1 Samuel 7: After 20 long years of the Ark remaining in Kiriath-jearim, Israel “yearned for the Lord” (CEB Study Bible; 1 Sam 7.2). Samuel told the people to stop worshipping the foreign gods and they did. He told them to assemble in Mizpah so we could pray to God for them. Upon hearing of everyone gathering in one location, the Philistines decided to attack everyone there and defeat Israel once and for all. I’m guessing 20 years made them forget what happened when they possessed the Ark, because this was a bad idea!! While Samuel prayed to God for help, he struck down the Philistines. The Israelite soldiers attacked and killed the Philistines. This led to the return of the various towns the Philistines had captures from Israel.
1 Samuel 8: After the conflicts with the Philistines are resolved the people demand that Samuel appoint a king for Israel. He pushes back on this sentiment, making it clear that they already have a king, God. Samuel prays to God for guidance and God tells him to give them a king, but to warn them what this means. Here is what he says:
“He will take your sons, and will use them for his chariots and his cavalry and as runners for his chariot. 12 He will use them as his commanders of troops of one thousand and troops of fifty, or to do his plowing and his harvesting, or to make his weapons or parts for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, or bakers. 14 He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will give one-tenth of your grain and your vineyards to his officials and servants. 16 He will take your male and female servants, along with the best of your cattle and donkeys, and make them do his work. 17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and then you yourselves will become his slaves! 18 When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you chose for yourselves, but on that day the Lord won’t answer you.” (CEB Study Bible; 1 Sam. 8.11-18)
It’s amazing to me that after all of this information, they seem to just shrug and say they still want a human king.
1 Samuel 9: Now we meet Saul, who is to be the first king of Israel. While out looking for his father’s missing donkeys, Saul meets Samuel in a different town. Samuel is aware he is coming because God told him in advance. Samuel invites Saul to eat with him in a place of prominence at the table. Samuel continues to say specific things to Saul that as a reader, it’s clear he’s letting him know that he is to be king. Clearly Saul can’t see it because he is in the story.
1 Corinthians 12: I’m really glad to be reading this particular chapter today. The focus is on spiritual gifts. Paul was emphasizing the fact that spiritual gifts come in all shapes and sizes. To me he it means that all spiritual gifts are important, no matter what they are. This particular part really resonates with me:
“There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; and there are difference activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good” (CEB Study Bible, p. 324 NT; 1 Cor. 12.4-7).
I think about something I’ve learned from being part of F3 Nation: the dolphin and daffodil story. To quickly sum it up, the dolphin is the “task a person was born to do best” and the daffodil is “the people-group each person was born to serve.” When the co-founders of F3, Dredd and OBT, met with a group of us during a book study (we were reading their book on F3), this came up. It got a lot of us thinking about what is our dolphin. I had an idea, but I was curious as to what other people thought about me. So I asked and all of my F3 brothers quickly said teaching. Dingo actually said I light up each time I talk about teaching. This is true. I truly do love all aspects of my job, but teaching is one of the best parts of my job. My lovely bride has always said she can tell a difference on the days I have class versus the days I don’t have class. This isn’t just being in the classroom. It is more than that. Teaching can be in front of a large group of people or just one person. Additionally, teaching is not just telling people information. It is also learning with people.
So now this brings me back to a question I think I need to ask because of this reading: What is my spiritual gift? I believe my spiritual gift is teaching. Now how does this journey of reading the Bible aid my spiritual gift? My answer right now takes me back to why I wanted to do this in the first place. I had two main reasons. First, I wanted to have a better understanding of the Bible. With my line of work, I wanted to better understand the messages from this amazing book so I could defend it from misuse and abuse. Second, I wanted to do this for my own spiritual growth. I’ve learned a lot through this experience. About the Bible and about myself. What this particular reading really helps me realize is that I need to continue to focus on my spiritual gift, which is teaching. This experience will help me better relate to those who feel threatened by science and by religion. The Sinai and Synapses fellowship will also help with that.
This reading has helped clear things up for me. I feel more certain about why I’m doing this and how I can hopefully teach more people about the importance of science and religion and why they can both benefit society.