No Cause for Canceling

“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, ‘Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies’... And Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen?..’ And all the people shouted, ‘Long live the king!..’ Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home.  Saul also went to his home, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched. But some worthless fellows said, ‘How can this man save us?’ And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.”

Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.’ But Nahash said to them, ‘On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel…’ And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled… Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. When he mustered them at Bezek, the people of Israel were three hundred thousand, and of Judah thirty thousand…

And the next day Saul put the people in three companies. And they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together. Then the people said to Samuel, ‘Who is it that said, “Shall Saul reign over us?” Bring the men, that we may put them to death.’ But Saul said, ‘Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has worked salvation in Israel.’ Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.” 1 Samuel 10:1,24-27; 11:1-2,6-8,11-15

Every king, every leader, has nay-sayers, and Israel’s first was no exception. Though Israel had begged for a king so they could be like other nations, when God had Samuel anoint Saul, there was a rabble who spoke against him. When he led them in a spectacular victory over the Ammonites, those who aligned with him wanted the cynics eliminated. (1 Samuel 8:19-20)

When we are confident God is sovereign, there is no need to cancel our opponents. In fact, He providentially orders them to turn our trust from our standing with men to our security in Him. He tosses us in the fray, tumbles us with antagonists, flushes challenges over us to conform us to Himself, fix our convictions, make us strong, and turn our hope to Him. (Romans 5:3-4; 8:29,35-37; James 1:2-4)

What or whom do we want to cancel? Would we choose softness and everyone- agreeing over exposing our minds to how others think, refining our own beliefs, and learning how better, and humbly, to articulate truth and love?

Father, keep me grounded in You. Give me grace for every foe, and work Your glorious purposes through every contention.

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