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,
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
Day Thirty-Two: A Mother's Wisdom (part two)
Yesterday, we heard from what was likely King Solomon’s mother imparting worthy words of wisdom in the area of leadership. For the sayings of wisdom we find here are those “which his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). And she now turns her attention to the search for a woman of virtue and noble character, suitable to be a wife and mother.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.