June 30, 2009


“And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul. But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.” (1Sa 17:14-15)

Saul is busy recruiting soldiers for the biggest battle he ever faced. Ahead is standing Goliath, a man almost double his stature, challenging him for a fight. Saul scrambles through his forces to find the perfect man for the battle against Goliath. The scene is quite tensed. That’s when we see the three brothers of David bravely stepping forward for the battle. But David, although he could have followed his brothers to join the army, went back to Bethlehem.

imageDavid had something more important to complete. He had to feed his father’s sheep. David, a shepherd, well knew his flock of sheep. He knew how scared  they were of the wild animals and how easily they could get into a mischief if left alone. So when David was faced between a choice to feed his sheep and fight the battle with Saul, he chose an option which was stupid, rather which was completely secondary as compared to the battle. Who would give more importance to some flock of sheep over a battle that threatened the whole of Israel? Was feeding some flock of sheep more important than the salvation of the Israelites?

Jesus before ascending up to heaven gave the commandment, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations...” (Mat 28:19 ASV) The commandment to make disciples was something that Jesus stressed upon throughout his life and ministry here on earth. There were people who followed Jesus for their benefits but didn’t look forward to anything spiritual. Jesus stayed away from these people. However there were very few who stuck with Jesus. While preaching the gospel was important, making disciples of those who heard the gospel was even more important for Jesus.

In these times when we stress a lot on witnessing and preaching the gospel to the unsaved, the church has fallen short of the commandment to make disciples. Making disciples is like feeding the flock of sheep. When this world keeps getting wickeder day by day, the chances of the flock of Christ drifting away is great. At these times, it becomes the duty of the shepherd to feed his sheep. God has appointed some as Elders over the church to specially shepherd his flock of sheep. The duty of the elder being awesome compels him to take extra care to nurture the spiritual health of his flock. However it’s not only the role of the Elders to make disciples but each one of us has to play a part in this ministry.

But it didn’t mean that David couldn’t go for the battle. We see David leaving his sheep under the care of a keeper before going for the battle (I Sam. 17:20). It reminds us that while making disciples is important witnessing too should be done along with the spiritual health of the flock being taken care of.

Lessons in prayer from the life of Samuel

Throughout the life of Samuel we see a beautiful  portrayal of humility in the sight of God and complete dependency on him. Samuel, a man of prayer, had a passionate prayer life that epitomizes these very things.



And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. (1Sa 8:21)

Here Samuel was placed in a very difficult situation. He had to mediate between the people’s demands for a king and God’s disapproval to that demand. He wasn’t allowed to take any decision without God’s permissive will. At the same time he was constantly being pressed by the people who ignored God’s protest to their demands and insisted more for a king.

Samuel communicated what God told him to the people and tried to persuade them to listen to God’s voice. But alas, they weren’t going to budge. So helplessly Samuel went back to God with their demands and rehearsed them in the ears of God. It’s strange because God would have already taken note of the people’s insubordination to him and yet Samuel rehearsed the whole situation back to God.

Did he make God look deaf? No. I think that in this very act, Samuel showed what it meant to be humble and completely dependent on God. He didn’t really think it appropriate for him to take any decision. Hence he approached God with all humility asking him for help. Samuel was a people’s man. The people loved him and respected him. And in all this, Samuel loved the people equally. He corrected them from God’s word occasionally and guided them when necessary. He understood their feelings and recognized himself with their emotions. That’s why when he went back to God in prayer; he went as a negotiator to God. He brought forth the people’s feelings to God. That’s why we see him ‘rehearsing’ the whole situation to God. And what was the outcome? God listened to the people’s cries!

Was it because of Samuel’s intercessions? I fail to see God listening to the people’s petitions without Samuel being there as a mediator.

When was the last time we went to God interceding for someone else fervently? Are we concerned for our fellow brethren’s needs even though they may sound not important? It makes it doubly important for God when you bring your brother’s need to him in prayer. Can we do this for our family, church and even our nation? Let us approach God with all humility and dependency on him and pray just as Samuel prayed.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent (passionate) prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jas 5:16)


Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: (1Sa 12:23)

After appointing a king over Israel, the people realized their mistake in asking for a king and ran back to Samuel that he may intercede with God for the forgiveness of their sin. In the process of replying back to them, Samuel makes this stunning statement, “God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.”

Samuel considered praying for his people very important. He expressed a deep feeling for them and prayed ‘without ceasing’ for them. He went to the extent of considering it as a sin to cease praying for them. As James puts it in James 4:17,

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Samuel was determined. He didn’t allow any of his humanly excuses hinder his prayer life. He chose to be faithful in his prayer life. He chose between an easy life and a hard labored life. He spent a lot of time towards the growth of his people in the Lord. He ensured that he taught them the good and right way. ‘He lived for others’ as simply put. And all of this was backed up by a strong prayer life that empowered him to work for the people.

Where are we today? Busy in our work? Lost in the busyness and concerns of our life? Could we be like Samuel, passionate in prayer and seriously concerned about the needs of our people?


June 16, 2009

Be still and hear

As they were going down at the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us (and he passed on), but stand thou still first, that I may cause thee to hear the word of God. (1 Sam. 9:27)

I picture myself in that situation which Saul was in. It wasn’t a really comfortable decision for Saul to make when Samuel asked him to wait back. Saul had to rush back home because he was already very late and his father began to worry for him. Also he was asked to let his belongings and his servants go ahead him back home. Further what Samuel told Saul was to wait for a while which has its root in the Hebrew word meaning ‘a span of hours’, or ‘a day’ etc. So it wasn’t going to be fast for sure.

And what was Samuel asking him to wait for? That he may hear the word of God…! It looks easy and simple at the first glance for Saul to listen to Samuel but that came with some difficult decisions. If we read further, God blessed him for obeying his voice and chose him to be the king of Israel.

I wonder when was the last time I actually waited and was stilled before God’s presence so that  he could speak to me. Today my quiet time lasted for less than 10 min and I can but little call to mind what God taught me today morning. I have my huge list of prayer needs for God day in and out. But it really bothers me because it has been a long time since I last sat and waited upon God to cause me to hear his word.

father child 1God wants us to take out some of our time from the busiest and the most urgent situations in life we are in and wait and listen to his Word. Maybe the answers to our problems may lie in those solemn moments with God or maybe God would want to communicate something totally different to us. But where are we?

It’s not easy you know. Saul had to leave behind his belongings and companions to listen to God’s word because that was what God required him to do. It’s much more important for us to realize that God wants us to separate ourselves from our busy lives so that he can talk to us. Let them pass on ahead us. It’s not that we cannot catch up with them later. God wants us to honor him first. As he says in 1 Sam. 2:30, “…for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.”