Consider What Is At Stake
Samuel was the last and one of the greatest of the “Judges in Israel.” Some of the judges before Samuel were Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon and Samson. When Samuel was old he appointed his sons as judges in Israel. Sadly, these men were vile and corrupt. “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” (1 Samuel 8:1-3) The people were so disappointed with Samuel sons that they asked him to appoint a king over the nation. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:4-5) This request was a grief to the heart of Samuel. “But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:6-9)
God instructed Samuel to tell the people what their King would do to them. “And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:10-18) Israel’s request to have a king was not a good thing because it was the rejection of God.
Israel's three most famous kings were Saul, David and Solomon. God’s first choice to be King of Israel was Saul. At first he was a humble leader. Sadly, Saul made many mistakes as King of Israel. David was a very unlikely choice to be King, but God selected him as the second king. Much of the time that David was king, Israel was involved in wars. Solomon, the son of David by Bathsheba, was the third King in Israel. Solomon did not use his great wisdom to serve God. He married many women; these women turned his heart away from God. After Solomon's death his son Rehoboam, became king. In the early days of Rehoboam's reign, Jeroboam and the people of Israel came to him to ask that their burdens be lightened. Sadly, Rehoboam would not listen. He decided that he would crush Israel under a heavy tax burden. In response to this, ten of the twelve tribes separated themselves and became the kingdom of Israel. Rehoboam was left with only one tribe and that was only for David's sake.
After the kingdom was divided, Jeroboam became king of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. He was a very wicked king. He is remembered by the statement, "He made Israel sin." Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (1 Kings 12:26-28) “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem!” Jereboam tried to make it easier for the people by setting up a false god in Bethel and another in Dan. The Bible says, "This thing became a sin." What Jeroboam did was a sin of idolatry, a sin of doubt, a sin of rebellion. Jeroboam said, "It is asking too much to ask people to do what God says." We see the same tendency among people today. Let us ask, "Has God asked too much of us?"
Considering what is at stake has God asked too much of us by asking us to obey the gospel? To become a Christian you must Hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), Believe in Jesus (John 8:24), Repent of sins (Acts 17:30), Confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:27) The Bible says, "Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized." (Acts 18:8) Consider what is at stake and obey the gospel today!
Considering what is at stake has God asked too much of us by asking us to stay faithful? "Well done good and faithful servant" are some of the most encouraging words in the Bible. Only those who do the will of the Father have the right to the tree of life. (Revelation 14:13) The faithful will receive the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10) Consider what is at stake and stay faithful.
Considering what is at stake has God asked too much of us by asking us to worship in spirit and in truth? Jesus said, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) On every Sunday each Christian must pray (1 Thessalonians 5:18), give (1 Corinthians 16:2), study God’s word (Acts 2:42), sing and make melody in your heart (Ephesians 5:19), and take the Lord’s Supper. (Acts 20:7) Consider what is at stake and worship God in spirit and in truth each Lord’s day.
There is urgency in your gospel obedience, "Now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) After you become a Christian, you must "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work." (1 Corinthians 15:58) God has not asked too much of us because the salvation of our soul is at stake.
---- Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Shane Arrowood, Bryson Box, Hilda Cauthen, Terry Claunch, Camren Coleman, Lisa Cook, Bonnie Croley, Tim Croley, Trina Croley, John Curry, Nelson & Nell Daughtry, Mary Goodwin, Richard Harrell, Michael Hartin, Devin Hawkins, Austin Herring, Bobo Hill, Sue Hunt, Charlie Jones, Claudia Labriola, Peggy Lassiter, Evelyn Lewis, Gwen Myers, Barley Newton, Alice Padgett, Rebekah Pierce, Bill Perry, Terry Reaves, Linda Reynolds, Brenda Richburg, Johnny Sims, Ed Starkie, Andy Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Leroy Waller, Barbara Woods, and Betty & Wayne Young. Crowne Health Care: Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Ruth Davis, Betty Findley, Davis & Ruth Hester, Kathy Johnson, Dot Killingsworth, Sarah Knight, and Annie Ruth Tetter. Pine Needle: Lydia Ann Raybon and Elizabeth Perdue.
2. Requesting Our Prayer: Johnny & Janice Cole responded to our Lord’s invitation. Please remember them in your personal, private prayers.
3. Sympathy Expressed: Our love is express to Tete Stabler and his family in the death of his brother-in-law, Roy Gordon.
4. Congratulations: Matthew Jackson and Stephanie Gonsalves were married on June 4th. Their address is 564 Glendale Avenue, Greenville, Alabama 36037. Birthdays: Matthew’s March 4th and Stephanie’s September 1st. Please pray for them and do what you can to encourage them.
5. Anniversaries: Celebrating an anniversary this week: June 10th Earl and Lou Acreman, and June 12th Phillip and Cheryl Pierce.
6. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: June 9th Branson Alford, June 12th Lou Acreman, Shirley Schofield and Tete Stabler, June 13th Ethan Alford and Betty Findley and June 14th Becky Cauthen and Neomia Collins.
7. Facebook: Join our “Walnut Street Church of Christ” Group. This is a tool we are using to share news and updates with Walnut Street members about things in our lives. Another way you can use Facebook in a positive way is to “Share” the daily lessons that are posted by Charles Box.
8. Church Directory Information: (a) Jessica and Andrew Gibson – 3366 Steiner Store Road, Honoraville, Alabama 36042 – Home 382-0226 and Jessica’s cell 208-9542 – Birthdays: Andrew January 29th, Jessica August 23rd, Raelee May 3rd and John Thomas October 11th – Anniversary January 7th and (b) Sharon Shappley – 531 Foxfire Lane, Greenville, Alabama 36037 – Sharon’s cell 662-7327 and Rebecca’s cell 619-0972 – Birthdays Sharon November 14th, Rebecca Pierce June 18th and Sophia May 10th.
9. Walnut Street Events: (a) Baby Shower – Memory Bush – June 8th after evening service - Bring finger foods – Everyone is invited. Beverage & Bread Committee will have clean-up and (b) Bridal Shower – Matthew and Stephanie Jackson – June 29th after evening service – Bring finger food – Everyone is invited – Registered at Wal-Mart – This will take place of 5th Sunday meal –Meat Committee will have clean-up.
10. Wedding Invitation: Brittany Olive and Matthew Brown invite you to witness their marriage vows on Friday, June twentieth at six o’clock in the evening, the Grand on Foster 170 North Foster Street in Dothan.
11. Vacation Bible School: Walnut Street Church of Christ – June 22nd – 26th – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Theme: “Happily Ever After…The Salvation Story”. See Darrell Powell to learn what you can do to help.
12. Area Events: (a) June 8th-11th – Gospel Meeting – Rock Hill Church of Christ – Speaker: David Sargent – Weeknights 7:00 p.m., (b) June 16th–19th – Vacation Bible School – Eastern Meadows Church of Christ –Time: 9:30 thru 11:30 a.m. – Ages 4yrs thru 6th grade, (c) June 22nd–24th – Gospel Meeting – Evergreen Church of Christ – Speaker: Chris Barnett – Weeknights 7:00 p.m.
We're never alone. It's easy enough for us to say, and I know a great number of us realize it in a deep, reassuring way. But pretending it's always evident and obvious that God is with us in this fallen world can be a stretch, depending on whom you ask. The honest among us recognize that feeling God's presence can be more challenging to souls that have seen a greater portion of the darkness of this age. Yet, experiencing that darkness is sometimes just the thing that unleashes God’s marvelous light.
A song I love begins, "I waited for you today, but you didn't show. I needed you today, so where did you go? You told me to call, said you'd be there. And though I haven't seen you, are you still there?" It isn't shameful that some cry out like this. King David opened his heart to God and cried, "How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1) David, who had seen the mighty works of God in a way that we may never experience, had moments when he felt God was far away. That being said, David concluded, "But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6)
What's the point? God's presence and nearness is evident to those who take the time to really look. But there is nothing debased and inherently evil about people who are struggling to see him. The song began above continues: "I cried out with no reply and I can't feel you by my side, so I'll hold tight to what I know: You're here, and I'm never alone. And though I can't see you, and I can't explain why I've such a deep deep reassurance you've placed in my life. We cannot separate, cause you're part of me, and though you're invisible I trust the unseen."
There's comfort in knowing "He made from one man every nation of mankind ...that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us," (Acts 17:26-27) We're never alone.