Summary: there will always be people trying to ridicule God and Christianity; how should christians respond?
We return to our study of 1 Samuel in the Old Testament. The Israelites wanted a king to rule over them just like other nations. Although God was not pleased with this, God chose a king to teach God’s Chosen People Israel a lesson; and of course, God has preserved His Word for us to learn from. God wants to teach us this morning; are you ready to learn?
Open your Bibles to 1 Samuel 11….. We will note Nahash the Ammonite. Show map… Ammon was one of Israel’s neighboring nations. The Ammonites were related to the Hebrews but chose to live the way the world lived not according to God’s Word; and so there was always badblood between the 2 nations.
Read along with me now 1 Samuel 11……
Let us summarize the story then note Biblical Principles we can apply to our lives.
v1-2: Nahash attacked Israel (the Tribe of Gad). And based on v2, what was Nahash intent?? Nahash not only wanted to hurt Israel but to disgrace the nation!
v3: Elders of Jabesh (Tribe of Gad) asked for time if anyone would rescue them.
v4: When news came to Gibeah (Tribe of Benjamin – show map again), the people wept aloud! Why did the people weep aloud??
The people of Gibeah wept because their own people were trapped, were going to suffer, and most of all Israel will be disgraced; and you know what that meant? The disgrace of Israel meant the disgrace of Israel’s God!
And what happened when Saul heard the news?
v6: The Spirit of God came upon Saul in power and there was anger. Why was there anger? Disgracing God brings the wrath of God!
How strong is God’s wrath? I think v7 gives us an idea (Saul and Samuel knew God’s jealousy).
v7: Saul and Samuel gave a graphic warning for any Israelite who will not fight for God!
The people realized that they actually have to answer to God if they do not take action!
v8-11: Under the leadership of Saul, the Ammonites were defeated out of Israel!
Now look again at v12; even before Samuel’s response, what can we say was wrong here in v12??
How easily people can forget why they did what they did. The people feared God and went to battle; but when the battle was over, their focus was on their leader not on God! The people praised the man Saul instead of God!
We note Saul correcting the people.
v13: Saul himself declared that it is God who was to be praised!
v14-15: Saul was affirmed King (leader) in the presence of the Lord and there were offerings and celebrations towards God!
What Biblical principles can we apply to our lives today?
1. People trying to disgrace God and Christianity should not surprise us. Until Jesus returns to earth, there will always be people trying to disgrace God and Christianity. Jesus said to His followers in John 15:20… If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.
Ridicule of Christians will happen, the question is, how do we handle them? What’s the natural reaction for us when we are ridiculed?? – our immediate response is usually to try and ridicule the other person (with anger, hate, and retaliation); is this the godly response for us?
We must be careful of reacting to those offending us because judgment truly belongs to God. we must always remember…
2. People disgracing God and Christianity will answer to the wrath of God Himself.
Does this mean we Christians do nothing? Take a look at our Scripture of the Week, Luke 18:7……
And so, we must grasp the fact that God will bring justice a. but the first thing we must do in response to ridicule is to pray! If you look closer to that story in Luke 18, the power of God did not come from a godly person who had control over the situation; the power of God came because of a persistent prayer!
The power of God comes from persistent prayers. and so, when we are ridiculed as Christians, the first thing we must do is go to God in prayer (to trust, depend on God, ask for the right thing to do).
Secondly from the story in 1 Samuel 11, how did Saul, Samuel, and the people responded to the injustice from the Ammonites? Saul, Samuel, and the Israelites took diligent action as led by God!
b. we must take diligent action when God tells us directly what to do! How can we know what God is saying? The people of Israel listened to godly Saul and Samuel. We too are to look for godly leaders who will emphasize Scriptures! But let us never forget, c. God will use leaders but our focus should always be on God! Be careful of elevating people, whether through their speaking, writing, or any ministry, the power is always from God and Jesus Christ is always the One to be exalted!