Rumbly in my Tumbly

1 Samuel‬ ‭14:24‬ ‭(ESV) “And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food.”

I should be writing about Prince Jonathan and his bravery, and the courage and commitment of his armor-bearer, of how they peeled away from the troops and scaled jagged cliffs covertly and created chaos amongst the enemy. 

I should be writing about how God once again comes on the scene and routs the enemy. Causing them to slay each other. 

…BUT

Once again, just when you don’t think it’s humanly possible to do something worse than his unlawful sacrifice, King Saul makes a careless oath

When we were younger our crew would respond to that with two words… “This Brother!!!”

What a Bonehead, what a Mook! This guy is making Harry and Lloyd look like geniuses

As a SoCal guy, one of the traditions before the Rose 🌹Bowl game, Lawry’s Restaurant would host both teams to a hearty Prime Rib dinner an expensive, delicious, high calorie meal before the game. The exact opposite of what King Saul proclaims. 

“Hey everybody! Listen up, NO one is going to eat a thing until the enemy is conquered!”

All of a sudden I can almost hear the sound of 1000’s of soldiers sigh a collective groan, immediately followed by a chorus of “Rumbly in my Tumbly”. Which is uncannily appropriate in this story. There’s hunny in this story (1 Samuel Chapter 14) you have to read it for yourself. 

I’m stoked, I was able to reference College Football, Dumb and Dumber and Winnie the Pooh in the same blog. 

It’s taken me over 4 days marinating on this to even come up with an opinion

It smells like Saul is trying to act religious, it reeks of pride and selfishness. The longer I think about it the more it stinks. This guy is letting his crown warp his mind. Shakespeare wrote, “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.” I know Zac Brown sang it like that, but that’s where he got it from. 

Is King Saul so emotionally spent by the constant oppression of Israels enemies that he is making rash decisions? Did he inherit such a mess of a nation that it’s causing him to misspeak, and make logistical errors?  

This isn’t looking like the changed guy that prophesied with the prophets, the young man who rallied 330,000 men to fight with him. It appears the pressure of leading has him thinking he is now an island unto himself. It’s his people and his enemies. How fast do we forget from where we came. 

So… what can we learn?

1. Be careful when making decisions under duress. It’s best to ask for advice from people you trust

2. Think about how policy changes affect the whole organization… Small moves by the large cogs (leaders) cause the small cogs (staff/ helpers/ volunteers) to spin wildly

3. Personal issues and frustrations can become organizational nightmares.  

4. If your teammates need to make decisions behind your back to save your backside, it’s not always betrayal, it is often the effect of a slow erosion of trust and confidence in your leadership. 

Heavenly Father, I’ve made plenty of dumb moves and poor decisions which made my leaders spin uncontrollably. My spontaneous style was chaotic to those who served with me. Thank you for allowing me to see the error of my ways, and thank you for giving me friends and teammates that stuck with me because they believed in “the cause” even though I didn’t give them too much reason to believe in me. 

May the readers also reflect and learn from their mistakes before hasty decisions and policy changes cause irreparable damage to their teams. 

Thank you for your Word. Today once again it cut deep. I pray someone is helped as much as I have been. -Love John

Stay in your lane

‭‭1 SAMUEL‬ ‭13:8-9‬ ‭AMP‬‬ “Now Saul waited seven days, according to the appointed time which Samuel had set, but Samuel had not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering away from Saul. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering [which he was forbidden to do].”

Saul’s reign so far in 5 seconds. 
-Hears bad news

-Musters 330,000 men

-Defeats Ammonites

-Inaugurated

-2 years pass…

Here we find Saul somewhere in the 3rd year of his reign (even though most of the commentators and versions do not agree on specific dates). 

Israel seems to be consistently in conflict with its enemies, the Philistines are attacking after a Israeli assault on an outpost. 

This time the numbers are in the Philistines favor, 30,000 chariots, 3,000 horsemen and more troops than can be numbered. 

Israel is afraid, they are hiding, they are outnumbered and overpowered. 
Saul seems to be in control, he isn’t running into battle without first consulting the man of God. 

…but there is a hitch, Samuel is busy or he has some other engagement. He tells Saul to wait for him 7 days. 

Why seven days? Idk? I’m not a numerologist, but I know seven is said to be the number of completion. Perhaps he had a previous appointment? We just do not know. 

It reminds me of the time when a messenger was sent to Jesus regarding his friend Lazarus’ sickness. Jesus didn’t drop what he was doing, jump up and grab the first 🐫 or donkey and head to Lazarus’ bedside. 

Nope! He waited. 
Maybe this is just like that? 

Samuel arrives towards the end of the 7th day. 

King Saul had it in his mind that being late for a meeting is unacceptable and making a king wait seven days is already a stretch. 

How dare he (Samuel) be late!!!

In his lack of patience, he makes the biggest mistake of his life. He gets in Samuels lane and tries to run Samuels race, but does he do what is strictly forbidden for anyone but the priest do?

He most likely has a priest with him, and that priest conducted the sacrifice and offering. 

But the issue is that he offers the sacrifice and the offering in Samuels absence. 

So what?! 

You probably thought it, what’s the big deal?!

I believe this was a test. A test of character and obedience which he failed miserably. And instead of owning it, he gives excuses

Was this action really enough to rip the kingdom away from him?

In Gods eyes…YES!

Why???

In my opinion, it was a lack of FAITH! 
Scripture clearly states, “Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.” 

You see, Saul’s thinking was… I’m doing a righteous thing making a Sacrifice and giving an Offering. BUT… His ACTIONS pointed to a lack of faith. His eyes were on the PEOPLE who were leaving, and NOT on the person who was on the way

They (the Israelites) came out in support, but when Samuel delayed, they started to leave, to hide in caves, in thickets and in dry cisterns. This exodus proves too much to bear for Saul, and that’s when he makes the decision not to wait any longer. 

So what can we learn? As if it isn’t evident. 

1. Patience is pretty important.

2. Making excuses isn’t the same as repentance.

3. I’d rather wait for God to show up, than to rush into battle without Him. 
You think David learned from Saul’s mistakes? Seems like humility is an important character trait for a godly leader. After one of the lowest points in Davids life he writes…

Psalms‬ ‭51:16-17‬ ‭ESV “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Heavenly Father, enable me to be patient when I think you are moving too slow for my liking. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not on what those around me are doing and or how they are reacting. I always want to be a person who is quick to admit when I’m wrong, and help me to remember that in any situation I’m in, or any obstacle I face, if You are with me, it doesn’t matter who is against me. 
Love-John

Guilty as charged. 

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭12:23 “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.”

In this chapter Samuel the prophet/judge of Israel is giving his farewell speech. By the tone and mood of it, he is hurt by the betrayal, and I cannot blame him. As a pastor, every time you lose a member or congregant it feels like a divorce, a betrayal. 

And to be brutally honest… It sucks!

I know religious people will probably not even bother to read on because I said that, but that’s how it feels. 

In my case, I could have been a better listener, leader and team player, But Samuel…

He didn’t let Gods Words fall to the ground, they didn’t have any charge of negligence, dereliction of duty, moral or ethical failure. NOTHING

I remember saying to folks in jest, “I’m taking you off my prayer list.” 

I never really thought about it much, but out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Deep down I really meant it. 

I remember one time in the early ’90’s the group I was in did a few shows in the Miami area. While we were out of the hotel goofing around afterwards. Someone broke into our room and ripped off our merch. CD’s, hats, T-shirts, stickers. And some of our DJ’s albums. I called down 🔥 on the perps. I prayed like David prayed against his enemies. (I told you David was my Bible hero!) I may have even prayed the plagues of Egypt down on those fools. Can you tell I was upset? My band mates would clown me every so often about that incident, and I wasn’t playing, I meant it!

Thank God that we don’t get everything we say. Or pray. 

…Ok back on track John, 

Samuel has to vocalize this to the people, “I will not take you off my prayer list, and I will not stop leading you in the way you need to go.” 

That’s hard! That’s love! That’s commitment!

He is essentially saying. Even though you have REJECTED the Lord as King, and me as your judge. I will NOT reject you!

I’m convicted! 

I knew it the minute I read this verse. 

I’m not going to lie, I wanted to pass this chapter over as well. Not because there is NOTHING to write about, but because there most definitely is! 

I have sinned! I have cut folks off my prayer list that have rejected God, and me. 

And here I confess my sin to the potential millions that could ever read this blog/post. I was wrong and I’m truly sorry

So what can we learn from this chapter? 

1. God is sovereign. 

2. God is just. 

3. God can fight His own battles. 

4. God loves people. 

5. We need to NOT let rejection and disappointment steer us off track from what we were called to do, and from whom we were called to minister to. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word. Today it cut deep. Thank you for revealing something to me that was sin. Help me not to take rejection personally. And help me to honor you in all I do, say and write. Love you-John

What a RUSH!

1 Samuel‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled.”

Wait a minute! What? The Spirit of God caused Saul to get ANGRY?

Could it be the same Spirit that caused Jesus to break out the whip at the Temple here causes Saul to get righteously indignant?

Heck yes! And then some. 

Isn’t it peculiar how the sound of the people in lament would stir up some to action, but cause others to just join in on the wailing?

Upon hearing the news that the people of Jabesh-Gilead were about to surrender to the Ammonites. Saul was stirred to action. The people of Jabesh-Gilead upon surrender were about to have their eyes gouged out. This action would render them useless as soldiers, and as archers. It was a form of humiliation and utter disgrace. Why would a people submit themselves to this painful debilitating mutalation?

…They had NO HOPE!

Why would the enemy give them 7 days respite in order for them to find someone to help their cause?

…The Ammonite King allowed it because he believed they were helpless, and hopeless.

But GOD!

Had a plan, and a man. 

You see, there is nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t act. How many of us have had supervisors who didn’t like confrontation so they let terrible employees run amok in the workplace. Ugh! That’s so frustrating!

How many of us want to spank those “Little Darlings” that terrorize their parents at the grocery store? And why does it bother us so? I believe it’s because they refuse to act when it’s absolutely evident to everyone else that it’s the proper thing to do.

But Saul was not yet tested, he may have been anointed before God, but he hadn’t been inaugurated before the people. They never had a King before, and he didn’t know know how to be one.

Something about the heart change that Saul experienced in the previous chapter transformed him from spectator to participant. Something about the anointing, something about the calling on his life. The same boy who was worried about finding his fathers donkeys was now concerned with the well being of a nation.

How did that happen? The verse says, …And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul… He came upon him mightily and his actions united 330,000 men to come to his side.

So what can we learn from this chapter?

1. Your TITLE means nothing without assuming the responsibilities it requires.

2. Your inadequacy might just be linked to your failure to act.

3. Righteous indignation isn’t the same as doing something for shock value.

4. People will follow a Spirit attentive leader.

5. God doesn’t NEED us to rout the enemy, He gives us front row seats.

Heavenly Father, we never want to go into battle without You, but at the same time we don’t like to sit back doing nothing. Help us to be content with plowing the fields until the time comes for us to act. We want to be so attentive to your call, that the things that break your heart also breaks ours. Give us the discernment to know when that time is. Enable us to act when others cower in fear, knowing the battle is not ours but Yours. Let our actions draw likeminded people to our sides, changing spectators into participants, and wailers into mighty men and women of valor. Love you – John

Follow the leader

1 SAMUEL‬ ‭10:26-27‬. “Saul also went home to Gibeah; and the brave men whose hearts God had touched went with him. But some worthless men said, “How can this man save and rescue us?” And they regarded Saul with contempt and did not bring him a gift. But he ignored the insult and kept silent.”
First impressions are everything. We judge people in an instant. We formulate opinions at the slightest misstep and pettiness. With that in mind, what would our thoughts be if the first action after hearing the introduction of the new king we all were crying for is finding him hiding amongst the baggage? 
He wasn’t even bold enough to meet with the crowds. The Bible states that there were some worthless men, riffraff, and scoundrels who were not impressed. 
Would I be among the worthless fellows that didn’t buy into this hype and fanfare? Would I despise this new appointee? 
God in His divine nature sends a band of valiant men that have Saul’s back. 
Every leader needs God appointed people who regardless of public perception and contrary to popular opinion stand by them. 
How does this happen? Supernaturally! 
God has to change their hearts!  
It’s hard enough to be the first to do something I’m sure Saul turning around and seeing that he doesn’t have to make the trip home alone was comforting. 
Father God, if it takes a supernatural touch from you to follow those whom you choose, then Father touch and change my heart towards the leadership that you have appointed. 
May I be a help, and not a hindrance, help me to be valiant and supportive so that when my leader turns around it’s not to a crowd of riffraff, this but it’s to valiant man.

Heart Change

‭‭1 SAMUEL‬ ‭10:6-7‬ ‭AMP‬‬ “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you will prophesy with them, and you will be changed into another man. When these signs come to you, do for yourself whatever the situation requires, for God is with you.”
…So we left off with the Israelites asking the Man of God for a King. I had to combine my thoughts on Chapter 9 with Chapter 10. 
     We are introduced to Saul. A son of an affluent man, a young man who is described as tall, handsome and obedient. 
     This kid is on an errand for his pops. He is with a servant looking throughout the land for some lost donkeys. Doesn’t seem like anything really out of the ordinary. Saul and the servant search high and low and it seems like they have really run out of options, but the servant has an idea, “Let’s ask the prophet maybe he can let us know where these lost donkeys are.” 
     Little does Saul know that his life is about to be changed forever. The M.O.G. Not only tells him to stop looking for the donkeys, but he tells him he is about to be anointed king. 
     I have to be brutally honest, I have journaled this book before and each time I’ve skipped chapters 9-10, and I almost skipped it again, but if I apply the standard of 2nd Timothy 3:16 then there must be something for me here that I desperately need. 
      I know I’m biased. I know that because I have read the entire story that I have a prejudice toward Saul. It’s maybe not a 100 biased opinion, but there indeed a dislike for the guy. My Bible hero is David, and the way that I have read that Saul treats David has got me all salty towards him. I already know he is impulsive, disobedient and let’s a jealous rage overtake him. I already know that his failures cause him to be a “One and Done” monarch. 
     His blunders at leadership and loyalty. Not only costs him the realm, but it also denies him any chance of a successor from his blood line. 
So what can I learn? Ugh. 
      Young Saul was obedient, he also believed in the words that he was given. There was also a heart change before the gift was imparted. God literally changed his heart, perhaps this heart change gave him the boldness to join in with the prophets? 
      I really don’t know! All I know is that God gave this kid a shot. And he started off with the right heart, the right attitude and the right spirit
      Father, help me to understand your Word especially when my preconceived notions hinder and effect my ability to receive. In a sense I want to be like young Saul, I want to be able to move on just your Word without a doubt and without questions. Like young Saul, I also want this old hard heart changed especially if it means Your Spirit coming on me mightily and empowering me to use my gifting in a greater capacity. 
     Heavenly Father, I know time after time you are looking for men and women who are available to stand in the gap and rebuild the walls and not just any man or woman will do. 
     Father God, I don’t want just a great start, but I want to finish STRONG. -John

To the woodshed with the lot of ’em!”

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.””
-The Ark is in good hands, but not in its rightful place (the Temple).

-Israel is back to business as usual. 

-Time passes.

-Samuel is getting older, his sons are taking a more visible role in ministry. – -Much like Eli’s sons, these guys are corrupt. 

-The people are tired of corruption in leadership (spiritual leaders). 

-So they cry for a king.
It seems like God is done, could it be that there is a time when the One who is slow to anger and abounding in love just throws His hands up? Is God quitting? Is God giving in? Is God like the terrible parent(s) that can’t control their little monsters while out in public? 
As I read this, I’m like… “God, with all due respect… from my armchair, they don’t need a timeout buddy, they need a good ole fashioned spanking… To the woodshed with the lot of ’em!”
Now I know YOU don’t ever second guess someone’s parenting decisions, especially NOT Gods, but sometimes when I read the Bible, I do. I’m not even going to lie. If that’s your way (of parenting), I have a wooden paddle I made from 5/8″ plywood you desperately need to borrow.
But looking carefully at verse 9, He tells Samuel, “Give ’em what they want (a king), but explain what that actually is going to look like. (It’s gonna suck!)
Could God just be so loving, that He allows his people to have to experience all that a monarchy is going to demand from them? 
He gave them an out! But they refused it. By asking for a KING it meant… They would rather be TAXED, have their children and servants TAKEN, and succumb to future TYRANNY. Than to humbly take their concerns to a Prophet/Judge. 
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT WHAT WE JUST READ?
1. Do I really want the things I moan and complain about?

2. What would my life really look like if I had “My Way?”

3. What areas can I look back on and say, “God HANDED me over to…” Romans 1:28

4. Is “King John” (ME) really a better alternative than King Jesus?

5. What “OUT” has been given to me? What “godly warnings” have I failed to hear/ heed?

6. Am I a spoiled Little Brat who chooses COMFORT over COUNSEL?  
Father God, I know you are slow to anger and I have repetitively tried your patience. I also know that there have been godly men and women, that have tried to warn me about some things (I was doing, and the direction I was heading) that were totally out of your perfect will for my life. I’ve wasted, time, years, and trampled on your grace. Yet you have remained steady, faithful and gracious still. Thank you for being what some call a God of a second chance (for me 4th and 5th chance). Father thank you for your forgiveness and restoration. I’ve learned the hard way, but I know there may be readers that are on the brink of disaster. May the words they read, somehow-someway, avert pain and misery. May you use this short study to change a life. LOVE -John