Friday, January 23, 2009

Get a cup of coffee, this is a long one

14 "What does he look like?" he asked.
      "An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said.
      Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

 15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"
      "I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do."

 16 Samuel said, "Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy? 17 The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. 19 The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines."

 20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel's words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.

 21 When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, "Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way."

 23 He refused and said, "I will not eat."
      But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.

 24 The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. 25 Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left. 1 Samuel 28:14-25

It's really easy to get lost in this story; did your mind wander as you read?

A witch; the images of the old man; Samuel being called back from the grave; his harsh words; the "I told you so" statements; Saul's fear; where did your mind take you?

Hopefully you are able to look through the story to see the message.

This is the story of us, the children of God, like Saul we were chosen not because of anything we did (Deut 7:7-8); God raised us up to set things apart for Him; we were called to trust in God and keep His commandments; not to imitate the world; but like Saul we live in consistent rebellion.

But if we stubbornly rebel, He will not listen to our prayers, He will cease disclosing
Himself and His will to us, and we will begin to wander.

2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-13

Like Saul then, we start grasping at straws, and looking for "the ways of God" in anything. From the story above we saw what happened to Saul; here's what could happen to us:

3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Tim 4:3-4.

The whole message of 1 Samuel is about total obedience to God. In fact we are told that partial obedience is disobedience; if that's the case is partial truth, non-truth?

Here's what I see; we live in the rebellious culture like the one in 2 Timothy. To make us feel better about ourselves we go looking for the "things of God" that make us feel good. We want to hear about a god who is so loving that he is totally okay with my continued rebellion…sounds good, right?

Would that make Him just?

I used to be a person who prided himself on seeing the "grey areas", but God has been teaching me that there is only "black or white"; it is either true or false; it is either for God or against Him; it is either of the Kingdom or of the "world".

I know for me I didn't look long or hard enough to find truth or when I did see truth, I thought I was smarter and could see "another side" to it. What I was actually doing was trying fit God and His ways into my rebellion or making others feel better about their own rebellion so they would like me.

Why is it, like Saul we look for anyway other than the ways of God? Do we think we know better than our Creator? Do we think His ways are not "just"? Do we not trust that He loves us?

Dang, we are a skeptical, hard headed, stubborn, prideful, rebellious bunch, aren't we?

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