If God Wrote Your Obituary…

“IF GOD WROTE YOUR OBITUARY, WHAT WOULD HE SAY?”

“OBITUARY” –  “a published announcement of a death, often accompanied by a short biography of the dead person”  (*See Footnote [i]).

Fill in the Blanks
Filling in the Blanks

TEXT:  1 Chronicles 10:1-14 and 1 Samuel

[13]  So Saul died for his trespass against the Lord [in sparing Amalek], for his unfaithfulness in not keeping God’s word, and also for consulting [a medium with] a spirit of the dead to inquire pleadingly of it.

[14]  And inquired not so of the Lord  [in earnest penitence]. Therefore the Lord slew him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

Often when I read a great book, I want to read even more by the same author.  My last blog-post was a study in the Book of Ezra in the Old Testament, and since Ezra was the author/writer of the volumes of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, why not dig into 1 Chronicles.  Some scholars attribute the possibility that Ezra may have been the author of Ester as well.

So for the past week, I’ve been reading and studying 1 Chronicles which brings me to this particular blog-post in Chapter 10.

Verse 13-14 of 1 Chronicles 10 provides a sad OBITUARY of a man who had been called of God but whose life ended in tragedy and ruin.  God cuts no quarters in telling us exactly what brought down this man of God.

In this WORD DETECTIVE investigation into the Scripture provided, I want for us to consider what God has to say concerning Saul that might be a warning for all us to take heed.

SAUL BREACHED FAITH WITH GOD–

What does a person do when they BREACH a thing?  Going to my Thesaurus and Google Search, I came up with this brief definition:

#1. An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct.  

#2. To make a gap in…

We have a definition, so let’s begin to search out the Spirit of God and dig deeper into the Word.

THE KING WAS SO PRIVILEGED, SO WHAT HAPPENED?

From a natural point he was outstanding:

“…a choice young man and handsome; among all the Israelites there was not a man more handsome than he.  He was a head taller than any other of the people”  (1 Samuel 9:2b AMP).

Saul was given a new heart besides by God–

“The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily…and you will be turned into another man”  (1 Samuel 10:6)

“…God gave him another heart…”  (1 Samuel 10:9).

Saul was chosen by God for a TASK: To SAVE Israel–

“And Samuel said to all the people,  Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that none like him is among all the people?  And all the people shouted and said, Long live the king!”  (1 Samuel 10:24).

God touched the hearts of other lives around him–

“Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of valiant men whose hearts God had touched”  (1 Samuel 10:26).

Everything seemed to be in Saul’s favor:

–  Had a good standing in the nation.

–  Distinctly called and commissioned by God.

–  Honored with the friendship of Samuel.

–  Surrounded by a band of men whose hearts God had touched.

Wow!  What privilege Saul must have had and thought of himself in having.  Do you ever feel like a PRIVILEGED one in your ministry?  Not you?

THE CHRISTIAN’S PRIVILEGE–

Believers in JESUS have been chosen by God to take the message of salvation to the world:

“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting…”  (John 15:16).

God doesn’t want for us to be “Lone Ranger Christians” and provides and touches the lives of others to co-labor with us:

“For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God…”  (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Saul Disobeyed God’s Command!

Saul OBEYED God’s command but NOT to the letter.

In 1 Samuel 15, we see Saul in obedience to God’s command with his valiant men fighting the Amalekites.  He won the battle, but failed to do everything the LORD said.  Rather, he chose to do it his way.

Some feel that the end justifies the means–that’s REBELLION!  Note what God’s Word says in 1 Samuel 15:23-24:

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images).  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.  [24] And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.”

A Lovely Thought, But Still Disobedience…

While vacationing, a little girl was told not to go by the cliff, and wandered out toward it when her dad fell asleep.  She reached out over the rocks and grabbed a pretty flower and ran back to her dad and said,  “Look what I brought to you.”  He grabbed the flower and threw it down and clutched his little daughter and said,  “You have disobeyed. I’d rather have you than anything you could give me.”  Sound a bit harsh?  Perhaps.  But to DISOBEY God is the ultimate REBELLION–the scowl, the folded arms in position of defiance.

The Regrets From Unfaithfulness–1 Chronicles 10:13:  

So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the LORD.

Verse 13 (ESV):  So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD.

Seeking the Advice of the World–

According to Verse 13, Saul not only ignored God’s Word, but sought out and consulted the world–“…[a medium with] a spirit of the dead…”

WHAT IS WISDOM OF THE WORLD?

“Then Saul said to his servants, Find me a woman who is a medium [between the living and the dead], that I may go and inquire of her.  His servants said,  Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor”  (1 Samuel 28:7).

The apostle Paul warns the BELIEVER to beware of the “wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6; 3:19).

In study for this blog, I discovered the WORLD SYSTEM is committed to at least FOUR major objectives:  [*See Footnote [ii] ] 

– FORTUNE,

– FAME,

– POWER,

– PLEASURE.

FIRST and foremost: Fortune, money.

The WORLD SYSTEM is driven by money, feeding on materialism.  Remember, the Bible never says “money is the root of all evil”, it reads “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:5).

I ran across this quote the other day in my reading to share–

“I LOVE MONEY.  I love everything about it!  I bought some pretty good stuff.  Got me a $300 pair of socks.  Got a fur sink.  An electric dog polisher.  A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater.  And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too”  ~ by Steve Martin.

SECOND:  FAME –  

That’s another word for popularity.  It’s the longing to be known, to be a somebody in someone else’s eyes.

THIRD:  POWER –  

This is having influence, maintaining control over individuals or groups or companies or whatever.  It is the DESIRE to manipulate and maneuver others to do something for one’s own benefit.

FOURTH: PLEASURE –  

At its basic level, PLEASURE has to do with fulfilling one’s SENSUAL DESIRES.  It is the same mindset that’s behind an all together familiar slogan:  “If it FEELS GOOD, do it!”

God’s System Vs. The World’s System:

“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then ALL THESE THINGS taken together will be given you besides” (Matthew 6:33).

“BLESSED  (HAPPY,  fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly  [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands  [submissive and inactive] in the pth where sinners walk, nor sits down  [to relax and rest] where the scornful  [and the mockers] gather” (Psalm 1:1).

FAILING TO SEEK GOD AND HIS WILL–His Word

In 1 Chronicles 14, Saul,  “He did not seek guidance from the Lord.  Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse”  (English Standard Version-ESV).

Th Jameison-Faussett-Brown Bible in their commenting on the statement given in 1 Samuel 28:6 says, Saul inquired of God alright, but Saul  “…had done so in form, but not in the spirit of a humble penitent, nor with the believing confidence of a sincere worshipper.”

“Whoa!,” I thought when I first read the comments.  At times, I have asked questions of my heavenly Father, just as a matter of form in my prayers, not expecting an actual answer.  Did I really have the “believing confidence” that God would answer?

Saul’s inquiry was, in fact, mere mockery.  His total want was really for all right religious impressions toward others surrounding him in his kingdom manifested by his rushing FROM GOD TO an imposter “in the service of the devil.”

James 1:5 (AMP):

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God  [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or fault-finding, and it will be given him.”

Many today who are like Saul, operating in their own kingdom, seeking counsel from everywhere but God and His Word!  Usually, it’s because they don’t really want to hear what God has to say!

Saul Lost Everything God Had Given Him (Vs. 14 b.)

Saul had lost contact with God, lost God’s anointing; an enablement for the task at hand.  Saul lost his character, he lost his kingdom and lost everything that God had given.

Sin has devastating consequences for not only us, but our descendants as well.

Exodus 34:6, 7:

“The Lord!  the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.  [7] Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, BUT…Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

1 Chronicles 10:6-7:

[6] So Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together,  [7] And when all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

Sin & A Rotten Apple
Sin & A Rotten Apple

We don’t operate in a vacuum and that one person’s sin affects others beyond himself.  It’s like the saying your parents may have referred to when they were unhappy with the crowd you were hanging out with:  “One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel!”

Saul committed a BREACH OF FAITH that cost him dearly.

When you accepted Christ Jesus, you pledged your FAITH in Him and Him alone.  Have you breached that faith by your actions, or lack thereof?

Thank God for His Word in 1 John 1:8-9:

“[8] If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us  [does not dwell in our hearts].  [9] If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

 

GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL–

THERE IS NO BREACH OF FAITH IN HIM!

 


 Blog Credits & Footnotes:

Photos:  Photo Pin/shutterstock

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible except where noted.

Footnote:  [i] The Free Dictionary.com; [ii] Charles Swindoll’s Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p. 219

 

 

Becoming SATISFIED In Christ Alone!

SCRIPTURE READING:

1 John 2:15-17 [Amplified Bible]:

[15] Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.

[16] For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].

[17] And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the list) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.

Pfsssssssst

Bible scholars have concluded that the content, style, and vocabulary  seem to warrant the conclusion that the three letters of John, the apostle, including the Gospel of John, were addressed to the same readers–Christian believers, and John’s message is timeless!

The Timeless Message–

The “timeless message” given, is one of contrast.  A COMPARISON of love for the world versus the love of our Father, that is, GOD.  As surely as we cannot SERVE both GOD and MAMMON– (*See footnote [i] )– neither can we LOVE both the world and GOD.

Every Person Is Tempted (James 1:14):

We ALL BATTLE with trials and temptations on a daily basis; with the things and people who influence us for wrong reasons and the wrong purpose.

The World–

Sometimes like a “magnet”,  the world tries to pull us in the wrong direction.

GOD calls His children [Christians] to live “in” this world but not be “of” this world.

A difficult balance…

ME:  “Should go tonight and show up; help out at my church’s Soup Kitchen and serve.  BUT…I’ll miss out on the Football Game on television during the LOVE FEAST down the road.”

WE:  Go to church, spend time with GOD and friends, yet there’s a FORCE trying to pull us away from the fellowship of believers.

It’s sort of like when I was back in school and didn’t want to get out of bed.  “Mom, I feel kind of ‘sick”.  My mom would ask me suspiciously, “What do you mean…’kind of sick’?”  She knew that I wanted to stay home and do what I wanted to do–watch TV, anything but go to school.  She would then inform me, “If you’re sick Mel, then you have to stay in bed ALL day!”  That stopped my plans in their tracks: “Mom, I think I’m feeling a bit better and will go to school after all.”

The Seemingly “Grey Areas”…

So many times we find ourselves tolerating certain things, but it feels good…we think it probably won’t hurt anybody…nobody will find out.

And then all of a sudden, we wake up one day and ask ourselves, “How in the world did I get here?”  Or, “What did I just do?”

IDENTIFYING 3 TYPES OF TEMPTATIONS:

1 John 2:15-17  (N.L.T.):

[15] Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

[16] For the world offers on a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

[17] And this world is fading away…

What else does the Bible have to say about the world we’re living in today?

“Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world”  (1 John 4:4 AMP).

“We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one”  (1 John 5:19 AMP).

(Jesus talking) – “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own.  But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you”  (John 15:18-19 AMP).

“…Do you not know that being the worlds friend is being God’s enemy?  So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God”  (James 4:4).

The WORLD will always fool you and never fully satisfy you!

The New Living Translation calls it a “CRAVING” in verse 16.

3 -Types of Temptations:

stock-photo-road-sign-metaphor-with-craving-ahead-470902091.  CRAVING FOR PLEASURES…or, “The Lust of the Flesh.”

I’m sure you know what it is to “crave” for something: chocolate, creamed-filled donuts, sour pickles (pregnancy?), liquor, a ‘smoke’, etc.

In any dictionary that you look up the definition, “crav-ing” – A powerful desire for something! Synonyms: longing, yearning, desire, want, wish, hankering, hunger, thirst, appetite, greed, lust, ache, need, urge.

“ENOUGH…I get it!”  But let’s take the definition a little further to make a point:

Merriam-Webster:  “an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing.”

I think you’ve probably got the idea of what John is referring to in the above Scripture.

In Creflo Dollar’s Book, Winning in Troubled Times (Chapter 19), he mentions “Lust is the driving impulse behind addictive behaviors; trying to break habits formed through will-power fall prey to the same temptations over and over again.”

LUST HAS ONE PURPOSE, AND ONE PURPOSE ONLY…

 LUST OF THE FLESH has one purpose–to move us out of the will of God of our lives.  It will destroy marriages and relationships.

DESIRE in and of itself is NOT BAD…

GOD gave us natural, healthy DESIRES…desire for food and water, desire to be unconditionally loved and accepted.  But when the “craving” enters the picture….it leads to death.

“Seed Time and Harvest…”

“But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).    Then the evil desire, when it is conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings for death”  (James 1:14-15).

A CRAVING for everything we see (NLT) or Lust of the Eyes (Amplified)–

“Temptation to Have” – I see it and I want it.  I have to have it now!  Ever been in this state of mind?

Materialism – “Live for the acquisition of things”:

He with the most toys wins…what?  Debt?  Stress?

Examples:  Having the latest I-Phone (5-s; the 6 will be out in Sept. 2014)….Latest Model – Car…Houses – upgrades, newer model, keep up with the Jones…Latest Styles – clothes or shoes – “Impulse Buying”  (Ex: I can go to Van Wingerden Garden Center in Birch Bay, Washington…it’s like the angels are singing…).

PRIDE in our achievements and possessions (NLT) or Pride of Life (Amplified)–

“Temptation to Be” – I want to be worshipped.  I want to be envied.  I want to be “noticed”.

Climbing the “company ladder” – just for the “title” of President, CEO.

The MOTIVATION is wrong–want to get to the top–for the wrong reason.

STATUS can become an “IDOL”, and damage our relationship with GOD.

TEMPTATION BEGAN AT THE BEGINNING OF TIME:

** Adam and Eve **

FRUIT that was pleasing to the eye.

** Jesus **

“And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loves of] bread”  (Matt. 4:3 AMP).

JESUS faced temptation (Lust of Flesh).

“Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them.    And he said to Him,  These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me”  (Matt. 4:8-9).

Satan showed JESUS the kingdoms (Lust of the Eyes).

Pride of Life – kneel down and worship me …

“And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever”  (1 John 2:17 AMP).

So how can we CONQUER this?  How can we please God?

That’s what we really want to do as BELIEVERS IN JESUS CHRIST!  To be Satisfied in Christ Alone!

Living “In Christ Alone”:

Keith and Kristyn Getty wrote a favorite hymn of mine a few years back. [www.gettymusic.com/hymns-inchristalone.aspx/.} 

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song; this Cornerstone,

this SOLID GROUND,

from through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All,

here in the love of Christ I stand.

Conquering Our Cravings, Our Temptations, Our Lusts in Life–

HOW CAN WE PLEASE GOD?

Hopefully, as believers in JESUS, pleasing Him should be our only desire.  Participating in God’s work in our lives is a beginning; to agree with God is our true identity found only in Him…not to place ourselves on the railroad tracks of “temptation.”  We’ll get hit by the train comng through every time!

In Creflo Dollar’s book, Winning In Troubled Times, he entitles the chapter “Declaring War On Lust”:  “The sin you fail to deal with will eventually end up dealing with you.”

When our CRAVINGS, “lustful desires“, are continually acted upon with no repentance or attempts to curb the behavior…a person can easily get into what is called “LASCIVIOUSNESS”: “having no self-control of the works of the flesh.”

Our OBEDIENCE To What We Sense Around Us…

What GOD is calling us to do in the world, should come out of a TRUST that God is our only source of life!  As we struggle, and we all do struggle; we are in the world and not of the world…especially in the “grey areas” that arise (society morality, movies, doctrine, relationships).

We can place our HOPE in God; to finish His work in us; to lovingly continue to show us the emptiness of all other “sources” available in life.  To learn to be SUFFICIENT in Christ alone.

Those thoughts reminded me of a quote by C.S. Lewis you may have read or heard before:

“When he said, ‘Be perfect.’  He meant it!  He meant that we must go in for the full treatment.  It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder–in fact, it is impossible.  It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining in an egg.  We are like eggs at present.  And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary decent egg.  We must be hatched or go bad…”  [Mere Christianity, bk4, Chs. 8, 9.]

I hope that I have given you an understanding of what GOD is able to give you in this world.  The HOPE and RENEWED TRUST in being Sufficient In Christ Alone– and not be satisfied in what the world is offering.

“Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love of the Father is not in him”  (1 John 2:15).

 

 

FOOTNOTE:

[i]  MAMMON – New Testament – Riches or material wealth:  Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9, 11, 13.