As Douglas Wilson has observed, these are fragile times. And when a nation finds itself in the kind of mess we find ourselves in, there is a kind of widespread longing for a leader who has the qualities, vision, and ability to show the way out. That makes sense. Who doesn’t want to find their way out of a mess? But it’s a dangerous spot to be in. It can leave one vulnerable to charlatans and pipe dreams.
A wise dead guy once wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. Given the fallibility of humanity, it makes sense to look and see if such a mess has happened on a nation-wide scale before, and what was successfully done about it. And given our desire for a solution we can actually count on, it makes sense to do that in the Bible.
Which brings us to the book of Samuel (found in two parts in our English Bibles). There’s guidance here for this longing inside of us for a leader. A leader who won’t fail us. A leader who can truly deliver. And it’s all found in the story of David and Goliath, which is actually — as we discovered on Sunday — a story about three Kings. A story that helps us understand all of 1 and 2 Samuel. We could sum up that whole story this way:
God raises up kings to rule the Israelites. The first is a failure, and the second becomes God’s most faithful king, but then rebels, resulting in the slow destruction of his family and kingdom. And it all points to the Leader we long for.
This past Sunday we spent the majority of our study discovering where not to look for that One who will show the way out. But that doesn’t mean the longing was wrong. Or even that the longing for a King was wrong. It has always been God’s plan to save us from this mess through a man. And this coming Sunday, we will find, in the middle of this story brought to us in Samuel, the answer to humanity’s longing for a Leader.
I hope you’ll be able to join us, both on Easter Sunday at 10:30am (as well as Good Friday at 7pm). A great way to prepare would be to:
- Make sure you’ve continued reading through The Whole Story as we preach through it each Sunday, which means this week you’ll complete 2 Samuel. And don’t worry, if you are behind, or haven’t even started, don’t let that stop you. Jump in right now by reading 1 and 2 Samuel this week.
- Review last week’s sermon on Samuel (part one).
- Click here and here to find videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this remarkable tale of some of the most famous stories in the Bible. A tale filled with Kings, Giants, Miracles, Battles, War, and — the Leader we all long for.
As always, please feel free to email me with questions about or ideas for The Whole Story.
Looking forward to our Gathering on Sunday morning,
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.