Out of His Great Love He Relented

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1 SAMUEL 8:1-9:27 | JOHN 6:22-42 | PSALM 106:32-48 | PROVERBS 14:34-35

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There now appears to be some stability in the affairs of the people of Israel, and Samuel continues to lead them even as he is fast becoming old.  Samuel does have two sons, but they are not worthy of inheriting their father’s mantle, and the people also seem to know this. 

And so, the people clamor for a king.  They pray for one.  They tell Samuel they want one.  And they will not be satisfied without one.

The Lord accedes to this request, and things begin to roll into motion.  Out of the tribe of Benjamin—the smallest tribe, and the one that was recently chastised for their disobedience—comes a young man by the name of Saul.  Saul is a strapping young man, and while he is doing his father’s bidding, he comes with his servant to the town that Samuel resides in.  Saul believes he is approaching Samuel in order to gain guidance on his efforts at finding his father’s missing donkeys.  Little does he know that before he leaves he will be anointed king of Israel!

Isn’t that just like the mysterious ways of God?  He selects the least among us and exalts us.  Even before we ask, we receive.  And he has a plan when we might not.  Ponder now these words of Jesus:

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” 

Jesus is revealing a great truth to the people, and while many do believe, there are still others who don’t.  Instead, they snicker and say, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 

Woe is unto them because they will know soon enough who this Jesus really is.  Not only did he come down from heaven, he will defy death by rising up from the grave, and then physically rise up into the heavens.

Our psalm for the day is one in which David continues to recount the great exodus of his ancestors from Egypt, and the long history of his people in turning away from their God.  David says this:

43 Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.
44 Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented.
46 He caused all who held them captive
to show them mercy.

Finally, a couple of verses from the book of Proverbs worthy of our consideration:

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people.

35 A king delights in a wise servant,
    but a shameful servant arouses his fury.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

4 thoughts on “Out of His Great Love He Relented

  1. In our tradition there is a well known line – used in songs and prayers – “Behold the bread of angels has become the food of pilgrims.” It captures many of the connections we see here (and probably more that take a lifetime to see and understand) between God’s provision of manna to Moses and the people in the exodus journey, God’s Word spoken to the people in Jesus, Jesus’ presence and words and signs given to his followers, and even those things which feed and sustain us today. Such a rich text, this 6th chapter of John. Thanks for your reflections!

  2. Coincidentally, I was just singing the song referred to in my comment last night! My youngest son had a volleyball game in the gym of a school called “Queen of Angels” and it triggered that song in my head.

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