FUNCTION

| 3 May 2013 |

FUNCTION

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: 1 Samuel 13

/Samuel Rebukes Saul/

*13* Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned
over Israel forty- two years.

2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with
him at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were
with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back
to their homes.

3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the
Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout
the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4 So all Israel heard
the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel
has become a stench to the Philistines.” And the people were
summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand
chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the
sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth
Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical
and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets,
among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed
the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

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 Micmash, 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 acted foolishly,” 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 leader of his people, because you have not
kept the Lord’s command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul
counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

/Israel Without Weapons/

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in
Gibeah in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Micmash. 17
Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three
detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual, 18
another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland
overlooking the Valley of Zeboim facing the desert.

19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel,
because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make
swords or spears!” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to
have their plowshares, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. 21 The
price was two thirds of a shekel for sharpening plowshares and
mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and
for repointing goads.

22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan
had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had
them.

____________________________________________

Here’s a general rule when reading scripture. If there are drastic
results to something that seems fairly minor (such as, a king being
told his kingdom will not endure because he made a sacrifice to God)
then it’s worth looking deeper into what is really happening.

In the Israel culture, two main roles existed: Priests, who had the
responsibility of seeing to the spiritual well being of the people and
casting the vision, and kings, who had the responsibility of going out
to battle and bringing back the spoils in order to provide for the
vision.

Part of the function of the priest was to perform the sacrifice before
battle. However, as we see here, Samuel was late. He was expected to
be there within 7 days. After 7 days, Saul, the king – not the priest
– took it upon himself to perform the sacrifice. A seemingly good act
that resulted in a terrible consequence for him. Why?

Because he stepped out of what God had called him to be and do. He was
a king, not a priest. As such, he was not permitted to perform
priestly duties.

A CALL TO ACTION

The principle remains: today we have kings (businessmen who go into
the work place to finance the vision of the priests) and priests (or
pastors, who provide vision for the people and the church). Both the
role of king and priest exist in order to grow the body of Christ. You
have a role to play. Whether you’re in full time ministry (a
“priest”) or in secular work (a “king”) you have an important
task in the Kingdom. Are you fulfilling it? The way the king fulfills
his/her role is by going to battle (the workplace) and bringing back
the finances that can support the vision of the priest – or, more
practically, the work of the church. If you are not doing that, you
are being disobedient to God’s instructions and also not fulfilling
the role you are destined to fulfill. Today, start seeing your job as
more than a job. Your job is an opportunity to sow into the vision God
has given your pastor for your church. Tithe with your head held high,
knowing that you are part of something much bigger than yourself.

A PRAYER TO PRAY

God thank you that I have a part to play in furthering your kingdom.
Please help me to understand my role and have a good attitude about
sowing into your church and supporting the vision of my leaders. Amen.

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