Almost every time I study for a sermon, I have a long time of gathering information, following tangents, digging in the passage, in commentaries, in sermons of the “greats” (Chuck, Spurgeon, other CC pastors, Keller…), and then I get to a point where I throw it all in a pile and pout, because I don’t know what to do with all of it. 🙂 That was yesterday with 1 Samuel 16.
I shared that with my wife today, and she started talking with me about fearing people. Honestly, I do that a lot. I feel a huge pressure to perform as a preacher, to “bring it home”, even to entertain. I want to do all of that for several reasons: I want to attract people to God, I want to bring people into the church, and I want people to like me… However, I’m not the Holy Spirit, and, honestly, my motivations can be so off that I’m the one missing the lessons from 1 Samuel more than anyone! I take on a burden that’s way too big for myself! God is so gracious to me to allow me to study this stuff.
After talking with her and taking a walk with my dog, I finally had a direction to take the sermon. I was originally going to talk about the dreams and plans we have. I think I have something better, though – God’s timing vs. our timing. One of the reasons I want to talk about that is because of a conversation I had with my driving instructor here in Ukraine. (I’m taking driving lessons again, because I’m transferring my license from America to Ukraine.)
My instructor talked about how he didn’t understand why God allows evil everyday. Now, some people might think that this is a problem with God’s goodness vs. evil or something like that, but that’s a misunderstanding of His plan. This is a timing issue – God will deal with the evil in the world, but in His own timing.
And that’s the main tension (at least that I see) in 1 Samuel 16. The cool thing about all of that is that you can link this to Christ as well. Here are some observations that I’ve made and may include in the sermon on Sunday:
- God’s timing is not our timing, and He often told Biblical characters what He was planning on doing without telling them exactly when He was going to do it. This forced them to wait and pray and prepare their hearts for God’s work.
- God is already working in every situation for each part of His plan. You can see this in the second half of 1 Samuel (where David gets a chance to work in the palace while waiting to be king) and in almost every other Biblical story where someone has to wait. God is already moving, preparing us or the situation around us for His plan. We need to be diligent and wait.
- Both David and Christ waited a long time before the realization of God’s promise of kingship (David waited until Saul’s death, while Christ is still waiting at the right hand of God)
- Christ is waiting with us and for us. He wants to be with us in Heaven, where there will be no more evil, no more crying, no more pain, no more sickness, etc. He doesn’t enjoy this time of separation and suffering. He wants it to end, but He is waiting, as we are, for us to come home.
I hope all of that encourages you. Please keep praying for this sermon series. I really want to see the church blessed by it… Not just so that I can get a pat on the back, but so that people will fall more in love with Christ and with the Word He’s given to us to teach us about Himself.
P.S. Please also pray for our pastor, Ruslan, who is recovering from a successful knee replacement surgery. He’ll be home soon from the hospital.