We Want a King! #Occupy Ramah – Blogging Through Our Sermon Series

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to speak at our gc@nite service which is our Sunday evening service. As you may know, we are in the middle of a sermon series called “Living God’s Story” and in an effort to add “voices” to this particular service, I was asked to offer my interpretation in the evening while our senior pastor preached his message in the morning services. It was our first time collaborating together and we ended up borrowing a couple ideas from each other while keeping our distinctives. You can listen to them both here. If you are part of the GC Community or local to the area, I invite you to come this Sunday night at 6p to hear our Pastor of Young Adult Ministries, Dave Ripper give a message on the coming Messiah.

In summary, my message was from I Samuel 8 about the elders of Israel gathering in the town of Ramah to demand that Samuel give them a king. The text tells us that Samuel is getting old, his sons are a couple of punks and besides that, they don’t want priests running the country, they want a king, like the other nations. So they come and “occupy” Ramah until God tells Samuel to give them what they want.

So in the spirit of the Occupy Protests, I made a couple of signs.

What Israel wanted was not morally wrong. In fact, on the surface, it seemed logical. A king brought protection, potential unity and symbolized stability for the citizens. Why would God be against this? And so the people, led by the elders of Israel started demanding a king from Samuel. After a firm warning of what kings end up doing (they unfairly tax and draft your children for the benefit of the state), God directs Samuel to give them what they want. The people return to their homes, Samuel anoints Saul and the monarchy of Israel begins.

I tried to compare this scene to our own lives. We start off by seeking God’s blessing on our hopes and ambitions. God delays in blessing or answering them, and so we pick it up a notch. Sometimes it’s in the form of needed soul-searching that reveals hidden ill motives, but sometimes it’s quite the opposite. Sometimes, we become impatient with God and start demanding and protesting against God – we start “occupying” in our hearts.

For us, it was the desire of starting a family. I shared the story in the message and many of you know it anyway but I do want to say that I know how it felt to go from a humble, “Chris Tomlin-I praise your Greatness and we are seeking your will” type of prayer to beginning a “prayer” by yelling the words, “Come on! What do you have against us?”

In the story of Israel, God was always going to give them a king but not the one they expected but the one they needed. In the story, Jesus becomes the turning point. Upon repentance, everything changes, our hearts, our hopes, even our protests.

For Susan and I in this particular episode of our story, God was going to give us a child but not in the way we expected. We picked up a phone call in the beginning of April of 2008 and by the end of the month, we brought home a newborn son. Now, not every story ends happily ever after but the chapter that ended our infertility, and the new one that chronicled the beginning of our family was quite beautiful for us. God-willing, there is much to come but may we learn from our prayers and when we protest, may we protest for the Kingdom.

I find myself asking what are the things that I want to be in protest for? My answers to this question sound very noble but I really hope that they would also be true answers and may I rely on the strength of the Spirit to do so and may it be true for you as well.

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