Sunday, October 18, 2020

1 Samuel 4, God's Not Your Puppet


1 Samuel 7, When God is King



1 Samuel 5:1-7:1


Who Can Stand Before Him?

1 Samuel 5:1-7:1; Remsen Bible Fellowship; 10/04/2020


Do you find yourself concerned about the world? Wondering what God is up to amidst the chaos?

There is a right way and a wrong way to experience such concern. 

We should see and mourn sin. We should especially see and mourn our sin, cf Isaiah 6:5

But we should never be concerned about God’s control over events. He takes the blackest darkest night, and is working his will

We will see three truths about God in our text; God’s Supremacy, God’s Severity, & God’s Sanctity

But first, we must remember the dark night of the circumstance, 1 Samuel 4:22

The ark of God had gone into exile, v21 & 22


God’s Supremacy, 5:1-5

v1-2, The Philistines carry away the ark and place it in the temple of their god, Dagon

a Canaanite god whom the Philistines adopted and placed at the top of their pantheistic order

God of agriculture/storms

The God whose feast Samson ruined in Judges 16:23-30

They aren’t opposed to believing there is a YHWH, they just assume that Dagon must be more powerful

V3, what does it say about the power of Dagon that he falls flat before YHWH?

What kind of God is it that the people must help back into place? Isaiah 44:9-20

The people do not understand the deep irony involved in propping your idol back into place

V4, The same thing happens: but this time God knocks off Dagon’s head and his hands (battlefield trophies)

The falling off of the head denotes that there is no mind in an idol (Psalm 135:15-18). 

It also points forward to 17:51. Broke off is the same Hebrew verb as cut off in that context

The removal of the hands denotes Dagon’s total lack of power next to YHWH. 

While Dagon’s hands have been removed, we will see in the next section the God’s hand lies heavy upon the Philistines

V5, we are given an explanation for a custom of the Philistines which it seems the original readers were familiar with

While the Philistines obviously interpreted their great military defeat of Israel to be a display of their own strength and the awesomeness of their gods, what we find is quite different

God is not a victim of the Philistines and their gods

YHWH executes judgement on Dagon, he takes up his own battle Exodus 15:1-3ff 

God has gone onto enemy turf, as it were, and walked away the obvious victor

Where do you set God up in your life? What temples do you try to bring God into, asking for his help with your idolatry? Are you trying to baptize sin?

God will not be party to this. He will be seen as supreme

There is none like Him, Psalm 86:8, 89:6-7

God reigns supreme in and over the universe. There is none who compares to him

God’s Severity, 5:6-6:16

The Israelites had viewed the presence of God, represented by the ark, as a sort of good luck charm or guarantee for victory (1 Sam 4:3-5)

God’s presence among them had not brought victory, though-it ushered in defeat

The presence of a holy God among sinful humanity brings Judgement 

v6, throughout this passage we read of “tumors”

We don’t know the nature of the plague; tumors, lesions, boils, hemorrhoids?

Could it be bubonic plague? Highly deadly, carried by rodents (cf 6:4, 11). But not attested to in history until some centuries after this

Whatever the nature, it has devastating

Do you remember what we said another word for glory is? Weight. Or heaviness

The weight of God had departed from Israel, but his almighty hand now lay heavy on Philistia

V4, Dragons hands are gone: but YHWH’s work just fine

V6a, was heavy

7b, is hard against us

9, was against the city

11b, was very heavy there

6:3, does not turn

6:5b, perhaps he will lighten

6:9b, his hand that struck us

That God’s presence was among the Philistines goes from being their point of pride to their greatest trauma

By 5:11, the whole city of Ekron is pleading that the ark not come near

Literally near me and my people, cf Exodus 8:8

They are desperate to be rid of God, so they call together the Diviners to ask how to be rid of this box

6:4, we see a common practice: placate the deity by repeating his work

V7-9, try an unlikely scheme that would be hard to duplicate by chance

V12 tells us this was a success. It had been God’s hand, all along

What should we take from God’s severity with the Philistines? Were they not his instruments against Israel?

They were-and they were volitional actors, responsible for their sins. God is perfectly capable of using sinful human or nation A in his dealing with sinful human or nation B, while still holding A responsible. This is not hypocritical, this is his perfect control over all things.

Israel had all but abandoned God, and needed to be reminded that his presence is what they needed, not in some cultic sense, but they needed his personal presence to bless, which they would only experience by hearing, believing, and obeying his word. He used the Philistines to remind them of this need

The Philistines, at the same time, must be shown that it is not by their own power that Israel fell, and they too are guilty before this God whom they thought they had conquered

We won’t turn, but for more like this: Habakkuk

6:16, after the five lords see the return of the ark and the sacrifice of the cows, they return home

v17-18, what is this stone witnessing to?

God’s total victory over all of the Philistines

God’s hand rested severely upon the Philistines

God’s Sanctity, 6:13-15, 6:19-7:1

In v13-15, we get a good response from the men of Beth-shemesh, they rejoiced to see it

Though the sacrifice is technically not right (should have been bulls, not these milk cows, Lev 1), the narrator gives no indication that this is frowned upon

They are finding their joy in the return of the ark from exile

It seems for a moment that the story will end happily, but moment we get go v19, we find God continuing to strike

The reason, some form of irreverence. Gazing into, or at. The Levites (v15) should know that the ark is to remain covered

The number, 70 or 50,070? MT 70 men, 50,000 men. Some Heb Manuscripts, LXX, etc, 70. 

There probably weren’t 50,000 men in this village-much more likely is the 70 number-but even at that, imagine a village the size of Remsen-and 70 people die!

The people realize that they cannot stand before the holiness of God, for He judges and punishes sin

So the ark is taken away to Kiriath-jearim and the house of Abinadab, and rests there for 20 years (7:1). 

Here at the end of this ark narrative, the people are still learning the lesson they needed at the front end-God’s presence isn’t always good for you. 

It is the deepest need of every human and people

But it is a sign of sure judgement if we don’t have our sin dealt with


In conclusion, I want to meditate for a moment on 6:20

Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? 

Psalm 130:3-4: Same question, who can stand?

With you there is forgiveness-how? Colossians 2:13-15, nailed to the cross

For those who cling to Christ, the record that stands against us and would condemn us has been removed, paid in full, Romans 8:1

That you may be feared: Even for the believer in Jesus Christ, there is a right reverence and fear of the Lord. We cannot treat him like a trinket or take him for granted

We pray our Father-we must revere him as the Holy Father he is, but unlike the men of Beth-shemesh, we shouldn’t run away from the holiness, or ask him to leave-we should be thankful for his provision in Christ, a provision which allows even sinners like us to stand before this Holy God

Who can stand before him? Only those clothed in the precious blood of Christ. In my hand no price I bring, simply to thy cross I cling

Galatians 5:25-26, Keeping in step with the Spirit

Keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌Step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌
Galatians‌ ‌5:25-26;‌ ‌Remsen‌ ‌Bible‌ ‌Fellowship,‌ ‌10/18/2020;‌ ‌LBC‌ ‌Evening‌ ‌Service,‌ ‌10/18/2020‌ ‌
Introduction:‌ ‌
We’ve‌ ‌all‌ ‌heard‌ ‌that‌ ‌tired‌ ‌cliche,‌ ‌“life‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌journey.”‌ ‌You’ve‌ ‌probably‌ ‌used‌ ‌it‌ ‌at‌ ‌some‌ ‌point,‌ ‌
perhaps‌ ‌you‌ ‌still‌ ‌do.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌like‌ ‌me‌ ‌and‌ ‌annoyed‌ ‌by‌ ‌it,‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌probably‌ ‌just‌ ‌because‌ ‌you’ve‌ ‌
heard‌ ‌it‌ ‌used‌ ‌so‌ ‌many‌ ‌times‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌feels‌ ‌as‌ ‌if‌ ‌that‌ ‌metaphor‌ ‌has‌ ‌lost‌ ‌its‌ ‌meaning‌ ‌by‌ ‌overuse.‌ ‌
But‌ ‌the‌ ‌fact‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌matter‌ ‌is‌ ‌this:‌ ‌life‌ ‌‌is‌ ‌‌a‌ ‌journey.‌ ‌But‌ ‌not‌ ‌some‌ ‌aimless‌ ‌wandering‌ ‌along,‌ ‌
journey‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌sake‌ ‌of‌ ‌journey,‌ ‌eventually‌ ‌winding‌ ‌up‌ ‌somewhere‌ ‌“but‌ ‌wasn’t‌ ‌it‌ ‌the‌ ‌ride‌ ‌that‌ ‌
mattered‌ ‌anyway?”,‌ ‌type‌ ‌of‌ ‌journey.‌ ‌As‌ ‌we‌ ‌move‌ ‌through‌ ‌this‌ ‌life,‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌all‌‌ ‌going‌‌ ‌somewhere.‌ ‌
Jesus,‌ ‌in‌ ‌Matthew‌ ‌7:13-14,‌ ‌describes‌ ‌two‌ ‌types‌ ‌of‌ ‌roads,‌ ‌‌Enter‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌narrow‌ ‌gate.‌ ‌For‌ ‌the‌ ‌
gate‌ ‌is‌ ‌wide‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌is‌ ‌easy‌ ‌that‌ ‌leads‌ ‌to‌ ‌destruction,‌ ‌and‌ ‌those‌ ‌who‌ ‌enter‌ ‌by‌ ‌it‌ ‌are‌ ‌
many.‌ ‌For‌ ‌the‌ ‌gate‌ ‌is‌ ‌narrow‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌is‌ ‌hard‌ ‌that‌ ‌leads‌ ‌to‌ ‌life,‌ ‌and‌ ‌those‌ ‌who‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌are‌ ‌
few.‌ ‌
One‌ ‌road‌ ‌is‌ ‌easy,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌destination‌ ‌is‌ ‌destruction.‌ ‌One‌ ‌road‌ ‌is‌ ‌hard,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌goal‌ ‌is‌ ‌eternal‌ ‌
glory.‌ ‌Which‌ ‌road‌ ‌are‌ ‌you‌ ‌on?‌ ‌
In‌ ‌Galatians‌ ‌5:25-26‌ ‌today,‌ ‌Paul‌ ‌is‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌use‌ ‌a‌ ‌metaphor‌ ‌which‌ ‌is‌ ‌related‌ ‌to‌ ‌one‌ ‌he‌ ‌uses‌ ‌
earlier‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌chapter,‌ ‌back‌ ‌in‌ ‌5:16.‌ ‌In‌ ‌5:16‌ ‌he‌ ‌tells‌ ‌the‌ ‌Galatian‌ ‌Christians‌ ‌that‌ ‌one‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌think‌ ‌
of‌ ‌moving‌ ‌along‌ ‌that‌ ‌hard‌ ‌road‌ ‌to‌ ‌life‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌‌walk‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌‌He‌ ‌then‌ ‌goes‌ ‌on‌ ‌to‌ ‌unfold‌ ‌what‌ ‌
that‌ ‌walk‌ ‌looks‌ ‌like,‌ ‌and‌ ‌concludes‌ ‌his‌ ‌section‌ ‌with‌ ‌these‌ ‌words,‌ ‌‌If‌ ‌we‌ ‌live‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌let‌ ‌us‌ ‌
also‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌Let‌ ‌us‌ ‌not‌ ‌become‌ ‌conceited,‌ ‌provoking‌ ‌one‌ ‌another,‌ ‌envying‌ ‌
one‌ ‌another.‌ ‌ ‌
As‌ ‌we‌ ‌look‌ ‌at‌ ‌these‌ ‌words‌ ‌this‌ ‌morning‌ ‌we’re‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌break‌ ‌our‌ ‌study‌ ‌into‌ ‌three‌ ‌sections:‌ ‌first,‌ ‌
we‌ ‌will‌ ‌overview‌ ‌4‌ ‌characteristics‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk.‌ ‌Second,‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌consider‌ ‌3‌ ‌tools‌‌ ‌‌for‌ ‌
Keeping‌ ‌in‌ ‌Step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌Finally,‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌meditate‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌landmine‌ ‌which‌ ‌lies‌ ‌along‌ ‌this‌ ‌
path.‌ ‌
2‌ ‌
What‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk?‌ ‌
Before‌ ‌we‌ ‌answer‌ ‌this‌ ‌question,‌ ‌why‌ ‌use‌ ‌the‌ ‌phrase‌ ‌‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk,‌ ‌‌rather‌ ‌than‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌led‌ ‌life?‌ ‌
The‌ ‌answer‌ ‌is‌ ‌of‌ ‌course‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌text.‌ ‌Paul‌ ‌tells‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌in‌ ‌v16,‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌led‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌
Spirit‌ ‌in‌ ‌v18,‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌in‌ ‌v25.‌ ‌Now,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌obvious‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌first‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌
verse‌ ‌25,‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌just‌ ‌by‌ ‌looking‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌paragraph‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌whole‌ ‌that‌ ‌walking‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌metaphor‌ ‌for‌ ‌
living.‌ ‌So‌ ‌why‌ ‌keep‌ ‌the‌ ‌metaphor‌ ‌instead‌ ‌of‌ ‌getting‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌meaning‌ ‌underneath?‌ ‌ ‌
One‌ ‌thing‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌realize‌ ‌as‌ ‌we‌ ‌read‌ ‌the‌ ‌Bible‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌literal‌ ‌truth‌ ‌is‌ ‌often‌ ‌communicated‌ ‌
in‌ ‌metaphorical‌ ‌or‌ ‌other‌ ‌forms‌ ‌of‌ ‌poetic‌ ‌language.‌ ‌We‌ ‌recognize‌ ‌this‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Psalms‌ ‌of‌ ‌course,‌ ‌
perhaps‌ ‌Song‌ ‌of‌ ‌Solomon‌ ‌and‌ ‌Job‌ ‌if‌ ‌we‌ ‌ponder‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌moment.‌ ‌But‌ ‌even‌ ‌here,‌ ‌in‌ ‌Paul’s‌ ‌
logic-packed,‌ ‌argumentation‌ ‌heavy‌ ‌letter‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Galatian‌ ‌churches,‌ ‌we‌ ‌find‌ ‌him‌ ‌using‌ ‌a‌ ‌
metaphor‌ ‌to‌ ‌communicate‌ ‌what‌ ‌living‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌is‌ ‌like.‌ ‌And‌ ‌he‌ ‌does‌ ‌so‌ ‌intentionally,‌ ‌and‌ ‌
under‌ ‌the‌ ‌inspiration‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌He‌ ‌‌wants‌‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌meditate‌ ‌on‌ ‌how‌ ‌living‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌believer‌ ‌is‌ ‌
like‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌someone.‌ ‌ ‌
There‌ ‌seems‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌a‌ ‌sense‌ ‌in‌ ‌which‌ ‌Adam‌ ‌and‌ ‌Eve‌ ‌had‌ ‌a‌ ‌literal‌ ‌experience‌ ‌of‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌
Lord‌ ‌(Genesis‌ ‌3).‌ ‌But‌ ‌as‌ ‌soon‌ ‌as‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌removed‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌sin,‌ ‌the‌ ‌experience‌ ‌of‌ ‌knowing‌ ‌God‌ ‌
personally‌ ‌and‌ ‌living‌ ‌life‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌way‌ ‌that‌ ‌honors‌ ‌him‌ ‌is‌ ‌characterized‌ ‌as‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌God.‌ ‌Enoch‌ ‌
walked‌ ‌with‌ ‌God‌ ‌300‌ ‌years‌ ‌(Genesis‌ ‌5:22-24),‌ ‌and‌ ‌Noah‌ ‌is‌ ‌said‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌walked‌ ‌with‌ ‌God‌ ‌
(Genesis‌ ‌6:9).‌ ‌And‌ ‌Micah‌ ‌6:8‌ ‌famously‌ ‌asks,‌ ‌‌what‌ ‌does‌ ‌the‌ ‌LORD‌ ‌require‌ ‌of‌ ‌you‌ ‌but‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌
justice,‌ ‌to‌ ‌love‌ ‌kindness,‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌humbly‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌God?‌‌ ‌This‌ ‌idea‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌walk‌ ‌is‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌idea.‌ ‌
We‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌underneath‌ ‌the‌ ‌metaphor‌ ‌to‌ ‌find‌ ‌out‌ ‌what‌ ‌it‌ ‌“really”‌ ‌means-we‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌
chew‌ ‌on‌ ‌this‌ ‌concept‌ ‌and‌ ‌let‌ ‌it‌ ‌shape‌ ‌how‌ ‌we‌ ‌think‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌life.‌ ‌So-what‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌
Led‌ ‌Walk?‌ ‌
-The‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌walk‌ ‌of‌ ‌‌faith.‌‌ ‌‌Life‌ ‌through‌ ‌faith‌ ‌in‌ ‌Christ,‌ ‌Salvation‌ ‌being‌ ‌
available‌ ‌apart‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌law-this‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌great‌ ‌theme‌ ‌of‌ ‌Galatians.‌ ‌And‌ ‌walking‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌
Spirit‌ ‌is‌ ‌only‌ ‌possible‌ ‌for‌ ‌those‌ ‌who‌ ‌have‌ ‌first‌ ‌trusted‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌everything.‌ ‌
Galatians‌ ‌3:2,‌ ‌‌Let‌ ‌me‌ ‌ask‌ ‌you‌ ‌only‌ ‌this:‌ ‌Did‌ ‌you‌ ‌receive‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌by‌ ‌works‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌law‌ ‌
or‌ ‌by‌ ‌hearing‌ ‌with‌ ‌faith?‌ ‌‌Paul’s‌ ‌rhetorical‌ ‌point‌ ‌is‌ ‌clear:‌ ‌nobody‌ ‌ever‌ ‌earned‌ ‌this‌ ‌gift‌ ‌of‌ ‌
the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌Those‌ ‌who‌ ‌receive‌ ‌Salvation‌ ‌through‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌by‌ ‌faith‌ ‌are‌ ‌given‌ ‌this‌ ‌greatest‌ ‌of‌ ‌
all‌ ‌gifts,‌ ‌the‌ ‌very‌ ‌gift‌ ‌he‌ ‌promised‌ ‌to‌ ‌his‌ ‌disciples‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌upper‌ ‌room‌ ‌(John‌ ‌16:7):‌ ‌another‌ ‌
3‌ ‌
comforter,‌ ‌advocate,‌ ‌helper,‌ ‌a‌ ‌paraclete.‌ ‌The‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌comes‌ ‌and‌ ‌indwells,‌ ‌he‌ ‌seals‌ ‌
those‌ ‌who‌ ‌by‌ ‌faith‌ ‌trust‌ ‌in‌ ‌Jesus.‌ ‌Continuing‌ ‌on‌ ‌in‌ ‌Galatians‌ ‌3‌ ‌we‌ ‌read,‌ ‌in‌ ‌verses‌ ‌13-14,‌ ‌
Christ‌ ‌redeemed‌ ‌us‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌curse‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌law‌ ‌by‌ ‌becoming‌ ‌a‌ ‌curse‌ ‌for‌ ‌us--for‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌
written,‌ ‌“Cursed‌ ‌is‌ ‌everyone‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌hanged‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌tree”--so‌ ‌that‌ ‌in‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌the‌ ‌
blessing‌ ‌of‌ ‌Abraham‌ ‌might‌ ‌come‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Gentiles,‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌might‌ ‌receive‌ ‌the‌ ‌promised‌ ‌
Spirit‌ ‌through‌ ‌faith.‌‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌died‌ ‌for‌ ‌you,‌ ‌he‌ ‌took‌ ‌your‌ ‌sins,‌ ‌that‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌trust‌ ‌in‌ ‌him‌ ‌you‌ ‌
would‌ ‌receive‌ ‌the‌ ‌gift‌ ‌of‌ ‌his‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌So‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌no‌ ‌walking‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌no‌ ‌being‌ ‌led‌ ‌
by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌apart‌ ‌from‌ ‌trusting‌ ‌in‌ ‌Jesus,‌ ‌the‌ ‌one‌ ‌who‌ ‌gives‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌
-The‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk‌ ‌is‌ ‌‌freedom.‌ ‌‌We‌ ‌see‌ ‌this‌ ‌in‌ ‌v18,‌ ‌‌But‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌led‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌
you‌ ‌are‌ ‌not‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌law.‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌life‌ ‌is‌ ‌not‌ ‌bound‌ ‌by‌ ‌law-but‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌this,‌ ‌an‌ ‌
even‌ ‌more‌ ‌glorious,‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌no‌ ‌longer‌ ‌bound‌ ‌by‌ ‌sin!‌ ‌We‌ ‌are‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌this‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌next‌ ‌
couple‌ ‌of‌ ‌points,‌ ‌but‌ ‌I‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌point‌ ‌out‌ ‌a‌ ‌verse‌ ‌in‌ ‌Romans‌ ‌as‌ ‌well.‌ ‌Romans‌ ‌8:2‌ ‌says,‌ ‌
For‌ ‌the‌ ‌law‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌of‌ ‌life‌ ‌has‌ ‌set‌ ‌you‌ ‌free‌ ‌in‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌law‌ ‌of‌ ‌sin‌ ‌and‌ ‌
death.‌‌ ‌We‌ ‌often‌ ‌think‌ ‌of‌ ‌freedom‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌freedom‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌we‌ ‌want,‌ ‌without‌ ‌
restraint.‌ ‌But‌ ‌the‌ ‌freedom‌ ‌that‌ ‌comes‌ ‌from‌ ‌walking‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌power‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌of‌ ‌
following‌ ‌where‌ ‌he‌ ‌leads,‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌no‌ ‌longer‌ ‌bound‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌sinful‌ ‌desires‌ ‌that‌ ‌once‌ ‌
ruled‌ ‌us.‌ ‌We‌ ‌have‌ ‌been‌ ‌set‌ ‌free‌ ‌to‌ ‌follow‌ ‌Jesus.‌ ‌Which‌ ‌brings‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌our‌ ‌next‌ ‌point.‌ ‌
-The‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌‌fight.‌‌ ‌The‌ ‌ruins‌ ‌the‌ ‌nice‌ ‌peaceful‌ ‌imagery‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌walk,‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌
it?‌ ‌Should‌ ‌walking‌ ‌through‌ ‌life‌ ‌being‌ ‌led‌ ‌by‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌be‌ ‌this‌ ‌tranquil‌ ‌
experience,‌ ‌a‌ ‌lovely‌ ‌stroll‌ ‌through‌ ‌a‌ ‌rose‌ ‌garden?‌ ‌Instead‌ ‌what‌ ‌we‌ ‌find--both‌ ‌in‌ ‌
Scripture‌ ‌and‌ ‌our‌ ‌own‌ ‌experience--is‌ ‌something‌ ‌more‌ ‌akin‌ ‌to‌ ‌following‌ ‌Gandalf‌ ‌through‌ ‌
the‌ ‌mines‌ ‌of‌ ‌Moria.‌ ‌Sea‌ ‌Monsters‌ ‌behind,‌ ‌Goblins‌ ‌all‌ ‌around,‌ ‌a‌ ‌Balrog‌ ‌waiting‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌
depths.‌ ‌ ‌
And‌ ‌this‌ ‌throws‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌believers‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌loop.‌ ‌Why‌ ‌do‌ ‌I‌ ‌still‌ ‌struggle‌ ‌with‌ ‌sin?‌ ‌Well,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌
clear‌ ‌from‌ ‌Galatians‌ ‌5:16‌ ‌that‌ ‌our‌ ‌flesh‌ ‌still‌ ‌has‌ ‌desires‌ ‌that‌ ‌want‌ ‌gratified.‌ ‌Becoming‌ ‌a‌ ‌
Christian‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌mean‌ ‌the‌ ‌disappearance‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh,‌ ‌but‌ ‌because‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌now‌ ‌free‌ ‌to‌ ‌
say‌ ‌no,‌ ‌it‌ ‌means‌ ‌the‌ ‌fight‌ ‌is‌ ‌on.‌ ‌Note‌ ‌the‌ ‌combative‌ ‌language‌ ‌in‌ ‌v17,‌ ‌‌against,‌ ‌against,‌ ‌
opposed.‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌apostle‌ ‌Peter‌ ‌speaks‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌battle‌ ‌in‌ ‌1‌ ‌Peter‌ ‌2:11,‌ ‌where‌ ‌he‌ ‌says,‌ ‌‌Beloved,‌ ‌I‌ ‌
urge‌ ‌you‌ ‌as‌ ‌sojourners‌ ‌and‌ ‌exiles‌ ‌to‌ ‌abstain‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌passions‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh,‌ ‌which‌ ‌wage‌ ‌
war‌ ‌against‌ ‌your‌ ‌soul.‌ ‌ ‌
4‌ ‌
Fighting‌ ‌against‌ ‌sin‌ ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌indication‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌‌am‌‌ ‌being‌ ‌led‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌living‌ ‌a‌ ‌
life‌ ‌which‌ ‌contains‌ ‌no‌ ‌battle‌ ‌against‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh,‌ ‌walking‌ ‌a‌ ‌walk‌ ‌with‌ ‌no‌ ‌fighting,‌ ‌let‌ ‌me‌ ‌
quote‌ ‌the‌ ‌puritan‌ ‌John‌ ‌Owen,‌ ‌‌Be‌ ‌killing‌ ‌sin,‌ ‌or‌ ‌it‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌killing‌ ‌you.‌ ‌‌Or‌ ‌to‌ ‌use‌ ‌Paul’s‌ ‌
words‌ ‌from‌ ‌v24,‌ ‌‌And‌ ‌those‌ ‌who‌ ‌belong‌ ‌to‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌have‌ ‌crucified‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh‌ ‌with‌ ‌its‌ ‌
passions‌ ‌and‌ ‌desires.‌ ‌
-The‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk‌ ‌bears‌ ‌‌fruit.‌‌ ‌Of‌ ‌course‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌famous‌ ‌verses‌ ‌in‌ ‌Galatians‌ ‌5‌ ‌are‌ ‌
the‌ ‌fruit‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌in‌ ‌v22-23.‌ ‌When‌ ‌you‌ ‌look‌ ‌at‌ ‌this‌ ‌list,‌ ‌does‌ ‌it‌ ‌feel‌ ‌familiar‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌
life?‌ ‌‌But‌ ‌the‌ ‌fruit‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌is‌ ‌love,‌ ‌joy,‌ ‌peace,‌ ‌patience,‌ ‌kindness,‌ ‌goodness,‌ ‌
faithfulness,‌ ‌gentleness,‌ ‌self-control;‌ ‌against‌ ‌such‌ ‌things‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌no‌ ‌law.‌ ‌‌While‌ ‌we’ve‌ ‌
already‌ ‌established‌ ‌that‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌war‌ ‌within‌ ‌the‌ ‌believer,‌ ‌the‌ ‌plain‌ ‌reality‌ ‌of‌ ‌what‌ ‌Paul‌ ‌
writes‌ ‌here,‌ ‌especially‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌heels‌ ‌of‌ ‌his‌ ‌list‌ ‌of‌ ‌works‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh,‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌longer‌ ‌we‌ ‌
are‌ ‌led‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌the‌ ‌more‌ ‌our‌ ‌lives‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌characterized‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌tendencies,‌ ‌these‌ ‌
virtues.‌ ‌The‌ ‌more‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌fertilizer‌ ‌gets‌ ‌worked‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌soil‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌root‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌vine,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌more‌ ‌these‌ ‌lovely‌ ‌and‌ ‌beautiful‌ ‌fruit‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌the‌ ‌result.‌ ‌ ‌
So‌ ‌those‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌things‌ ‌that‌ ‌characterize‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌Led‌ ‌Walk.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌walk‌ ‌of‌ ‌faith,‌ ‌of‌ ‌freedom,‌ ‌of‌ ‌
fighting,‌ ‌and‌ ‌of‌ ‌fruit.‌ ‌But‌ ‌If‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌what‌ ‌it‌ ‌looks‌ ‌like,‌ ‌how‌ ‌can‌ ‌we‌ ‌make‌ ‌sure‌ ‌that‌ ‌we’re‌ ‌sticking‌ ‌
close‌ ‌to‌ ‌him?‌ ‌How‌ ‌can‌ ‌we‌ ‌be‌ ‌sure‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit?‌ ‌
How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌Step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌
This‌ ‌is‌ ‌of‌ ‌course,‌ ‌the‌ ‌burden‌ ‌of‌ ‌v25.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌live‌ ‌by‌ ‌him,‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌him!‌ ‌Your‌ ‌translation‌ ‌
might‌ ‌again‌ ‌use‌ ‌the‌ ‌word‌ ‌walk‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌verse,‌ ‌but‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌different‌ ‌Greek‌ ‌verb‌ ‌than‌ ‌is‌ ‌used‌ ‌in‌ ‌v16.‌ ‌
The‌ ‌idea‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌word‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌verse,‌ ‌‌stoicheō,‌ ‌‌is‌ ‌not‌ ‌only‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌but‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌so‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌certain‌ ‌fashion,‌ ‌
following‌ ‌a‌ ‌pattern,‌ ‌or‌ ‌a‌ ‌particular‌ ‌order.‌‌ ‌‌Thus‌ ‌the‌ ‌ESV’s,‌ ‌‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step.‌ ‌‌I‌ ‌just‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌offer‌ ‌three‌ ‌
simple‌ ‌ways‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌This‌ ‌won’t‌ ‌be‌ ‌anything‌ ‌earth‌ ‌shattering‌ ‌or‌ ‌
new‌ ‌for‌ ‌someone‌ ‌who‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌God‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌long‌ ‌time,‌ ‌but‌ ‌to‌ ‌quote‌ ‌Paul‌ ‌from‌ ‌
Philippians‌ ‌3:1,‌ ‌‌To‌ ‌write‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌things‌ ‌to‌ ‌you‌ ‌is‌ ‌no‌ ‌trouble‌ ‌to‌ ‌me‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌safe‌ ‌for‌ ‌you.‌ ‌‌So,‌ ‌
here‌ ‌are‌ ‌our‌ ‌practical‌ ‌steps:‌ ‌
-To‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌‌feed‌ ‌‌on‌ ‌his‌ ‌Word.‌ ‌‌Have‌ ‌you‌ ‌ever‌ ‌noticed‌ ‌when‌ ‌
you‌ ‌are‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌someone‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌much‌ ‌easier‌ ‌to‌ ‌hold‌ ‌a‌ ‌conversation‌ ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌
walking‌ ‌side-by-side?‌ ‌If‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌out‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌someone‌ ‌and‌ ‌begin‌ ‌to‌ ‌lag‌ ‌behind,‌ ‌if‌ ‌
5‌ ‌
they‌ ‌begin‌ ‌talking‌ ‌to‌ ‌you‌ ‌that‌ ‌will‌ ‌motivate‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌catch‌ ‌up‌ ‌and‌ ‌match‌ ‌your‌ ‌pace‌ ‌to‌ ‌
theirs.‌ ‌So‌ ‌with‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌word.‌ ‌He‌ ‌is‌ ‌speaking‌ ‌here.‌ ‌And‌ ‌if‌ ‌we‌ ‌come‌ ‌with‌ ‌open‌ ‌ears‌ ‌and‌ ‌
submissive‌ ‌hearts,‌ ‌he‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌glad‌ ‌to‌ ‌speak.‌ ‌Do‌ ‌you‌ ‌take‌ ‌a‌ ‌walk‌ ‌in‌ ‌his‌ ‌word‌ ‌every‌ ‌day?‌ ‌
Do‌ ‌you‌ ‌come‌ ‌to‌ ‌church‌ ‌expecting‌ ‌to‌ ‌hear‌ ‌a‌ ‌word‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌living‌ ‌God?‌ ‌Do‌ ‌you‌ ‌believe‌ ‌
that‌ ‌he‌ ‌‌speaks‌‌ ‌through‌ ‌every‌ ‌word,‌ ‌every‌ ‌thought,‌ ‌every‌ ‌metaphor,‌ ‌every‌ ‌story,‌ ‌every‌ ‌
dot‌ ‌and‌ ‌stroke‌ ‌written‌ ‌herein?‌ ‌The‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌will‌ ‌take‌ ‌this‌ ‌word,‌ ‌the‌ ‌word‌ ‌‌he‌ ‌‌inspired,‌ ‌and‌ ‌
will‌ ‌work‌ ‌it‌ ‌down‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌corners‌ ‌and‌ ‌crevices‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌lives--the‌ ‌bone‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌marrow,‌ ‌
we‌ ‌might‌ ‌say--shaping‌ ‌and‌ ‌conforming‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌image‌ ‌of‌ ‌Christ.‌ ‌ ‌
-Just‌ ‌a‌ ‌practical‌ ‌question-do‌ ‌you‌ ‌ever‌ ‌go‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌literal‌ ‌walk‌ ‌and‌ ‌meditate‌ ‌on‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌word?‌ ‌I‌ ‌
don’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌verse‌ ‌telling‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌so.‌ ‌But‌ ‌I‌ ‌would‌ ‌encourage‌ ‌you,‌ ‌on‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌these‌ ‌fall‌ ‌
days,‌ ‌to‌ ‌pick‌ ‌a‌ ‌verse,‌ ‌and‌ ‌walk‌ ‌around‌ ‌for‌ ‌five‌ ‌or‌ ‌ten‌ ‌or‌ ‌fifteen‌ ‌minutes‌ ‌and‌ ‌think‌ ‌about‌ ‌
it.‌ ‌‌Blessed‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌man‌ ‌who‌ ‌walks‌ ‌not‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌counsel‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌wicked,‌ ‌nor‌ ‌stands‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌
of‌ ‌sinners,‌ ‌nor‌ ‌sits‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌seat‌ ‌of‌ ‌scoffers;‌ ‌but‌ ‌his‌ ‌delight‌ ‌is‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌law‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌LORD,‌ ‌and‌ ‌
on‌ ‌his‌ ‌law‌ ‌he‌ ‌meditates‌ ‌day‌ ‌and‌ ‌night.‌ ‌‌(Psalm‌ ‌1:1-2).‌ ‌To‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌we‌ ‌
need‌ ‌to‌ ‌know‌ ‌the‌ ‌cadence‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌walk.‌ ‌And‌ ‌that‌ ‌cadence‌ ‌is‌ ‌laid‌ ‌out‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Word‌ ‌of‌ ‌God.‌ ‌ ‌
-To‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌‌fellowship‌ ‌‌with‌ ‌his‌ ‌people.‌ ‌‌In‌ ‌a‌ ‌parallel‌ ‌
passage‌ ‌to‌ ‌this,‌ ‌over‌ ‌in‌ ‌Ephesians‌ ‌5:18-21,‌ ‌we‌ ‌read‌ ‌the‌ ‌following,‌ ‌‌And‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ ‌get‌ ‌drunk‌ ‌
with‌ ‌wine,‌ ‌for‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌debauchery,‌ ‌but‌ ‌be‌ ‌filled‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌addressing‌ ‌one‌ ‌another‌ ‌
in‌ ‌psalms‌ ‌and‌ ‌hymns‌ ‌and‌ ‌spiritual‌ ‌songs,‌ ‌singing‌ ‌and‌ ‌making‌ ‌melody‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lord‌ ‌in‌ ‌
your‌ ‌heart,‌ ‌giving‌ ‌thanks‌ ‌always‌ ‌and‌ ‌for‌ ‌everything‌ ‌to‌ ‌God‌ ‌the‌ ‌Father‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌name‌ ‌of‌ ‌
our‌ ‌Lord‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌Christ,‌ ‌submitting‌ ‌to‌ ‌one‌ ‌another‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌reverence‌ ‌for‌ ‌Christ.‌‌ ‌There‌ ‌the‌ ‌
analogy‌ ‌for‌ ‌having‌ ‌a‌ ‌Spirit-guided‌ ‌life‌ ‌shifts‌ ‌from‌ ‌keeping‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌to‌ ‌being‌ ‌filled.‌ ‌But‌ ‌
notice‌ ‌how‌ ‌it‌ ‌works‌ ‌itself‌ ‌out:‌ ‌addressing‌ ‌‌one‌ ‌another.‌ ‌‌Submitting‌ ‌to‌ ‌‌one‌ ‌another.‌‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌
not‌ ‌an‌ ‌original‌ ‌thought,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌life‌ ‌simply‌ ‌can’t‌ ‌be‌ ‌lived‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌bubble.‌ ‌We‌ ‌‌must‌ ‌
be‌ ‌in‌ ‌community‌ ‌with‌ ‌other‌ ‌believers.‌ ‌How‌ ‌better‌ ‌to‌ ‌experience‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌
than‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌other‌ ‌people‌ ‌who‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌of‌ ‌God‌ ‌living‌ ‌inside‌ ‌of‌ ‌
them?‌ ‌
-Hebrews‌ ‌3:12-13,‌ ‌‌Take‌ ‌care‌ ‌brothers,‌ ‌lest‌ ‌there‌ ‌be‌ ‌in‌ ‌any‌ ‌of‌ ‌you‌ ‌an‌ ‌evil,‌ ‌unbelieving‌ ‌
heart,‌ ‌leading‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌fall‌ ‌away‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌living‌ ‌God.‌ ‌But‌ ‌exhort‌ ‌one‌ ‌another‌ ‌every‌ ‌day,‌ ‌
as‌ ‌long‌ ‌as‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌called‌ ‌“today,”‌ ‌that‌ ‌none‌ ‌of‌ ‌you‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌hardened‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌deceitfulness‌ ‌of‌ ‌
sin.‌ ‌‌How‌ ‌does‌ ‌the‌ ‌author‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Hebrews‌ ‌think‌ ‌that‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌prevented‌ ‌from‌ ‌sliding‌ ‌
6‌ ‌
into‌ ‌hardened‌ ‌evil‌ ‌and‌ ‌unbelief‌ ‌(which‌ ‌is‌ ‌surely‌ ‌a‌ ‌work‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit)?‌ ‌Through‌ ‌the‌ ‌
instrument‌ ‌of‌ ‌meeting‌ ‌regularly‌ ‌with‌ ‌brothers‌ ‌and‌ ‌sisters‌ ‌in‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌who‌ ‌will‌ ‌exhort‌ ‌us!‌ ‌
One‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌primary‌ ‌safeguards‌ ‌for‌ ‌Christ’s‌ ‌sheep‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌stay‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌flock.‌ ‌We‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌
step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌by‌ ‌walking‌ ‌with‌ ‌other‌ ‌believers‌ ‌who‌ ‌are‌ ‌seeking‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌the‌ ‌same.‌ ‌
-To‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌‌fall‌ ‌‌wholly‌ ‌upon‌ ‌him.‌‌ ‌To‌ ‌be‌ ‌totally‌ ‌honest,‌ ‌the‌ ‌
word‌ ‌depend‌ ‌or‌ ‌rely‌ ‌would‌ ‌probably‌ ‌be‌ ‌better.‌ ‌But‌ ‌I‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌the‌ ‌alliteration.‌ ‌
What‌ ‌do‌ ‌I‌ ‌mean‌ ‌by‌ ‌fall‌ ‌wholly‌ ‌on‌ ‌him?‌ ‌Simply‌ ‌this:‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌realize‌ ‌that‌ ‌all‌ ‌we‌ ‌do‌ ‌to‌ ‌
keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌every‌ ‌fruit‌ ‌we‌ ‌produce‌ ‌or‌ ‌fight‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh‌ ‌undertaken‌ ‌in‌ ‌
our‌ ‌walk‌ ‌with‌ ‌him,‌ ‌is‌ ‌something‌ ‌which‌ ‌we‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌power‌ ‌for‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌own.‌ ‌Every‌ ‌
bit‌ ‌of‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌coming‌ ‌from‌ ‌him.‌ ‌1‌ ‌Corinthians‌ ‌15:10,‌ ‌‌I‌ ‌worked‌ ‌harder‌ ‌than‌ ‌any‌ ‌of‌ ‌them,‌ ‌
though‌ ‌it‌ ‌was‌ ‌not‌ ‌I,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌grace‌ ‌of‌ ‌God‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌with‌ ‌me.‌ ‌‌And‌ ‌Philippians‌ ‌2:12-13,‌ ‌
Therefore,‌ ‌my‌ ‌beloved,‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌always‌ ‌obeyed,‌ ‌so‌ ‌now,‌ ‌not‌ ‌only‌ ‌as‌ ‌in‌ ‌my‌ ‌presence‌ ‌
but‌ ‌much‌ ‌more‌ ‌in‌ ‌my‌ ‌absence,‌ ‌work‌ ‌out‌ ‌your‌ ‌own‌ ‌salvation‌ ‌with‌ ‌fear‌ ‌and‌ ‌trembling,‌ ‌
for‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌God‌ ‌who‌ ‌works‌ ‌in‌ ‌you,‌ ‌both‌ ‌to‌ ‌will‌ ‌and‌ ‌to‌ ‌work‌ ‌for‌ ‌his‌ ‌good‌ ‌pleasure.‌ ‌‌Every‌ ‌
work,‌ ‌every‌ ‌fruit,‌ ‌every‌ ‌step‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌walk‌ ‌is‌ ‌wholly‌ ‌dependent‌ ‌upon‌ ‌the‌ ‌grace‌ ‌of‌ ‌God‌ ‌
poured‌ ‌out‌ ‌because‌ ‌of‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit.‌ ‌As‌ ‌we‌ ‌seek‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌
Spirit‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌constantly‌ ‌cry‌ ‌“help!”‌ ‌Because‌ ‌he‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌One‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌power.‌ ‌ ‌
A‌ ‌Potential‌ ‌Landmine‌ ‌
Having‌ ‌covered‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌that‌ ‌ground,‌ ‌v26‌ ‌can‌ ‌almost‌ ‌feel‌ ‌jarring.‌ ‌‌Let‌ ‌us‌ ‌not‌ ‌become‌ ‌conceited,‌ ‌
provoking‌ ‌one‌ ‌another,‌ ‌envying‌ ‌one‌ ‌another.‌ ‌‌Why‌ ‌bring‌ ‌up‌ ‌this‌ ‌topic‌ ‌of‌ ‌conceit‌ ‌right‌ ‌now?‌ ‌
Well,‌ ‌notice‌ ‌what‌ ‌comes‌ ‌right‌ ‌before‌ ‌v16‌ ‌(where‌ ‌we‌ ‌first‌ ‌saw‌ ‌Paul‌ ‌use‌ ‌“‌walk‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit”‌ ‌
language):‌ ‌v13-16,‌ ‌‌For‌ ‌you‌ ‌were‌ ‌called‌ ‌to‌ ‌freedom,‌ ‌brothers.‌ ‌Only‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ ‌use‌ ‌your‌ ‌freedom‌ ‌as‌ ‌
an‌ ‌opportunity‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh,‌ ‌but‌ ‌through‌ ‌love‌ ‌serve‌ ‌one‌ ‌another.‌ ‌For‌ ‌the‌ ‌whole‌ ‌law‌ ‌is‌ ‌fulfilled‌ ‌
in‌ ‌one‌ ‌word:‌ ‌“You‌ ‌shall‌ ‌love‌ ‌your‌ ‌neighbor‌ ‌as‌ ‌yourself.”‌ ‌But‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌bite‌ ‌and‌ ‌devour‌ ‌one‌ ‌
another,‌ ‌watch‌ ‌out‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌not‌ ‌consumed‌ ‌by‌ ‌one‌ ‌another.‌ ‌‌So‌ ‌there‌ ‌must‌ ‌be‌ ‌a‌ ‌connection‌ ‌
between‌ ‌walking‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit’s‌ ‌power,‌ ‌keeping‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌Him,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌unity‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌church.‌ ‌ ‌
Have‌ ‌you‌ ‌ever‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌church‌ ‌as‌ ‌the‌ ‌temple‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit?‌ ‌Many‌ ‌of‌ ‌us‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌
familiar‌ ‌with‌ ‌that‌ ‌language‌ ‌in‌ ‌reference‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌individual‌ ‌Christian‌ ‌in‌ ‌1‌ ‌Corinthians‌ ‌6:19,‌ ‌where‌ ‌
Paul‌ ‌uses‌ ‌that‌ ‌fact‌ ‌to‌ ‌argue‌ ‌against‌ ‌sexual‌ ‌immorality.‌ ‌But‌ ‌earlier‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌book,‌ ‌1‌ ‌
7‌ ‌
Corinthians‌ ‌3:16-17,‌ ‌we‌ ‌read‌ ‌these‌ ‌words:‌ ‌‌Do‌ ‌you‌ ‌not‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌temple‌ ‌and‌ ‌
that‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌dwells‌ ‌in‌ ‌you?‌ ‌If‌ ‌anyone‌ ‌destroys‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌temple,‌ ‌God‌ ‌will‌ ‌destroy‌ ‌him.‌ ‌For‌ ‌
God’s‌ ‌temple‌ ‌is‌ ‌holy,‌ ‌and‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌that‌ ‌temple.‌ ‌‌Now‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌important‌ ‌to‌ ‌note‌ ‌that‌ ‌in‌ ‌both‌ ‌of‌ ‌those‌ ‌
verses‌ ‌the‌ ‌word‌ ‌“you”‌ ‌is‌ ‌plural‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Greek.‌ ‌Which‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌say,‌ ‌he‌ ‌is‌ ‌speaking‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌entire‌ ‌church‌ ‌
as‌ ‌a‌ ‌body,‌ ‌a‌ ‌temple,‌ ‌indwelt‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌of‌ ‌God.‌ ‌The‌ ‌early‌ ‌chapters‌ ‌of‌ ‌1‌ ‌Corinthians‌ ‌are‌ ‌
largely‌ ‌dealing‌ ‌with‌ ‌divisions‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌church,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌apostle‌ ‌here‌ ‌tells‌ ‌the‌ ‌believers‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌
need‌ ‌to‌ ‌realize‌ ‌what‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌doing‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌cause‌ ‌splits‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌church:‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌attempting‌ ‌to‌ ‌
set‌ ‌fire‌ ‌to‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌dwelling‌ ‌place,‌ ‌and‌ ‌he‌ ‌will‌ ‌not‌ ‌treat‌ ‌that‌ ‌lightly.‌ ‌ ‌
To‌ ‌take‌ ‌that‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌Galatians,‌ ‌I‌ ‌think‌ ‌what‌ ‌we‌ ‌see‌ ‌is‌ ‌this:‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌strive‌ ‌for‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌personal‌ ‌
holiness,‌ ‌and‌ ‌try‌ ‌super‌ ‌duper‌ ‌hard‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌and‌ ‌that’s‌ ‌great.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌imperative,‌ ‌even.‌ ‌
But‌ ‌if‌ ‌in‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌doing‌ ‌we‌ ‌become‌ ‌consumed‌ ‌with‌ ‌our‌ ‌own‌ ‌pride,‌ ‌our‌ ‌own‌ ‌conceit;‌ ‌if‌ ‌we‌ ‌start‌ ‌
provoking‌ ‌others‌ ‌so‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌see‌ ‌how‌ ‌awesome‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌and‌ ‌turn‌ ‌green‌ ‌with‌ ‌envy,‌ ‌or‌ ‌we‌ ‌in‌ ‌turn‌ ‌
are‌ ‌envious‌ ‌of‌ ‌them,‌ ‌then‌ ‌we‌ ‌must‌ ‌look‌ ‌out.‌ ‌We’re‌ ‌setting‌ ‌fire‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌very‌ ‌thing‌ ‌we’re‌ ‌seeking‌ ‌to‌ ‌
build.‌ ‌To‌ ‌become‌ ‌proud‌ ‌because‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌walk‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌like‌ ‌going‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌walk‌ ‌and‌ ‌
then‌ ‌pulling‌ ‌out‌ ‌a‌ ‌pocket‌ ‌knife‌ ‌to‌ ‌start‌ ‌cutting‌ ‌your‌ ‌foot‌ ‌off.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌counter-productive,‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌
wrongheaded.‌ ‌Notice‌ ‌in‌ ‌v20-21,‌ ‌that‌ ‌enmity,‌ ‌strife,‌ ‌jealousy,‌ ‌rivalries,‌ ‌dissensions,‌ ‌divisions,‌ ‌
envy-these‌ ‌are‌ ‌all‌ ‌listed‌ ‌as‌ ‌works‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌flesh‌ ‌alongside‌ ‌sexual‌ ‌immorality,‌ ‌impurity,‌ ‌sensuality,‌ ‌
sorcery,‌ ‌etc.‌ ‌Paul‌ ‌wants‌ ‌us‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌careful‌ ‌not‌ ‌to‌ ‌turn‌ ‌our‌ ‌walk‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Spirit‌ ‌into‌ ‌yet‌ ‌another‌ ‌
attempt‌ ‌to‌ ‌proudly‌ ‌earn‌ ‌our‌ ‌own‌ ‌awesomeness.‌ ‌In‌ ‌the‌ ‌words‌ ‌of‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌Luther,‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌beggars,‌ ‌
this‌ ‌is‌ ‌true.‌ ‌ ‌
Conclusion‌ ‌
As‌ ‌we‌ ‌conclude,‌ ‌I‌ ‌just‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌remind‌ ‌you‌ ‌how‌ ‌amazing‌ ‌this‌ ‌all‌ ‌is.‌ ‌The‌ ‌God‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Universe,‌ ‌the‌ ‌
Lord‌ ‌of‌ ‌Angel‌ ‌Armies,‌ ‌wants‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌with‌ ‌you.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌hoping‌ ‌in‌ ‌Christ‌ ‌alone‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌
salvation,‌ ‌he‌ ‌sends‌ ‌his‌ ‌Holy‌ ‌Spirit,‌ ‌the‌ ‌third‌ ‌Divine‌ ‌person‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Trinity,‌ ‌to‌ ‌reside‌ ‌with‌ ‌you‌ ‌
and‌ ‌to‌ ‌walk‌ ‌with‌ ‌you.‌ ‌To‌ ‌keep‌ ‌in‌ ‌step‌ ‌with‌ ‌him‌ ‌is‌ ‌not‌ ‌a‌ ‌burden-it‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌blessing.‌ ‌The‌ ‌road‌ ‌he‌ ‌
leads‌ ‌us‌ ‌on‌ ‌may‌ ‌be‌ ‌hard,‌ ‌but‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌strewn‌ ‌with‌ ‌flowers‌ ‌of‌ ‌joy,‌ ‌and‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌end‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌road‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lord‌ ‌
has‌ ‌commanded‌ ‌his‌ ‌blessing:‌ ‌life‌ ‌forevermore.‌ ‌

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Faithfulness of God; 1 Samuel 2


Audio Link

The Faithfulness of God

1 Samuel 2, Remsen Bible Fellowship, 09/13/2020


  • If you weren’t here last week, we’re jumping into 1 Samuel

    • This is a book of unknown author, date

    • 3 main figures: Samuel (last judge), Saul (1st king), David (great king)

    • We’re planning to cover this book over roughly 7 months, and so that’s going to require a speed where we don’t always talk about every part of every verse

      • I’d use the analogy of travel: we aren’t going to walk around and see every bush and flower, or we’d be here for years and never understand the lay of the land more broadly; nor are we flying a plane, looking at the big picture with no concept of the particulars; we driving along the interstate noticing some details, stopping at especially important overlooks, balancing speed and scope with attention to certain details 

      • For example, this morning we’ll move through Hannah’s prayer and then more quickly through the narrative

  • Samuel’s story begins in ch 1 with the story of his mother & her prayer for a son

    • She promises to dedicate this son to the Lord

    • The chapter ends with her fulfilling that vow

      • We come to chapter two, and the first thing we encounter is Hannah’s prayer

Hannah’s Prayer; v1-10

Hannah’s prayer breaks into three sections: 

  • Read 1-3, personal salvation

    • Hannah begins with her experience of God’s salvation

    • It’s easy to talk about how God works in big broad terms, but that becomes personal for us when we see his salvation in our own lives

    • Hannnah’s horn, her strength is lifted by God

      • This causes her to see that there is none like him (v2), and that one shouldn’t be arrogant (v3)

  • Read 4-8, how Yahweh works

    • Hannah moves from her personal experience (and doubtless her knowledge of Israel’s history) to see that this God who had helped her in her affliction was acting in a way in line with his character

    • He is the Lord over all things (v6-7)

    • And he pays particular attention to those who are needy (4-5, 7-8)

    • This cuts across the grain of American “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” “God helps those who help themselves” religion

    • God helps those who understand that they are destitute, and turn to him for help

    • John Calvin, after the death of his wife, wrote to a friend: “May the Lord Jesus … support me … under this heavy affliction, which would certainly have overcome me, had not He, who raises up the prostrate, strengthens the weak, and refreshes the weary, stretched forth His hand from heaven to me.”

    • You might notice in v5 the mention of 7 children, whereas if you look at v21, we only count six for Hannah, including Samuel. But this simply drives home the point that she has moved from looking just at her own experience to seeing that God is the God who brings fulfillment. Whatever the particular number of children given to the barren woman, the point in saying seven is that God completes and fills up her desire with ideal number

  • Read 9-10, how he will continue to work

    • In the end, the faithful ones prevail and wickedness is cut off (9)

    • The adversaries of the Lord will, in the end, be dashed to pieces as God exalts the horn (not only of the Hannah’s of the world, but also) of his anointed ruler, his coming king. 

    • God will judge the world and establish righteousness.

      • This is an escatalogical promise: one day it will be the rule for all the earth; the prophets predict such a time, as do Jesus and Paul in the new testament. 

      • But it also burst into the time and space we live in, as is about to unfold in the rest of chapter 2 of 1 Samuel.

Two Types of Servant

The rest of 1 Samuel two chronicles a contrast. The Hebrew word “na’ar” is used throughout this passage, translated in various ways (boy, servant, young man/men), but the contrast is clear: There are the faithless and worthless “na’ar”, sons of Eli, who are headed toward being crushed; and the increasingly faithful “na’ar”, Samuel, who is growing in favor both with God and man. 

Eli’s Sons

  • We see the worthlessness of these two spelled out clearly, along with its source, in v12

  • Liturgical sins: v13-17

    • There are two distinct actions: those in 13-14, and those in 15-16

    • Some take the former to be acceptable and normal, and the latter to be the issue

    • But I think, given that the priests are already given a portion of this offering before it is offered (Leviticus 7:28-36) and that v15 begins with “moreover”, that these are two offenses piled on top of one another

    • These young men don’t see their role as priests (those who minister to God on behalf of the people) as something to be taken with reverence, instead they seek to use their position of power to leverage personal gain. They are seeking their own advantage (see God’s rebuke in v29)

    • This sort of self-seeking is seen as contempt for God (v17)

  • Moral sins: v22-25

    • Not only are the young men making a farce of worship, they are making a farce of their role as “god’s men”. They are sleeping with the young women who serve at the tabernacle complex, acting as if they were Cannanite’s who had temple prostitutes. Their worship is false, and their lives are false.

  • How discouraging it is when even those who are supposed to represent God, the pastors and priests and heads of Christian universities, are exposed in the perversity of their sin

  • Imagine being an Israelite in that day, you couldn’t even offer your praise offering without being harassed by a wicked priest. If only this were harder for us to imagine today

    • Is God silent? Will he allow the perversity to continue forever? V25b

    • 1 Peter 4:17-18

  • God’s judgement: v27-26

    • A man of God comes to Eli with a sobering message: you have been complicit in the sins of your sons. Though I chose you to be my priestly family (v27-28), you have rejected your role by fattening yourselves off my people. So I will cut you off.

    • The only person in your house who will be left (v33) will be left to grieve, and your two wicked sons will die on the same day (v34, cf ch 4)

    • You will be replaced (v35). Who is the faithful priest? Probably Zadok (1 Kings 2), not Samuel (who serves as prophet and judge).

God will not be mocked. The sins of Eli’s house were great, and though it seemed for a time: a long time, like God wasn’t going to do anything, judgement was coming. It is worth observing that God’s time frame is not the same as ours. The people of Israel doubtless would have preferred God to move toward justice more speedily. But he was at work, raising up a faithful man.

Faithful Samuel

  • Note that before we get Eli’s sons, we get one verse of Samuel, v11; ministering

  • Then, between the two sections on their sins, we read, v18-21; ministering, serving

    • Sidenote: the gracious, grateful worship of Hannah and Elkanah is responded to by God (through Eli!) with a blessing, v20-21

  • Finally, before we hear the final rebuke of the chapter, given my the prophet to Eli, we have one final glimpse of Samuel, v26

    • All through this chapter the sins of Eli’s sons are multiplied and compounded: liturgical, moral, hard heartedness

    • Yet we find Samuel, ministering, serving, growing in favor with God and man. These two lines on the graph are heading in inverse directions. V3-5, v9-10

We should read this chapter and take a few lessons. First we should be warned by the consequences of wickedness. The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). We should also continue to see Hannah as a model of faith and of prayer. Last week we saw her turn to Yahweh because she was desperate, and turn to him because he hears. Today we see her turning to him in overflowing praise for his character and his works. We should also see Samuel as a model of growing faithfulness, even when the influences around were certainly not leading in that direction. But before we conclude I want to make a final point.


  • We don’t just have models of good and bad behavior in this chapter: we have a haunting question: v25a, cf Romans 3:23

  • We, according to Romans, are just as implicated by that statement as Eli’s wicked sons. You are just as deserving of condemnation. Have you ever misused your power in a relationship as a parent, perhaps with your spouse or at work. IT’s easy to find yourself manipulating people and situations for no reason other than your personal gain. Or maybe you’ve been guilty of lust. Jesus puts that on par, in terms of guilt before God, with physically following through on adultery. 

    • We need a faithful priest to represent us to God. 

    • V26, cf Luke 2:52

  • Jesus came as our sin bearer, so that in his death all our sins were paid. But he also serves now as our faithful high priest, the ultimate fulfillment of v35, the one who stands before the Father for us today.

  • Hebrews 7:20-28

    • He was the sacrifice, v27b

    • He lives to make intercession for us, v25

The same God who was at work in the time of the judges in Israel, moving to judge sin and bring forward a faithful servant, has brought forward the perfect servant in the person of his Son. Jesus has absorbed our sin, and now ministers to the Father on our behalf, as the perfect and faithful priest who understands our every weakness, our every need. Lean yourself wholly on him.

Hearing God's Voice; 1 Samuel 3


Audio Link

Hearing God's Voice 

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1a; Remsen Bible Fellowship ; 09/20/2020

Introduction: Our Need

  • Do you long to hear God’s voice?

    • Do you desire a word from the Lord?

  • If you do: fantastic. That is a right desire, and it’s our topic this morning

    • If you don’t have that desire, if you feel sufficient on your own, let me lean on you a little here - you have no greater need than to hear the word of the Lord

  • Not having the word of the Lord, not hearing his voice is pictured in Scripture as a form of God’s judgement: Amos 8:11-12, Isaiah 8:16-22

    • Not to hear from God is to be cast about in utter darkness. Contra, Psalm 119:105

  • As we come 1 Samuel 3, the whole nation is seen to be under God’s judgement, as the word of the Lord has become rare

Read the Chapter

God’s Call

  • The Setting of this chapter is early morning in the temple, pre-dawn light, v2-3

    • The lamp was to stay lit-apparently a job for Samuel because he is young and spry

    • Note the description of Eli-eyes have grown dim. Physically and spiritually

    • The whole nation lies in the darkness: but dawn is coming 

  • In v4-10 the Hebrew verb for call, which we have as call or called depending on the tense, occurs 11 times

  • I want to note 3 characteristics of God’s call to Samuel-2 apply to us, the third does not

    • 1) It is personal. God calls Samuel by name

    • Every time God calls to someone in Scripture it is by name. This extends to you today

    • 2) It is persistent. God calls Samuel four times

    • Do you feel like you’ve missed your opportunity to listen to God because you have failed to hear him in the past? 2 Cor 6:2; cf, Ex 3 happens after 40 years in the wilderness for Moses

    • God isn’t going to speak to you in the same form he did to Samuel, but the the call to hear and heed his word remains the same today

      • Note v7, Samuel did not yet know the Lord-why? He hadn’t received God’s word

    • After Eli finally realizes what is going on (how should we feel about this guy?), he gives Samuel wise advice: wait for him to come back, and be ready to listen

    • When God returns the fourth time, we read of what seems to be a theophany (v10a), and the Lord calls Samuel’s name twice (Ex 3:4)


    • 3) the third characteristic of God’s call to Samuel, the unique part, is it’s to a prophetic ministry

    • Samuel receives a direct word from the Lord, and his ministry is to deliver that word

God’s Message

  • In v11-13 the Lord unfolds for Samuel a reiteration of the unnamed prophet’s message from chapter two: the sin is very great, Eli’s sons blasphemed God, Eli failed to restrain them, there remains no sacrifice

  • Is God being too harsh? Number 15:27-31

  • Samuel doesn’t seem eager to deliver this message to Eli (v15)

    • Receiving the word of the Lord is of no value, indeed is dangerous, if we are unwilling to act upon it. Cf Isaiah 8:16-22, God hides his face because they are disobeying

    • This is the message from Eli to Samuel in v17

  • In v18 Samuel delivers the uncomfortable news, all of it

    • This is the task of any messenger of Christ

    • 1) for all of us, sharing the good news of the gospel includes sharing the bad news about sin. 

    • 2) This is particularly true for preachers of the Gospel. God’s kills & makes alive (1 Samuel 2:6) by his word (John 1:2, Revelation 19:11-15)

    • Hold me accountable, and should I die or move (hopefully decades in the future), this is the #1 criteria in a pastor-will he preach in season and out of season? 2 Timothy 4:2

  • This sort of proclamation, whether in a personal conversation or in the public preaching, demands a response

  • Are you willing to hear this kind of uncomfortable word from the lord? v18

Our Response

  • In v19-4:1a, Samuel is established. He grew, none of his words fall to the ground, Dan to Beersheeba (the whole nation) knows that he is a prophet, God reveals himself to Samuel by his word, and all the nation hears it

  • Note the close association with what the prophet says and what God says, 3:21, 4:1

  • But this takes us back to the distinctness of Samuel’s call, and the difference between his day and ours

    • It that day, the word was rare (3:1), and it comes common (4:1) via God speaking to one person, and that person relaying the message to everyone

    • This actually marks a shift in Israel’s history: Samuel is the first in a continuous line of prophets

  • We won’t turn there, but Deuteronomy 18:15ff gives a prophecy of a great prophet like Moses to come, and then the test for any other prophets who come in between Moses & the one to come (their words had to prove true)

  • With Samuel, the word of the Lord goes from being rare and uncommonly heard, to there always being a prophetic presence in Israel, speaking God’s word to his people. This continues to be the case until the close of the OT canon, some 400 years before the birth of Christ. 

  • But then God goes silent-until the last of the OT style prophets hits the scene: John the Baptist

    • But John is not the Prophet (John 1:21)

    • He point to the One who is

  • Hebrews 1:1-4, God has revealed himself perfectly in the person of his Son

  • No longer are visions (v2) needed, Jesus is the vision, the icon, the perfect picture

  • God reveals himself to us through this written word-the Scriptures-all of which (John 5) point to the Living and Eternal Word, the Lord Jesus Christ

  • We receive him by believing all that this book says about him Romans 10:17

  • The great gift of our day is that we are no longer having to wait on God to send a special message through any particular mere human: he sent the perfect man, the God man, to reveal the full character of his nature. 

  • To hear the voice of God in our day no longer requires some out of body experience or a voice from heaven: we can simply open the book and pray, show me Christ

  • We come to church, coming as the body of Christ, and the task of the preacher is to make clear to the gathered body the word of the Lord

    • “God’s word—written, preached, welcomed—is the token [sign] of God’s grace to God’s people.”

    • We come to hear Our Lord whom we are to obey, we come to hear our Savior whom we are to trust, and we come to hear our Bridegroom and closest friend who will comfort us in every affliction.

Brothers and sisters, you need to hear the voice of God. You need to hear the word of Christ.  Pick up the book and read! Turn on your audio Bible and listen! Gather with the church week by week as we come together in submission to his word, to hear from the only One whose words give life. Hebrews 2:1-3a

1 Samuel 4, God's Not Your Puppet