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Protection in Spite of Rejection

Faith and Failure  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Sara’s Story

I have invited Sara to tell part of her story that helps set up today’s message.
Protection in spite of rejection.
Sara and her friends rejected wisdom and the warnings of the danger of spending the night on the beach.
And a pack of wild dogs could have attacked them, but instead, protected them from a gang.
Sara didn’t know God at the time, but God knew her. He chose to protect her and her friends that night.
God has promised to be gracious and merciful w/ those of us who know Him.
When Christians choose to reject God, He still chooses to protect us.
Here’s the story that comes from .


The people regret having God as their King and not having a human king like all the other nations.

Just like everybody else

1 Samuel 8:4–9 NIV
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
They wanted to be like everybody else.
It requires confidence in who you are, strong self-image, security to be unique.
No one likes to be singled out, different.
Unless, it’s God who made you different and you are confident in who God made you to be. Your ID.
In their insecurity, they wanted to be like everybody else and have a king.
God assured Sam that it wasn’t him they were rejecting. It was God. God was their king and He provided everything and human king would provide.
And, He’s gracious and merciful, too.
God instructed Sam to warn them what it will be like.
The king owns everything. You own nothing. If the king wants it, he takes it.
He will take your sons to build his army.
He will take your daughters to staff his palace.
He will take you vineyards and crops to supply his staff.
Remember, God only asks for 10%. A king will ask for all of it.
Their response:

Rejected instruction

1 Samuel 8:19
1 Samuel 8:19 NIV
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.
Sam had laid it all out. This is how it’s going to be.
They didn’t care. Their desire was to have their own king, not God.
Before we come down too hard on them, think about how many times we refuse to listen to God, reject His instruction, thinking we know better.
And so, God being who He is, He gave them what they asked for even though it was the wrong thing.

Be careful what you ask for

1 Samuel 8:22 NIV
The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”
Answered prayer is not always a good thing. We should be thankful God doesn’t always give us what we ask for even though we use the 3-word magic formula: In Jesus’ name.
Just pray believing and God will give you what you want.
Let’s pause and thank God for all the prayers we’ve prayed that He didn’t answer for our own good.
Remember that guy you had to have? That job? That house? That car? That outfit?
Over the holidays I repeatedly asked you the question, “What do you want?”
Too often when we get what we want we realize it’s not what we really wanted after all. But b/c we got what we wanted and now we’re in debt or divorced we can’t get what we want.
We end up living w/ regrets.
Regret: Not being able to get what you want b/c you got what you wanted.
Israel got what they wanted. The asked for a king and God gave them a king.
So, what’s the problem? There’s a big problem
It’s described in .

The Problem

Exodus 19:3–6 NIV
Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

Supposed to be different

They’ve left Egypt, on their way to the PL, and before Moses gets the 10 commandments.
God reminds them He delivered them out. They’d still be slaves if not for Him.
He had promised Abraham and now was the time to fulfill the promise of land.
So, as you get into the land and settle, you are going to look different than everybody else.
There’s a condition. If you live faithfully and obediently you will stay in the land land it will produce for you.
So, as you get into the land and settle, you are going to look different than everybody else. A holy nation. Set apart by God. Set apart for His purposes.
A holy nation. Set apart by God. Set apart for His purposes.
For instance, They were the only nation to take a day off each week. As a result, they lost business opportunities on purpose.
But, they were supposed to trust God on the other 6 days that they would have ample business to be successful.
And, a kingdom of priests.

Access to God

Priests are the only ones who have direct access to God. And God says they will be a kingdom of priests.
They will all have access to God.
God owns the entire earth and its inhabitants. But Israelites are the only ones who will have direct access to God. No body else.
If you live faithfully and obediently you will have regular direct access to the Creator of the Universe.
There is no reason to want anyone else’s life. No reason to want be like them. There is nothing that they have access to that is as valuable as the access you have.
Don’t wish you had their life. If they are paying attention at all they will wish they had your life.
If anybody else in the world, on that side of the cross, wanted access to God they had to become Jewish by faith and action first.
God is a gracious God. So, why wouldn’t they?
Grace is important. It means something. Believers are blessed even though they don’t deserve it.


God demonstrates His grace in how he treated Saul and Israel after He gave them what they asked for.
Saul: He was the wrong guy.

The wrong guy

1 Samuel 9:1–2 NIV
There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
From the tribe of Benjamin. The wrong tribe!
The first-born was Reuben. You’d think God would choose his tribe to produce the kings and Savior who would bless the world.
But God chose Judah. Judah was the 4th son of Leah, Jacob’s second favorite wife.
Judah’s tribe produced king David and Jesus. Israel knew to look for their great kings from the tribe of Judah.
Saul was a Benjamite. The wrong tribe. He was the wrong guy. But, he looked good. Isn’t that how we evaluate people?
A doctor friend of mine told me once he’s surprised how many attractive people come to see him and everyone’s assumption is b/c they are attractive they must really have everything together. Then, they tell him their story and he discovers how messed up they are on the inside.
The best way to evaluate people is rarely the obvious.
Israel should have known better.
But, even though Saul was the wrong guy from the wrong tribe and this was the wrong time for Israel to demand a king God still worked in their favor.

God blessed them

1 Samuel 10:6–7 NIV
The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.
Sam talking to Saul when he informs him he is going to be Israel’s first king.
This is what’s going to happen to Saul in the next few days.
You’d think that this is so wrong and they are so disobedient that God would turn His back on them and let them experience the full weight of the consequences.
The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on Saul. He prophecied, a super-natural gift of the Spirit and he preached powerfully to the people.
God didn’t turn His back, He turned Saul into someone he hadn’t been.
Boot-camp. Those first 6 months of a soldiers stint. The staff sgt is trained and effective in tearing down every recruit to nothing then rebuilding them into a soldier.
It takes months.
The HS did this to Saul instantaneously. He was a changed man.
Everyone who encounters God cannot help but be changed for the better.
Saul was alive like never before.
And, from then on, everything his hand found to do the Lord was w/ him.
That is until he completely DQ’d himself thru extreme disobedience.
The wrong guy from the wrong tribe at the wrong time. You’d think that God would turn His back.
But these are His children.
So God empowered Saul to lead His children b/c if he’d left him alone he would destroy them.
Like w/ our children. When we see them making a poor decision, b/c we love them we can’t not help them make the best of their bad choice.
As w/ our gracious God. When we make a poor choice God intervenes.
B/C of our disobedience, the consequences won’t be as good as the should be but God won’t let them be as bad as the could be.
God didn’t leave Israel to try to figure this out on their own. he chose the man He wanted t/b their first king.
Even though they didn’t deserve any good to come from their demand, God did it anyway.
Israel dug themselves a deep hole and it could have been so much worse.
It should have been a lot better, but their arrogance got in their way and they kept digging.

The Hole

A friend of mine used to always say, “When you realize you’re digging yourself into a deep hole, the first thing you need to do is put down the shovel.”
Stop digging. Stop talking. Just stop.
Realize you’ve dug yourself into a hole

Evidence of the hole

1 Samuel 10:17–22 NIV
Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.” When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”
First clue, Saul is a Benjamite. Wrong tribe.
Second clue, Sam tells them straight up, you rejected God.
He’s the one who delivered you out of Egypt. Israel plundered them w/out a fight. Egypt paid Israel to leave b/c the plagues had become so severe.
God led you into the PL where you’ve become a nation, a kingdom.
God has been your king who led you thru the wilderness, caused the walls of Jericho to fall, thundered to confuse the Philistines and all you’ve had to do is mop up.
God would continue to do all this if only you would accept Him and not reject Him.
Of course we know, that God had in mind to give them a human king soon enough in David. But, they wanted one now.
Third clue, Saul is hiding among the supplies.
Great strong leader there. The kind of guy you want to follow. This isn’t a war, it’s his inauguration, his anointing and he’s hiding from them.
They should see the signs. Pick up on the clues. They were digging themselves into a deep hole.
You’d think they would humble themselves. Repent.
Put down the shovel.
But they didn’t. In their arrogance they pressed on.


This train was well down the tracks. The longer and farther it goes the harder it is to be humble and admit the mistake.
But, it wasn’t too late. They could have.
Yet, here is their response
1 Samuel 10:24 NIV
Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
Yes, God chose him. He looked the part.
Sometimes God chooses things for us to recognize our mistake. So, we can say God led us here.
But, not necessarily to reward us but to show us what we did wrong and how to correct.
The people should have rejected Saul as their king.
But they rejected God and praised Saul.
Their arrogance blinded them to their poor choice.
God warned them repeatedly thru Samuel, don’t do this. He gave them numerous clues to figure out they were headed down a bad path, but the ignored them.
So, how does God treat His children when they insist on making bad choices?
God provides protection in spite of our rejection.
Things won’t go as good as they should, but God won’t let them be as bad as they could.
God is a gracious God and it’s meaningful, powerful, and significant for us to realize even when we make poor choices.


Put the shovel down

In those moments of clarity and maybe divine intervention, and you realize you have dug yourself into a hole.
Stop digging.
Humble yourself. Admit your mistake. Own it. Apologize for it. Make it right.
Climb out of your hole and try something different.

Be careful what you pray for

You might just get it.
Remember, “in Jesus’ name” isn’t a magic formula for answered prayer. It means to pray what Jesus would pray and/or do if He were here to do it himself.
First, pray His will for your life.
Even if you’re blinded and praying for something you think you really, really want; don’t be mad at God if you don’t get it.
It might not be good for you. Wrong guy, wrong house, wrong job, wrong time, wrong something.
But, if you insist, rest in the promise that though things won’t go as good as they should, God won’t let them go as bad as they could.
You are His child and He loves you enough to soften your landing even when you jump off the wrong cliff.

Be different

God has made you holy. You are different.
We’ve been set apart by God for His purposes.
Sometimes our desire to be relevant we think we’re missing out on something fun or important.
But we, not only have access to the Creator of the Universe, He lives inside us. We’re not missing out on anything.
We have access to everything good.
Don’t wish you had your friend’s life. If they are paying attention they wish they had yours.
Live faithfully and obediently and God will take good care of you.
We have protection in spite of our rejection.
God is a gracious God doing good for us that we don’t deserve.
Our lives should be good. We have access to everything good.
But, when we make bad choices, God loves us enough to intervene and soften our landing.
When we do, things won’t go as good as they should, but God doesn’t let them go as bad as they could.
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