The Tabernacle is a group of imperfect people desiring to be changed by the love & grace of a perfect God. We gather on Sundays to worship Jesus, then scatter to our communities as missionaries throughout the week.
God's Faithfulness - Audio
Beautiful story and something we can all relate to. Saul is anointed by Samuel and is going to be king. Before he leaves for home, Samuel gives him a sign to look for. Multiple signs, in fact. Ludicrously specific signs. All happen and Saul has a new heart. But, the transplant seems to be taking its time in taking hold, at least according to Saul's coming actions. The big moment comes, and Saul, in a weird move plays hide and seek - with God. Saul loses.
Saul is going to need help with the whole king gig. In the end, we see that God provides a group of men whose hearts are for God, mighty men.
God's Providence - Audio
God’s providence extends beyond ministry and church. In fact, God is at work in every
aspect of our lives even when we can’t see his hand, it is there. We often say that God
is sovereign, but we struggle to see the interwoven moments of His Providence in the
mundane daily routines of life. Whether we are chasing donkeys over the countryside,
folding laundry for the hundredth time or working in a thankless job, God is moving.
The question is are we fighting Him or moving with Him?
Give Us A King - Audio
The desire to be like the world is as old as time. But God tells us we are strangers and aliens in this world, and to be conformed to his image instead, serving and worshipping him alone.
Samuel is old and the people approach him with a succession plan, namely that he should give them a king like all the other nations. This displeases both Samuel and God, not because wanting a king was bad but because of their motive. Their desire to be like the nations instead of God’s holy people was another rejection of God. God had saved them again and again, had provided leadership for them through his appointed judges, even his very presence was with them — but they wanted another layer of middle-management. God chose to give them what they wanted in order to teach an important lesson: Only God’s rule will never let you down. The world preaches a different message, trying to indoctrinate us to conform to its standards. But the Bible teaches us to be transformed in how we think and to offer ourselves completely to God (Rom 12:1-2). When Jesus came in flesh, he too was rejected (Jn 19:15) because he didn’t fit the pattern of this world. He came not to be served, but to serve (Mt 20:28) and give himself away. The world and its kings are takers, God alone is a righteous king that gives more than he takes.
The Lord Thunders - Audio
We can never experience victory and peace in life without God’s help. But God won’t share his glory with idols or tolerate our half-hearted worship either.
As judge and prophet, Samuel spends 20 years preaching a sermon of repentance to God’s people.The call is for them to return to the Lord with all their hearts, put away idols, direct their hearts to God and serve him only. The emphasis on the heart is striking. Presumedly, this sermon is a regular part of Samuel’s circuit and it culminates in Israel's response, gathering to repent at Mizpah. The Philistines see the gathering as a threat and prepare to attack. Fearful Israel begs Samuel to intercede in prayer for them and he does so, after sacrificing a lamb to atone for their sins. God responds, thundering with a mighty sound and throwing the Philistines into confusion, allowing Israel to pursue and defeat them. The victory produces peace and restoration of lost territory. We see foreshadows of Jesus and the Gospel in Samuel's preaching, intercession, and atonement, which all lead to victory. Samuel raises a memorial stone called Ebenezer, which means “stone of help.” Interestingly he says, “till now the Lord has helped us,” implying that faith is still required for the future. The main point of the message for us is that there is no victory without repentance. That is true for past victories and will be the same for future battles.
God's Heavy Hand - Audio
There is only one true God, and He will not share His glory with our idols. The Bible says it’s a terrible thing to fall into His hands, so how can anyone escape?
Chapters 5 & 6 contain the story of the lost ark and its return to Israel. This is one of the lowest points in Israel’s history. The “glory has departed” and their very survival is on the line. But while the Philistines possess and parade the stolen ark, their idols are broken and they’re terrorized by deadly plagues. Believing that it’s possibly caused by the heavy hand of the God of Israel, they concoct a plan to return it with a guilt offering to stop their affliction. The plan works and the ark is returned to God’s people. But instead of turning to the one true God, they return to their land and their own idol worship. Israel rejoices on the other hand, but in the process even 70 Israelites are struck down because they looked upon the ark, causing them to ask “who is able to stand before the Lord?” The answer of course, is no one. No one can escape God’s heavy hand. Sin always results in pain because of God’s justice and holiness, and we are all sinners. Only God can save us from God, and that through Jesus Christ. Service, sacrifice, and guilt offerings only return us to empty religion and idolatry.
Misplaced Faith - Audio
In chapter 4 of 1 Samuel, Israel is battling the Phillistines, an enemy nation. After suffering defeat, they retrieve the ark from it’s resting place. Bringing it into camp and among the battle, they expect that it will guarantee their victory. However, they have not consulted with God for His direction, nor have Hophni and Phineas repented of their sins. Despite this, there seems to be the expectation that God will ensure their victory. Ironically, it is the Phillistines that remember the God of Israel, and all that He has done. Israel is defeated in battle once again, this time resulting in the capture of the ark, and the prophesied death of Eli’s sons. Using the ark as a good luck charm, and treating God as an object results in His glory leaving Israel. However, it is still part of God’s all-knowing plan which sets up the ancestral line from which Jesus will come.
It is a desperate place to be when God departs from us. There are no shortcuts to how we approach Him. God is not an object to be used, but is a divine person to be loved.