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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Didn't Saul throw a javelin at David?  What is with the Sword??Not Saul of Tarshish, Saul the son of Kish - the Benjamenite.

I draw your attention to Saul's confession in 1 Samuel 16:20-21,
And Saul said to Samuel, "I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal." [ESV]

Recall that God had instructed Saul to "go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." (1 Sam 15:3 [ESV]).

Saul did go and strike the Amalekites. He did. But he didn't wipe them out.

Recall that one of the things that Israel was supposed to do when they took Canaan was wipe out the Amalekites. 400 year later, Saul, as the first king of Israel is given the command to go and repay the Amalekites for their treachery at Rephidim. Saul's place in Jewish history was assured. Saul went out with gusto - and defeated Amalek.

Two things interest me in this account:

First, even though Saul obeyed the voice of God in defeating the Amalekites - yet in verse 19 we read that God (through Samuel) didn't regard Saul's partial obedience as being obedience at all.

And secondly, Saul was only willing to destroy what already seemed worthless in his own eyes.

How, you ask, does that relate to my walk with Christ?

Let me tell you.

The Saul-like Christian is willing to obey God when it comes to ridding their life of "worthless" sins. Consider the Christian who, through their religious association, conquers
- drug or alcohol addiction
- sexual impurity
- bad habits
- abusive behavior, etc.
I could make this list long - but that isn't the point - the point is that some sin is regarded as worthless even to the sinner. Who truly wants to continue in drug abuse? Who truly wants to continue in sexual addictions or impurity? Abusive behavior? Or any number of things that bring absolutely no value to their life. I am not saying that these things don't bring pleasure of comfort to some - I am saying that the Saul-like Christian will work with zeal to discard those sins in his or her life that he or she personally regards as being worthless to them. Likewise, if some victory will give fame or recognition to the believer - the Saul-like believer may overcome that sin for the fame of doing so.

The acid test however is whether or not you are willing to get rid of the things you actually cherish. The foremost is pictured by Agag - Your own rule over sin - you are only willing to give up sin where and when it suits you, because you regard control over this as a prerogative you are unwilling to yield up.

Likewise the unwillingness to completely give up on the world and its delights - you leave the door open... Surely in the future I may desire something - why should I keep myself from it? a little worldliness isn't all that bad...

And finally there is the unwillingness to give up our personal worth, be in the form of possessions, time, future, career, or what have you. The Saul like Christian reserves the right to do with their life whatever pleases them in that moment.

Saul truly was like that - He was willing to obey insofar as it suited him to do so, but when it because something that didn't promote his own fame, or when it was something he felt he could prosper from - he was unwilling to give it up - this unwillingness to go "full bore" - was not considered a sort of "partial obedience" as Samuel demonstrates - it was considered, part and parcel - disobedience.

You might be saying - wow. I think I might be a little like Saul - what should I do?

Well, first of all, praise God, because God has said that he will bless the poor in Spirit, and you are starting to see that you are indeed needy!

Christ sets the prisoner free by faith - and that same faith comes by hearing the message of Christ. If you are truly seeing yourself as Saul like - it is time to turn to Christ, and continue turning to Christ. Make it the single goal of your waking mind. Seek the Lord while He may be found.
posted by Daniel @ 1:52 PM  
  • At 4:23 PM, August 23, 2006, Blogger Neil said…

    I hate this passage, because it paints me as Saul-like, as you put it.

    Thanks a lot.

  • At 4:25 PM, August 23, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I love this passage for the same reason - it paints me as Saul like, and shows me again the priceless value of Christ.

  • At 4:32 PM, August 23, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Now boys, just go and hack Agag to pieces, will 'ya...

  • At 6:45 PM, August 23, 2006, Blogger David said…

    Would you please stop writing about me?

  • At 12:16 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Bryan said…

    Good entry Daniel.
    I think there is a portion of Saul in all of us.


  • At 9:15 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger mark pierson said…

    Daniel, You are a very challenging devotional writer. Thank you. Keep up the good work.


  • At 10:06 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Brad Williams said…

    It seems to me that Saul's problem was that he continually feared the people more than he feared the Lord. In this passage, he pins the blame on the people. He was afraid because the people were scattering in 1 Sam. 13:11-12 so he failed to wait on Samuel.

    Saul wavered because he placed his faith and fear too much in men. He caved to peer pressure. To me, that's about as convicting as it gets. Also, I am exceedingly jealous because last week I wrote on this very passage and got not a peep. I had decided that I was the only waffling, Saul-like, sissy-Christian left until today.

  • At 10:38 AM, August 24, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Brad - I think you are certainly right about Saul fearing the people - but I think his fear wasn't that the people would kill him or something like that. His fear seems to be that they would "reject" him from being king. My hope in this post was to identify the motive behind the "fear that he would be rejected" - that being his own self interest that sprang out of his lack of trust in God to finish what He started.

    At one point Saul was little in his own estimation - and when this was so God had made him King. The problem was that Saul didn't trust God to "keep" him king - and so Saul became increasingly obsessed with his own popularity. I am sure that I will agree with everything you bring to light in this passage. I shall go and read it pronto!

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