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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Saul – Part 2



          Last week we learned that God’s people disregarded Samuel’s warning about Saul. God was preparing Samuel to meet with Saul. Even though God’s people had hurt Samuel, Samuel will continue to serve the will of God. Samuel will be loyal to God and God’s people. Doing this was the foundation of Samuel’s life. He was not self-seeking. Samuel was God-seeking. Samuel’s character is what made him valuable to God and His people. God wants leaders who disregard their own agenda and be a benefit to all the people of a nation through their Godly character and life. Samuel will instruct Saul on the divine character needed to rule over God’s people. A leader must have God’s sacred purpose in mind and in their actions. Unfortunately, God’s people will soon see that Saul is self-willed and superficial. His character will bring God’s people into bondage and near ruin.
            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 Samuel wanted God’s people to know that their king must be different from the kings of other nations. He was not to be a monarch but a king subject to God as the ultimate Ruler of the people. (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20) This scripture says in verse 18, “When your king takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law….It is to be with him, and he is to 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 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” In obedience to the Law, Samuel explained and wrote down the regulations of the kingship for the people.

Saul’s Anointing

          Samuel and Saul were alone when Saul was anointed. His anointing was done in secret because it was not yet time to reveal Saul as king.  To be anointed by God’s anointed Judge, Prophet and Priest – Samuel – is to be anointed and approved by God himself. Samuel knew Saul was coming to him because God told Samuel this the day before. God also told Samuel to anoint Saul as king over Israel. As I said in my previous teaching, this was God’s permissive will. Although Saul was not God’s choice, Saul’s position has a solemn responsibility. God will anoint him giving Saul the power to lead His people the way God wants. Saul is not to gratify the desire of his own heart, but that of God’s heart. Unfortunately, Saul will soon turn from God and let fear take over causing him to disobey Samuel’s instruction and ultimately God’s.
            Samuel took a “flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head.” 1 Samuel 10:2 Saul’s anointing was to dedicate him to God and impart the enabling power and grace for his God-appointed task. Saul’s anointing changed him into a new person with a changed heart by the power of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Samuel 10:6), as followers of God’s Anointed Prophet, Priest and King Jesus are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit and grace to help us carry out our God-appointed purpose. We too are “new creations” with a changed heart. The “natural” is a picture of the “spiritual.” The oil was symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
            To assure Saul that his anointing was from God, Samuel gave him instruction. When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found.” 1 Samuel 10:2 Two men must meet Saul. If only 1, then God didn’t speak it to Samuel. Prophecy must be accurate.  All that Samuel prophesied to Saul was proven accurate. The Bible says that not a word that Samuel spoke fell to the ground. This is how one finds out if a person is a true prophet of God.
 Samuel also told Saul to continue from there to the tree of Tabor where three men will meet him and then to go to Gibeah where “a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps playing, and they will be prophesying. There, the Spirit of God will come upon Saul in power and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” Even though Saul was king, he must wait upon God’s prophet for instruction. True prophets spoke God’s Word to the king. Throughout the Older Testament, true prophets of God and kings worked together to fulfill God’s purposes for His people.
All that Samuel said occurred exactly as he said it would. Samuel has been God’s prophet from youth. Saul’s gift of prophecy was from God, but it would be for a short time. Saul’s changed heart was to be maintained by holy fellowship through loving, willing obedience to God. Unfortunately, soon Saul would disobey Samuel’s direction to go to Gilgal and wait seven days for Samuel to join him. On the 7th day Samuel would sacrifice a burnt offering for atonement and a fellowship (peace offering) according to the Law. Then Samuel would give Saul further instruction from God.
Unfortunately, God’s people became fearful because the Philistines were assembling to fight Israel. God’s people began to scatter in fear. Because Samuel had not yet returned, Saul decided to take matters into his own hands and offer the burnt offering for atonement and the fellowship offering for peace. Saul was focused on the people instead of God and the words of God through Samuel. These offerings according to law are to be offered only by a priest not a king. Saul disobeyed God’s law. The Law does not bend. If you disobeyed one part of the law, you were guilty of disobeying all of it.  
           Praise God, those who love and follow Jesus are not under Law, but under grace and truth. What we couldn’t do in obeying the Law perfectly, Jesus did for us. Now we obey Jesus out of our love for Him, not through rigid demand.
Saul loved the praise of people. Instead of using the office God so graciously gave him to honor and glorify God, Saul used it to heap praise upon himself and often acted out of fear instead of faith in God.

                                               (to be continued)

Monday, October 1, 2018

SAUL



          The Israelites wanted Saul to be their king because he was a head taller than all the others. They thought he would be a commanding person to head their nation and army. God’s people were looking at the outward appearance and not the heart! “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
              Saul was a Benjamite not from the tribe of Judah from which God’s chosen king was to descend. (1 Samuel 9:1-2) David was from the tribe of Judah. Jesus, David’s descendant in the flesh, would be the eternal fulfillment of God’s choice for King. Jesus is King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

God’s Permissive Will

            Saul was God’s permissive will, not His sovereign will. The Israelites insisted they wanted Saul as their king even after God had Samuel warn His people of what Saul would do to them. Samuel was a Godly leader of God’s people. He was disappointed that they were rejecting him for a king. He went to God with his feelings and God told Samuel to give His people their choice of king. To comfort Samuel, God said, “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” 1 Samuel 8:7-9 In other words, the sin of the Israelites was against God not Samuel. Dishonoring God is far worse than dishonoring a person!
             What was God’s warning that their choice of king would do?
·         He would make their sons and daughters do hard work in his army, his house and on his farms.
·         He would take away their vineyards and olive orchards and give them to the king’s favorites. Also a 10th part of the produce and what remained would go to his officers and servants as well as a tenth of their flocks. And they themselves would become his slaves.
·         They would be so burdened that they “would cry out to the Lord for relief from the king they had chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:18
 The people refused again to listen to Samuel. So, the Lord told Samuel to give them a king.
 God knows our end from our beginning. He knows both Saul and David’s hearts, as He knows ours. God knew that Saul would not be a blessing to His people even though he had some victories in battle. He will give the people their choice. Perhaps they would learn some lessons by Him doing so. God also knew David’s heart. He knew David’s love for Him, and that when David sinned against the Lord, he would repent deeply and return to the Lord asking Him to “create a clean heart” within him. Although not a perfect human being, David’s psalms illustrated his love and heart for God.
                                              (to be continued)

Monday, September 24, 2018

David and Saul – Part 5


   
       Those the Lord chooses, He prepares. God is preparing David through trials and tests to rule over His people. Saul is the opposite of David. He was not prepared to rule over God’s people. God allowed His people to have Saul as king because it was their choice even though He warned the Israelites through Samuel on what their choice of king would do to them. This is God’s permissive will.
        The entire Bible is written to show the difference between those who are ruled by God and those who are not. It is imperative therefore that we see the difference, so we choose God’s way and not our flesh’s way which is fueled by the devil. The following is my attempt to point out the difference between Saul and David even though they were both sinners like all of us.

David vs Saul

·       David was God’s kind of king, but Saul was humanity’s kind of king.
·       David was a man after God’s own heart, but Saul sought the peoples’ praise. (see 1 Samuel 18:6-8) Saul was angry and jealous of the people’s praise for David after defeating Goliath. Saul sees David as a threat to taking over the kingdom. The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul. 1 Samuel 18:11 Note that God controls the evil spirits! This demonic spirit in Saul brought anger and jealousy and drove Saul to hurl a spear at David because he was afraid of him taking over the kingdom. But all Israel loved David because of his leadership and victory in battle. (see 1 Samuel 18:12-16) In contrast, even though Saul tried to kill David many times, David continued to serve him and the Lord. He endured tribulation and suffering through Saul. David’s kingship is eternal through Christ, but God rejected Saul’s kingship. (1 Samuel 15:23)
·       When Samuel confronted Saul with his disobedience of God’s Word and will, Saul confessed his sins, but he also wanted to save face in front of the people. He asked Samuel to honor him before the people. This is pride! There was no humble and contrite heart in Saul. David, on the other hand, when confronted by Nathan regarding his egregious sins, confessed his sin against the Lord and accepted the consequences. (see 2 Samuel 12:13-14) David repented and wrote the 51st Psalm pouring out his heart to God and asking the Lord to create a clean heart within him. This brought the Lord’s forgiveness. “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
·         Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin; David from the tribe of Judah—the kingly tribe.
·               David cared for and protected his father’s sheep; Saul was searching for his father’s lost donkeys.
·             David knew the Lord at an early age; Saul didn’t even know Samuel who was God’s chosen judge over all Israel. Saul was probably busy with worldly things not knowing Samuel – God’s prophet, judge and priest. This indicates that Saul had no loyalty to God or godly ways. Loyalty to God and God’s people was the foundation of Samuel’s life. He was dedicated to doing what pleased and honored God. God would want His chosen King to be the same.
·         Saul disobeyed God’s direct command through Samuel to destroy all the Amalekites. (1 Samuel 15:3; 15:9-11) He tried to justify his sin and was proud and arrogant. He had no contrition. Instead, he set up a monument in his own honor. (1 Samuel 15:12) Saul’s narcissism got in his way.
What reveals a narcissistic leader? A narcissistic leader needs constant attention and admiration. He or she loves the admiration of crowds. A narcissist demands unquestionable loyalty and a wall of silence to protect him or her from scrutiny. They demand loyalty and respect without earning either. A narcissist lacks empathy and compassion. They are self-engrossed. When others don’t share their self-aggrandized opinion of themselves, they get angry and vengeful. They are not interested in truth or reality. Narcissists pursue their own ends without restraint. Any protest or reluctance is met with anger.
·            Both David and Saul were anointed by the Lord and had godly Samuel as their counsellor. Both had the opportunity to repent of their sin. Unfortunately, Saul made excuses, blamed others and didn’t trust God. David repented of his sins and admitted to his wrong-doing. Admitting to wrong is not a weakness. It is a sign of strength. Repenting and turning from our sin indicates a change of heart and a willingness to be transformed into God’s image and likeness. God wants a will that is changed – one that yields to His will and seeks to do the right, not the wrong.

   God will have the last say! He will not abandon His people altogether. Eventually, God will give His people His king – David – “a man after His own heart.” God honors those who honor Him. Though David was a sinner like you and me, God knew David’s heart. He knew that David would turn back to Him in remorse and sorrow over his sin, not justify and excuse them. David’s understanding of the love, grace and forgiveness of sin by God drew him into a deep and abiding love for God and His will.
     In David, God painted a picture of His Eternal King over His people – Jesus – who in the flesh came from David’s line. Jesus is the only One who walked in the flesh and did not sin.