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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, NYC
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"Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the LORD has set a king over you. If you fear the Lord and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God--good!" But if you do not obey the LORD, and if you rebel against His commands, His hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers" (1 Samuel 12:13-15).
Last night, as we were riding a tour bus exiting New York City, our driver took us through the Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River and then pulled over to show us this spectacular view of the city at night. As we looked at the dark still waters with the magnificent skyline we considered the grim outcome had the Captain’s strategy and heroic efforts not taken place in 2009.
God has raised up good, solid leaders since the beginning of time; their portfolios differing greatly depending on their giftings, skills, and interests. Our Scripture text gives us a glimpse of Samuel’s leadership skills as he formally speaks to the Israelites about the choice they had to make in following after God and His commands. He also informs them that the hand of God will be against those who rebel against God’s commands, just as their fathers experienced.
Following Joshua's death, Israel went into a long cycle of apostasy and revival in the period of the Judges. Samuel was a godly leader who served as the final Judge and transitioned the nation into a monarchial kingdom. He was very reluctant to do this, but the people clamored for a king so they could be like the nations around them. Reluctantly Samuel oversaw the selection of Saul as king and provided the powerful words of counsel in the daily verse.
These words have great meaning for us today. Samuel gave the people a promise and a warning at the introduction of Saul as their king. It's a call to personal responsibility to each listener, but notice the phrase that indicates the importance of leadership also obeying these commands: "If both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God--good!"
The remainder of Israel's history recorded in the Old Testament until the Exile essentially is a biography of these kings, most of whom did not follow the Lord. I am sure that during the reign of even the most wicked kings there was a godly remnant who feared the Lord, serving and obeying Him, choosing not to rebel against His commands. They nevertheless lived under the consequences of the king's wickedness. An example of this is the great prophet Jeremiah who faithfully served during the destruction of the land, but endured cruel treatment due to his godly convictions. Of course desolation covered the entire land which was a consequence even for those who chose to follow after the Lord.
The apostle Paul instructed, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:1,2). So today, we are all called to faithfully follow God and pray that our leadership will reflect that major decision.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we pray for our leaders that they will look to You for guidance and follow Your commands as recorded by the prophets long ago. We want to be a blessed nation and will be so if men and women in positions of authority live godly lives as commanded in Scripture, and those who follow respond in like manner. Help us to be faithful in doing our part. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to travel into New York City along with the employees of a company we serve as chaplains. Today we will provide some variety to our normal rural selection of photos with several from the big city!
A highlight of our trip was the Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Music Hall. We were very pleased that the show included the Christmas story along with Scripture readings and traditional Christmas hymns. This is a photo I took of the Living Nativity.
Gene riding on the bus home late last night.
Gene is among the many interesting people we meet in the course of our chaplaincy. He is 87 years old but still works 4 hours a day, five days a week, because he wants to keep moving! Yesterday he kept up with the group and I think by the end of the day we were more tired than he was! At one point he ran and looked as nimble as a twenty year old!
We were all pleased and thankful to return to Lancaster County around 11:00 last night, safe, sound, and tired!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Silent Night" Video Sung by and dedicated to our friend Herb Basso, who went to be with the Lord several weeks ago. Herb was a part of the church we served in New England. Violin by Elizabeth Silvia, the daugther of a pastor friend of ours, who now serves in Wyoming.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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