April 11

Luke 13:1-21

Several times in Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of new testament believers, we see where hands on put on the sick. The physical touch is a contact where the power of God flows through one and into another. That is because the power, the anointing, is tangible. In chapter 13, a woman receives this tangible healing in her body, setting her free and straightening her body. It’s a miracle!

The power of God is still the same today. What Jesus did for this woman, He will do for us. We do our part, which is to lay our hands on the sick as a submitted representative of Jesus Christ. God will do His part. If we lay hands on the sick and there isn’t a sudden recovery, that is not necessarily our responsibility. Our responsibility is to lay your hands on the sick. Whatever happens or doesn’t happen might be unknown to us, but we continue to obey God no matter what we see or don’t see. God is God and we are not. Let’s rely and obey God as we believe for signs, wonders, and miracles.

1 Samuel 7-9

Samuel is the last judge in Israel, taking his place in civil leadership after the death of Eli. Many had died, the Philistines were dominating, and the ark of the covenant was out of place for 20 years in Kirjath Jearim. The people began to lament (grieve, cry out) after the Lord. God desires relationship with people; however sin is pride, self-sufficiency, and rebellion. The only way to God and to experience life is through submission. Israel has knowledge that they have turned from God to sin. God’s love desires and His holiness requires our position of dependency and our obedience of trust.

Samuel promises that God will deliver them from the Philistines by His grace if they will do their part to act in faith, a reliant obedience:

Return to the Lord in a surrendered faith relationship, with ALL of your hearts.
Stop sinful worship of false and foreign gods.
Prepare your hearts for God.
Serve God only.

The Hebrew word for prepare in verse 3 is “kun” in Hebrew, which properly translated means “to be erect or to stand perpendicular.” It is used to set something upright. It is translated establish, firm, fix, direct, determine, to be faithful, to apply. God is upright, sin causes a person to become wicked, meaning “to twist away.” To come back to God, one must submit to His authority and become realigned.

God is speaking this message still today. Submission is key to aligning with God in relationship, authority, and power. God is speaking this to individuals, as well as collective groups, such as churches, families, and nations.

The enemy, the Philistines, were making an approach on Israel. Israel listened to Samuel and repented. Samuel gives an offering as the Philistines are advancing. After the offering, the men pushed back the enemy. In their own strength? No! In the strength of the Lord! By grace through faith!

Samuel elected his sons as judges that ruled underneath his authority while he lived; however his sons were crooked. Our grown children make their own choices whether to live for God or not. These grown men knew of God’s wonders under their father’s ministry, but they still chose to do the wrong thing. The elders of Israel confronted Samuel about his sons, asking to be like the other nations, and to establish a king to rule over them instead of his wicked sons.

In 8:7, we read where God reaffirms Samuel, saying the rejection he is feeling after a life of ministry is not rooted in personal rejection of him. This rejection of the position of judge is a rejection of God Himself. As a Christian or as a church/ministry leader, sometimes you will feel rejection, but often that rejection is not of you, but a rejection of the God you represent.

In 8:9, we see God’s just nature. He would never bring punishment on people without first given them the instructions for what is right. He knows both righteous and unrighteous kings will be in their future, but He tells them what will happen to them when they make the choice for a human being to rule over them instead of putting their trust in the Lord to lead them. Samuel tells the people that their choice for king will end up using the nation for his own gain. The people refused to comply with the words of God that Samuel gave.

Their refusal wasn’t Samuel’s fault. Samuel did his part to obey the Lord. It wasn’t that Samuel didn’t use the right words or give a wrong delivery. It wasn’t that Samuel wasn’t kind enough or influential enough to make a difference. The blame here is on the people for rejecting the message Samuel was obedient to deliver.

Today I often hear people blaming leadership for what is wrong in the world for not saying or doing what the crowd wants them to say or do. I see leaders cowering in fear of people, giving people what they want instead of doing what is right. What needs to be done is for those in sin to call out on God for forgiveness and mercy. God is understanding and full of compassion. Unfortunately, He is not always represented as such by the proud, religious Christians who would rather condemn the world than to save it. When Jesus had dinner with prostitutes, He wasn’t condemning them. He was talking with them about their true identity and purpose, offering healing and restoration.

In chapter 9, we see that God gave Saul as king, a man who would fight and strive against Israel’s enemies, the Philistines. However, the prophecy given at the start would be the way Saul’s leadership played out. Towards the end of his life, we know that Saul is tormented by an evil spirit, troubled in his family, troubled in leadership, and grows in bitterness and hatred toward God’s choice for his replacement. We even see that Saul goes to a medium to speak to the dead, going against the Law of Moses. It’s not the best situation, but God is still working to preserve His covenant and His people. Our Lord is patient, slow to anger, and rich in love.

#covertocoverwithmelanie #covertocover #growchurches #bible #biblecommentary #melaniestone #readthebible #readingthroughthebible #biblereadingplan



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