In today’s reading, the nation of Israel asks for a king. They reject the leadership and rule of their sovereign Creator for the leadership of a man they can see and touch. They want a ruler ‘just like other nations have rulers.’ And what a ruler they received! Saul was quite a man. In this text, we are told he was a head taller than any of his fellow Israelites. He was possessed of the Spirit of God and prophesied with the prophets. He was zealous for the nation and her Ruler evidenced by his defense against the evil Nahash who wanted to gouge out the eyes of every man of Jabesh-gilead! But his finish did not look like his beginning.

We humans can get tired. And we flesh-beings can tire quickly. We can, like Saul, start off strong and start off well but in the midst of the race we give up…we throw in the towel…we begin to compromise. Whether we are in the middle of a fast (‘That brisket looks GREAT!’) or in the midst of a night of prayer (‘But this is my favorite TV show’s time slot!’) or we are trying to exercise (‘One or two days of not showing up at the gym won’t matter!’), we get tired and then we give up. While many start well, fewer finish well. God is not looking for great starters, He is looking for great finishers. Men and women who, when their flesh begins to cry out for rest or the battle begins to overwhelm, will stay in the fight and let God furnish the victory.

Paul told the Philippians, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Do not give up. Do not compromise. Do not allow yourself to quit the race short of the finish line. Keep your eyes on Jesus who, the Bible says, is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is our example and He did not give up early!

by Curt Krohn, Senior Pastor

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