In I Samuel we see King Saul who is not wise and faithful in following what God wants. In Saul we see foolish living and leadership, as he repeatedly refuses to obey God and chooses to do what he thinks is right. The prophet Samuel sums up the rule of Saul as King.
13:13-14 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lordyour God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
When we find real faith in God, in these chapters, we find it in Saul’s son Jonathan. We also find active faith in God in Samuel, the prophet. When Samuel died it was a great loss for Israel.
Saul does not have a heart of faith for the Lord and it shows in his actions and leadership. Thus, we read about Saul, “And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.” What a sad commentary.
In Ecclesiastes 10:1-11 we learn more about the difference between wisdom and foolishness. Fools “lack sense” and do not live and act out of faith in the Lord. The wise understand the Lord’s will and are able to translate their faith into everyday life.
In Acts we see a vibrant faith in the Lord Jesus being lived out. There is persecution as the followers of Jesus live in the strength and joy of Resurrection reality and Christ’s presence and guidance. They are eager to share Christ and as they are persecuted they scatter. As they scatter, they preach Christ and the church grows and extends its influence.
For the early church and leaders the Holy Spirit is actively guiding them in the way of Jesus and making Jesus present to them. If you have Jesus in your life you have the Holy Spirit within, leading and guiding you. For some it was hard to believe that Samaritans could be people of faith. Jews and Samaritans did not associate with each other. But right from the very beginning of the church, we find that through Christ the wall of hostility, that separated Jews and Samaritans, came down. In Samaria Peter and John find real faith and notice that even Samaritans receive the Holy Spirit.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Peter and John are wise leaders eager to see the Gospel flourish even in Samaria. May we be wise in faith as God does new things in our midst and in our world. May others see in each one of us “an intentional life well lived” for Christ Jesus.