1 Samuel 15: 22-23

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 

Obedience is better than Sacrifice

Most of us have grown up in religion that operates as king Saul did.  It is more about doing than obedience.  We have developed numerous programs to do things for God and about God, but how much of it comes out of direct obedience to the Spirit to do all of these things.  It seems good.  It sounds good, but does it produce the life and Spirit of God in others.  What God does and what He builds will have this characteristic.  It will produce life and it will accomplish the purposes of God.  If we build something in the flesh, no matter how good or noble it may seem, then we have to maintain and support it in the power of the flesh.  What God has commissioned, He will provide for.  

Saul, like so many of us, is justifying to Samuel how he did good.  Listen to how we often respond to God in how Saul answers the Word of God through Samuel in verses 17-20, “Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?” 

20 “But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” 

How many of us have had directives of the Lord either personally or through His Word and we have compromised what He has instructed us to do.  We have made it subject to our interpretation and justified our manipulating of what God has instructed to best meet our needs or purposes rather than His.  Religion always acts in the name of God, but is not always subject in obedience to the express will of God.  Many of us in our religious spirits, put on our outward vestures of obedience and righteousness, while inwardly we work things after the will of our own devices.  

God has a strong word for Saul and for us who are being religious, but not obedient.  God calls it rebellion and He says it is like witchcraft.  It is where we purpose to manipulate and control what God has spoken to us to do.  We are not honoring and worshipping Him in this process, we are honoring and worshipping our agendas and ourselves.   God doesn’t delight in our pretenses at what is good; He delights in our obedience.  Through this kind of stubbornness and rebellion God rejected Saul as king.  Now Saul didn’t cease to sit in the place of kingship from that day even as Adam didn’t literally die in the day that he partook of the forbidden fruit, but in both cases something happened in the spirit realm that brought death.  When God withdrawals His Spirit from a thing it will eventually whither and die.  

God has withdrawn His Spirit from religion because it is only a pretense of godliness, built upon the letter of the law and not the Spirit.  He is not looking for those who have a form of godliness, He is seeking after those who will worship and walk in Spirit and in truth.  He is looking for those whose obedience is pure from a heart of love.  They are not interested in what makes them look good or what benefits them.  They are only interested in what glorifies the Father, so they will do things in His time and in His way.  If God doesn’t move, then they won’t produce their own agenda to make up for it.  They have put on the harness of the Lord and they will only move as the King directs them.  

Are we operating out of this spirit of obedience or are we still a lot like Saul, manipulating godliness to what best suits our ends?  Our stubbornness and self-will has no place in the kingdom. 

Blessings,

#kent

Advertisements

Romans 2:1-8(Amplified)
THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. 2[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. 3And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? 4Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? 5But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed. 6For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: 7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.

Judgements, Intimidations and Manipulations

There was a time when Sharon and I were first married that we had a lot of conflict in areas. I had been a Christian most of my life and Sharon was only about a year old in the faith at this time. She had come to accept Christ as we had shared the Lord and read the Bible together. It was at Easter time as she watched the movie, “The King of Kings”, that the Lord made those scriptures alive to her and drew her to Himself. Before we were married we lived in two different cities. I had been going to college in the town where she lived. After leaving school that year I had a time of tremendous drawing to the Lord and was trying very much to walk with Him in every aspect of my life. By the time we got married in August she was encountering someone in me, different than who she had come to know. All I seemed to think about and care about was the things of God. It’s not that this was a bad thing, but I seemed to think that Sharon should be where I was. Instead of watching TV she should want to read her Bible and pray. So there was this rift between us. I remember praying one night and saying something to the effect, “God I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried to do what’s right and I’ve tried to change her but I can’t.” The Lord spoke to my heart in that time and said, “That is not your job to change her, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Your job is to love her.” When I stopped trying to change and drag Sharon in my strength, she began to start coming forth in her own relationship with the Lord, because it was His doing and not mine. I say all of this to let us know that there are many of us that knowingly or unknowingly are still judging, intimidating and manipulating others to be what we think they should be or do what we think they should do. THAT’S NOT OUR JOB! STOP IT! You let the Holy Spirit deal with them in His time and His way. Meanwhile, know that while we are so busy trying to control others we have some issues of our own that we need to be focusing on. Maybe people aren’t all you think they should be or do for you all that you think that they should, but who made you the judge of them? We are all at different places in our life and in our relationship with the Lord. We have to respect that in one another. We all want to encourage one another in the things that are right and good, but that doesn’t make us someone else’s judge when they don’t live up to our expectations. We only see things through our own colored glasses and if we were to look at things through there perspective it may look a lot different and we may have a whole lot more empathy for why they are like they are. Only the Lord knows the thoughts and the motives of the heart. He alone is qualified to truly judge each individual.
If we are trying to control others, even if our intentions are good, that is a form of witchcraft. We use guilt, judgements, intimidation, seductions and various other means to control others to our way of thinking and doing. In some cases our intentions may be good, as mine were with Sharon, but our methods are the flesh. If one stubbornly is self-seeking, self-serving and disobedient to the truth then eventually they will answer to God for it if they refuse to repent and change their course. We have all been at times, either the perpetrators or the victims of these types of control. For some of us they have become a normal way of life and how we get our way. Instead of using God’s truth with mercy and grace we have wielded it like a club of condemnation and judgement to bring others to our way of thinking. It takes place in the other dynamics of our human relationships as well.
Take the time for a little introspection to see where you might be doing this to others. Remember that by the same standards that we judge others we ourselves will be judged. We need to be far more focused on judging our own walk, relationship and obedience to Christ. Our calling is to strengthen and encourage one another, not to be their judge. After all, that’s not our job; that’s His.

Blessings,
#kent

We are Right in Our Own Eyes

Proverbs 21:2-3
Every way of a man [is] right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Isn’t it a fact that most of us are justified in our eyes for our behavior; the words we speak and the attitude and actions we carry out? Most likely, if others are offended or hurt it must be their problem, not ours. That is because we have that wonderful rational mind that is so skillful at justifying what we do, the words and attitudes we communicate and how we live. Even if we do see and acknowledge some of our faults we may well try and offer a little sacrifice to compensate for it. We want to give token gifts that cover over our offenses and sins. We can rationalize “it is okay if I do this and this and the other, if over here I do this and this and the other. ” They will balance each other out and I will be okay. The mind is a funny creature; it rarely really likes accountability for it’s own actions. Are you ever amazed with all the excuses we can come up with when things go wrong?
The truth is these games don’t fly with most people very long, let alone God. He is looking into the true motivation and attitude of our heart. He sees right past all our little diversionary tactics to justify us. Like the prophet Samuel ask King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:14, ” What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” The command of God was to utterly destroy the Amelekites and all that belonged to them, but here we find compromise because King Saul had allowed the Amalekite king and the best of the flock to be spared on the pretense of sacrificing them to God. When I read this I think how many times have I compromised God’s Word, by rationalizing in my own mind why it would be okay or if I did it just a little different. If you read or are familiar with the rest of this account and exchange you know that Samuel makes this important point to Saul in 1Samuel 15:22-23:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.” The lesson is, it can cost you everything to have a heart that is set on compromise and disobedience. The Lord simply requires of us obedience to His Word. We must be willing to look honestly at ourselves and our motives in the light of God’s Word and ask the Holy Spirit to honestly reveal them to us in the light of His truth. There we must deal with them with the blood of Jesus through repentance, submission and uncompromising obedience to the will of God.
“Lord, help us today to have right motives in all that we do and please reveal it to us if we be otherwise minded. Help us not to justify our sins. Help us to yield to Your will in all of our ways and allow You to have Your complete way as we endeavor to live in uncompromising obedience to You.”

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: