Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Listen, Stretch Out and Keep

Proverbs 4:20-22  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
The word 'attend' in this verse is pretty straightforward.  It means simply: to listen. God wants us to listen to his words and sayings.

In the book of first Samuel, the children of Israel did not always listen to God.  God spoke to them through the judge Samuel. In the Old Testament that is the way it worked. People did not have the spirit of God working in them and so often they did not recognize God's workings. When they were frustrated by the Philistines attacks on them they went to Samuel for help:
8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. I Samuel 7:8
Samuel spoke the word to them and sometimes they listened and carried out what was necessary to defeat the enemy.  When they succeeded in thwarting the Philistines, Samuel set up a monument and called it Eben-ezer or 'stone of help' as a reminder of what God can do for his people. Reminders are always good if we want to pay attention to them.

The word 'incline' means to stretch out, extend or bend.  There is some effort involved in getting to know God's words. God's victories just don't drop out of the sky. However, his words energize the right actions in our hearts to apply to any situation.

In I Samuel 8:4-8, Israel decided they needed something else other than a judge (oops) to rule over Israel. They decided they wanted a king like all the nations around them:
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. 7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
Under the new agreement with God in the New Testament we have the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord.  We are connected to him via the spirit. He isn't literally seated at the right hand of God, he is figuratively at the right hand of God. 'Figuratively' is a metaphor to make a point.  He literally is the Lord of the people called out in Christ. He is not just sitting up high on some cloud waiting for some future event. He is God's right-hand man. He is at work in us, with us and among us. He is building his church, but his church is not a building made out of mortar and brick. It's the group people who love God. It is his church (singular).

When Israel followed the examples of the cultures around them and acquired a king, they rejected God. Today we push aside the gods of the culture (and there are many) to follow Jesus Christ, through the Word and with the connection line of the gift of holy spirit. That is the way God has set it up. To understand how this works we need to attend and incline our ears to God's Word. We have all the resources to do that.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

FaceTime with God

When you really savor the words of the Lord's Prayer (sometimes called the Our Father), you realize its beauty.  It is actually recorded in scripture in two places (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4),  and therefore is special:
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
I remember being in one church and praying the Lord's prayer  where the 'Amen' was after the word 'evil' and then being in another church where the 'Amen came after the for ever.  Sometimes people use 'trespass' instead of debt, some use 'heavens' in one place instead of heaven.  Regardless, looking at the heart of what is being said in this verse, we can see that Jesus was teaching people how to go face to face with God in prayer (prosuche in Greek). We are to approach him as a Father and he is a Father that knows everything we need before we ask him.

'Hallowed' means special and holy; we approach our Father respectfully. We don't have to complain or murmur. God not only is able to bless us, he is willing.

 In the Greek translation, the first 'heaven' is actually plural. The heavens include the earth. The earth is suspended in the heavens.  God is not a distant God.  Many people view him that way but he is as close as our breath. He is all around us. We are engulfed in his creation.

Just as manna was provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness, God provides for us today, spiritually as well as mentally and physically. For all that he give us in these categories, we probably should owe him, but he has forgiven our lack or debts in all three categories. That's a lot to shout about and realizing it keeps us tender towards others.

Verse 13 has come into the theological news lately.  For many years people downplayed the devil and his role on this earth. Evil exists, BUT God doesn't lead us into it!
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: James 1:13
He delivers us out of evil as we pray. It is an important aspect of prayer that we need to recognize.

This prayer taught by Jesus was not supposed to be memorized and repeated over and over. (look up verse 7 to see the context)  It was an example of how people could talk to God in prayer. This is how we do FaceTime with God.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I Samuel 6

I Samuel 6
After the Philistines took the ark of God, they moved it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod. It was set in the house of Dagon, a Philistine god. I guess they thought "the more the merrier'. According to the text, they sat the Ark right next to Dagon. The next day they found Dagon flat on his face in front of the Ark. The day after that, the same thing happened, only worse. Poor Dagon broke in various places and people were then afraid to visit the house of Dagon.

Wherever the ark went problems occurred so much so they decided to give it back to the Israelites. They kept the ark of 7 months and even when they decided to give it back, they still wanted to leave the option open to keep the trophy. They concocted a plan to find out if the things that had befallen them were punishment by God or just coincidences of life. God is all good and no darkness exists in Him at all.  These idolaters reaped the consequences of their own doings in my opinion.  Evil is as much punishment in and of itself.

They got two oxen who had never been yoked and who had just had baby calves. They made a cart for these oxen to pull and loaded the ark of God up on it. They sent the oxen on down the road. The calves were sent back to their pen. They reasoned that if the oxen went toward a certain Israelite town called Beth-shemesh; then God was returning the ark and they were under the judgement of God.  If the oxen naturally turned back home towards their calves then it was just the happenstance of life.

The oxen went towards the Israelite city. There was still trouble when the ark arrived in the Beth-shemesh.  The people there sent the ark on to Kirath-jearim, which was farther away from the Philistine border. There it remained for 20 years. The people of Israel cried out to God. Why were they constantly being attacked by idolaters?

 In I Samuel 7: 3-4 Samuel speaks to them about what needed to be done:
3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. 4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.
Not only were the Philistines having problems, so were the Hebrews. Samuel speaks about strange gods like Baalim and Ashtaroth. The Hebrews had mixed it up with pagan religion and adopted some of the beliefs of their pagan neighbors. Because of this, they didn't have the clarity and strength to believe that God would deliver them.

This is a great lesson for today. People seek justification of their ways similar to the oxen test. If people who love God start going along with beliefs and practices that are contrary the words of God, they water down their believing, become comfortable with and accept misery as a happenstance of the coincidences of life. The way out of this type of watering down is simply sticking with God by focusing on Him.
Proverbs 4:20-22My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
This is the only way to live a victorious, powerful life. Yes, life happens, but it is our response to it that determines what comes of it. The more we go to God the greater the results.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Philistines and Defeat

As Samuel was continuing to hear  from God, the Philistines decided to attack Israel. The elders of Israel decided that they needed to take the Ark of the Covenant to war with them, thinking they were carrying the Lord of Hosts with them into battle. The Ark was not magical or a lucky charm. They didn't need the Ark to have God in on the battle.
3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. I Samuel 4:3
"It MAY? save us"?? Did these guys ask God? What about Samuel? The elders decided what to do. In addition, the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were with the Ark. In chapter 2:12 the word describes these two guys:
12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial (worthless and lawless); they knew not the Lord. I Samuel 2:12
The name for God, Lord of Hosts, describes God as the head of his spiritual armies.  It implies God's protections, care and oversight. The moves of God in this world do not automatically bring peace. They often rile up those who would rather not have God involved. God-sent armies, however, are always successful. After the Ark was captured, the Philistines considered it a great battle trophy.  Without humility and and the desire to listen to what God has in mind, the Ark was just an Ark.

By the same logic, a church is just a building without a humble, truthful, respectful love for God (church). Symbols, icons, images, religious practices mean nothing in and of themselves. The relationship we have with God is one of the heart that rests in truth.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Sense of Justice

The Lord of Hosts (Sabaoth) is used twice in the New Testament: Romans 9:29 (where it is a quote from Isaiah 1:9 ) and in James 5:4.  In the Old Testament, this name of God is used the most frequently of all the names of God. It describes God as the Lord of armies, heavenly and earthly. It symbolizes protection for God's remnant. It implies justice and defense of right.

We can have innate knowledge of justice because of the spirit of God that lives within us. We can sense injustice and foul play.  Our response should be deferring to the wisdom of God as he knows all the ins and outs of what is going on  and how it all works together.  There are a lot of things we just don't see. Things can be quite complicated and interwoven. God truly can sort it all out.

Have you ever been walking in the woods and found yourself in the midst of a garden of poison ivy. It is not an event that you should thrash your way out of or by stomping all over it to beat it down. This kind of dilemma requires thought and wisdom to effect minimal contact with the toxic leaves.

When our sense of justice is aroused, we must cling to the wisdom of God as our extractor. Our best line of defense is to do as Hannah did when she was dealing with a miserable environment.  She prayed. The septuagint uses the Greek word 'proseuche' for prayer and it is a common word for prayer throughout the Word of God. 'Pros' refers to a 'face to face' encounter and 'euche' is a 'speaking (out loud or in the mind) a desire'. The Greek word illustrates beautifully the remedy to any situation of oppression. We talk face to face with God.
Philippians 4:6-8:
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer (proseuche) and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Today's world is full of injustice.  It rattles it saber at us all day long in one way or another.  There are times we are called upon by God to deal with it (like I Samuel 17 and David) and there are times to wait (Hannah)and we do that in peace. Whether we act or wait, we fly snuggled under the wings of the Almighty for he is the Lord of Hosts.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Spiritual Awareness

Hebrews 4:12 says that "the Word of God is quick (living) and powerful.." The right word from God at the right time for the right situation is unparalleled in its effects! It is an experience that is life giving!

In I Samuel 3:1, the spiritual environment surrounding God's people had eroded and it was due to several factors. Things had become sleepy.  Those who were supposed to be looking out for God's people had let some things slip to the extent that people were effected. There was scandal, and in some cases, those that should have known better were thumbing their nose at God. (I Samuel 2:12-25).

Samuel, as a young boy, grew up in the middle of all of it:
And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. I Samuel 3:1
Samuel was committed to God. God never forces anyone to live for him. Everyone has a choice. God will work with those who love him. He knew Samuel's heart. The word was costly and rare in those days. Open vision or revelation involves hearing from God. Things were not too hot spiritually. God spoke to Samuel.  He wasn't familiar with receiving revelation from God and thought Eli was calling him:
4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. 5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. I Samuel 3:4-5
This happened 2 more times and finally Eli figured out what was happening:
And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. I Samuel 3: 8b-9a
God had someone who would listen in Samuel:
And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. I Samuel 3:11
God was going to shake things up. Samuel was established as a prophet  (someone who speaks for God) as God let none of his words 'fall to the ground' (or fail) I Samuel 3:19

In the New Testament, under the new covenant with God through Jesus Christ, every believer has the capacity to hear from God. It is a tool built into the holy spirit package. The how-to of it is as simple as what Eli told Samuel. Most of the time it is a 'still small voice' in our heart. Some people call it a nudge. It is a live and powerful thought. It is a nudge that produces peaceful godly results and flows with the written word to produce the results desired by God.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

I Can Do All Things Through Christ

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
The words 'through Christ' are key words in this verse. We are empowered 'through' Christ  The man who was called Jesus of Nazareth is now called Jesus Christ. 'Christ' means Messiah or anointed one. 'Christ' is his title and position.
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Acts 10:38
17 And there was delivered unto him( Jesus) the book of the prophet Esaias (Isaiah 61). And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:17-19
The Messiah came to save us from a life without God. The ultimate goal of the ministry of reconciliation is bringing man into a relationship with the creator. Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man.

According to the New Testament, we can have the spirit of God individually in our lives, if we so choose, by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. We can be strengthened (empowered) because of his life.   Philippians 4:13 doesn't say I  can do some things, or anything I want to do. It says 'all things' pertaining to the things mentioned in the verses leading up to Philippians 4:13. In the context of the verses around it, that means that no matter what is going on, Christ is there to strengthen and empower us.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
The world offers many remedies to the pressures of life, most of which never lift us out of pressures. Instead they often lead us down another rabbit hole of mundaneness and madness.  Religious performance, culture, education, drugs, obsessions and pressures all darken our view to the sky. Guilt and shame dig the hole deeper.

This time of the year many people celebrate the nativity of Christ, but Santa seems to get top billing. St Nick may be a jolly ole fella, but he is not the savior. Santa may reconcile us with the mall, Amazon, or quaint traditions, but he doesn't come close to pulling us closer to our heavenly Father. Jesus as the Messiah does! He doesn't do it with guilt and shame. God's love draws us in.  All of the great men and women of the Bible had darker sides but they chose to accept God's love and opened their hearts to him and their minds became flooded with warm encouraging light.
The magi were led by light to the greatest event in the history of the world, the birth of God's son. Jesus Christ is the brightest star in the world today.
18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephesians 2:18
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: Ephesians 2:18-21

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Name Samuel - Asked of God (I Samuel 1- Part Three)

In I Samuel 1:20, we find out that Hannah named her baby Samuel:
Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked (Strongs Hebrew #7592 -sha'al) him of the Lord. I Samuel 1:20
The Hebrew word for 'asked' (H7592) is used 40 times in both books of Samuel. Samuel's name, according to Hannah means asked of God! I think that is pretty significant. Most of these uses are translated as ask, asked,  and enquired. There are several 'salute and 'greet' which involve "asking thee of peace" as asking after one's welfare and offering peace. Another English translation of sha'al is 'lent' which connotes asking to borrow something. The word 'lent' doesn't seem to fit exactlyt here. It may be an error in translation. Does a person 'lend' their child to God?

27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked H7592 of him:
28 Therefore also I have lent 
H7592  him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent H7592 to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there. I Samuel 1:27-28

 God had granted Hannah's petition with a child that would serve God all the days of his life. After Samuel's birth Hannah was full of joy and thanksgiving to God.  She would raise him up in the weaning period which was longer than what we know of today. She stayed home from the yearly worship trip until she was finished. Elkanah went along with her decision on this.

 Hannah was a 'type' for Mary. Other great women in the Bible like Deborah and Esther were women who served in saving God's people. Mary, Hannah, Elizabeth and others served through maternity. Their songs in I Samuel 1:2-10 and Luke 1:46-55 of praise are strikingly similar. The period of time in the early years of a child are precious and these records show the ability of children to understand the love of God:
26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men. I Samuel 1:26
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 1:52

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hannah and God (1 Samuel 1 Part 2)

Getting deeper into chapter 1 of I Samuel, we get a glimpse of Hannah's trust in God as she slipped away from her family to pray alone for her particular challenge in her living situation:
9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. 10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. I Samuel 1:9-11
On the surface, this looks like she is trying to influence God in answering her prayer.  It actually shows her trust in God. Whether a vow is right or wrong in God's eyes is not the what God looks at. It is the heart that God reads, not the vow. People of this culture made vows to God frequently.

To be 'given unto the Lord' meant that she would be turning her child over to the religious leader, in this case Eli, to serve God.  This involved another act of trust, as we shall read on in Samuel.   Eli was not the sharpest crayon in the box of spiritual awareness:
12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. I Samuel 1:12-14
Hannah's answer exposes her heart. She didn't go after Eli for his mis-judgment and lack of spiritual perception, she explains simply:
 15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. I Samuel 1:15
Hannah knew who she was and she knew who was her God.  It is not easy being around people who misjudge, especially in the religious category. It happens all the time. Had Hannah not been so secure in her God, she might have either been reactive in self-righteous anger or have maybe even felt cringing shame.  Instead, she responded by enlightening Samuel's eyes:
 17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:9-17
God answered her prayer not Eli. So often in life we trade the great peace of knowing our God for worrying about what people think.  It is so easy to do. We are affected by a culture today that may be more chaotic and pagan than the culture of Hannah's day. We, however, have greater options in that we live under a new covenant with the grace of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ and what his life means to us. We have power, love and peace because of the assurance that was his is now ours. It is something we need to remind each other about as we deal with our own challenges of living in this world. Isn't that what the ministry of reconciliation is all about?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Lord of Hosts (I Samuel Part 1)

I Samuel is a record that completes the Judges era and transitions to the Kings era in the Old Testament timeline. Samuel was very involved as a judge and prophet during this transition time. Samuel was a great man for God.  He lived, as many of God's other prophets have, in the middle of difficult times. His great story starts with his family.

The opening record of I Samuel focuses on the family of Samuel. Elkanah was Samuel's father and Hannah was his mother. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah, and this arrangement caused, as one would expect, many problems. It was a polygamous marriage and as such, was not the way God designed marriage. It is an indication of the downward spiral that was going on in God's people at that time. It was obviously a far cry from the idyllic life of the garden of Eden.

Hannah (whose name in Hebrew means 'grace'), was a great woman who loved God. In the beginning chapter she had no children with Elkanah.  The people of that culture at that time believed that the 'Lord had closed her womb'. They didn't know very much about how the devil worked the power and authority he had gained at the time of Genesis 3 when Eve had a run-in with the serpent in Eden.   God is the author  and offerer of love and encouragement, the devil is the pusher of evil and oppression.

Most believe that Elkanah was a levite and lived in Ephraim.  Levites didn't own land and therefore were found throughout other tribes.  Elkanah went yearly to worship at Shiloh were the Ark of the Covenant was located.  His two wives and children went with him.
3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. I Samuel 1:3
God is the true leader and protector of his people as the 'Lord of Hosts'  Hannah uses the same name when she prayed to God for a son as recorded in I Samuel 1:11.  A 'host' can can be an angelic army or a human army. Regardless, the effect is on protection. Since the events recorded in Genesis 3, another negative force gained access to the people of the earth as it still does today.  Where people chose to ignore God, things became contaminated and opened the door for a world to exist that was not like it was when God made it originally. Polygamy wasn't God's idea, it was man's.

God worked through those he could work through to protect his people. People in the Old Testament were in the dark about the devil and his influence.  Many attributed the evil struggles that existed to God.  People do the same today even though we live in in the New Covenant period of the risen Messiah. Jesus Christ's purpose (I John 3:8) in bringing in the New Testament Covenant, was to destroy the works of evil. God is all good. There is no darkness in him at all. We limit God when we accept the darkness that the world has to offer as being from God.

Hannah was someone who loved God. It is significant that she was instrumental in helping the dire situation that had developed in the culture of the twelve tribes. She had a baby named Samuel who would grow up, hear from God,  judge Israel, and anoint David who was also well aware of the Lord God of Hosts. David addresses God as the 'Lord of Hosts several times in the books of Samuel. David relied on the Lord of Hosts.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

We Need Some More Pilgrims Not Programs

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all, partly because it has not been tampered with as much as the other holidays (notwithstanding Black Friday). There is a lot to be thankful for and thankfulness  is a calm balm that is truly encouraging.

My grandparents were dairy farmers in a small town in Connecticut. Part of the house they lived in dates back more than 300 years ago.  The town and surrounding area still radiates the history of early America. Every time I have traveled to New England, I feel the history of those people who bravely set out to find freedom in order to live the kind of life God intended for them.  Our literature today reflecting back on that time period, along with most of the history books in school, are skewed by the political leanings and ideologies of their authors. The diaries and logs of the men and women who lived back then are the best places to go to truly understand the history of that era in American history.

Loving God has so little to do with the 'ought to' mentality.  The people of early Plymouth didn't do the things they did out any duty they felt they needed to perform. Their actions speak of a firm acknowledgement of knowing a loving God in much the same way as men like Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah, Deborah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, David and many others of the Bible. The fruit of their labors and beliefs are easily recognized today, even with the confusion and chaos that is constantly stirring things up.

God tells us to pray for those who are in authority:
2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
It is a relief!!! to pray and  not an obligation! We can all excel in prayer and be so much the more blessed.  The pilgrims knew the value and love of humble prayer. Their government was simple. They knew the God who loved them.

Listen, Stretch Out and Keep

Proverbs 4:20-22  My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the m...