Readings for Second Sunday after Pentecost, 6/7/15:
1 Samuel 8:4-20,
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1,
1 Samuel 8:4-20:
1 Samuel 8:4-20:
- The people, who have been governed by Judges, demand of Samuel, the last of the Judges, a king. They want a king just like other nations, and thing Samuel is too old to continue leading them. God wants the people to understand that God is the ruler.
- Even so, God acquiesces to the demands of the people, and offers them a king, but warns them of the cost that come with getting their own way. I find it interesting that God is willing to give the people what they want. Things will not go smoothly, but God will still work with the people, even when they choose a path that is less than the best for them.
- How has God worked with you anyway, even when you have made less-than-the-best life choices?
- What kind of warnings has God given you when you were on the verge of making a bad decision? Did you change course? Do it anyway? What happened?
- Not surprisingly, another psalm that ends with talk of the psalmist's enemies and God's protection from them!
- This psalm is in thanks and praise for God's faithfulness, for answered prayers, etc. It's good to remember to thank God for our gifts. We remember to turn to God in need - turning to God in blessings is easier to omit.
- "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me." I believe that free will is one of God's greatest gifts to us. And yet, I also take comfort and strength from knowing that God has purposes to see fulfilled in me. But for this to happen, I think, we have to take an active part. God works with us.
- Paul writes with a personal voice about suffering and persevering through affliction, faith deepening rather than wavering in times of trial. What times of affliction have you experienced? Has your faith wavered? Strengthened?
- How is your inner nature renewed?
- Paul tries to show our afflictions as "momentary" when you compare them with the weight of eternity. We know we perceive time as moving fast or slow depending on what we are experiencing in the moment. Paul encourages the faithful to put our struggles in perspective. In light of eternity, suffering is a temporary moment.
- Jesus' family tries to restrain him when the crowds think Jesus has gone mad. We don't know if the family restrains him for protection, or because they agree with the crowds, and we don't know who in his family this text refers to. However, these interesting details don't seem to be the point of the passage, rather, Jesus' authority is the main topic.
- Jesus says that a house divided against itself cannot stand. We often quote this verse in the context of strife in our family/church/etc. But here, Jesus specifically means it to show that his good actions cannot be of Satan.
- Check out Chris Haslam's comments on blaspheming against the Holy Spirit for some helpful comments.
- "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." We all have an opportunity to be in the immediate family of Jesus when we resemble him, imitate him in our actions: following the will of God as he does.