I had the flu last week. For the first part of the week, I was not in any shape to be reading scripture or anything else. By the end of the week, I picked it back up, but had just enough energy to keep up - not to catch up. As of this morning, I’m caught up.
Being in the books of Samuel and Acts, I didn’t want to miss a thing. Both of them are very personal narratives of the beginning of things - of a Kingdom and a Church. Each had positive and negative events that laid the groundwork for what things would look like in the ages to come. And underneath both of the exciting narratives is the common thread of the sovereign hand of God working through each detail to establish his presence among the people. In the case of the Church, it is His presence in His people through the Holy Spirit.
And there are incredible stories. Just today I read of David’s band coming back from being rejected by the Philistine leaders and finding his family and belongings had been raided by Amalekites. His band went from a bad mood to a worse one. Yet, rather than simply reacting, David is of such faith that he first consults the Lord’s leading whether or not to chase after the raiders. He does not take a step - even if it seems an obvious one - without the Lord. This is certainly in contrast to Saul and to all other kings in the land. This man is special - and he gets his family back.
Paul’s words have established the Church throughout the Western world. He’s headed back to Jerusalem with a short stop in Ephesus to meet for the last time with loved ones with whom he’s spent years. He explains this call even though he is clearly putting himself in harm’s way. “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus - the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God” (Acts 20:24) . These are remarkable pictures of faith from the leaders whom God used to establish the Kingdom and the Church