• Christ Church, Willesborough

Trinity Twenty Fourth Sunday Morning Prayer - Remembrance Sunday (14 November 2021) 1Samuel 10:17–19

https://youtu.be/j-VPXegSghc


Today’s meditation is based on our Old Testament Reading, 1 Samuel 10:17–19. “Samuel called the people together unto the Lord to Mizpeh; And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands”.


We are familiar with the history of Israelites. We have heard many times about right from God calling Abraham, the lives of Jacob and Joseph, and Moses leading the Israelites into Canaan. The Lord led the Israelites out of their bondage land “With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm”. Exodus 13:21 and 22 say, “the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people”. The Lord fought for them, protected them and supplied all their needs. Deuteronomy 29:5 says when the Lord led them for forty years in the wilderness, their clothes did not waxen old upon them and their shoes did not waxen old upon thy foot. He gave them commandments and their constitution. When they reached Canaan, they were governed by judges, priests and prophets appointed by the Lord. But the Israelites asked prophet Samuel for a king like other tribes. Samuel was not happy about the people’s request. But “the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). Samuel obeyed the Lord and told them the king who would reign over them. We read about this in 1 Samuel 8:11–18. The people insisted on having a king and God gave them Saul to be the first king of Israel.


I would like to briefly meditate on being the Chosen People and the Purpose of being Chosen.


CHOSEN PEOPLE

The Israelites are God’s chosen people. The Lord God separated them to be His inheritance. He was their everything. He was their provider, shelter, ruler and protector. He gave them laws and commandments to keep them in the right path and to keep them safe. The Lord Himself wrote their constitution. But the Israelites chose to live their lives like other nations around them. The Lord God was not happy with the Israelites because they asked for a king to rule over them. When Saul became the king, the constitution for the kingdom was rewritten by prophet Samuel. They did not listen to the warnings about the king that they asked for. The Lord led them out of their bondage land. But the king that the Israelites asked for led them to idol worship and other practices that displeased God. He allowed them to be taken captives by their enemies. Israelites lost their life of freedom and went back to their life in bondage under their enemies.


This passage and the background information may sound like a history for us. But we can relate to the Israelites in many ways. The human race went away from the LORD God and lived in darkness under the bondage of sin. God sent His only Begotten Son to lead us all from darkness to His eternal light. Matthew 4:16 says “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” God the Father gave His only begotten son Jesus Christ to free us all from the bondage of sin and death. When Jesus ministered in this world, He taught us the way to inherit eternal life. He separated us from the ways of the world to be His children. He did this to free us so we can inherit eternal life.


CHOSEN FOR A PURPOSE

When Jesus came into this world, He overcame the devil in the wilderness. The first Adam lost in the spiritual battle but the later Adam won the spiritual war when He was tempted by devil. Jesus preached the Gospel to everyone, prepared the way to reach eternity and sacrificed Himself on the cross as the Passover Lamb. Reformation took place in Judaism and the early Christian church was established on the day of Pentecost. The early Christians had Christ in them. They faced both physical and spiritual wars. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Jesus also explained about the spiritual war in Matthew 12:43–45. When we are born again, we die for our sins and are resurrected with Jesus for righteousness. The chain of bondage of sin is broken but the devil does not like our freedom from sin. So when “the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first”. The early Church fought the physical and spiritual wars and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to fulfill their purpose of being chosen.


Today, we too are Christians. Being a Christian is not living an easy life enjoying worldly pleasures in the ways of the world. It is living a life obeying and following the Christ who lives in us. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said “unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Christian life is living a life separated from the ways of the world. It is living a life following the standards and expectations of our Lord Jesus and enduring to the end. We are chosen to be the warriors of the Kingdom of Heaven. We should be well-equipped with the armour of God to stand and fight this spiritual battle.



On Remembrance Sunday, we remember those who lost their lives during the great wars. We remember their life of sacrifice when they gave up their comforts. The soldiers in the great wars did their part and sacrificed their lives for our freedom and comfort. Today, we are living a comfortable life because of their sacrifice. Moses left his comfortable life as a prince to lead the Israelites out of the bondage land. Jesus Christ came down from heaven and suffered and died for us to save us from the bondage of sin. The early church and Apostles sacrificed their lives to spread the Gospel around the world. Many missionaries sacrificed their lives in faraway countries to spread the love of God. We are sitting in this church only because many people sacrificed their lives to bring us the Good News. Not everyone was chosen to fight in the wars. The best soldiers were chosen to fight in the battlefield. Similarly, God has chosen us to be Christian Soldiers to save the people around us from eternal death.


The early church stood strong in their faith and calling. They lived a life separated for the Lord. They preached the Gospel throughout the world and died as witnesses. They had Christ in their lives and were rightly called Christians. Like the Israelites, we are also separated to be God’s chosen people. Are our lives really reflecting Christ? Or are we Christians in name only? Jesus Christ has taught us how to live our lives as His witnesses. Are we following His teachings? Or are we living our lives following the rewritten rules of our own making? Jesus Christ died on the Cross to free us from bondage of sin and death. Are we really free from the bondage or are we living a life of bondage? Do we really remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross? If we value the sacrifice, we are to fight for His kingdom. As Christians, we have to fight against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world every day. Are we well-equipped with the Armor of God to fight this fight against the spirit of darkness and its principalities? If we, the chosen people, fail to fight against the devil and the spirit of darkness, we will lose our spiritual battle. The sacrifice Jesus and innumerable people before us will be in vain. Are we fulfilling the purpose of being chosen?


God the Father redeemed the chosen people from their bondage of slavery and gave them their promised land Canaan. The LORD Jesus broke the bondage of sin and redeemed us from eternal death. The chosen Israel forgot what God hath done for them, walked away from their saviour and desired to live like the worldly people. Do we remember the purpose of Jesus’s sacrifice? Or have we forgotten and want to live following worldly ways? Are we passing on the Christian values to the next generation? Or are we pushing them to the bondage of sin and eternal death? We are here today because of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. John 15:13 says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We have seen this love expressed in numerous ways for us.


This Remembrance Sunday, I would like to leave a couple of questions for you: What can we do to repay the sacrifices of the early church, apostles and missionaries? The baton has been passed around and today we have the baton in our hands. What are we going to do with it? When the time comes for us to close our eyes in this battlefield, can we boldly say “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day”?

7 views0 comments