1 Samuel 11, 16; Matthew 3, 27

52 Weeks at the Table – Week 16

Saul, the reluctant king – tall in stature but small in submission – was often an angry person. When the Spirit of God came upon him at Gibeah (1 Samuel 11), he burned with anger and mustered thousands to defeat the pagans of Jabesh. When the Spirit of God departed from him (16), he often became angry at David, God’s new anointed. In his efforts to destroy his humble rival, only God’s Spirit – evident in David’s meek submission (26) – or coming on him in full prophetic force (29) could deter him. Disspirited by military defeat, he took his own life (31).

Another King, like His ancestor David, was the very figure of submission. He was born of the Spirit (Matthew 1:18), immersed in the Spirit (3:16), led by the Spirit (4:1), and promised His Spirit to His followers (John 7:38-40). He was reluctant to serve perhaps only once – in a garden, where His life hung in the balance with all of mankind’s souls for all eternity. Yet, trusting God’s ability to wrest ultimate victory from seeming defeat, He surrendered His Spirit (Matthew 27:50), received life again from the Spirit (Romans 8:11) and breathed His Spirit on those to whom He had made the promise (John 20:22).

King of our lives, we honor the submission of Your cherished Son to Your will that was gracious toward us and harsh toward our sins. We honor the victory You achieved on the cross and at the tomb over sin and death and our selfishness and our rivalry. When Your Spirit rests on us as we share this bread, recalling Jesus’ body broken for us, may He find a welcome and a yearning and a hunger for more of You deep within us, a place now emptied of self and sin. Amen.

Father God, purge from us the fire of anger and the evil spirit of arrogance that ignites and fuels it while we seek the peace of this table. Fill us instead with your cool, pure, thirst-quenching, life-breathing Spirit as we share this cup which reminds us of Jesus’ blood, spilled from His hands, head, feet and side for us. Fill us with a recognition of the cross where He breathed out His Spirit, so that we might breathe in life to the full – acting, speaking, praying always in His name: Amen.

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