Community Bible Chapel
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 2/28/16  Grasping After The Love of God In The King
 

We have been working to

 “grasp the width, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ” in the OT.

          -Grasping after it by both comprehending His love.

-Understanding the facts and concepts.

-And apprehending it by integrating those concepts

into our thinking and actions of life.

          -We have spent a number of weeks in Genesis and we will quickly move on through

some of the major events in Israel’s history.

          -In each case, looking at the three aspects of love that we picked up by answering

 the question of why God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

in the garden in the first place.

          -That tree revealed the nature of love.

1.  Love demands a choice to love the other person or to love self.

2.  The tree revealed our failure to love.

3.  And the tree revealed God’s perfect unfailing love.

          -So, we have been grasping after these concepts of love, and at the same time

                   making sure that we place the little story of these events firmly into the

                             midst of God’s big redemptive story.

         

Today, we will be compressing a vast period of time of Israel’s history.

While you are turning to I Samuel 8, let me give some background from

Moses up to Samuel.

          -After being brought out of Egypt, Israel entered and possessed

the promised land.

          -They have had challenges brought on by their sin, but God has continued to love

 His people and provide for them as their King.

          -We read through the sin cycle of Judges and Ruth.

-Israel sinned – God brought hardship –

Israel cried out to God – God sent a deliverer.

          -The last judge in Israel was Samuel and as he grew old, he appointed his sons

as judges, but they weren’t the Godly men that Samuel was.

          -And, wisely, the people recognized that . . .

READ I Samuel 8:4-9 

          So Samuel warned the people that a king will take the best of everything

for himself.

-He will take their children and make them serve in a military.

-He will take their fields and tax their productivity.

-All of the Nation will end up serving the king.

          -And he warned them that in the day that they cry out for relief – not because the

Nations around them are oppressing them, but because the king that they

 wanted is oppressing them, and God will not listen to them.

                   -He has provided exactly what they wanted.

          -Wow, hard to believe that this could be written today for our Nation.

          -But they insisted on having a king.

READ I Samuel 19-21

 

X  Nature of Love – a Choice

          X  Israel’s Choice
          -Israel was in a difficult place.
-They had a very Godly leader in Samuel.
-He lead the Nation well and according to God’s ways.
-But as Samuel got old, they needed a new leader.

          -To Israel’s credit, they rejected Samuel’s corrupt sons.

          -But rather than looking up and seeking after the Lord for a new leader,

                   they looked sideways to the nations around them.

                   -Their love for God waned and they loved what they saw in the other

nations around them.

Ps. 37:4  “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

-But Israel made a choice to take delight in what the Nations around them had.

-And God says to Samuel in v. 8

          “As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this

 day, forsaking me and serving other gods.”  

-No real surprise here, Israel rejected God and chose to love other things.

-The place of faith in their lives was almost non-existent.

          -Hanging on by the deep faith of a few, while the Nation was moving

                   to disassociate with God.

-So, the choice that Israel has is the same choice that we all have.

-We can either look around at what the world offers and set our desires upon it,

or we can seek after the Lord – the One true God, and set the desires

of our heart upon Him.
         
          X  God’s Choice.

          -Again, as we begin to look at the choice that God has, we understand that love

 demands a choice and God gives Israel the free will to chose Him

or reject Him.

          -And even though I know that, in the heat of difficulty in my own life,

I still question why God would allow me to fail?

 

-Why doesn’t He take that desire for the drugs away?

-Why doesn’t He take that anger away when I don’t get my way?

-Why doesn’t He break my computer when I press the porn button?   

-Those are natural questions and it’s the same in this passage.

-Why would God allow this, knowing they would fail?

        -Or we could ask it in the way the world does . . .

                   -What kind of God would set us up to fail?

          -I will answer part of that question now and the rest in a few minutes.

-One way would could answer that question is with another question.

                   -Would it be love if God forced Himself on Israel?

                   -Since love by nature includes the choice to love or not.

-So, what kind of God would set us up to fail?

-The kind of God who loves.

                   -Let me also take a quick look at the other side of the coin and see some of

 what God provided for Israel so they wouldn’t fail.

                             -He chose them to be His people.

                             -He provided for them.

                             -He delivered them from Egypt.

                             -He brought them into this land “flowing with milk and honey”

                             -He gave them good leadership.

                             -He gave them victory in battle.

                             -He has treated them with grace and mercy.

                             -He gave them wealth, life, and goodness.

                             -He treated them with all the descriptions of I Cor. 13.

                   -We could actually look at this question and reverse it by asking.

-What more could God have done for them so they could succeed?

          -Yet, verse 7 laments God’s position “they have rejected me as their king.”

          -Underline that verse – some of the saddest words in all of Scripture.

          -Unfortunately, they are words lived out far too often in our day.

 
X Failure To Love
          -I’m changing my terminology today.
          -I Cor. 13 tells us that “love never fails” and I’ve been using the phase

“a failed love” to describe our failure to love.

                   -Gods Word defines love in I John 3:16

          “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
-We paraphrase that as:  doing what is best for the other person,
no matter the cost.
                   -Love is 100% selfless.
 

          -But I don’t want anyone to think that love can fail, because that kind of

 love never fails.

                   -We may fail to love (which is how I have been speaking of it – as a love of

 self – or selfishness),
-But selfless love never fails.

          -So, to be clear, I will change this section from a “failed love” to a “failure to love”.

          -And we see a failure to love all over the 66 books of the Bible.

                    -By the way, the three parts that I have adopted for this series are not

 something I pulled out of thin air.

                   -All three are major themes that run all the way through God’s Word

                             and are things we should be looking for as we read.

          -The failure to love is obvious in this passage and is the same failure that exists

for all of Israel’s history as a Nation.

          -And that failure to love always comes from the heart that wants something

other than God.

                   -The people looked around and wanted to keep up with the Jones’.

                             Peer pressure on a National level.

                   -They were looking for security from their enemies.

                   -They were looking for someone to lead them in battle.

          -And these would be okay if they looked to God to provide them.

-But they wanted them in exclusion of God.

          -Why would a Nation who had the eternal and all powerful King of the universe

want anything other than Him?

          -For the same reason that you and I jump at the chance to grab

what the world offers.

-It promises to meet the desires of our heart without the hard work

of being in relationship with God.

                   -It’s the foolishness of selfish pride that thinks we can do it without God.

          -And as Verse 8 tells us, Israel has been doing that all along.

          -And it will continue into the future, as we read the rest of Samuel, Kings, and

 Chronicles, we read about a succession of kings that all fail to love.

-Just as Samuel warned the people.

                   -God gave them Saul - started well – but failed.

                   -God replaced him with David – he failed to love.

-Then his son Solomon - he failed to love.

                   -The Kingdom was left to Solomon’s sons and they proceeded to split

the kingdom into Israel and Judah.

                   -And that is followed by a long list of kings who failed to love.

                   -Some better than others, but all failed to love.

          -That continues until God brings a foreign king to conquer Israel and Judah.

          -Generation after generation of human failure to love.

          -What a mess.

          -A few years ago, my Mom started reading through the Bible

and she called one night and said:  “I thought the Bible was about people
 doing good things for God?”

          -But the Bible isn’t about good people, because people aren’t good.

                   -We have all been born with the sin nature of Adam.

-The Bible is about a good God, who loves His people even when they fail to love.

-One thing that is abundantly clear as we read the Bible is that

          we are in desperate need being saved.

And how foolish to look sideways to other people who are in the same predicament

that we are in.
-Instead, we look upward and see God’s . . .
 X Unfailing Love

          -Even in the Israel’s failure to love, God’s unfailing love continues to be given

to Israel – the people that God has chosen to receive His special love.

          -Did God know that all these earthly kings would fail to love?

          -Of course – He knows all about our sinful nature. 

          -So, if God is loving, why would God give them failing kings?

          -The real answer to the question I asked earlier: 

Why would God allow this knowing we would fail? 

-Because God knew He would not fail.

-His love is perfectly selfless and never fails.

-God continues to provide for His people.

-While Samuel was the last judge of Israel . . . and that chapter was closing,

he is also the first prophet.

          -The first of a long line of prophets that would tell the truth about what

                   God was going to do in the future to love His people.

                   -And tell it with 100% accuracy.

-Even in the face of Israel rejecting God’s prophet, God would continue to send

 them the good news that The true King was coming.

-Those prophets spoke to the little story of Israel, and pointed them to . . .

X The Big Redemptive Story

          -The little story shows human failure to love over many generations.

                   -We are now most of the way through the OT history, and we have not

 found one person who loved unfailingly.

                   -That’s because we all have the fatal flaw – sin, that brings destruction

and death.

          -In the big story that all points to the fact that our sin nature always ends bad.

                   -And that forces us to look to God and his perfect love for our hope.

-In the big story, a coming King – the Lord Jesus Christ was on the way.

          -He wouldn’t be like a selfish earthly king, but would demonstrate God’s love for

His people in His own death.

          -He didn’t come to tax the people or burden them, but to free them from

the tyranny of sin and death.

          -That’s the little story/big story dynamic that we all live in every day.

-We are always living in the context of the failure to love in the little story.

-But at the moment we trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin,

our little story is swallowed up in God’s big redemptive story.

-How foolish of us to be shrinking our story down to the little words

 of our life when God wants to expand our lives into the wide expanses

of His big story.
         
X Our Response to God’s love.

          -One response all need is to trust in God.

                   -Israel rejected their need for God and wanted to do it themselves.

                   -But our only hope is to trust in God’s good news of Jesus Christ.

                   -He came into the little story of our lives and died for us so that we might

 live in His big story.
                   ABC
 

          -And even as believers, it is easy for us to forget what God is doing as we get

 bogged down in the little story of our existence.

-We follow our own desires and attempt to rule our own little kingdom of Jack.

                   -We look around us and see the lack of political candidates to lead us.

                   -We see failing health and our inability to work.

                   -We see a failure to love and its results in almost every relationship.

                             (hopefully you took care of some of that last week)

          -Life can be discouraging and fearful when we stay focused on the little story.

                   -It can be overwhelming.

          -But when I include God’s big redemptive story, and begin to live for that,

                   then the little story takes on great significance and purpose.

          -So many people like reading the Psalms.

          -One of the reasons it’s so popular is that it reminds us of the

 little story/big story dynamic.

          -So many of the Psalms are written from the perspective of the little story.

                   -There is some situation in the writers life that is plaguing

them or is a concern.
 
 

                   -And just before that last wave of the sea floods their heart and      

drowns them for good, they turn and remember

the big redemptive story.

                   -And as they do, hope is renewed – it will be okay.

                             -Not because the little story is changed, but because the writer

 remembers the big story and how their little story fits into it.

-And joy returns and love is rekindled in their hearts.

 

Ending story.

Last week I took my children to a restaurant.  My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.
 As we bowed our heads he said,  "God is good. God is great.  Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if  Mom gets us ice cream for dessert.  And Liberty and justice for all!   Amen!"
 Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark,  "That's what's wrong with this country.  Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice-cream! Why, I never!"
 Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me,  "Did I do it wrong?

Is God mad at me?"
 As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and  God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.  He winked at my son and said,
 "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."
 "Really?" my son asked.
 "Cross my heart," the man replied.
 Then in a theatrical whisper he added . . . "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.  

 little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal.  

My son stared at his for a moment  and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her,
 "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."

 

That boy was learning to interpret his life in the little story - by the larger reality

 of God’s big redemptive story . . .  and it formed his thinking and actions to love.

-He has beginning to grasp (comprehend/apprehend) the love of Christ.

          How about you? 
         
 

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