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God directed Samuel to anoint Saul, which he did reluctantly. Samuel poured a special mixture of olive oil, myrrh, and other expensive spices to symbolize the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God in Saul’s life and to remind the new king of his great responsibility to lead by God’s wisdom and not his own. Samuel said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the leader of his people.” The book of Samuel is all about what it means to be the “Lords anointed” or chosen by God for some special service, blessed, and endowed by Him with the power and authority to carry out that task. Later, David will also be anointed by God as Israel’s second king and “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Him in power” (v 16:13). Paul will start his ministry to the Gentiles by reminding the Jews of Isaiah 49:6, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Redeemer had been appointed, “before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee … and I ordained you a prophet” (Jeremiah 1:5). Luke 7:8, “For I also am a man set under authority; appointed, or designated as a soldier, to be under the authority of another” and Acts 22:10, “It shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do” refers to an announcement or commission for those with prejudice and prepossession to accept (the greatest of which is the Great Commission to go and to convert and baptize in order to make disciples of all peoples of the world. What is God’s will for you? What is your appointment?

Samuel gave Saul specific instruction for an unspecified future time when Saul would find himself at Gilgal involving a peace offering. The OT includes Burnt, Grain, Peace, Sin, Guilt/Trespass, and Wave Offerings to teach the Israelites reverence, submission, and commitment to God. The Peace offering was to show gratitude and that one was in peace and fellowship with God by slaying and cooking an animal without defect much the same as the Burnt offering with the exception that the person presenting the offer to could partake in eating a portion with the priest. The Sin offering mentioned in yesterday’s verses included a “certain” animal to be sacrificed for each sin, unintentional in nature, such as dirtiness, neglect, and thoughtlessness. In the Burnt offering, the animal would be slain with the sinner’s hand on the animal’s head to allow the beast to “take” the sin and show a person’s devotion to God and provide payment for sins in general. A Grain offering consisted of either fine flour with oil and frankincense, roasted kernels of corn with oil and frankincense, or baked cakes, and accompanied the Burnt offering to show honor and respect and by burning a portion on the altar that they understood what they have belongs to God. A Guilt Offering was with a ram without defect for God as well as the person offended. And, a Wave offering provided food specifically for the priests and was waved over the alter to show that what they offered, God would return.

Saul publicly shows Saul as God’s choice by use of the Urim and Thummim. Although most are pleased with Saul for his impressive size, those from Belial complain (but Saul hold’s his temper as well as a second time later). It was uncommon for Saul to speak for God and people were surprised when he prophesized (v 10:10-12) and asked, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” They quickly lost respect, however, as Saul’s devotion to God ends up to be something of a national joke. The signs Samuel had given Saul came to pass and Saul accepted God’s heart and disposition of mind and yet Saul was still for Saul. Mike says he likes the idea of finding a future king hiding. Just as it is good to be conscious of our unworthiness, however, it is not good to shrink from the responsibilities and services to which we are called. It is important to remember that while Saul was reborn into a new man, God never removes the endowment of free will and choice and because Saul later did not keep the commandments of God, the Spirit of God left Saul. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26).

Many of Christ’s disciples were offended by the cannibalistic nature of Christ’s request to eat His body and they did not see the symbolism to spiritual eating and drinking of Christ by receiving him through belief and thusly many of his disciples deserted him (interesting that they left in verse 6:66). They also found it difficult to give up the doctrine they had been taught based on Moses, deeds, being special, and simply following some set of rules. Jesus did not deny that these things were difficult to give up and hence said that it was proof of God’s appointment if anyone believed. Just as we have heard that no one approached the Father except by the Son, v 6:44 tells us that no one can come to the son except by teaching (“hearing and learning” implying knowledge and reason as the basis for faith) by the Father. This implies some current comprehensible instructions of the Holy Spirit that ordains (and not some pre-time election). The strength of the 11 disciples that stayed true to Christ came by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). The twelve disciples stay, convinced there was no where else to go. One the most surprising things I learned when I first read the Bible didn’t really require me to read the Bible except that it didn’t dawn on me until after I had read it: there is no Gospel entitled Jesus. While every other religious leader in history knew we would get their religion wrong without detailed personal instructions, Jesus was the only one who talked about a real relationship with the Father that we could get “right” on our own. Where else could we go, indeed! Disciple simple means to follow or to learn but could include unbelievers, those who go beyond initial belief to baptism and obedience, or to the apostles. While Judas was a disciple, it is never said that he believed. Christ’s words in verse 6:64 were likely partly addressed to Judas. Similarly, Paul suggests that many that joined in communion at Corinth perished because they did not distinguish between it and a common meal without properly considering that sacrifice for sin, or which the sacrament of the Lord’s supper is a type (1 Cor 11:30). This story fits well with the lessons learned today from the book of Samuel. As some accepted God’s appointed, some did not (asking, “How will this man save us?). They were offended in him and should be slain, but how much more to our advantage is an enemy made to be a friend. “Some were fools in their rebellion; they suffered for their sins. Their appetites were gone, and death was near. ‘LORD, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.”

1 Samuel 10-11-15

Today’s Old Testament reading made me very sad and I’m not really sure why. I think it may have something to do with the people rejecting God as their king and thinking that a “man” can give them what they want. Don’t we do the same thing today? We put our hopes and desires in spouses, children, politicians and vain philosophies. The arm of man will fail us and has failed us yet we continue to look for a “man” who is “head and shoulders” above everyone else to guide us instead of looking toward the Creator of heaven and earth. Israel exchanged her God for one of flesh and blood. She desired to look to toward one who was created instead of the Creator, how said.

John 6:43-71

A sad, sad, sad state of affairs, the crowd that followed Jesus because He fed them is now turning from Him because He tells them that the food and drink they need to take in is not the fare they are looking for.

In reading through Jesus’ discourses with the crowd and his disciples, it appears to me that very few came out and said to him, “Look Master, please break it down for us, we don’t understand what you are saying.” Most of the time those in the crowds, His disciples included, just tried to guess and reason in their own minds what He meant. I think pride keeps us from asking Jesus questions; from asking God, “What does this mean?” especially when we are in a crowd. We don’t want others to think we are stupid.

I think this very thing is happening with us today regarding Jesus. The key to getting understanding is seeking, knocking and asking continually, but we either grow weary or we try to “Fake it ‘till we make it,” trying to impress the throngs around us. God knows we don’t impress Him with our fake knowledge.

On another note there is something very interesting in Peter’s response to Jesus when He asks the twelve, “Are you going to leave, too?” (Verse 67). This question requires one of two one-word sentences, “Yes” or “No.” Peter gives a story in his response,

68 …Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe them, and we know you are the Holy One of God."

Peter’s response tells us that he was surly thinking of “booking out” (leaving) on Jesus. Be careful how you respond to questions that require one-word answers, you will tell on yourself.


Psalm 107
This is a “Testimony” Psalm. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (Rev. 12:11) Truly this song is one that should be read when we are down in the dumps and think God has abandoned us.


Proverbs 15:1-3
2 The wise person makes learning a joy; fools spout only foolishness.

This little Proverb should be studied and adhered to by everyone who wants to be a teacher, in my humble opinion.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

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