“…because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”-Saul, 1 Samuel 15:24
Samuel 15 is a window into Saul’s soul; we see his truest motivations. In this account we discover what motivates Saul, the praise of men. (1 Samuel 15:17,24) Saul loves the praise of men more than he loves the praise of God, so he skirted obeying God fully because it would have put him out of favor with the people. The irony is, the people clamored for a king to lead them, and now the king was being led by the people.
Here is a good question for us to ponder:
How do you know when you prefer the praise of men more than the praise of God? What are the signs?
Saul had convinced himself (and tried to convince Samuel) that he had obeyed God, and even planned to use the spoils for a “good” thing, a sacrifice to God. Do we ever do the same thing? I’m not sure if God delights in all the “good” things we do, if we fail to obey him in what he has commanded.
Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 15 (day five)
It is not the name of the deity but the heart of the worshipper that creates idols. – Alexander Maclaren
Saul’s heart was unchanged when he was confronted with his own sin. Samuel challenges Saul’s disobedience. God meant for the battle to be about justice (God focused). Saul saw it as an opportunity for his own status and wealth (self focused). Verse 25- “Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” The fact that he wanted to return to ”worship” showed that his heart had not changed. He remained more concerned about his own standing and popularity than obedience to God. Saul is asking Samuel to endorse the celebration so that Saul might appear strong and mighty in the eyes of the people. He never learned this important lesson- The alternative to full surrender is rebellion. Sound harsh? No. Sounds Holy!!
Want to see a clear picture of a king’s heart changed through repentance? Look at Psalm 51
Re:Verse reading–Luke 7:36-50 (day six)
What I admire most about this woman is her shear guts, her no-one-is-keeping-me-from-Jesus courage. She wasn’t walking into friendly territory; she had been marked with a letter s, for sinner. The pharisees were smug; they would never come in contact with such a sinful woman. She was a dark stain, the other, the one that doesn’t belong; she was the, “that’s what wrong with our society.” She was walking into a room full of daggers for eyes,..and she couldn’t have cared less, because in the heart of that room was her Jesus!
I don’t know what having her kind of guts would mean for me; I know I would likely be different in how I talk about Jesus to others, how I worship, how I love the least of these. All I know is that I want more of it! Guts!
Re:Verse reading–Genesis 4:1-16; 25-26 (day six)
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:7
The antidote to temptation is worship. Is that not what God is teaching Cain? What must Cain do well? It was not a matter of the physical offering, but rather a matter of the heart. “Cain, be careful. If your heart is not in the right place, then sin will be crouching at the door.” What God asks of Cain, he also asks of us, genuine delight in giving of our worship. And where there is sincere worship, there is no room for temptation. That is what God was teaching Cain…and us.
Re: Verse reading–Revelation 15 and 16 (day six)
“…and they would not repent and give Him glory.” Revelation 16:9
John records this twice, once in verse nine and again in verse 11. We’ve read it before, but it is no less unnerving. How can anyone facing the reality of God along with his wrath remain unrepentant? It certainly reminds us of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, “…they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. Consequently, God sends them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. And so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.” They are unable to repent because God rewarded their unbelief with further delusion.
It is a frightful thing, but that is not what I want us to contemplate today. On the Day of the Lord, the Day of Wrath, will we rejoice in the destruction of the wicked or lament? Should we rejoice? I do not think we will delight in the destruction of the wicked, but rather rejoice in the glory of God’s holiness as it stands against them. After all even God, “does not delight in the destruction of the wicked.” On that day the glorious holiness of God will take vengeance against the unrighteous over all the earth, and we will rejoice in the full display of His glory. Paul alludes to the reality in Romans 9:22, “what if God, willing to demonstrate his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction?”
On that day, we will not wonder if God is too harsh, or whether or not we should rejoice. No, we will glory in the justice and power of God!
Re:Verse reading–Daniel 3:1-2, 8-18, 25-29 (day six)
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” -Jesus, John 12:32
This wasn’t a new principle. Jesus, in his death and resurrection would literally draw all people to himself, reconciling them back to God. It was on old principle fully realized in Jesus, but we see it in Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego too. In great faith they were willing to lay down their lives exalting God over Nebuchadnezzar. The result? People, including Nebuchadnezzar, were drawn to the one true God.
What if the same principle applies to us too? What if when we exalt Jesus in our life, when we lay it down for His namesake, people around and near us are drawn to Him? I not only believe it’s possible, I believe it true.
Re:Verse passage: Romans 12 (day six)
Coming out of Romans 1-11, it only makes sense that we would yield all of who we are in worship to such a big and glorious God. He defies comprehension! He literally sustains the universe and all human history by His word! So when we are reminded of what Jesus said to His disciples, “If you lose your life for my namesake, you shall find it,” it really is not to much to ask. Indeed it makes perfect sense.
And out of a life yielded to God comes the Gospel kind of life. We see the world with new eyes. We perceive the ways of God. We reap the reward of having the Holy Spirit active in our life. We lay down our own life, so that we might take it up again-just like Jesus!