Anyone for a footwashing ?

5 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY TWO : 1 Samuel 10 v. 9 – 12 v. 25; John 12 v. 37 – 13 v. 17; Psalm 66 v. 1 – 12


1 SAMUEL

Saul Made King – Everything Samuel prophesied would happen, did, and Saul’s heart is changed by God. Arriving at Gibeah, Saul joins the procession of prophets, the Spirit of God coming upon him in power. Saul starts prophesying, much to the amazement of those who knew him. They wonder what has happened to Kish’s son.
Saul heads for the high place to meet Samuel. Meeting his uncle en route, he hides the fact that Samuel had said he was to Israel’s first king, and just focussed on the family donkeys being found.
Samuel summons the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah, and reminds them where they have come from (escape from Egypt), and their desire for a king is a rejection of God. The ritual of choosing the tribe of Benjamin, then the Matri clan, then the Kish family, leads (bit like a talent results show…and the winner is……..(long pause)……) to the coronation of King Saul. But then, he is not there. He is hiding amongst the baggage (the Lord know where we hide). Once he is retrieved from his hiding place, Samuel presents him (head and shoulders above the people) as king
‘Long live the king’.
Samuel writes down the ‘regulations of kingship’ and leaves them with the Lord, then dismisses everyone. Saul goes back to Gibeah, ‘accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched’.
Even at the start, there are some troublemakers who wonder how this Saul will be their saviour, despising him and bringing him no gifts….Saul is silent (can’t believe what has just happened).

Saul Rescues the City of Jabesh – the Ammonites, under Nahash, beseige Jabesh Gilead. When the people of the city plead for a peaceful treaty, they are offered it on condition that their right eyes are gouged out (yeuch!!). They are granted seven days to ask all Israel for help. Some messengers come to Saul, weeping. ‘When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.’
Saul cuts up two ox, and sends their bits all over Israel as a way of summoning all the Israelites to obedience and to war against the Ammonites. It is said that 300,000 Israelites (plus 30,000 Judahites) turn up to fight, and they thoroughly defeat the Ammonites, scattering those who do survive.

Saul Confirmed as King –
those who were sceptical of Saul’s kingship are silenced (at least temporarily) and although others call for the death of those who opposed the king, Saul is going to have none of it. All Israel celebrates at Gilgal, offering sacrifices to the Lord, and reaffirming Saul’s kingship.

Samuel’s Farewell Speech –
Samuel’s speech is glorious, reminding the people firstly how he has led them faithfully since his youth (he is now grey and old); how he has never cheated or helped himself to what is not his (a real leader with integrity). Samuel then reminds them of God’s faithfulness through the exodus from Egypt, and through the raising up of various judges/leaders, even though the people frequently turned to other gods; more recently, God’s faithfulness in the battle over the Ammonites is highlighted. So, then, the people have grieved God by asking for a king, and now they have one:
‘If you fear the Lord and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God – good!’
If not, God’s hand will be against them.
Then Samuel shows his authority by calling on the Lord to send thunder and rain (as a sign of the evil they have done in demanding a king). Samuel concludes by telling Israel not to fear, God will not reject them if they‘do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart…consider what great things He has done for you…’

JOHN
The Jews Continue in Their Unbelief – despite all the miraculous signs, some still do not believe. Isaiah’s prophecies about God blinding eyes and deadening hearts are seen to be fulfilled. However, there are others, even among the religious elite, who are believing in Jesus, but who fear the Pharisees so keep it quiet, ‘they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Jesus teaches that whoever believes in Him, believes also in the one who sent Him; that Jesus is light come into the world, so that no-one who believes in Him should  stay in darkness. Jesus talks of a judgement to come, but rather He is here to ‘save the world’, and that every word He speaks is given Him by the Father.

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet – Now we are just before the Passover Feast, and Jesus knows it’s time to leave this world and go to the Father, to show the ‘full extent of His love’.
Evening meal is prepared; Judas has betrayal in his heart; Jesus knows that the Father has given Him all power.
Jesus gets up, takes off His outer garment, wraps a towel around Himself, and begins to wash His disciples’ feet.
Simon Peter objects – ‘You shall never wash my feet!’
Jesus responds – ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’

The closer we walk with Jesus, the more we need the humility to let Jesus wash us, cleanse us, refresh and heal us.

Then, impetuous Peter wants a total cleansing, hands and head as well. Jesus says that they are already clean (though not every one of them), and only need a footwashing. He goes on to say that though they don’t fully understand what He has done for them at this stage, they must wash one another’s feet.
‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you….now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’

PSALM
‘Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!
All the earth bows down to You; they sing praise to You…
Come and see what God has done, how awesome His works on man’s behalf!
Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard…
For You, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver…’

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