"HEARTS TOUCHED BY GOD"
Intro. I do not know of any scripture that is more fraught with potential than our present passage. "A band of men whose heart's God had touched." I used to sing in a Men's Cantata when I was in High School. One of the songs we sang had lyrics that went, "Give me some men who are stouthearted men, who will fight for the right they adore, start me with ten who are stouthearted men, and I'll soon give you ten thousand more. Shoulder to shoulder, and bolder and bolder we march as we go on before, then there's nothing in this world can halt or mar our plan, when stouthearted men can meet together man to man." That song was an ode to the power of men who are united for one purpose. Add to that men who are empowered by the Holy Spirit, united together for the kingdom of God and you have the potential to turn the world upside down. Let's look at the story.
I. THE NATION OF ISRAEL HAD BEEN A THEOCRACY, THAT IS, THEY WERE A NATION RULED BY GOD.
A. Other nations were ruled by earthly kings, but Israel was to be unique among the nations in that they were to be ruled by God.
1. Through them, God wanted to show the world how blessed a nation could be when it was ruled by God.
2. The psalmist said, "Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah."
B. God always had His man who declared to the people the will of God, but the people recognized that he was just a puppet in the hands of God, declaring to them the plan and purpose of God. They knew that God reigned.
II. NOW THEY HAVE COME TO THE PROPHET SAMUEL WITH A DEMAND THAT HE SET OVER THEM A KING THAT THEY MIGHT BE LIKE THE OTHER NATIONS.
A. What a tragedy when a nation or person, decides that they do not want God to rule over their lives, but they want to be like the world.
1. There is always very strong peer pressure to be like the world, but the scripture warns, "Love not the world neither the things that are in the world for he that has the love of the world in his heart, has not the love of the Father."
2. There is a rebellion within the heart of natural man against God reigning over their lives.
a. Jesus spoke a parable in Luke 19
that alludes to this.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. (That is Jesus)
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this [man] to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
For I feared thee, because you are an austere man: you take up that which you laid not down, and reap that which you did not sow.
And he said unto him, Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, taking up that which I laid not down, and reaped that which I did not sow:
Why then did you not place my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have received mine own with interest?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give [it] to him that hath ten pounds.
(And they said unto him, Lord, he has ten pounds.)
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me.
b. This is to be your fate if you do not want Jesus to reign over your life.
III. SAMUEL WAS HEARTSICK OVER THEIR DEMAND FOR A KING AND TOOK IT TO THE LORD.
A. God told Samuel to follow the voice of the people for they had not rejected Samuel, but they had rejected God from ruling over them.
1. Just who or what is ruling over your life today?
2. Could it be said that you have rejected God from ruling over you?
a. Does William Henley express your feelings when he writes,
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years,
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
b. I am reminded of the words of Jesus concerning the rich man in Luke 16
. "And in hell, he lifted up his eyes being in torment and cried father Abraham have mercy on me, I am tormented in this heat.
c. I dare say that William Henley's head is now bowed.
3. Paul wrote to the Romans to present their bodies unto God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God.
4. Jesus spoke of the inconsistency of those who called Him Lord, yet did not the things that He had commanded them.
5. The big issue at stake is are you the captain of your fate, are you the master of your soul? Or have you relinquished the control of your life to Jesus?
IV. HERE WE FIND GOD ACCOMMODATING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. THEY ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH GOD'S BEST FOR THEIR LIVES, BUT ARE DETERMINED TO BRING GOD DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL.
A. It is always a sad and tragic day when a person is insistent before God declaring, "Not Your will but my will be done."
1. When we refuse to rise to God's level, but insist that He come down to our level.
2. I have discovered that even if you bring God down to your level, He is gracious and will do the very best for you on that level.
3. The nation of Israel insisted on bringing God down to their level. He had desired that they be a Theocracy, they were insisting that they become a monarchy.
B. We thus see God's choice for their king, Saul the son of Kish. He was the finest man available.
1. We see his natural endowments. Tall and good looking. In fact there was not a man in Israel that was more handsome than he.
2. He came from a good family. He knew that his father would worry about him when he did not come home on time.
3. He was humble.
4. God filled with the Holy Spirit.
5. There went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.
C. If ever there was a formula for success we find it here.
1. Yet tragically his life ended in failure and disgrace.
a. The man who started out so humble soon became prideful and vain.
b. He began to rebel against the authority of God in his own life.
c. The day came when Samuel said to him, "You have rejected the word of the Lord so God has rejected you from being king over Israel."
D. What does this story teach us?
1. Power is one of the most corrupting forces in the world today.
2. Man is incapable of ruling without being corrupted. Even the finest men seem to become corrupted by power unless he remains fully governed by God.
3. I would take that one step further, not only can man not rule over others successfully unless he himself is ruled by God. He cannot even rule over his own life successfully, but will make it a ruin, unless he is submitted to the rule of the Lord.
4. Having great potential is no guarantee of success.
6. You may have been called by God, filled with the Spirit, and be surrounded by a band of men whose heart God has touched, and still end up a total failure, for you ceased allowing God to rule over your life.
7. It is not so important as how you started, as it is in how you finish. Paul wrote to the Galatians "You did start well, what hindered you?" You were hindered when you decided to take the control of your life away from God, and become the master of your fate. Rule over my Soul