United we stand, divided we fall is an old proverb that everyone knows. Today we are going to study about a King and a prophet's relationship which when unified brought victory to the Israelites. The King was Saul and the prophet was Samuel. Samuel anointed Saul to be a King of Israel. Some of the Israelites were skeptical about it. At this time the Ammonites besieged Jabesh Gilead.
1. Don't make a treaty with sin
1 Samuel 11:1-5
1 Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, "Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you."
2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel."
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you."
4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud.
5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, "What is wrong with the people? Why are they weeping?" Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
Nahash the Ammonite besieged Jabesh and the people of Jabesh wanted to make treaty with the Gentiles who were not Israelites. This was against God's law. The elders had also lost faith and wanted to surrender to the enemies. They themselves were not leading the way of unifying the Israelites but were trying to get help from others. They were willing to compromise with sin when they could have stood up unified and challenged the Israelites to become united. They were discouraged and were negative about the situation. The whole Israelites became discouraged and started to weep aloud. They wept aloud because the Ammonites wanted to gouge out the eye of everyone of the Israelites.
What about us? Do we make treaty with sin and compromise righteousness. As disciples do we confide in each other and open up about ourselves or do we have best friends outside the Church. How much do we believe in being united. There are two kind of people in the church: One is those who think that they are not that sinful and their sins are not as bad as others sins. They look down on others and so they are not really open about themselves. Second is those who think they are the most sinful person in the whole world and nobody can relate to them. They become selfish and not wanting to help others but always wanting to flatter others. What kind of person are you? We need to be neither. We should be able to say I am a sinner and you are sinner and let us help each other. When the others are in trouble then we should be the first ones to help them in a great way. Saul later came from the field and enquired about the feelings of the people. He was a people's man. How about you?
2. Is the terror of the Lord in you?
1 Samuel 11:6-11
6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.
7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, "This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel." Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they turned out as one man.
8 When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
9 They told the messengers who had come, "Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, 'By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be delivered.'" When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated.
10 They said to the Ammonites, "Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever seems good to you."
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Unity was brought about by Saul by him being aggressive in dealing with the situation. He took a pair of oxen and cut them to pieces and sent them throughout Israel. People feared Saul and the Lord. They decided to be united. God's power can change you radically if you decide to be united. How is your family group? How are they doing? Do you see people being united? If not it is your responsibility to get your family group to be united.
3. Do you show mercy to people?
1 Samuel 11:12-15
12 The people then said to Samuel, "Who was it that asked, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Bring these men to us and we will put them to death."
13 But Saul said, "No one shall be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel."
14 Then Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to Gilgal and there reaffirm the kingship."
15 So all the people went to Gilgal and confirmed Saul as king in the presence of the LORD. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
The disciples of Jesus wanted to bring fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans who were opposing Jesus. Jesus rebuked them. The people of Israel were fired up after victory and wanted to kill all the trouble makers. Saul showed mercy. Saul helped people to understand the punishment is not the only way to change people. When we show mercy to people they became grateful and change. Do you take advantage of mercy? Are you grateful for the mercy that has shown to you? When was the last time you showed mercy to somebody? When was the last time somebody showed mercy to you?
Ask God for your family group to be unified in Christ.