In His Word 11-2-09

“Lord, I did what you said but…”

Samuel also said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD… Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 15:1 and 13
And he said to him, “Speak on.” So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?” And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” So  Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
1 Samuel 15:16-22
Saul was rejected as king because he did not follow God’s commands anymore. I was asked about someone being a Christian the other day. My answer was, “Kind of.” Then after thinking I answered again, “Well, yes but he has not grown.” I think Saul was focused on God when he was first made king. He was obedient to the Father, not to the people’s cries. He did not grow closer to God and listen to Him and so he sinned against God.

The biggest mistake he made was in trying to please everyone. He had thoughts like, “The people won’t like me if I don’t give them what they want." That is what brought him down. If we read his story through we will find that it brings him to the point of disaster and death. He who was a wonderful king, who loved God in the beginning, seems to have forgotten his first love. He began to love himself more than God. This is evident in that he was more concerned with his own praise than what God had told him to do.

That is what we do when we choose to ignore God’s commands or direction in our lives. We choose to love ourselves more than God.

Why do I say that?

If we love God we know God. When we know God we choose to spend time with Him listening to Him and jumping up to obey when He directs our lives and walk with Christ. If we do not listen to His direction we are putting our own desires over the Lord’s. I don’t think we always recognize that we are saying that we are more important than God but that is pretty much what Saul was doing and it is in truth what we are doing.

He put the desires of the people he was supposed to be guiding in God’s direction before God Himself when he allowed them to bring back some things and “fixed it” by calling them a sacrifice.

When we choose to disobey God, or even what we may consider to put him off for a while we will reap the consequences for our poor choices. That does not mean God loves us any less but that we are showing God that we do not honor Him.

Now maybe that’s not even what we were thinking, but it is what we are showing Him is in our hearts.

Forever remember that God knows our hearts, not only our thoughts but our deepest stuff; feelings, emotions, doubts, worries, things that we do not even think about all that often, but are there just the same. God knows when we are troubled over something and that the problem is keeping us from doing His will. Our job is to go to Him with it.

Saul would have done better to tell them men to slaughter the animals and destroy the carcasses as well as any other plunder. As rigid as it may seem if he had killed everyone back then the change would have resulted in a better life for the Israelites.

The sins of Saul have left their effects on today’s Jews! They continue to fight enemies of the past. If they would only turn to God and see what His will really is for them and follow after Him again, for good this time, all would be peaceful.

Saul set a precedent for the men to follow. He allowed them to commit the sin of disobedience to God. So it was not just himself who was affected.

When we do not do what God has ordained, called, or directed us to do we can cause others to stumble.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-11
When we come to Christ, invite Him into our lives, ask Him into our hearts, give our lives to Him; we make a choice to put His will over ours. We begin a life of getting to know Him more, and more so that we do not have to wonder if we are doing His will, but that we automatically can say to the person who asks us to do more than we should, “No, I am sorry I cannot do this.” When we can say that and have peace in our hearts and minds then we know we are following His will.

When we do not follow God’s design for our lives we are not walking in the Truth, instead we are shortsighted because all we see is our way. We will stumble ourselves if we keep trying to do it on our own. We have to bring God into every situation, because after all He is already there. Wherever we go; there He is!

If we follow the scripture in Peter we see that we don’t become instantly there, but we add to our perseverance godliness and with that we can add brotherly kindness and to that love. It’s not all at once, but as we grow closer to God through prayer and reading the Word, and worshiping Him not only in the congregation but alone in our car or home. That is when we will add to our faith and redeem the qualities God wants to give us, the patience and perseverance in times that seem tough, the ability to truly rejoice and to thank God in all things. The Word of God tells us in everything give thanks not for all things.

If Saul had chosen to follow God over the people around him, he would have added to Him these things, bit by bit, day by day. He would have been the “man after God’s own heart” that David was. That same man we can become today. Don’t you want your epitaph to say “She/he was a woman/man after God’s own heart?” I do. I want those I leave behind when I go on to Heaven with my Lord to know how to find Him, to love Him, to follow Him if by nothing else than watching me. It is the desire of my heart to worship and adore Him, to bow down to my King and put His will, His dreams, His direction ahead of my own.

Still just as I am human I fight it. I want what I want, and sometimes that is not what God would have me do. It is those times that I give over to God that I am the most blessed though and more and more I am learning to give in to Him first, selfishness last.

The desires of my friends and even other so called godly people can stop us from following our call. Even when they mean well as the soldiers who fought did, and Saul could have justified his actions with the fact that the men needed something for morale, but God would have blessed Him so much if he has only said, “No.”

“But Lord, my friends’ neeeeeeed this, or they really waaaaaaant me to do the other… I know you said no but it sounds like something I could do, something I would like to do, something I could get gratification from!” No. When God says no, we need to listen. When God says go, we need to go. We need to obey His commands and no longer put ourselves before Him.

Oh, if we are putting our desires before God are we not making ourselves gods? Anything we put before God is an idol.

Dear Heavenly Father, help each of us today to hear your voice and obey it. Help us not to doubt Your voice is yours but to know you well enough to hear your voice just as Your sheep should. Then give us that little nudge to remind us to follow your will, not others desires. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Suggested readings: 1 Samuel 15:1-34, 2 Peter 1:1-21, 2 Peter 3:1-17,and Hebrews 10:all.