1 Samuel 16:7 NASB
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Summary 1 Samuel 15
God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul as king of Israel. God gave a command to Saul to completely destroy certain enemies of Israel. But, Saul only partially obeyed. He only went half-way in doing what God said. For, Saul listened to the people, and thus he spared the life of the king of God’s enemies and some of the livestock and some of the goods of God’s enemies.
But, God is not ok with half-surrender. He is not ok with half-obedience or with half-gospels, either. He is not ok with us withholding from him that which he has asked us to sacrifice, or to let go of. He also does not approve of us making only partial confessions of sin while we hold on to other sins. He regards willful half-obedience as turning our backs on him, and not being willing to follow him and his commands, i.e. his instructions to us, his people, the church.
Yet, Saul claimed to Samuel that he had obeyed the Lord fully in doing what the Lord had asked him to do. But, Samuel called him on it, for there was clear evidence to the contrary. But, Saul then used God as his excuse for his disobedience. He said that he spared the best of the livestock to sacrifice to the Lord. But, Samuel knew better. Thus, he confronted him with his disobedience, and with his willful acts of evil in the sight of the Lord.
But, God sees through lies. He sees right through lame and flimsy excuses and using him as a cover-up for sin. He sees what is in our hearts, and he is not persuaded by how we appear to others on the outside. He is not interested in what we are willing to do for him or sacrifice for him if we are not willing to obey him fully with our lives. “To obey is better than sacrifice” (v. 22). And, half-obedience, while we continue in willful sinful practices, is still rebellion against God, in his sight.
Then Saul repented, but it wasn’t true repentance, either. And, he blamed others for his disobedience, too, just like he used God as a cover-up for his sin. He seemed more concerned with how people would view him than he was concerned with truly turning from his sin. And, he wanted Samuel on his side, too, so that the people would think that he still had the approval of God, I believe. But, Samuel would not comply, for Saul had rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord had rejected Saul as king over Israel.
Our Lord always knows what is true repentance, and what is not. He knows if we only confess what we are willing to confess while we withhold what we are not willing to reveal, for fear of what people will think of us, or because we want to keep hold of our idols. He is well aware of blame shifting, too, which is not a sign of true repentance, for we must take full responsibility for our actions. He is also well aware when we back down from full obedience out of fear of the people and of our own reputations being sullied, or because we fear the consequences if we do make full disclosure.
Yet, Samuel did remain with Saul, though, at least long enough to complete the job that God had assigned Saul, but that Saul had failed to complete.
And, we who are believers in Jesus will remain on this earth, among the people of this earth, and among the enemies of the cross of Christ, until we complete the task God has put before his people in taking the gospel message to the ends of the earth, or until the Lord calls us home to be with him. Yet, we will not be united but separate from the world, living holy lives pleasing to God, for there is no fellowship between light and darkness.
Like the Nations
Summary 1 Samuel 8-9
When Samuel was old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel, however his sons did not walk in his ways. Then, the elders of Israel asked Samuel to appoint a king for them, to judge them, like all the other nations had done. They wanted to be like the other nations, in other words.
But, even though this displeased Samuel and the Lord, for the people were rejecting the Lord in favor of a human ruler, the Lord allowed it. But, the Lord warned the people what this would mean for them. The king would take advantage of the people and he would take from them rather than give to them, and they would then cry out to God, but the Lord would not answer them, for he had forewarned them.
So, Samuel, under the direction of the Lord, appointed Saul,
a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people” (9:2).
The church of today, at least here in America, has done something similar as what the children of Israel did in the days of Samuel, the prophet, when they clamored for a human king so that they could be like other nations.
The church also clamored for a human king to be over them when they chose to unite with the US government via the 501c3 not-for-profit tax exempt status, which they did not have to do, because churches were already tax exempt. But, by uniting with the government, they turned the church into a business, a corporation under the ownership and headship of the US government (the king), even though God did not approve. And, they have continued in this way even though the Lord, I know, has been warning them of the consequences if they remain in such a union.
And, God is not pleased with this union, because the church has, thus, rejected God as their king and they have chosen a human king to rule them, instead. And, they have become unequally yoked together with the ungodly, which God forbids, and they have turned the house of the Lord into a marketplace (a business), which God also forbids.
We are warned in Revelation 18:4-5 to come out of this “Babylon,” so that we don’t share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. But, the vast majority of America’s churches have remained in a contractual relationship with the government despite the warnings, and so when God judges this “Babylon,” the institutional church will be judged, too.
In with the New
Summary 1 Samuel 16
The Lord questioned Samuel as to how long he would continue to grieve over Saul, since the Lord had rejected him from being king over Israel. Thus, the Lord directed Samuel to go and to anoint a new king, and yet Samuel feared the king, that he might kill him, and yet God said to go, so he went.
By the church rejecting Jesus as their king, by choosing an alliance with the US king, instead, and by turning the church into a marketplace, and by being unequally yoked together with unbelievers in this business partnership, they have essentially kicked the Holy Spirit right out of their meetings. And, they have, instead, turned to marketing books and schemes to grow their churches (businesses) instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to grow the church by spiritual means, not by human means.
But, the Lord is saying to the church to not hang on to these human businesses called “church,” for they do not have the approval of God. God has rejected them, because they have rejected Jesus as their only king. But they are uniting with the world and with worldly businesses and with a worldly government, i.e. with the ungodly. The Bible is not the sole authority for what they do, but they follow marketing books as their “bible.” And, he is calling out to his people to make Jesus their only king.
When Samuel took a look at Eliab, one of Jesse’s sons, he thought surely this must be the one God had as king over Israel, but Samuel was looking at the outward appearance of the man, and not at the heart. Just as Saul had a very stately outward appearance, i.e. he looked “presidential,” he also was rejected by God because of his heart, which was not in line with the Lord.
So many people attend gatherings called “church” because they have a good appearance, a good stage production, are fun, entertaining, and have lots of activities for people to be involved in. They have the appearance of being godly, though many deny the power thereof. They think just because that they are called “church” that they are “church.” But, church is the people of God, those who have denied self and who have taken up their cross daily and followed Jesus. So, church can be anywhere and at any time as long as it is meeting truly by the will of God with Jesus as head and the Holy Spirit as the one leading, directing and growing the church.
David, a shepherd of the sheep, and the youngest of all the brothers, was the one God had chosen. Jesus is the son of David, and he comes from the line of David, so he is the chosen one of Israel to rule as King over us all who believe in him. And, we are to have no other king but him. He is the one to direct the affairs of the church, not human kings. He is the only one who has God’s approval, so he is the only one to whom we should give our loyalty, praise, and worship. And, those who are truly following HIM are the ones to whom we should listen, and not those who are following after the nations, because they want to be like the world.
So, we are to live lives which are holy unto God, separate from the world of sin, while still living in the world, yet not of the world. And, we should be gathering together with other believers of like mind who are also living separate from the world and unto God, and we should be encouraging one another in the Lord, using the spiritual gifts God has given us and fulfilling our God-given roles within the body for the strengthening of the body of Christ and so that none of us are led astray by sin’s deceitfulness.
So, don’t be followers of man or of human institutions just because they have an appearance of being what you think a Christian or the church should be like. But, examine their lifestyles and their practices and their teachings and who they are truly following, and then align yourselves with those who are likeminded with God, not with those who are likeminded with the world.
May Christ Be Seen in Me
By Lois DeHoff / Percy Crawford
O may I count all gain but loss, save as to Thee ’tis gain;
Let me not shun the promised cross, nor shirk to suffer pain,
Then lead me, Lord, up Calv’ry’s hill, forth to the cross with Thee,
And there pour out my life with God, As Thou didst Lord for me…
Full lyrics can be found at this site: https://namethathymn.com/hymn-lyrics/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3919
Friday, August 3, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus!