Todays readings.. 1 Samuel 21&22, Isaiah 65, Matthew 10
“BEHOLD MY SERVANTS SHALL …”
Who is a genuine servant of the LORD today? Being a ‘Servant’ is an active occupation! One needs to be far more committed than just being interested to know about the LORD and his word. Consider the situation surrounding David before he became king. David called himself a “servant” – 1 Sam. 17 v.34 – but Saul never did, he was jealous of Davis; we will read tomorrow how “Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.” [1 Sam. 23 v.14] Saul was totally self-centred, the opposite attitude is necessary if we are to be a genuine servant of the LORD. It is astonishing that Saul completely lost any appreciation of all that David had done to defeat the enemies of Saul and of Israel. A lesson for us here – how personal relationships can sometimes undermine the way we seek the Lord.
Isaiah’s chapter 65 unfolds to give us a vision of the future; what the LORD “will do for my servants’ sake” [v.8] ” I will bring forth offspring from Jacob …” [v.9] and we are starting to see this today in the Holy Land “My chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there.” [v.9] Let us so live that we will be counted among the Lord’s servants – for surely the “servants’ include both natural and spiritual Israel.
The verses which follow unfold as a contrast between those who serve the LORD and those who do not. “Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame; behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart …” [v.13-14]
The ultimate application of those words is to the time when the kingdom is established. Jesus illustrates this in some of his parables – remember the dramatic parable of the ‘Rich man and Lazarus’! Luke 16 v.19 onwards
In today’s ch. 10 in Matthew the teaching of Jesus in v. 32,33 has the same vital theme. ” …. everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Finally we note and mediate v. 38, “whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” – adding to this the words of Jesus we find in Matt. 16 v.24-26 “”If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul” because he has failed to be a genuine “servant.” A final personal question – ‘How earnestly are we being servants of our Lord in our lives now – and plan to – “until he come”?