Canyons and Agags
The Big Idea of 1 Samuel 13-15 is that we need a King who listens to and obeys the Voice of the Lord, with faith: like Prince Jonathan and unlike King Saul.
So, while the text makes clear that the command to Listen and Obey is for all God's people, the specific application of for us is that we are to listen to and obey the King who listens and obeys. You guessed it; that's Jesus! Like Jonathan's servant in 14:7, we say, "I am with you, heart and soul." We are to listen to and obey God's Right King.
Here are two examples, from the text, of further applying what it means to listen and obey.
First, from chapter 14 again--the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer: the story tells of how they are on one side of what is a craggy, but narrow, canyon. They must climb down, and then climb up, to reach the Philistines. In military terms, it'd be harder to imagine a less agreeable fighting position than climbing up hand over hand, and then having to fight a foe who is at the top waiting for you. That's quite the risk, to put it mildly. It's kind of crazy, to put it truthfully.
So the first question is, what has the Spirit been nudging you to risk, to attempt, to try in faith, for Jesus? Some difficult looking, silly looking, new venture. And on the other side? Not green fields of lush pasture, but Philistines looking to meet Jesus, if you take my meaning. In other words, risk, and then, battle, work. But, as Jonathan says, "It may be that the Lord will work for us..." And isn't that what we long to see? Long to be a part of?
Second, from the end of chapter 15--the story after the story about how Saul lost the Kingdom because he directly disobeyed the Voice of the Lord. The story continues:
"Then Samuel said, "Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites." And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, "Surely the bitterness of death is past." And Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women." And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. (1Sam 15:32-33)
Here's the question: what has the Spirit been nudging you to sacrifice, to slay, to do justice to, to remove from your life, for Jesus? Specifically, some other king? I mean, I'm not talking about carbs or that pile of clothes for the thrift store. This is talking about hacking up King Agag; that is, in the text, representative of something we have not turned over to God because it makes us (like King Saul) feel important and special, it gives us a sense that we're powerful and intelligent. The reality is that it is a source of arrogance (32) and injustice (33), deceiving us and doing harm to others.
At communion we remember that Jesus gave Himself, body and blood, for us; and that Jesus gives Himself, life and covenant, to us. Now, isn't that a King we could trust? Isn't Jesus a King worth listening to and obeying? So, today, what is your craggy canyon it's time to begin crawling down, with Jesus? And what is your Amalekite King that it's time to relocate?