Day 57:  Exodus 7, Psalm 57, 1 Samuel 8

We always seem to want what we can't or what we shouldn't have.  Too often we seek God last instead of first.

It was God who led Israel out of Egypt.  He who delivered them from Pharaoh's hand, crushing his army and saving the people of Israel.  He revealed Himself in a pillar of fire and cloud - something that had never been done before.  He turned bitter water sweet, made the sun stand still, routed armies before Israel even assembled for battle.  He was with His people and they were led by men who were His voice to the people.  When they obeyed God and served and worshiped Him alone the nations around them trembled.  They all knew what God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt and to every nation that oppressed the people of Israel so that they feared the God of Israel.  But none of this was good enough.

When the prophet/judge Samuel was advanced in years the people came to him and asked for a king to rule over them.  Their reasoning was two-fold:  1, Samuel would soon die and his two sons were not like him.  They did not serve the people before God honorably.  2, They wanted to be like all the other nations around them who had kings.

Can you believe that?  They had the perfect setup.  The God of the universe had chosen them to be His people.  He fought for them, protected them, provided for them and had a great plan for them as a people, but they wanted to be like everyone else.  So even though He revealed Himself to them through incredible signs and wonders they still worshiped other gods - idols of wood and stone and metal.  And if the division of their hearts was not enough they chose a mere man to lead them instead of God-of-the-angel-armies.

So God gave them what they wanted.  He laid out all that would go wrong with their king but gave them what they wanted.

I sometimes have to do this with my kids.  Explain that what they think they want will change their lives in ways they can't understand and won't like but, then, let them have their way.

God does the same with us today.  He will not force Himself on you.  If He did there would be no "freedom in Christ."  His desire is that we would choose Him because of who He is and what He has done, but He does not force Himself on anyone.

Yet, we constantly choose to look like the world around us.  We idolize people and worship them.  Whether they be athletes, movie stars or simply characters from a favorite book or movie.  We want to dress like them, look like them, act like them.  And little by little they become our gods.

If you are a believer listen to me.  God will let you go off and follow your own pursuits.  He will let you become a servant to whatever king you choose.  He warns... but allows.  However, this is never to your benefit.  Whatever is king over you soon ends up taking from you instead of giving.  Your best ideas, your youth, your beauty, your strength, your focus and maybe even your life.  God, on the other hand, wants to give to you.  He wants to give you life.  He wants you to have eyes to see your own beauty.  He becomes your strength and pours out creativity.  He even makes your youth count for something beyond you.

Every other king we may choose to lift up will take from us, but God, our invisible yet clearly perceived King wants to give us everything we ever wanted.  Sometimes, what everybody else has isn't what you really want anyway.

Seek FIRST His Kingdom...

Day 57:  Exodus 7, Psalm 57, 1 Samuel 8

We always seem to want what we can't or what we shouldn't have.  Too often we seek God last instead of first.

It was God who led Israel out of Egypt.  He who delivered them from Pharaoh's hand, crushing his army and saving the people of Israel.  He revealed Himself in a pillar of fire and cloud - something that had never been done before.  He turned bitter water sweet, made the sun stand still, routed armies before Israel even assembled for battle.  He was with His people and they were led by men who were His voice to the people.  When they obeyed God and served and worshiped Him alone the nations around them trembled.  They all knew what God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt and to every nation that oppressed the people of Israel so that they feared the God of Israel.  But none of this was good enough.

When the prophet/judge Samuel was advanced in years the people came to him and asked for a king to rule over them.  Their reasoning was two-fold:  1, Samuel would soon die and his two sons were not like him.  They did not serve the people before God honorably.  2, They wanted to be like all the other nations around them who had kings.

Can you believe that?  They had the perfect setup.  The God of the universe had chosen them to be His people.  He fought for them, protected them, provided for them and had a great plan for them as a people, but they wanted to be like everyone else.  So even though He revealed Himself to them through incredible signs and wonders they still worshiped other gods - idols of wood and stone and metal.  And if the division of their hearts was not enough they chose a mere man to lead them instead of God-of-the-angel-armies.

So God gave them what they wanted.  He laid out all that would go wrong with their king but gave them what they wanted.

I sometimes have to do this with my kids.  Explain that what they think they want will change their lives in ways they can't understand and won't like but, then, let them have their way.

God does the same with us today.  He will not force Himself on you.  If He did there would be no "freedom in Christ."  His desire is that we would choose Him because of who He is and what He has done, but He does not force Himself on anyone.

Yet, we constantly choose to look like the world around us.  We idolize people and worship them.  Whether they be athletes, movie stars or simply characters from a favorite book or movie.  We want to dress like them, look like them, act like them.  And little by little they become our gods.

If you are a believer listen to me.  God will let you go off and follow your own pursuits.  He will let you become a servant to whatever king you choose.  He warns... but allows.  However, this is never to your benefit.  Whatever is king over you soon ends up taking from you instead of giving.  Your best ideas, your youth, your beauty, your strength, your focus and maybe even your life.  God, on the other hand, wants to give to you.  He wants to give you life.  He wants you to have eyes to see your own beauty.  He becomes your strength and pours out creativity.  He even makes your youth count for something beyond you.

Every other king we may choose to lift up will take from us, but God, our invisible yet clearly perceived King wants to give us everything we ever wanted.  Sometimes, what everybody else has isn't what you really want anyway.

Seek FIRST His Kingdom...