Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 102

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Welcome to Day 102 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: 1 Samuel 13; 1 Chronicles 2, 3; 2 Corinthians 12 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

1 Samuel 13:1 “Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel [forty] two years.”

Note: Some commentaries state that the word “forty” just means, “a long time.”  Another stated that the word forty does not appear in the Hebrew and that he reigned only two years. (Perhaps it just seemed like a long time… a commander-and-king whose army has no weapons??) But in Acts 13:21 it states that Saul reigned forty years… Hmmm… It doesn’t make sense to me that his earliest recorded act was to offer a sacrifice, be chastised by Samuel, rejected by God then left to lead for forty years?

I digress… It doesn’t really matter how long he reigned…

1 Samuel 13: 7 “Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

1 Chronicles 2 and 3 provide again, the lineage from the twelve tribes of Israel through the lineage of David… (David hasn’t been anointed as king yet by Samuel, so Chronicles jumps ahead on the timeline…)

2 Corinthians Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” and his concern for the Corinthians, continuing to attempt to justify his straightforward approach in his first letter, and his apostleship.

O bservation

As I touched on this yesterday, I’ll try to be brief today… regarding Saul’s foolish act of offering the sacrifice himself in stead of waiting on Samuel, who incidentally showed up shortly thereafter.

How often do we take matters into our own hands, rather than simply waiting on the Lord to act on our behalf?

I mean, it sounded like a good idea… Offering sacrifices is a good thing, right? Does it really matter who offers it?? Saul was the king! Kings do what they want, right? His armies were scattering in fear and frustration… he HAD to do SOMETHING! RIGHT??

Yes… but not offer the sacrifice himself.

He could have offered up a hopeful speech… knelt before his armies in prayer, inquired of the Lord as to where Samuel was… (I’ll forego the “Why didn’t you call me if you knew you were going to be late?” obvious cell phone reference.)

But he chose the wrong thing. To offer a sacrifice himself. Definitely foolish. Probably arrogant…

A pplication

Bottom line? We all have a tendency to do exactly the same thing… to take matters into our own hands out of fear and frustration.

Then we…

Make excuses: “Well… Samuel was late! Someone had to do something!”

Blame: “It’s your fault, Samuel! If you had been on time, this wouldn’t have happened!”

Rationalize: “I didn’t think it was THAT big of a deal that I offered the sacrifice myself…”

“Well… I can do whatever I want… then I’ll ask for forgiveness…”

“Well… We’re under grace, not the law… so you have to forgive me…”

“Well… __________________________” (You fill in the blank…)

A fancy title… a little power… losing sight of what’s really important… chasing after the wrong things… all add up to bad decisions and the loss of kingship.

Note to self.

P rayer

Lord, help me to not believe my own press… to focus on your thoughts toward me, not on what others think of me… To always live according to your word. By your grace…

So I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe, of the One who gave it all. I’ll stand, my soul, Lord, to You surrendered, all… I am… is Yours…




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7 thoughts on “Day 102

  1. Mark Long on said:

    Wow, the whole passage from 2Cor 12 really spoke to me today. I just love Paul! Its hard to imagine all that he and the other apostles went through in that day and age and kept on course spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

    I don’t really understand the passage about the third heaven, but his passion for the people and his unfailing love is a true inspiration!

    Lord, your grace is all I need! Use my weakness to your glory. Thank you for loving me first!

  2. One of the things that captured me about the passage was that Saul did not stay in his lane. He took upon himself the Priestly mantle and it was not his to wear. He was responsible for doing what he was called to do- in this case wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice. Each of us has a lane, a calling, and though we may know how to do certain things it is not always right for us to do them. Carelessly and thoughtlessly changing lanes can cause all kinds of messes, even death to self and others.

  3. Nicole Marvin on said:

    2 Cor. 12:7-10 (Msg)
    “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down, what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and the he told me, “My grace is enough, it’s all you need.
    My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
    Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

    The gift of a handicap. The weaker I get, the stronger I become. We sure don’t see the whole picture. Isaiah 55:8 says “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. God’s Decree.”

    I read in Halley’s Bible handbook about this chapter. It says that Paul’s thorn in his flesh was probably Chronic Ophthalmia, a disease of the eyes, which was not extremely painful, but at times he was repulsive in appearance.

    We see handicaps, hard times, accidents, physical ailments, job loss, kinks in the road (our life not going the way we had planned) as problems. We want to pray them away. Get rid of them. Get back to our comfortable, predictable, planned lives. God has other plans. Our “problems” can be looked at as gifts. Weakness turns in to strength.

    My son has been diagnosed with narcolepsy. He got strep throat last year and the virus wiped out his hypocretin (the neurotransmitter that helps you stay awake) . He went from being an energetic, active eight year old boy, to at times a weak, lethargic boy who needs medicine to stay awake and requires naps and an early bed time. I pray daily for his healing. It saddens me to think that he will need to be on medicine for the rest of his life and that he misses out on things because he needs to sleep. But what if narcolepsy is God’s gift to him? What if it will help him (and his family) stay on his/their knees-remembering that we aren’t in control. Our weakness is turned in to strength because of Christ.

    Thank you, Lord, for trials, the kinks in the road of life, for my weaknesses and for opposition. Thank you that when I am weak, I become strong. Keep me humble. I trust you.

  4. Seems like Saul went from (1samuel 22-24) “hiding among the baggage.” And from the kingship to the extreme if offering up his own sacrifices without Samuel! Yes panicked and sounds a little over confident to me.
    I am so grateful for 2 corn. 12:9 my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Father, remind me in my struggles to focus on you and who I am in you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

  5. Samuel said, “What on earth are you doing?”
    Saul answered, “When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn’t come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, I said, ‘The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven’t yet come before GOD asking for his help.’ So I took things into my own hands, and sacrificed the burnt offering.” 1 Samuel 12:11-12 (MSG)

    He certainly had good intentions for sure. He knew that a burnt offering was required, but he didn’t go about it right. He had God in mind, but not in the right way. He succumbed to panic and took matters into his own hands. In his judgment, the act of the sacrifice is what mattered. Also, when he saw the enemies closing in, he showed serious lack of faith, doubting that God already had things worked out for them. I’ve think that church leaders can sometimes make compromise for fear of losing part of the congregation.

    Ritualistic prayer before a meal or bed can be like this today. We shouldn’t pray just to pray. I’m getting better at catching myself doing this, but I still catch myself ripping through the Lord’s prayer. We have to pray with our spirit engaged. I think I mentioned something similar in another post about worship, but we need to pray as if God is in the room. It is also important to wait on God and operate on his schedule and priorities. As a testimony, I committed to serving this weekend and a second service opportunity came up. The second event is a rare and special opportunity, but I declined since I was already committed then prayed an apology to God for turning it down if he really wanted me to be there. Wouldn’t you know that something unusual came up freeing me from my original commitment. God has perfect timing. Things usually don’t work well when I try to force it. Wait on the Lord…

    Lord, Your grace is truly enough. Our weaknesses are your strengths. I am so thankful that you have everything worked out, and I trust in Your plan. You never lead me astray. I know that I stumble along the way and like the disciples I don’t get it half the time. By Your grace I make it through. I pray for better understanding of your perfect plan for my life. In Jesus name I ask this.

  6. Marcia on said:

    The word compelled screamed to me through today’s reading. Saul said he was compelled to sacrifice the burnt offering. When we move in our flesh we often feel “compelled.”
    God help me to move in Your Spirit. Help me to make right choices.

  7. The phrase, “do something lest you do nothing” comes to mind here. If you are not moving forward, are you going backwards?
    These feelings drive us to action. Lord, please set our crooked paths straight.

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