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Monday, November 5, 2018

Saul – Began Anointed but Fell Away from God

Saul was on a mission for his father. He was searching for his father’s donkeys who were lost but he couldn’t find them. Saul wanted to give up but the servant with him told Saul about Samuel, the man of God who “who is highly respected and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.” Samuel 9:6 This servant obviously had at least heard of Samuel! Saul didn’t know of Samuel who had been ruling over God’s people for years. When Saul came face to face with Samuel, he asked where the seer's house was. (see 1 Samuel 19:18) The Seer was Samuel and Saul was talking to him. So, this pretty much tells you how religious Saul had been, and yet God's people wanted him to be king over them.

God is Orchestrating
God is secretly working through this servant to bring Saul before Samuel to make him king as God’s people had insisted. If Saul had turned back, he would have missed his destiny. Our omnipotent God will see to it that the people have their way. God knew that His people would learn some lessons from their choice.
Saul’s servant was a wise man! He knew that everything Samuel said came true because Samuel was a true prophet of God. The servant trusted that Samuel, the man of God, could show them the way to the lost. Samuel did even better, he assured Saul and his servant that the donkeys had already been found. Samuel will also give Saul and his servant other signs that should assure them that God is with them.
Saul and his servant met women going out to draw water who led them to Samuel, the man of God. Again God is in control. When Saul and his servant entered the town, Samuel was coming toward them on his way up to the “high place” where he would offer a sacrifice to God. The day before, God had told Samuel that Saul was coming and that he should anoint him king over God’s people. Samuel didn’t have to do anything but wait upon God. When Saul appeared, God said to Samuel, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern My people.”1 Samuel 10:17 This is God’s permissive will. God is orchestrating all of this. He will give the people their wish even though it is not God’s sovereign will. His sovereign will was David. God does not force His will upon us.
Samuel knew God’s voice. God began speaking to Samuel when he was just a young boy. Samuel's mother had dedicated him to the Lord right after his birth. He was raised in the Temple of God by the high priest and priests. 

Trials and Tests
God will allow His people their choice of king, but He also warned them through His prophet Samuel what their choice of king would do to them. Unfortunately, they will suffer much at the hands of Saul and have many loses because of their insistence that he become their king. All this could have been avoided had God’s people waited upon Him.
Saul ruled for 40 years. 40 is the number of trials and tests -- tribulation. God’s people will be tested and tried under the leadership of Saul. When Saul turned away from God, God’s people suffered greatly. Saul tried to kill David many times because he was jealous and envious of David. Unfortunately, Saul’s spirit and actions spiraled downward.
You know, the devil was once a perfect archangel in the heavenly throne room of God. His downfall came when pride entered him, and he decided to disobey God and wanted to be God. God is speaking to the devil in the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. The devil will meet his end when he and his followers are thrown into the deepest part of the earth. Does God delight in this? Absolutely not! He says in Ezekiel 28:ll, we are to lament (mourn and grieve) his fall.  The devil began perfect in every way in God’s holy throne room. What God creates is holy and perfect. It was the devil’s choices that had him thrown out of heaven. God hates to see any of his creatures cast away from Him. Jesus is always calling us up higher with Him, but the devil calls you to the deepest part of the earth – lower and lower. He wants you to join him in his misery, but Jesus wants to bless you and take you higher and higher with Him. He can't do this using sin and the devil's ways.

God’s Chosen Kings and Leaders
The kings of Israel led by God were not to dominate and oppress God’s people. They were called to guide and protect God’s people like a shepherd and servant. Jesus is the Perfect Shepherd/Servant King over God’s people. “He came not to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 He is the example that leaders should follow when in offices of power, especially if they profess to be a Christian – follower of Jesus. Jesus did not come through the line of Saul, but through the line of David, God’s choice for king. Those of us who love and serve Jesus must also be careful who we choose to rule over us. They should have the heart and character of God, not tyrants who use their power to belittle and suppress or for their own selfish will and gains. It is God’s heart desire to bless His people. He cannot do so with the wrong leader in charge of them. God does not bless sin and ungodly ways. An ungodly leader not controlled by God will lead His people downward because only godliness will lead us upward. Jesus is always calling us to go higher with Him into His holy realm – not down further and further into the belly of the earth to the devil’s realm. God loves us and knows what is right for us. It is His ways and will that are the best for us.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

David and Saul Continued

The portion of scripture regarding David and Saul teaches us that there was a vast spiritual difference between these two leaders, some of which are pointed out in this teaching.  

Ungodly Saul
      The fact that Saul had not heard of Samuel, who had ruled God’s people for years, indicates that he must have lived outside religious circles and was not concerned with Godly things. This fact would stop God from choosing him to rule over His people. Saul was worldly and probably didn’t respect and appreciate God’s spiritual laws. Even though Saul wasn’t God’s choice, He will give the Israelites their way. Saul was allowed to serve as king over God’s people until he took his own life. Once God has decreed a thing, He doesn’t go back on His word. God had anointed Saul to be king at the request of the people and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. His death would be the only way Saul will no longer be king.

Godly David
David on the other hand had a passion and hunger for God. He lived a life of prayer, worship and spiritual intimacy with God -- although not without sin. David’s desire was to please God and serve others. Even though Samuel had told David that God had chosen him to be king over Israel, David served king Saul for many years and never mentioned to Saul that God had chosen him. David knew that God would appoint the time. David was a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser like Saul. David encouraged others to be the same. David sought God’s face and counsel and depended upon Him. He understood that God was the real King of Israel and he was only His representative. David was also loyal and inspired loyalty in others.

Saul was not prepared by God to be king, but David was. David was chosen and anointed to be king at the age of 17 but didn’t take the throne until the age of 30. 30 in scripture is the number of maturity. In between David’s three anointings,God is preparing David and testing him so he will know God and be a faithful, good leader over God’s beloved people. Samuel had warned Saul that Israel belonged to the Lord. They were His inheritance. Saul was to lead and care for them as God would. He failed. Saul allowed his flesh to get in the way of his Godly duty.

Unmerited Favor
Saul started with God’s unmerited favor but fell out of God’s favor through disobedience to God, His will and ways. Saul slowly and steadily withdrew from God’s ways. Eventually, Saul turned away from following the Lord completely and never returned to Him. 1 Samuel 15:10 -11: Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Saul’s seed would have reigned forever had he not blatantly disobeyed God’s instruction. Because Saul had rejected the Word of the Lord, the Lord rejected Saul. Then Samuel, the prophet, priest and king anointed of God, told Saul that the Lord “has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors – one better than you.” 1 Samuel 15:28  That neighbor was David.

God’s Equipping
In the beginning of Saul’s reign, he had the same things David had to rule. Saul and David were both anointed with the Holy Spirit. David’s anointing was greater however. Saul was anointed with a flask of oil (small amount) but David was anointed with a horn of oil (greater amount). Both David and Saul were supported by godly Samuel who shared God’s Word and counsel with them. Both were given gifts of royalty. Both were supported by the majority of God’s people. Both were surrounded by mighty warriors. Despite this, Saul chose his own way. David chose God's way. The result: Saul’s leadership was a failed one; David’s was a successful one despite his faults. Christ inherited the right to David’s throne fulfilling Isaiah 9:6-7. David’s kingdom was eternal in Christ. Revelation 22:16: “I am the root and offspring of David.” Jesus is David’s Creator (root) as well as His offspring – heir of David. 

The Declination of Sin
       Saul spent a substantial amount of his kingship trying to kill David because of jealousy, resentment and anger. To flee Saul’s wrath, David hid in caves and fled to another country. David had three opportunities to kill Saul but wouldn’t touch God’s anointed one. David trusted that God was in control, so he would wait upon God. The very one that God had chosen to restore God’s blessing to His people, Saul wanted to destroy.
David turned from his sin and followed the Lord, but Saul made excuses and blamed others. Saul didn’t trust God, nor did he seek God’s counsel. Eventually, God’s people will see that Saul was devoid of the godly qualities and character needed to lead them. Saul had the same opportunity as David to confess and repent of his sins and didn’t. David‘s confession and repentance set him free and gave him God’s forgiveness. David was also worried that the Lord would take His Spirit from him like He did to Saul, so David asked the Lord in Psalm 51:11 “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51 is the depth of David’s sorrow over His sin of adultery and murder.
David said in Psalm 16:2, “You are My Lord; I have no good apart from you.” David understood that without the Lord, he could do nothing. Jesus said in John 5:19, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son does in like manner.”  Again, Jesus said in John 5:30, Jesus said, “I can of Myself do nothing.” Why did Jesus say these things? Jesus and the Father are One. They never contradict each other and walk together in perfect harmony and agreement. In His flesh body, Jesus did nothing apart from God. Jesus also said that “apart from Him you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Followers of Christ are to do what the Son did in harmony and agreement according to God's will.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Samuel, Saul and David

       After Samuel anointed Saul as King over God’s people, he summoned all of God’s people to Mizpah and reminded them of all that God has done for them and their ingratitude to the Lord. In their desire for the king of their choice, they had forgotten the Lord. Samuel tells the Israelites that they have rejected the Lord who got them out of all their calamities and distresses. “And you have said, “No, set a king over us.” 1 Samuel 10:19 God had always been their King! God’s chosen king was to come from the tribe of Judah and given through God’s love. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin and given through God’s anger.

God Sovereign Will and Permissive Will
God has a permissive will and a sovereign will. God’s sovereign will won't change and cannot be thwarted. David was God’s sovereign will because Jesus would descend in the flesh from the seed of David. God’s permissive will means that He will permit something to take place even though it is not His sovereign will or what is best for us. Saul becoming king was God’s permissive will because His people insisted that Saul be their king. If we insist in having our way, God will sometimes let us have it to teach us something. He doesn’t abandon us but will walk with us through the consequences of our choice. There no doubt will be some suffering involved.
God must have told Moses that when His people entered His land of promise, they would insist upon having a king like the other nations around them. Moses said in Deuteronomy 17:14-15: When you enter the Land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us, be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses.” Moses warned God's people to be sure to choose God's choice of king.
Even though God’s people chose Saul, in God’s grace and mercy for His people, He anointed Saul with the power of the Holy Spirit and changed his heart in the beginning of his reign, so he would be equipped to rule and reign over God’s beloved people. Unfortunately, God who is all-knowing new that Saul would fail because God knew Saul’s heart and character.
God’s will is what He wants for those who love and believe in Him, but He does not force it upon us. We are to do it freely by choice because we love Him. It is God’s will that is best for us!
Saul is to rule God’s people not according to his own will but according to the will of God. Saul began with the power of God’s Holy Spirit but ended in suicide. Saul’s decline was slow and steady.

The Rights and Privileges of Kingship
          Samuel explained to the people the regulations of the kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. 1 Samuel 10:25
·        They must appoint the King God chooses. V15
·        He must come from among their own brothers. V15
·   They are not to place a foreigner over them – one who is not an Israelite. V115
·   The king must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them. “You are not to go back that way again.” V16 God had taken them out of bondage in Egypt. They are not to go back to the land of bondage again. Horses were used in warfare. God wanted His people to live in the Land in peace.
·        The king must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.
·        He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.
·   The king is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of the Law and read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees. V 18-19
·        He (the king) must not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. V20
The result of doing the above-mentioned is “he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God's Eternal King descended through the line of David in His flesh. Jesus indeed came from the line of His own brethren. Jesus had no horses as He walked the earth because He came as the King of salvation and peace. He didn’t collect silver and gold. Instead He brought treasures from heaven. Jesus did not turn from the Law to the right or to the left. He obeyed it perfectly for all and fulfilled it. He will rule and reign over His people forever.
Saul reigned over Israel for 40 years. Unfortunately, God rejected Saul’s kingdom because of His disobedience to God. David, however, was promised an eternal kingdom not because David was perfect but that he loved God and when he sinned so egregiously, he humbled himself and fell upon his face before God asking Him to forgive him and create a clean heart within him. David had a deep love for God and a close, personal relationship with Him. He understood God’s mercy, grace and love and pleaded to it. He also had a deep love for God’s Word. He wrote the longest Psalm about the Word of God. (Psalm 119) He had a passion and hunger for God and His Word which contrasted with Saul and his desire to look good to the people. David’s desire to please God was greater than his desire to attain greatness in the eyes of people. David endured tribulation and suffering through Saul for years. David would not touch God's anointed one. He did not sit on the throne until after Saul’s death. David’s faith and commitment to God gave him great courage and he had many victories for God and His people. 
Oh, that we would all be like David in His commitment and passion for God and His Word.