Romans 2:1-3:8; 1 Samuel 10:17-11:15; Psalm 56
People really are funny. Israel had lived under judges for many years. The last judge was Samuel and, as often happens with kids of the rich and/or the powerful, the kids didn’t live up to Samuel’s reputation. The people of Israel demanded that Samuel appoint a king. Samuel warned them about the hazards of a king, yet they still clamored for one. God led Samuel to Saul and as soon as Samuel proclaimed that Saul was God’s choice, people grumbled. Then, a threat arose to one of the cities. When Saul heard about it, he gathered an army. In that situation he proved himself in battle by rescuing the people. A call went out to execute those who had questioned whether Saul really should be king. Saul responded in a way that showed that at this time, he had God’s judgment in himself: “Saul said, ‘Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.’” (I Samuel 11:13) He could have arranged to put those people to death establishing his kingdom on obedience to him and on fear. Instead, he showed mercy. At the beginning, he established his kingdom on mercy and on God’s strength. Saul had other problems later on, but he began well by focusing on God’s way rather than on the way of kings and taking revenge on those who had insulted him. If you are reading this the odds are that you are not destined to be a king. You are, however, most likely a child of The King. As such we should all behave as our King would. If someone has wronged us – we should remember that our King sacrificed His life for them. If someone has hurt us, we remember that our King forgave the people hurting Him as they were doing it. Ours is not a kingdom built on revenge and wrath. Ours is a kingdom built on grace and love. May we always show the qualities of our King to others.
Dear Lord, the temptation is so great to seek revenge when we are wronged. It is so easy to display anger – especially righteous anger – when we are wronged. Help us to sacrifice for the people who rise against us. Help us to love and forgive the people who would hurt us – just as You still do today.