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Israel's King

CASKET EMPTY  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:10:15
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CASKET empty

It’s been a while since we were in our Casket Empty series. Actually it’s been over a year.
So today, I’m going to give you a 30,000 foot reminder of where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Casket Empty is a way of referring to the Old and New Testament and putting them in a context. Casket - obviously reminds us of death. Both words are acronyms for the Bible.
For the Old Testament we use the word Casket:
C- Creation
A - Abraham
S - Sinai
K - Kings
E - Exhile
T - Temple
That is the banner that you see up here. Now, clearly I cannot cover everything in a sermon, so I do want to encourage you, if you don’t have one to pick up the book, “Casket Empty” Old Testament Study Guide, and we have some book marks as well that will help you to understand your Bible better.
Creation - we began with the beginning. “In the beginning, God...” and as we’ve learned how you understand those opening words to our Scripture will have a great impact on how you understand the rest of the Bible. This truly is God’s story and our story is woven into it.
As we studied the Creation we learned of Adam and Eve, the Fall, and then we saw that the story wasn’t over. God was not going to leave His creation mired by the sin that had entered the world through the temptation and giving in of Humankind. We watched as the world continued to get worse and God chooses to wipe every living creature off the earth with the exception of those with Noah and his family in the ark. Thus, from the earliest chapters we see that god is not finished, in fact, God is working a plan of redemption and this continues through history.
Part of this plan was to choose a people. And God calls Abraham (formerly Abram) and his wife Sarah (formerly Sarai) out of the city of Ur and to go to the land of Canaan. By faith, he and his family embark on this journey, and during this time God makes a number of incredible promises. Abraham is old and yet he is told he is to have many descendants, a relationship with God, his own land, God’s presence with him, all the nations will be blessed by him, he will be the father of many nations, and kings will come from him. These promises are foundational for the entire Bible and central to God’s plan of redemption through history.
It is during this period that we really see how God fulfills his promises in the midst of impossibility. Through Abraham and Sarah, we are given Ishmael and Isaac, and Isaac is the child of promise given through his wife Sarah. Isaac then has two sons Esau and Jacob, and again, Jacob becomes the focus as his name is changed to Israel. He has 12 sons that then become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Sinai - the third period that we talked about is called Sinai because God delivers the Israelites out of Egypt int he Exodus and brings them to a place called Mount Sinai. Having been redeemed by God from slavery, the descendants of Israel will become a great nation and a holy people. The Lord God calls his redeemed people to worship and serve him alone, giving Moses the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai and makes a covenant with the Israelites called the Mosaic covenant. The Isrealites agree to keep God’s laws, which are the stipulations of the covenant, and so they declare:
Exodus 24:3 (ESV)
“All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
It’s during this period that God instructs Moses to build a tabernacle so that he might dwell with the people. However, while Moses is up on the mountain receiving God’s Law, the Israelites build an idol in the form of a golden calf and worship it instead. In so doing they forsake the Lord but Moses intercedes on behalf of the people. God in his grace and mercy withholds his anger revealing his character as Exodus 34:6-7
Exodus 34:6–7 (ESV)
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
This then becomes a defining moment in the life of Israel — both in terms of Israel’s idolatrous heart and the revelation of God’s gracious character which is identified with his name, Yahweh. The covenant is renewed due to God’s grace, and he continues to dwell with a stubborn and stiff-necked people.
It’s during this period the priesthood and sacrificial system are established in order that a holy God might dwell in the midst of a rebellious people. Israel makes its journey into the promised land, but they continue to rebel against God.
So, we’re seeing this pattern of God’s covenantal promise to Israel, Israel’s promise to follow God, Israel’s rebellion, and God’s intervention to redeem them in some way. God continues to keep his promise while the people continue to ebb and flow between obedience and rebellion.
When we end in the book of Judges we are at the point:
Judges 21:25 ESV
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Israel then looks around and thinks if only we had a king like the other nations. In reality they had a king, and that was God. Again, it demonstrates their rejection of God and his sovereignty over them.
So now we get to our passage for today:1 Sam 10:1-9
1 Samuel 10:1–9 ESV
Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage. When you depart from me today, you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has ceased to care about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?” ’ Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you. Then go down before me to Gilgal. And behold, I am coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.” When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.
This is a reading from God’s Holy Word.
Thanks be to God.
As we enter the season of the Kings, the people of Israel have gone to Samuel the prophet of the time and asked him to appoint a King over them so they can be like everyone else. God gives them a king, and its Saul.
As we view Saul looking back we can see that he was a bad king, but we don’t want to read Scripture backwards, we need to read it forward. We have the advantage of not only knowing about David, and Solomon, and follow that all the way to Jesus.
Some things I want us to note here in our passage and then what we know of Saul.
First vs. 6, 1 Sam 10:6
1 Samuel 10:6 ESV
Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.
There is a truth here. A truth we read also in 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
When God is with us it changes us. When the Spirit rushes upon us we are turned into different people, the people that we were created to be!
Yet sometimes we’re less than willing. As we look at the history of Saul, just a few verses later, after Samuel has anointed Saul as king Saul says nothing about it to his uncle.
And then when Saul is to be proclaimed to be king over Israel in vs. 22, when they can’t find Saul, 1 Sam 10:22
1 Samuel 10:22 ESV
So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.”
So they run and get him, and he stands head and shoulders above the people. And we get to v 24, 1 Sam 10:24
1 Samuel 10:24 ESV
And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
Have you ever been put in a position you weren’t quite comfortable with? Perhaps you were asked to lead a group, to be a part of a group, to speak about something or whatever. And you did not think you were worthy, capable, or up to the task. I think you we all can relate to how Saul felt. Even though from the outside he looked like a leader.
1 Samuel 10:23 (ESV)
And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward.
Saul is selected as king. I have read commentators say this is the king the people chose, and go on to contrast Saul and David stating the difference between when God chooses a king and when the people do. That’s not true. Remember this is the king God chose for Israel in response to their request for a king. Through the selection process it is clear that God is guiding the selection.
For what purpose?
As we learn later Saul will disobey God. And we can ask why, but if we look back we will see that Saul is from the tribe of Benjamin. But when we look back we see that God’s chosen king will come from the line of Judah according to the promise of kings to Abraham.
So again, it comes down to God.
Yesterday we had a work day, here in the parking lot, and changed a lot of light bulbs here within the church building. My knees are a bit stiffer from all those trips up and down the ladder, but I know from the work of everyone that was here yesterday - they weren’t doing it for their glory. NO. It was for the church. It was an offering of their time and talent.
It was for God’s glory.

God’s Glory!

That is the contrast we will see between David and Saul. It is the contrast we will see throughout Scripture and God’s dealings with the people of Israel.
The Redemption of Israel that will eventually come, our redemption is less about us and all the more about God.
When we look at the timeline that is in front of us, we see God working from the beginning. As sin enters the world the redemption story begins as God works to return us to the life we were created to live in deep communion and fellowship with Him bringing Him glory.
So you’re asked to do something that feels beyond you?
You’re in a situation that feels bigger than you?
Don’t hide in the baggage (you can describe baggage any way you like).
Keep moving and giving God the glory!
Jesus said it well:
Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
To God be the glory!
AMEN
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