Tag Archives: Word of God

Saul Revisited

Two months ago I published a post entitled, Are We Re-living the Time of Samuel.  My intention with this post was to point out some of the parallels that “could” happen to our country with the election of a new president.  I say “could” happen, because I included the caveat, “Unless the people can return to their roots and mission, they will crumble from within.”  I received some positive and some negative feedback on this post, because some were able to see the connection while others tried to compare every single detail of the transition of Samuel to Saul to the transition form President Bush to President Obama and that just simply wasn’t the comparison I was making.  No, Samuel is not the former president and Saul is probably not the new one, though time will tell.  It’s more about ideals and where we are as a country.  If you’d like, take a couple of minutes and read/re-read the original post and I’ll wait right here…..:-)

Back?  Good.  What we have to understand about Israel during their transition of power was that until this point, they had no king, no ruler, only judges and then priest(s) who served in capacity as prophet, priest, and “king”.  Samuel was an understudy to the priest Eli and took over for him after his death.  Eli had judged Israel for 40 years. I Samuel 4:18 Samuel had charged the house of Israel to abandon their idols and give their hearts back to God.  Samuel actually traveled via circuit year by year to different regions during his time over Israel, but as he aged, the people became disgruntled and increasingly dissatisfied.  Now is where we’ll start to see the parallels to today’s society. 

Let’s pause briefly to address the foundation of the United States.  We learn very early on in our education that the Pilgrims and Puritans came to the new world to seek religious freedom.  As such they escaped religious tyranny and began years of migration from England to what would be America to allow the practice of their religion based on the Bible.  This isn’t a history lesson, but merely to provide background for the foundation of this country on Biblical principles.  Some debated with my last post that we are such a “melting pot” that many different religions and ideas have factored into the development of the U.S., but this simply isn’t true.  It’s only been within the last century+ that this has been the case.  As I’ve mentioned, our laws, values, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, judicial system were ALL based sound Biblical principles and the authority of God.  As one of our founding fathers John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Interesting.  As a nation, we are daily abandoning these foundational truths.  Churches are being divided via the gay agenda, atheism is on the rise, apostasy is upon us, our country has become one of many worldly religions and to speak out against any of these issues via Christian principles will soon be deemed hate speech.  We are turning our back on God and rejecting him as our King and sole provider.

So back to the Israelites, Samuel was able to bring them back to God and as a result their adversary the Philistines no longer had dominion over them and the cities that were taken from them were restored. I Samuel 7:13-14 But as Samuel began to age, the people began to be restless with him and demanded a king; they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” I Samuel 8:6 KJV In response to these demands, this is what the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King.”  The Israelites forsaked God, but He told Samuel to grant their request for a king, but offer a stern warning to them.  Below is his warning:

I Samuel 8:11-18 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Keep in mind, this warning was given because the people had turned their back on God.  God had Samuel anoint Saul as king knowing full well what would happen. 

I understand that many people view the Bible with their own interpretations and above correlation is just an example of my viewpoint.  I even debated going through the passage above and relating each specific warning to what is and will take place in this country, but elected not to, because the focus should be on returning to our roots and foundation in God.  Read the passage for yourself and let God speak to you and what it means to you.  Because agree or disagree with the analysis, there’s no debate that we are a nation falling away from God.  Will we follow the same path as the Israelites?  Have we been given our warning?  Is it too late to heed the warning?  I pray that we’re not already on the path of the warning consequences, “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”– Patrick Henry 1776

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”  The US Congress 1782

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

Heaviness of Soul

I was flipping through a collection of readings by John Wesley early this morning, and came across a message that fits in perfectly with the post I made yesterday.  His sermon is based on I Peter 1, in which Peter discusses various trials and temptations that befall us.

I Peter 1:3-9 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Here is the message from Wesley on that passage:

There is a near relationship between the darkness of mind in the wilderness state and heaviness of soul, which is more common among believers.  The resemblance is so great that they are frequently confounded together.  But they are not equivalent terms; far, far, from it.  The difference is so wide and essential, as all the children of God need to understand, to prevent them sliding out of heaviness into darkness.

The manner of persons to whom the apostle Peter wrote the above words were believers at that time.  He expressly says (I Peter 1:5) you are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.  Again (I Peter 1:7), he mentions the trial of their faith; and yet again (I Peter 1:9), he speaks of their receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.  So, though they were in heaviness, they were possessed of living faith.  The apostle prays (I Peter 1:2) not that grace and peace may be given them, but that it may be multiplied. 

They were also full of a living hope.  For he speaks (I Peter 1:3) of their living hope of their inheritance that fadeth not away. In spite of their heaviness, they still retained a hope full of immortality.  And they still rejoiced (I Peter 1:8) with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  Their heaviness, then, was also consistent both with living hope and inexpressible joy!

Our God is good.  It’s through this message by Peter that God tells us we are kept by His power through our faith unto salvation.  No matter the burden, trials, temptations, or sins, Christ died for us once, for all. I Peter 3:18 Satan wants the burden of our sin to cast doubt with our faith to lead us into darkness, but we are given the living hope through Jesus and as such we should be rejoiceful, not disheartened.

Facing our Battles

Why is it that we Christians often undergo what seems to be a barrage of spiritual attacks when we’re at seemingly our closest point to God?  This is a question that’s often been discussed in my Bible study, as we each seem to go through periods of a strong, personal connection to God for several weeks, or even months, but then suddenly, out of nowhere, comes the attack.  But why?  After being under the weather for a few days and having experienced these same types of battles myself, I really wanted to examine this.  Paul tells us of this very battle in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  The simple answer to the why would be that we all sin, we were born into a sinful nature and there’s really no escaping it.  I mean after all, Romans 6:23 tells us that, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  We know it’s inherent in our nature, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it, in fact, quite the opposite.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  The significance of this verse is that it should be what we strive for, perfection, to follow the example of Christ.  I Corinthians 11:1

When we strive to live this type of example and are living in accordance with God’s Word, I really believe this is when we can expect the spiritual attacks to begin.  I would equate it to riding your bike down the road of being “Christ-like”, then out of nowhere someone hits you with a football in the side of the head and knocks you off your bike.  You can’t see who threw it or where it came from.  Depending on how fast you were traveling, your injuries might be minimal, being able to get right back on your way, or you might experience significant injuries from your fall.  Think about that; the greater progress we’re making down this road, the greater risk of potential “injury” we face, if that is, we’re not prepared…. 

The answer to the original question of, why we undergo these attacks, is because there is a daily battle of good vs. evil in this world, competing over each of us.  If we think just because we are feeling close to God that we’ll be immune to the attacks, we couldn’t be further from the truth.  After all, if we weren’t even traveling down the road to Christ, would there even be an attack?  Probably not, or at least we might not easily recognize it.  If we were living lukewarm, just standing in the road, would there even be a battle for us?  Revelation 3:16 The truth of the matter is that these attacks are inevitable, eventually they will occur.

Our preparation for this is critical and admittedly, I’ve not been prepared for this in the past (we all have much to learn, especially me!). Normally, we can see the battle lines for these attacks forming.  Generally they start small; much like distant arrows shot by the archers in Braveheart.  Then the next wave follows, and the next and so on.  For our preparation, we should already have on the full armor of God.  Ephesians 6:10-18  When we are girded with the armor of God the “injuries” will be minimized.  But we simply can’t stand there and take the full assault.  No, our best defense is an offense.  We’re given spiritual weapons consisting of 1) immersing in the Word (Sword of the Spirit) 2) prayer without ceasing (include Scriptures in the prayer) and 3) fasting (perhaps no other weapon is as effective when used properly).  Each of these is essential to winning the battle, but start utilizing them when the first wave of attack is forming, don’t wait until it intensifies. 

I think Christians are in a constant state of learning, like the old song says, He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be and this includes learning how to face these types of battles to overcome them and not fall.  The Apostle Paul summarizes this learning process in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Have a Blessed Day!