June 10, Thursday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 3, 2015; it has been updated. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

Siblings Named, “Insecurity” and “Jealousy”

1 Samuel 10:17-24 (ESV)

Now Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah. 18 And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.” 20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin nearby its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23 Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

Most of the lessons that we learn from the life of Saul are of the negative type—meaning, things that we should avoid doing.  However, as we read the account of his coronation, it seems evident that Saul was thrust into the kingship almost against his will.  When given an opportunity to share about what happened between him and Samuel with his uncle, Saul leaves out the “minor” detail that he would be chosen to be the first king of Israel.  And when in accordance with the prophecy, his name is chosen by lottery, instead of welcoming the chance to be king, Saul is nowhere to be found and the people literally had to take him out of his hiding spot.    

At first glance, this reluctance to take the mantle of kingship may appear to be a sign of humility, but there is a clear distinction between modesty and a lack of courage.  Saul suffered greatly from the latter because of his inability to conquer his insecurities.  Perhaps a clue to Saul’s inner demon is found in the preceding chapter when he responds to Samuel by saying, “Am I not a Benjamite, from the least of the tribes of Israel?  And is not my clan the smallest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?  Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”  In certain ways, Saul is paralyzed by his own negative self-perception and he is unable to respond to the call of God in a healthy manner.  Later on, in his relationship with David, Saul’s insecurities would drive him into murderous fits of jealousy when the people begin to give greater praise to David.  Yes, insecurity and jealousy are siblings. 

In the course of doing ministry, I have met many people who struggle with this very issue; and to a degree, it plagues all of us.  There are some who refuse to serve or take greater responsibility in leadership because of their insecurities.  There are some who cannot rejoice over the success of others because it is perceived as a threat to their own sense of worth.  Still others cannot take criticism and correction, even when it is constructive, because it threatens their ego.

Sadly, even as God gives us everything that is needed to succeed, if we don’t deal with our personal insecurities, we will find a way to ruin the opportunity that God lays before us.  If Saul would have simply cast his eyes away from his own deficiencies and placed his trust in the sovereign choice of God, the result of his life may have been different.  In our own struggle against our insecurities, the fact that God has chosen us to be his children has to be the source of our security.  

Prayer: Father, You have chosen us before the beginning of time to be co-heirs with Your Son.  This is an honor and a privilege that is beyond our scope of understanding.  And though we are not fit to be called to such a noble position, in Your grace and wisdom, You have found us to be worthy through Your Son.    Help us to realize that our sense of security doesn’t come because of what is or is not on our resume, but ultimately, our security comes from your great love for us.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Ezekiel 24


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 12:3-6 (ESV): For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Questions to Consider

  1. How can we learn to be objective in our self-evaluation of the gifts God has assigned to us?
  2. Why is this important to the healthy functioning of the church?
  3. Is there a ministry that God is calling you to?  How are you using your spiritual gifts?

Notes

  1. In evaluating what we can contribute to the kingdom of God, it is vitally important to be sober in our judgment of ourselves.  Literally, we have to be careful not to be intoxicated by our own egos and become “egoholics.”   However, this does not mean that we have to be somber in our self-judgment, because by God’s grace, everyone has been assigned to do something worthy for the glory of God.  
  2. This proper self-evaluation is important because it allows people to find their right place in ministry, and not be caught up in comparing themselves with other members of the church.  Many times, we forget to honor the parts of the body of Christ that are not as visible and end up only applauding what is on the surface.  For the church to be healthy, each member has to play their part.  
  3. This passage is a wonderful reminder that we are all responsible for honing and developing the spiritual gifts that God has graciously given to us.  

Evening Reflection

It has been said that God equips those whom He calls.  Think of God’s call on your life.  If you are unsure, ask the Lord to clarify it.  If it is more certain, ask God to develop both your character and your gifts to fulfill His purpose.    

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