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The King We Need, a short study of the book of 1 Samuel

Vision WEB sermonAs Westgate Church enters a season of transition, we know that it comes with a lot of questions. For some churches, changes in leadership can bring turbulence and uncertainty. It can easily become a period of distress as members and visitors alike wonder what lies ahead. As we’ve been blessed here at Westgate with godly and gifted leadership under Pastor Brandon, it can be especially easy to wonder whether the years before us will be as fruitful and edifying as the years now behind us. In the midst of that uncertainty, we may naturally begin to set our hopes for the future on some “ideal” pastor, one who will lead us into new frontiers of ministry and who’s dynamic and winsome preaching will attract a larger and larger audience. With the right pastor, we reason, Westgate will become healthier and more successful, prospering in all we hope to accomplish. The temptation to rest our hopes on the shoulders of some yet-unknown “ideal” pastor reminds me of 1 Samuel.

After being led by a series of judges for generations, ancient Israel was ready for a change. Several hundred years of chaos and international conflict had made them long for stability. Their desire was understandable; they wanted what any nation would want: safety and confidence that their families would be provided for. So the people raised their voices and asked for a king to rule over them. With a king, Israel would have a standing army and a predictable line of succession. No more would they have to worry that enemies would catch them unprepared or wonder who their next leader would be. Given their circumstances, it is a request we can understand. But just underneath their desire for a king lay a waning trust in God’s provision.

The story of Israel during the days of her first kings is a powerful reminder of the fact that we should not put our highest trust in anyone but Christ. The people of Israel wanted security they could see, a physical assurance of their safety, so they wanted a king who would embody those desires. Yet, God makes clear that in demanding a king “like all the other nations” (1 Samuel 8:5), the people have rejected their divine king. They have turned away from the security and safety God had provided them, favoring the sword and shield of a human king and his army. But those kings would go on to fall desperately short of the righteous character of the leader they needed.

As Westgate approaches a season of transition, we need the reminder we receive from ancient Israel. It will be tempting to put our hope in people, to trust in the safety and security they provide for our future. It will seem reasonable to look for the “ideal” pastor who will answer all of our concerns and lead us into blessed years ahead. But what Israel needed, and what we need, is someone to point us to God’s provision, to lead us in rejoicing in the sovereign care of God for His church. We hope you’ll join us over the next few weeks as we explore 1 Samuel and ask how we can approach this unique season with faith and confidence in God’s provision.

See you Sunday.

Pastor Travis Vaclavik

Click HERE to listen to sermons in this series.