Posts Tagged ‘God is in control’

1 Samuel 12:1-25
Samuel’s Farewell Address

Since about 2009, all the music that I listen to on the radio is Christian contemporary. Rarely, if ever, do I listen to mainstream popular music today. I know I sound like an old fart when I say this but today’s secular music is a far cry from the great rock ‘n’ roll music that we had back in the 80’s and early 90’s. Back then, we had songs about sex but they were highly veiled references to sex that you had to figure out. But most music then told stories of tragedy, triumph, injustice and victory and just everyday life. The music from those days is just hands down better than anything in the marketplace today. Name a popular song from 5 years ago that you still remember today? Now, think of music from the 80’s and early 90’s and you could come up with at least a dozen great songs that are still receiving air play today on alternative stations or are still downloaded at Apple iTunes.

Fast forward to today’s popular music, it’s for the most part blatantly and opening about sexual conquests and songs seem now to be more about the bass beats and dancing than it about the words of a song. A definition of a great song is whether it still gets air play on the radio twenty years from now and you remember exactly what was going on in your life when that song comes on the radio twenty years from now. Today’s music is just so lacking in greatness that there are few songs that I will crossover on the radio to hear. There are few songs in popular culture now that I feel disappointed for not having heard before. Maybe, I have just become old. But I think that there are many who will agree with me, even as young people. Music often reflects the values of the culture. Our culture has degenerated into how many people you can have sex with. Our culture has degenerated into meaningless sexual relationships. Our culture has degenerated into sex being a recreation sport. And our music reflects and reinforces the culture’s values. It’s not that I am old in my ways. I love good music when I hear it even if it comes from today’s world. I wish that I COULD like the popular music of today. I really do. I mean I am a kid at heart (my wife says I am a 15 year old boy in a 55 year old body) so I enjoy new, fresh things and love new ideas and considering things from different and new ways. But today’s music horrifies me for the most part for the values that it is instilling particularly in young girls. I fear for what popular music will be like when my granddaughter, Ralyn, becomes aware of popular music and what it will teach her.

Having said all that there are occasionally songs that come out of today’s world that I just love. Right now, one of my favorite songs is Thunder by Imagine Dragons. I just love that song. It has been out there for a couple of months now but I still stop what I am doing to listen to it. The lyrics go something like this:

Just a young gun with a quick fuse
I was uptight, wanna let loose
I was dreaming of bigger things
And wanna leave my own life behind
Not a yes sir, not a follower
Fit the box, fit the mold
Have a seat in the foyer, take a number
I was lightning before the thunder

Thunder, thunder
Thunder, thun’, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder, thunder
Thunder, thun’, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder

Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder
Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder
Thunder, thunder
Thunder

Kids were laughing in my classes
While I was scheming for the masses
Who do you think you are?
Dreaming ’bout being a big star
You say you’re basic, you say you’re easy
You’re always riding in the back seat
Now I’m smiling from the stage while
You were clapping in the nose bleeds

Thunder
Thunder, thun’, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder, thunder
Thunder, thun’, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder

Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder
Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder
Thunder

Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder, thunder

Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder, thunder
Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder, thunder
Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder, thunder
Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder, thunder

Thunder, thunder, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder
Thunder, thunder, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder
Thunder, thunder, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder
Thunder, thunder, thunder
Thun-thun-thunder, thunder

Here’s the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKopy74weus

I just love this song. It is fresh. It is different. It is not about banging women. It is about striving to be more than who you are right now. It is about dreaming of bigger things. It is also, to me, about the miracles that happen that make someone great and others not. It is often by the grace of God that we become great. Lightening and thunder remind us that God is in control and not us. Maybe, I misread the real meaning of the lyrics and the authors of the song may tell different, but to me, this song reminds us that we are not in control. God is. He is the lightning and the thunder under which all things operate. We should be grateful to him when fame and fortune come our way as all things are subject to the lightning and the thunder of God.

That’s the thing I thought of this morning when I read this passage, 1 Samuel 12 – how even kings are subject to God. As evidence of this fact, Samuel calls down the lightning and the thunder and the rain to prove that Saul and any and all kings are subject to God. The rain in the dry season proves it. Let’s read the passage now.

Chapter 12
1 Then Samuel addressed all Israel: “I have done as you asked and given you a king. 2 Your king is now your leader. I stand here before you—an old, gray-haired man—and my sons serve you. I have served as your leader from the time I was a boy to this very day. 3 Now testify against me in the presence of the Lord and before his anointed one. Whose ox or donkey have I stolen? Have I ever cheated any of you? Have I ever oppressed you? Have I ever taken a bribe and perverted justice? Tell me and I will make right whatever I have done wrong.”

4 “No,” they replied, “you have never cheated or oppressed us, and you have never taken even a single bribe.”

5 “The Lord and his anointed one are my witnesses today,” Samuel declared, “that my hands are clean.”

“Yes, he is a witness,” they replied.

6 “It was the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron,” Samuel continued. “He brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt. 7 Now stand here quietly before the Lord as I remind you of all the great things the Lord has done for you and your ancestors.

8 “When the Israelites were[a] in Egypt and cried out to the Lord, he sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them from Egypt and to bring them into this land. 9 But the people soon forgot about the Lord their God, so he handed them over to Sisera, the commander of Hazor’s army, and also to the Philistines and to the king of Moab, who fought against them.

10 “Then they cried to the Lord again and confessed, ‘We have sinned by turning away from the Lord and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth. But we will worship you and you alone if you will rescue us from our enemies.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Gideon,[b] Bedan,[c] Jephthah, and Samuel[d] to save you, and you lived in safety.

12 “But when you were afraid of Nahash, the king of Ammon, you came to me and said that you wanted a king to reign over you, even though the Lord your God was already your king. 13 All right, here is the king you have chosen. You asked for him, and the Lord has granted your request.

14 “Now if you fear and worship the Lord and listen to his voice, and if you do not rebel against the Lord’s commands, then both you and your king will show that you recognize the Lord as your God. 15 But if you rebel against the Lord’s commands and refuse to listen to him, then his hand will be as heavy upon you as it was upon your ancestors.

16 “Now stand here and see the great thing the Lord is about to do. 17 You know that it does not rain at this time of the year during the wheat harvest. I will ask the Lord to send thunder and rain today. Then you will realize how wicked you have been in asking the Lord for a king!”

18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day. And all the people were terrified of the Lord and of Samuel. 19 “Pray to the Lord your God for us, or we will die!” they all said to Samuel. “For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king.”

20 “Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him. 21 Don’t go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you—they are totally useless! 22 The Lord will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you his very own people.

23 “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. 25 But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.”

In this passage, we see that God granted Israel’s request for a king, but His commands and requirements remained the same. God was to continue to be their true King. Both Saul and the people were to continue to be subject to God’s laws and His rule. Nothing had changed. No person is ever exempt from God’s laws. No human action is outside his jurisdiction. God is the true King of every area of life. It is not us that is in control. It is He. We must recognize His kingship and pattern every area of our life according to His principles and to show daily gratitude for the grace and provision that God has shown us.

Here, God reminds and reinforces this fact by sending the lightning and the thunder. Thunder. Feel the thunder….sorry…that song is stuck in my head again…God sent the rain to remind the Israelites who is God and who is not. He reminds them that they did not earn their place as God’s chosen people. He chose them out of no merit of their own. Let us be reminded too that our salvation was not earned. It was a gift from God. We did not earn our salvation. We also are not the ones who are in charge of our lives. It is God and we should live lives of gratitude for His grace given to us and for His guidance to our lives.

Feel the thunder. The lightning and the thunder. Lightning and the thunder. Feel the thunder. God is in control. Live subject to Him. Obedience to His Word brings joy and peace. Lightning and the thunder. Feel the thunder.

Amen and Amen.

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