For the past several weeks we’ve been examining a very important topic: the Gospel of Christ. We’ve talked about what it is, how to live by it, and how necessary it is in our lives, both individually and as a society. Today, we will conclude with a passage we began two weeks ago, 1 Samuel 8. This is a story that acts as a sort of case study for what we’ve been talking about. The Israelites of the Old Testament frequently rejected the truth and rule of God, very similar to how our society largely rejects the Gospel of Christ today.
Although we have been talking about all the negative aspects of a society that rejects God, I hope to end today with an encouraging thought: every follower of Christ is capable of serving Him no matter what our external circumstances. This is the power of our conviction and of the truth of our Savior. He has not only called us to live and serve, but has enabled us to do it through His strength.
In view of our ongoing consideration of the Gospel of Christ and its power to change people and cultures I am reminded of a profound statement made by our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. In a speech made in 1863, he spoke of America’s blessings and our lack of gratitude to God for them and our toxic pride in our accomplishments. As a result, the nation was paying a very high price. He said;
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
Our secular culture today is an exact reenactment of those days. When will we learn that there is only one way to bring healing to our land and that is by turning to God. The gospel can and will change anyone and all who humble themselves to it’s message. May we be witnesses to that power in life and teaching. Our walk and our talk demonstrating that power.
Over the past few weeks, Rick has been speaking with us about the importance and impact of the Gospel. One of the most meaningful things to keep in mind is the results of not wanting God’s truth and light in our world. Sadly, this seems to be the case of most of western society today.
Today we will be looking at a case study in this concept. In 1 Samuel 8, we encounter an interesting event in which God’s people decided they wanted less of Him. They were warned not to go down that road, but they insisted. We might find an eerie number of parallels between their society’s spiritual condition and that of our society. We will look today at the warning signs of a people who want less of God’s way and more of their own.