Fields: Doing right thing for right reason

Published 7:24 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The entire account of Saul becoming the first king of Israel is very interesting and, maybe, a little confusing.

It seems like there are two sides to the story. On one hand, by Israel’s desire for a king they were rejecting God. On the other hand, God chose and appointed Saul through the prophet Samuel. He even caused Saul, himself, to prophecy and the saying, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” became a proverb in Israel (1 Sam. 10:12; 19:24). God said that Saul would be the one to deliver Israel from the Philistines (1 Sam. 9:16).

Israel’s desire for a king wasn’t, in itself, a rejection of God’s rule over them. Rather, it was the reason they wanted a king that was the problem. They said they wanted a king so they could be like the nations around them (1 Sam. 8:5). Israel was supposed to be different from the other nations, not like them. They should have had confidence that God would provide them the right leader, the one needed, at the right time. Instead they demanded that a king be appointed for them on their terms. It wasn’t wrong for Israel to have a king. God had made provisions for Israel’s kings in the Law (Gen. 49:10; Deut. 17:14-20). Peter says that Jesus was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 1:20). One of the things that was foreordained about Jesus was that He would be our King (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 9:6; 11:1).

So, if Israel was never supposed to have a king, how could Christ have been foreordained to be the King of spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16)?

Israel under Samuel’s judgeship was doing the right thing for the wrong reason! If we aren’t careful, we can be guilty of the exact same thing. For example, if we’re baptized for the wrong reason — like “because of the forgiveness of our sins,” instead of “for the remission of our sins” (Acts 2:38) — then it really isn’t baptism at all.

Many attend worship services regularly because they want to please their parents, partner or spouse. Attending worship services every first day of the week (Acts 20:7) is the right thing to do, but if it’s for the wrong reason then it really isn’t worship at all (John 4:23, 24). Even evangelism can be doing the right thing for the wrong reason (Phil. 1:15-18).

We must not only make sure that we’re doing the right things according to God’s word, but that we’re doing them for the right reason.

Norm Fields is the minister for the Church of Christ Northside in LaGrange.