30th August 2023
Read - 1 Samuel 11
Message Alan Burke
The situation if you’re only picking up today is that Jabesh-Gilead are under siege by the Ammonites the enemy of God’s people. They have sought help and if help failed to materialise they will loose an eye and be the subjects of their enemy and surely help is guaranteed, wasn’t it? Well you know that help comes but if you were an inhabitant of Jabesh-Gilead you wouldn’t have been so sure.
Now the context of why it was unlikely anyone wouldn’t have been rushing to answer their call for aid. We need to go back to the book of Judges, back in the time when everyone did what was right in his own eyes and there is a horrific account of what took place against the concubine of a Levite. What happened is recorded in Judges 19-21, you can read it later. Suffice to say the events unfolded in Gibeah, the home town of Saul and as a result Isreal went to war against the tribe of Benjamin of which Gibeah was a part because of the deplorable things that took place there.
All Isreal rallied to bring judgement on the tribe of Benjamin except Jabesh-Gilead. Then with only a handful of Benjamites left the rest of the tribes relented but realised that they there was no hope of a future for the tribe of Benjamin unless the men left had wives so they took 400 women from Jabesh-Gilead because they did not come out to fight with the rest of Isreal. While it was unlikely that all of Isreal would come out for Jabesh-Gilead there was a chance that Gibeah would and you can now understand why the people of Gibeah wept when they heard this, years may have passed but you can imagine all the family connections that there would have remained.
But notice that they were not coming for Saul, even though Saul is back at Gibeah working on the family farm, nobody rushes off to find their new king, he even has to enquire of what is going on. The new king of the people who is so important he has to stumble upon the news himself rather than being told first hand. Then the Spirit of God came upon him. We often think that the Spirit of God in the Old Testament and the New Testament as working in very different ways, that the Spirit of God only came when Jesus ascended at Pentecost and that Old Testament believers didn’t have the Spirit indwelling in them, but that’s not the case, the Spirit is essential in salvation, the big difference is our knowledge and experience of the Holy Spirit within that Jesus has given us.
What we have here with the Spirit of God coming upon Saul to empower him, to enable him to accomplish the task ahead, which he likewise did for others like, Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, and David. Just as back in chapter 10 where the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon Saul. Notice what the first thing that happens Saul when the Spirit rushes upon him, rather the emotion that he has?
It is anger, Saul is filled with anger, the NIV puts it that he “burned with anger”, the Spirit of God rushed on him and he burned with anger, he was filled with anger. Anger is not always sinful, there are times that it is, there are times when anger is really sinful, but there are other times when anger is righteous, where it is appropriate, when we see or hear of injustice and are left feeling angry that is entirely appropriate. Getting angry because the better half didn’t complement you today, well sorry to break it to you that isn’t righteous anger, that type of anger is sinful. Our Lord and Saviour got angry, at sin, at injustice and it makes known to us—the anger of the Father, the anger that was poured out on Jesus himself on the cross because of our sin. While the Spirit came upon Saul and he was filled with anger we should know that in its right place it is righteous.
Q31 What is effectual calling?
Effectual calling is the work of God’ s Spirit, (2 Tim. 1:9, 2 Thess. 2:13–14) whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, (Acts 2:37) enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, (Acts 26:18) and renewing our wills, (Ezek. 36:26–27) he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel. (John 6:44–45, Phil. 2:13)