Saturday, April 16, 2016

Are You Willing to Give God the Credit?

Readings for the Day
1 Samuel 18, 1 Chronicles 8, Psalm 11, Matthew 3

Verses for the Day
6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang:“Saul has slain his thousands,and David his tens of thousands.” 8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

As David is victorious in battle, the people begin to give him more praise and adulation saying, "King Saul has slain thousands, and David with tens of thousands." Saul gets more and more jealous by the minute, and begins to plot how he can put David in danger from the Philistines. He even tries to marry him off to his daughters, thinking he will be more valuable dead to the Philistines if he is the King's son in law.

We can see clearly that Saul was more interested in his own glory than the glory of God. We saw some of this yesterday when he disobeyed God's command given through Samuel to completely destroy all of the Philistines. But Saul kept King Agag alive, as well as keeping some of the plunder to himself. Even worse when Samuel confronted him he lied about it. He said he was bringing some of the animals for a sacrifice to The Lord, but really he is building a monument to himself.

Meanwhile we see King David, who despite his success and popularity, does not think he is worthy to marry the king's daughter. He remains humble, knowing that he owes his success to The Lord being with him. Later God will say about him, "He is man after my own heart."

In Saul and David, we see two types of leaders. One, whose pride prevents him from being the man God called him to be, the King of Israel. One, who keeps his eyes on God, being careful to give him the glory. One of the greatest snares as we seek to be used by God is to take the credit for what God does through us. As a person who has been a pastor over 20 years, I feel that same temptation all the time. In my flesh, I want people to think I am such a great pastor. But I am frequently reminded that without the gifts God has given me and the Holy Spirit empowering me, I can do nothing. It is humbling, yet freeing. It actually takes the pressure off.

Where is God calling you to serve him in the church and in the world? How can you guard yourself from the human tendency to want to take the credit for what God will do through you?

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