God’s word is oil and also a sword. It soothes and it cuts. If we allow God’s word to work in our lives, we will be healthy spiritually.
1 Sam 15:10-19
10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. 12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” 13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak.” 17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 1 Sam 15:10-19
The story of Saul touches one’s heart. I do not know of any other king who was so blessed and through whom God worked. He was the first king of Israel but why then was Saul rejected by God as king. He was disqualified. He started so well but ended badly. He started with God but finished with Satan.
Saul was an impressive man. He was tall and handsome. His physical appearance alone may have made a difference in difficult situations. God chose this man and God’s spirit came upon him. Everything about him changed. When one sees his initial achievements, one is not surprised because he too, like the all the early kings worked closely with the priest. The kingship and priesthood were inseparable. If the politicians in our country would work with the men of God, things would be different.
At the start, Saul and Samuel were very close. Samuel was sent to Saul with messages and instructions. But then God separated himself from Saul because he did not submit to the word of God. He was disobedient and began to do his own thing. Saul was sent to the Amalekites to destroy them and not to spare anyone or any animal because of what they had done to Israel when they left Egypt.
Prior to that, all that Saul had done was successful because of his close relationship with Samuel. Whatever he did, he was blessed by God. Saul united the whole nation even though he came from the smallest tribe, Benjamin. He wisely appointed young people in his army. He saw the potential of the young David and drew him close to him. That was God’s wisdom in Saul’s life. David was related to the royal family because he married one of Saul’s daughters. Saul, however, was never on quite the same wavelength as David. He tried in many ways to kill David. David had not harmed Saul and he had nothing against him but there was something Saul did not like about David. When Saul was at the mercy of David and David could have killed him, he said he would not because he feared harming the anointed one of God. Even when it seemed that God had given Saul into David’s hands, David did not dare go against the anointed of God.
There are possibly times when you attack a person whom God has put above you. You criticize him, find fault, speak against him and pull him down. If you could you would force that person out of his position but David would not dare to go against the Lord’s anointed.
And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 1 Samuel 15:17 There is a danger that you were once small in your eyes. You can start well but after sometime you grow big in your eyes and eventually you end badly.
Saul was told by Samuel to kill everything but Saul did things his own way. Sometimes we take things lightly, we wonder why such an issue is made about a particular thing. God takes things seriously. You may regard your sin as something small but God regards it in a serious light. God can remove you from the position you are in. God wants to sanctify His name and when certain people did not sanctify His name, they were punished. Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness. It was not an easy job because the people complained and bickered. They went against Moses and always wanted to return to Egypt. There was not a day that Moses could rejoice because the people constantly complained and found fault. Everything that Moses did, they found fault with. Are you in a group that is always negative? Moses did not take the right decision, Moses did the wrong thing, Moses did not speak well… Eventually things got too much for Moses. In the desert they demanded water from Moses saying that in Egypt they had had water. Moses asked the Lord and God told Moses to speak to a certain rock but instead Moses hit the rock. God judged Moses for not sanctifying His name before the Israelites and he was not allowed to enter Canaan. Moses had spent so many years of hardship in the desert but he was barred from entering Canaan – the fruition of his work.
We could possibly feel sorry for poor Moses… shame, he went through so much, he was under pressure, couldn’t he just be allowed in? But God is not as we are and He will never be like us. Moses, you did not sanctify my name before the people therefore you will not be allowed to enter.
Are there things perhaps that you have spoken or done where you have not sanctified the name of God? We need to be careful and walk circumspectly lest God punish us for that. People could have said, ‘Surely, Lord, under the circumstances, you could excuse him,’ but God said that he did not sanctify His name. It does not matter under what pressure you find yourself, God does not allow you to sin. No matter what the situation is, do not speak quickly and make a rash decision. First pray and ask the Lord. There are many who have sinned with their tongues and who have taken hasty and rash decisions that they regret later. They judge a matter before taking all the facts into consideration, condemning those they should not have condemned and siding with those they should not have sided with. Maybe you have sided with certain people and others you have rejected and do not even want to talk to them. We need to sanctify the name of God in all we do.
Let us look at the sin of pride. Rev Stegen says the sin of pride is the umbrella sin that covers all other sins. If you are guilty of this sin, you will have every other sin in your life. If you have pride in your life there will be stubbornness, hatred and every other manner of evil.
King Saul, you started so well but ended so badly. How did this happen? How could you, Saul, allow pride in your life because you had been sent by God and appointed by Him, you did not go for yourself, but you were sent? Why did you become proud?
When he was asked about that which he had been sent to do, he used the people as his defense. His excuse is, it is the soldiers, the people who decided to keep things. Who allowed this? Who received the instruction? To whom did God speak? When it goes wrong, he blames the people… they said, they want. Saul’s leadership was weak. He had no backbone. He melted. He bowed to the will of the people instead of standing for God.
When Saul meets Samuel he says “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”(v13) Samuel was not appeased by Saul’s words. Samuel said And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” (v14) You come to God’s people saying you have done what God said and you think you will pull the wool over their eyes. No, God’s spirit reveals the truth. The sin in your heart has reached God, no matter how much you try and hide it.
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah reached God and He failed to contain Himself. He came down and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin.
In South Africa, we get the same kind of message – just accept it, people can’t help it, it is not that bad. Those are lies. God punishes sin. For that sin in your life, you will not go unpunished unless you cry to the Lord and tell Him – here is this grudge, here is this thing that troubles me, please have mercy on me, save me and have mercy on me. Gossip – where you say I spoke about that person, there were just two or three of us. That is no excuse, God will hold you guilty for every sin. You cannot hide your sin from God. One day the record books will be opened. Woe to us if sins come to light that we did nothing about.
Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” If you have destroyed it all, why do I hear the noise of these things? God has rejected you as king and has given the position to someone else who is better than you. You were the hope of Israel. The kingdom no longer belongs to you. That position that you had has been torn from you. That position and blessing, the gift of God that was given you, has been stripped from you and given to someone else because you have not obeyed the Word of God.
While Saul was still alive God sent Samuel to anoint someone else as king. The anointed one was Saul’s enemy. This was the one he did not want to see. God will do the same with you. The one you regard as your enemy is the one whom God will bless. The one you don’t like. The one you don’t want to greet. The one you don’t want to visit. The one you don’t like. Maybe God’s kingdom has been taken away from you and you are able to say to whom God has given it. God anoints the one who obeys Him and listens to his word explicitly, not to his own heart or others. Maybe God had made a decision about you already because your heart is hard, very hard.
You know what revival has taught us about confession of sin but maybe you find fault with that very foundational truth today. Why is it necessary? I can just pray. It is easy to go astray and forget what God has said and then you withhold from others what you have received.
Here is the crux of the matter – this noise in the ears of the prophet. How can we remove it? These things that you have done that bring about noise in the ears of the prophet. God has given us the ministry of humility and submission to God. It does not matter what others have said to you or you to others. God says one thing to you – humble yourself and submit, apologise and make things right, even to that person against whom you hold things. You must humble yourself otherwise you will have a host of vipers with you. That noise is there. You need to take the necessary steps to stop the noise in the ears of people. Stop defending yourself, stop blaming others. There are so many things filling your heart. If you want the blessing of God, return to Him otherwise God will tear the kingdom away from you. You say you are a Christian but God has left you long ago. What is that noise in your heart? That sin in your heart will kill you. Stop going out of a service with your sin, deal with it. You enter with grudges or your criticism. No one will be helped by your life. They will be hurt by your life. We should admit to this noise that we have brought about. We must bring our sin into the light as He is in the light.
It is tragic that King Saul began well, he was anointed, but he ended so badly. God rebuked the Galatians who started so well and in the Spirit, but who began walking in the flesh. Maybe at the beginning, you experienced the warmth of His fellowship but now you have grown cold. Where is the zeal and longing that you had? You have excuses. No wonder things are as they are. That longing for God has long ago come to an end and they have been replaced by all these other things you have allowed into your life. The most important thing here, is that noise that must be got rid of. If you do not destroy the sin, it will destroy you. God says that because you are neither hot nor cold, you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. Things go wrong in front of you and you let it go by because the lamp of God has gone out in your life.
This king started so well but he ended badly. May God grant that this will not be the story of our lives.