Thursday, February 06, 2014

King Saul and Today's "Christians"

I noticed today the similarity between King Saul and today's "Christians" when I was reading 1Samuel 15.

God gave a direct and clear order but Saul and the people directly disobeyed it:

1Sa 15:2  "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. 3  'Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'" 

1Sa 15:9  But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. 

I noticed that Saul and the people who followed him, considered themselves more compassionate than God, sparing Agag and the best of the animals. They set themselves up as the determiners of what was good and bad, contrary to what the LORD had already declared.

1Sa 15:12  Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told Samuel, saying, "Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on down to Gilgal." 13  Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed are you of the LORD! I have carried out the command of the LORD." 

1Sa 15:14  But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" 15  Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed." 

Saul played the religious game, invoking God's name and blessing upon His servant, Samuel. He claimed to obey God--he did after all, kill most of the people and animals......But that was NOT what God had commanded. He also justified his disobedience by saying they would use the enemy's animals to worship God, as if that sanitized their sin. Afterall, "its for the glory of God"! How often I've heard elders and others in churches use THAT claim. Yet they rebel in their hearts against the Truth, hiding sin in their hearts.

1Sa 15:18  and the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.' 19  "Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD?

Their disobedience and rebellion against what God had ordered wasn't compassion nor obedience, but evil.

1Sa 15:22  Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much 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. 23  "For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.

1Sa 15:25  "Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD." 

1Sa 15:29  "Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." 30  Then he said, "I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God." 

As I pondered this chapter this morning I made some observations.

Rebellion is an unholy act. As unholy as demonic divination (witchcraft)  (which God prohibited back in Deut. 18:10). Diviniation is a religion, but it is not of God. It seeks spiritual things from another source, an unholy source which is not from the thrice Holy God of Israel. To rebel is to be as bad as witchcraft. There is no good in it according to God. One cannot use part of witchcraft or rebellion and say one is worshiping God.

Insubordination is idolatry because it sees Self as the determiner of what is right and wrong. It is rebellion in action. It is inquity, lawlessness, sin, impure.

To rebel and think that your way is better than God's or to think you are more kind or compassionate than God is with His enemies, and to use the world's things to offer worship to God, is EVIL in HIS sight. It is absolutely UNHOLY and UNACCEPTABLE to the HOLY HOLY HOLY God of Israel. He hates that.

Saul wanted to be pardoned of his sin and then go and worship God (he doesn't call Him "My God" but "your God"), as if everything is ok. He doesn't mourn over his multiple sins. He doesn't care. He just wanted to do some religious works in order to get a blessing and power from God. He wanted Samuel to keep supporting him to save face. 

Many "Christians" do that today (especially seeker-friendly/world-friendly, emergent, New Calvnist, Charismatic churches and followers). Many approach God with worldliness and call it worship, expecting God to be pleased, but He is not. They might confess their sins and want God to smile upon them, yet their hearts are full of idolatry (they think they know what is right and wrong, good and evil, contrary to what Scripture has already declared--thus redefining these things):

Isa 5:20  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! 

So while they think technically they are obeying God ("almost" is good enough), God says they are not  obeying at all; they are evil in their hearts as well as their actions.

Saul's sins were, as I said, multiple: he was idolatrous, rebellious, full of iniquity and sin,  took God's name in vain multiple times, and lied (blamed the people for his rebellion). He violated God's laws. 

How often that's true today of "Christians" who don't really care about their sin, don't love God from the heart, don't bother with His Word, don't obey His commands, yet want His blessings.  Oh, they go to church, do missions, build houses, feed the poor. But they don't deal with their sin, they don't take it seriously. They love the world and its ways. They "want to be like the nations"--which is what started this whole downgrade for Israel when they rejected God as King and His judges. It is the downgrade of "Christianity" too. There's little difference. It's a rejection of the Lordship of the Lord and HIS ways and HIS demands of how He is to be and not be worshipped and obeyed.

They do what the religious Israelites did in Jeremiah's day:

Jer 7:4  "Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.' 
Jer 7:5  "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 
Jer 7:6  if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 
Jer 7:7  then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 
Jer 7:8  "Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 
Jer 7:9  "Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, 
Jer 7:10  then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered!'--that you may do all these abominations? 
Jer 7:11  "Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," declares the LORD. 

They rob God of His glory and rightful worship, ignoring His clear commands, and set themselves up as the ones to determine what's right and wrong in approaching God, while using the world's unholy ways. It is idolatry. And God cares about that. Completely.

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