the bank, when there's something tangible.
So the people want something tangible. They want a king. They want somebody they can look to, who'll lead them in battle, who will win their victories, who will rule over them. Well, Samuel took it personally. He prayed to the Lord in verse 6. In verse 7, "the Lord said to Samuel, heed the voice"-- or listen to the voice-- "of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected me"-- or "they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them."
Now, let me tell you what the real problem was here. The real problem was they wanted independence from God's control, independence from God ruling over them. They didn't want to trust the Lord in an invisible God. And the basic problem is they did not want to relinquish control to God and to God's plan.
Back in 1981, in fact, it'll be 40 years this weekend that my wife and I were married, and we moved out here to Albuquerque. And so we're coming up on a milestone. And I remember when I surrendered my heart to the Lord to come here. I was living in Huntington Beach. I was living a few blocks from the ocean. I surfed every day.
But I wanted to plant a church somewhere. I wanted to do the Lord's will. I wanted to do what he wanted me to do. So I was willing and able and ready. And we got in my little Datsun pickup truck. That was before Nissan, the brand Datsun. And I headed out with my wife. We came to Albuquerque.
And I remember telling the Lord. I've told this story before. I told the Lord, Lord, I'll be in New Mexico one year. I'll give you one year. I'm going to fish here for one year. You made me a fisher of men. I'm going to throw my line out for one year. If I don't catch any fish, if nobody comes to Christ, if there's no tangible work of the Lord, I'm done here. I'm going back to Cali.
So about six months in to that deal that I made with God, the Lord started to move. People started coming. But I was getting antsy. The winter settled in New Mexico, came in. I had never really experienced something that cold in my life.
My wife laughs at me. She's from Michigan. She goes, this is not cold, trust me. But to me, I had never experienced this kind of temperature change ever. I thought, this is insane. It's so cold outside. And I was ready to get back to 75-degree Christmases.
So I remember I was telling her, we're moving back. I don't think I can take it. I don't know if the Lord's in this. We're moving back to California. I've never started a church. I don't know what I'm doing. We're moving back.
She said, OK, I followed you here. I'll follow you back. You're the head of the household. You make the decision. If you're wrong, it's on you.
So I remember talking to the Lord about this. And as I was excited about the possibility of going back to familiar surroundings, the Lord again spoke to my heart. He said, you owe me six months. You made a year deal with me. You said, I'll be here a year. I'll fish for a year. You're already starting to catch fish. You owe me six months.
So I told my friends who were with me on this little adventure what the Lord, I believe, spoke to me. And they said, Skip, give it your heart for the next six months and just see what the Lord does. So I did. And of course, this is what the Lord did.
But I tell you, what the Lord was showing me is I need to relinquish control. If the Lord tells you to go, go. If the Lord tells you to go and stay, stay. Whatever the Lord is showing you to do, obey him. Relinquish control. Let him be the ruler over you. Let him be the king of your heart.
They haven't rejected you, Samuel. They have rejected me. And that is always the question. Who is going to be the king of your life?
Remember, when Jesus came, he didn't just come to die on a cross. He came to build a kingdom. The first words out of John the Baptist's mouth were these. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Then when Jesus came on the scene, he came preaching the kingdom and saying the same words John the Baptist said. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Then in Matthew chapter 5, he gave the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the poor in Spirit. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And some 70 times in the New Testament, it mentions the kingdom of heaven-- or the kingdom of God. Another 32 times, it mentions the kingdom of heaven. So it's all about building a kingdom.
Now, the kingdom of God is not visible presently. Jesus was having a conversation with Pontius Pilate. He said, my kingdom is not of this world. But one day, his kingdom will be of this world. His kingdom wasn't of this world then, but one day, the kingdom will be of this world. He will conquer this world. He will rule over this earth.
In Revelation 11, there will be an anthem from heaven that says, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. When Jesus comes back, he comes back as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He comes to rule and to reign.
So the issue is always an issue of a kingdom issue. Who's the king over your life? Who's the king over your heart? Is he ruling? Is he reigning now?
Verse 8-- "according to all the works which they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt, even to this day, with which they have forsaken me and served other gods, so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them. So Samuel told all of the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king."
Now, this does bring up an issue and does beg the question, was it in the will of God for the children of Israel to even have a king? It sort of indicates that no, it's not. Because Samuel was all bummed out.
And God says, look, they haven't rejected you. They have rejected me. So it sort of indicates that that wasn't God's highest priority. Yet I do believe that it was always in God's plan for his people, the people of Israel, to have a human king.
Back in Genesis 49, you may remember, when Jacob gathers his 12 sons around his deathbed, and he prophesies over each tribe, he comes to the tribe of Judah. And he says, the scepter shall not depart from Judah until the Messiah comes. Now, a scepter is the right to rule. It's what a king holds to rule the kingdom.
So I believe, from the beginning, God anticipated that his people, the line of Judah, would have a king. And furthermore, in Deuteronomy 17, God said to Moses and told Moses to tell the people, when you come into the land, and the people say, set over us a king that we may be like other nations. God said, you shall set over them a king whom the Lord your God chooses.
That seems to indicate that it was part of God's plan all along, even if it was just his permissive will, to see a king. However, when it comes to King Saul-- he becomes the first king, and we'll get to it next week-- when it comes to King Saul, we have some things that are wrong. First of all, it's the wrong timing. They're about 10 years too early. They want a king, and they want it now. And they should have waited, because God had the best king, the number two king, who would be David. I think it was the wrong timing.
Number two, I think it was the wrong tribe, not just the wrong timing, the wrong tribe. Because Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. But the prophecy of Genesis 49 says the scepter shall not depart from Judah. And Judah would become the tribe where the kings would come from, including King David, including King Jesus, when he comes to rule and reign over the Earth.
So wrong timing, wrong tribe, and number three, wrong terms-- they said, we want a king, and because we want to be like other nations. We want to be like the world. We want to be like everybody else. We want not to be the unique people of God. We want to be like the rest of the world. Those are the wrong terms-- so wrong timing, wrong tribe, wrong terms.
Now, let me give you another scripture. You can write it down. You can look at it later. We don't have time to actually turn to it. In the minor prophet Hosea, chapter 13, verse 11, listen to what God says. I gave you a king in my anger. I took him away in my wrath. I gave you a king in my anger. I took him away in my wrath-- wrong timing, wrong tribe, wrong terms.
Samuel will anoint King Saul. Saul will be the first king. He will fail miserably. God will take Saul away in His wrath.
Now, before we move on and close this chapter and take the Lord's Supper, you've got to understand something about the children of Israel. This is not the first time they asked for a king. Did you know that? They had asked for a king before.
In fact, in the book of Judges, they asked for a king. When Gideon was one of the judges over the children of Israel, in chapter 6, 7, and 8-- Gideon, remember him? And Gideon fought against the Midianites and won, had great victory.
After Gideon won the victory with the Midianites, the elders of Israel came to him and said, rule over us. That's them basically saying, we want you to be our first king. And I love Gideon's reply. He said, I'm not going to rule over you. Let the Lord rule over you.
I wish more politicians would say that. I'm not going to rule over you. Only the Lord can be your ruler. So Gideon refused to be the king, even though they asked for a king. But you also remember that one of his sons, by the name of Abimelech, talked the people of Samaria into making him their king, killing 70 of the sons of Gideon. He was the only guy left. And by a coup, a coup d'etat, he took over and became the first illegitimate king, not of the nation, but of that area of Israel, in Samaria. So that was their history.
So Samuel, verse 10, chapter 8, we'll finish out the chapter. "Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, this will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you. He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots to be his horsemen. And some will run before his chariots.
He will appoint captains over his thousands, captains over his fifties. He will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, your olive groves, and give them to his servants."
In other words, you really want a king, like other nations? Do you know what happens to other nations and their kings? If you want a king, understand this. He's going to be a burden to your family. He's going to take your sons. He's going to take your daughters. He's going to draft them into military service.
He's going to make them work for him at a low wage. He's going to, in essence, enslave them, conscript them for a government work. So he'll be a burden for your family.
Verse 15-- "He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your men servants, your maid servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep, and you will be his servants."
So he's going to be a burden to your family. He's also going to be a burden to your finances. It's going to cost you money. It's going to cost you a tenth.
Now, do you remember what the children of Israel gave to the Lord? To serve the Lord, to worship the Lord, the children of Israel were required to give how much? A tenth. That's the tithe. Everybody gave a tenth for the Tabernacle, for the priesthood. It was for the upkeep of the worship system. Now they want the government to come in, and the government's going to take another tenth-- so 20% off the bat, gone. It's going to cost you to have a government as much as it costs you to serve the Lord, 10%.
Do you know that right now in America, there are 42-- or 47.2 million government workers. 47.2 million work for the government. That's an enormous voting bloc. That's a powerful voting bloc.
It has been estimated that the taxes that you pay for having government, that if you were to just look at it this way. from January 1st to May 16th, every penny you make, in some form or fashion, goes to pay for the government. That's how much of your paycheck annually you give away in taxes, from January 1st to May 16th. Starting May 17th to the end of the year is what you get to keep.
So you want a king, to be like other nations, governments will cost you. So it'll be a burden to your family. It'll be a burden to your finances.
Verse 18-- "And you will cry out in that day because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves. And the Lord will not hear you in that day." It's going to be a burden to your freedom. You're going to live to regret this.
And I think, listen, we need human government. It's an institution. We are called upon to honor government officials and pay our taxes. But let's face it. If you look to the government to solve your problems, you will live to regret it.
I think Ronald Reagan was absolutely right. I still remember his 1981 inaugural speech. He said, the government isn't the solution to our problems. The government is the problem. And that's why he believed in smaller government, not larger government.
And that's what Samuel is saying. He's saying, you're thinking the government is going to solve your problems. You're going to find out the government becomes the problem.
"Nevertheless"-- verse 19-- nevertheless the people get to vote-- so nevertheless, "the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, No, but we will have a king over us so that we may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. So the Lord said to Samuel, heed their voice and make them a king. And Samuel said to the men of Israel, every man go to his city."
Now, in a few minutes, every one of us is going to leave to his own city. We're going to leave here and go to Albuquerque or Corales or Rio Rancho or Belen or Santa Fe, wherever we live. We're going to go to our own city.
But I say, before we leave here tonight, we declare the Lord is our King, that we make the decision to let the Lord reign over us, and we speak, draw a circle around ourselves, and say, Lord, start revival on the inside of that circle. Revive me. Revive my heart. Rule over me. Rule over my life. Be the one that I surrender to, that. I pour out water to, so to speak.
I'm going to close this service with a New Testament text. In Luke chapter 19-- let me just read it to you. "Therefore he said, a certain nobleman went into a foreign country and received for himself a kingdom and to return. And he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, do business till I come." Or occupy, serve me, till I come.
"But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us." Of course, we know what Jesus was alluding to, what he was speaking about. He was speaking of the fact that Jesus came to the Earth from his Father, and he was going to return. He was going to come back then to the Earth to establish a kingdom, and that the Jewish people rejected him and basically said, we do not want Jesus to be the King to reign over us.
But tonight, here, us, we, we declare, we do want this man to reign over us. We do make this one the King over us. Jesus is our King. He is our Lord. And in so doing, you are relinquishing your rights to him. He now has the right to send you anywhere he wants you to go-- New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Niger. I can name a lot of places. God has editing rights over you, over your life. We want him to reign over us.
So Father, we in Jesus' name make that declaration. We say you are our King. You are our Lord. We want you to reign over us.
We don't look to government. We don't look to human leaders. We look to you and invite your Holy Spirit to preside over us, to direct us, to lead our steps. And we surrender, Father, and we do want a revival. We want you to do it again.
Send forth your Spirit. Let it break through this land. But we pray, Lord, that you would revive our hearts, our souls, as we commit them to you. Let it begin with us. And let us take what we know, what we feel, what we've experienced from this place, to all of the places we will go, to our city as we go back to our tents, back to our cities, back to our homes.
May we declare to our family, to our communities, to our city-state and country, that Jesus Christ is Lord and King. And by establishing him as King over them, over others, by relinquishing the rights of your life to him, you'll have that peace. You'll have that joy. You'll have that purpose.
Before we close this service tonight, I'm guessing there may be one or two or maybe more that has never relinquished, poured out, surrendered, their life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, you've come close. You've heard the gospel. You've come to church. You've come with relatives.
You've watched their surrender. You've watched their commitment. You've watched their worship. But you yourself have never personally surrendered to him. I'm going to give you that opportunity to do it now.
Others of you maybe have done something like that, but you've wandered away. You've walked away from him. You're not walking in obedience to him today. You need to come back. You need to recommit. You need to say, rule over us, Lord. Reign over us as Lord and Savior.
Our heads are bowed. Our eyes are closed. I'm going to keep my eyes open for just a moment. And if I just described you, whether you are going to come to him for the first time or you're going to rededicate your life, I want you to raise your hand up in the air so I can acknowledge you. And I'll pray for you as we close this service. Just raise your hand up.
There, God bless you, sir, up in the back, toward my left. Another one to my left-- yep, God bless you. I see your hand. Raise your hand up. Keep it up for just a moment. Yes sir, God bless you. And right over here, right up in the middle, to my right. Anybody else? God bless you, right up here in front, and to the right.
Father, we do pray for these right now. We pray you'll strengthen them, enliven them, quicken them. Bring them peace. Bring them a taste of your glory, for we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
OK, now we're not done yet. We're going to take the Lord's Supper. So we're going to sing a song, and we're going to pass out the elements. And we're going to give them to you as we do that.
But as we pass the elements out to you-- you don't have to get up-- I'm going to ask those of you who raised your hands, while we're passing the elements out, while we're going to you, you that raised your hand, during this song, I want you to get up out of your seat and just come stand here. We'll all take communion together. I'll take it with you.
But I'm going to lead you in a prayer of commitment or recommitment to the Lord. So if you raised your hand, while we're singing this song-- let's all stand, can we? Make it easy. You get up. If you raised your hand, get up right now as we sing and stand right up here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer.
Come, Holy Spirit, rain down on me. Break open the heavens, drench the unseen. Pour out your best as I pour out your praise. Come, Holy Spirit, Lord, have your way. As I worship your majesty, I worship your holy name. Jesus, my everything, all that I am is yours.
We don't do this to embarrass anyone. We do it to encourage everyone, but especially those of you who have made this decision or are making it. Thank you so much for coming down and being a part of this. And I'm going to lead you in prayer in a minute. We'll take the Lord's Supper after that together, with clean minds and clean hearts.
Anybody else want to join us in this sweet little circle right down here? Anybody else, before we pray and take the Lord's Supper? Now, those of you who have come forward, I'm going to ask you to say a prayer out loud after me. This is you committing your life to Christ, making it real, making it personal. You guys ready?
OK, I'm going to pray. You pray out loud after me. Say, Lord, I give you my life. I know that I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross. I believe he shed his blood for me. And I believe he rose again from the dead.
I turn from my past. I turn from my sin. I turn to Jesus as Savior. And I want to follow him as Lord. Help me. In Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
Amen. Yeah. All right, now, all of us, everyone who's come forward, everyone who has not, all of us together, we have the elements, yes? Are we all ready?
Then Father, we thank you in Jesus' name for what Jesus did on the cross. We thank you that his broken body and shed blood was enough to forgive us of all of our sins, cleanse us from all unrighteousness, give us a place in your kingdom, at your table, forevermore, as children, as sons and daughters, of the living God. And we take this, remembering what he did and so thankful that he did it for us. In Jesus' name. And everybody said, Amen.
Let's take it together. All right, now, if you don't mind, those of you who have come forward-- is there somebody here I can point to? Right over here, Antonio, brother Antonio, and our team right over here, see these wonderful, smiling, happy people? Would you follow them just for a minute. We want to just spend a moment with you. We want to give you something, actually give you a Bible and explain what it is to follow Jesus. It's an important step. Just follow them that way.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching in our series Expound.