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Posts Tagged ‘Samuel’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

– Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul – seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil, and go.” – 1 Samuel 16:1

The Sower” is a painting by van Gogh.  It shows a stark country setting.  A simple farmhouse sits far off in the background.  The foreground shows a young man walking across a dirt field with a seed bag slung over his shoulder – the sun blazing above.  His gaze is fixed ahead as he scatters seeds behind – unaware a few birds have gathered there; already eating some of them.  It is a good illustration of the lead verse.

A bad illustration is sitting in the same Sunday seats week after week, year after year.  Doing so develops a complacent Christian life not in accordance with God’s Word.  The more we feel at home here in our body – including that of a church – the more we’re absent from the Lord.  We don’t want to be found naked at the end because we clothed ourselves in the comfort of any physical church (2 Corinthians 5:1-6).

This is not God’s idea of spiritual farming.  Failing to move when God commands is stubbornness.  When He told Noah to build the ark – Noah moved with fear (Hebrews 11:7).  He didn’t tell God it wasn’t a good time.  Stubbornness is a sin (1 Samuel 15:23).  It is a refusal to move in accordance with the Word, because one is still conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). It is remaining in a state of disobedient unbelief.

We don’t see people chosen by God to follow Him (John 15:16) like Moses, David, and Paul attending weekly Sunday church services or mid-week Bible studies.  Then, wandering about in the world outside of those times, wondering what God wanted them to do.  Jesus did not hang on a Cross for us to hang around in an idle haze, confused at any time about what God wants us to do (1 Corinthians 14:33).

There are many reasons why we have to be on the move much of the time.  One reason is God always has something for us to do – as long as He is the One leading us by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  We cannot make things up in our minds as some accused Moses of doing (Numbers 16:28).  God warns us of having false dreams or lying divinations; misled by them – or misleading others (Jeremiah 23:32, Ezekiel 13:6-7).

While Samuel mourned over God’s rejection of Saul as Israel’s king – Samuel was going to be of no use to Him sitting in the same place too long (second lead verse).  There was a new king to go find and anoint. Still, Samuel didn’t wander off without a clue, hoping he would happen upon the right person.  God had set directions and instructions for Samuel, as is always the case with us (1 Samuel 16:1-13, Proverbs 5:23).

Another reason we have to keep moving is because we are all being pursued by the devil.  Satan is a spiritual predator who does not sleep.  He always knows where we are and who we are (Job 1:6-11, Acts 19:15) – roaring about like a lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9).  It’s easier for physical predators to attack and kill sick, weak, or stationary targets.  It’s easier for Satan to do the same.

God designed our bodies – physical and spiritual – to move.  A third reason for both to be in movement is it promotes health and healing.  As Christians, we are not our own anymore.  We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and our spirit; which are His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Lack of use with either leads to atrophy; a gradual decline in vigor or effectiveness due to underuse or neglect.

Any person in such a state often wants or requires others to do things for them physically or spiritually. In the book of John, a man with an infirmity (physical weakness) had sat by the pool at Bethesda – for 38 years.  Many other impotent people were also there. An angel would enter the pool in a certain season and stir it up.  After this troubling of the waters, the first person in after would be made whole (John 5:2-5).

When Jesus saw this man – He knew the man had been infirm a long time.  Christ asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  The man replied, “Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool when the water is troubled. But, while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said, “Rise, take your bed and walk.”  The man did and was immediately healed (John 5:6-8). Christ never touched him.  Jesus simply said “Move.”

Movement prevents us from having too much idle time on our hands.  Idle time leads to idle words we will all give account of on judgement day (Matthew 12:36).  It also creates idol walks and talks, and worldly conversations we are not to have (Exodus 23:13, 2 Corinthians 1:12).  In addition to other sins like pride, an abundance of idleness led to God’s fiery destruction of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49, Genesis 19:24).

Movement does not mean staying busy all the time. When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted them to be so busy making bricks, they wouldn’t have time to make sacrifices for God.  This is too busy (Exodus 5:6-8).  We have to stop from time to time to clearly hear God’s still, small voice – to get new instructions as Elijah did (1 Kings 19:11-15).  However, once we do – we move with fear and without delay like Noah.

Staying in one place too long leads to familiarity. Familiarity tends to breed contemptuous, complacent, careless, and/or lukewarm spirits.  Such ungodly attributes arise from getting too accustomed to something or someone.  Relaxed Christians are the end result (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).  Even in their churches where Satan could be sitting, or preaching from the pulpit (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12).

If we move ahead and don’t look back in accordance with God’s Word (lead verse), in humble obedience to His commands unto death (Philippians 2:8) – we’re doing His will.  God’s charge in Matthew 24:14 can’t be fulfilled any other way.  If we sit still in one place too long, the sin of stubbornness is sure to stagnate our spiritual growth.  This gives place to Satan and plenty of room to devour us (Ephesians 4:27).

Much like the style of van Gogh’s “The Sower” – we’re to sling a spiritual seed bag over our shoulder and set out across the farmlands of faith.  Sowing the Word of God as our seed as He leads us by the Spirit (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11).  Not looking back over our shoulder to see if they are landing on stony ground – or if the devil is there to take them away, or we’re not fit for God’s kingdom of heaven (Mark 4:15-16, lead verse).

This keeps us from sowing the same spiritual fields over and over.  When farmers of God’s physical fields do this year after year, the dirt becomes stressed and unfruitful.  The same goes for the spiritual soil of our hearts.  Instead, we scatter a handful of seeds on the ground and move on ahead.  God will send another person along to water it – but He alone will be the One to provide the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Only God decides what any physical or spiritual seed will ever become, giving each one its own body as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).  We can’t grow seeds planted in human hearts into producing spiritual fruits God commands them to become in ourselves or any other person (Galatians 5:22-23).  If we try to, we only defile His crop (Deuteronomy 22:9).  This doesn’t move anyone closer to heaven, does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– “So then, because you are lukewarm – and neither cold nor hot – I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

– Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin.  They just want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. – Francis Chan

Don’t we all like to have our food reasonably hot or cold?  It just seems to enhance its overall flavor.  It brings out the taste of any seasoning better.  Much more so than if such foods were left out on an open table or kitchen countertop somewhere.  There, hot foods slowly cool off, and cold foods slowly warm up to room temperature.  They become lukewarm.

If we try tasting them in such a state, it is often quite unpleasant to our taste buds.  They would send us a warning sign something wasn’t quite right.  We would spit these foods out.  Hot or cold foods may have been sitting out for so long, dangerous and unseen bacteria such as salmonella start multiplying.  Food poisoning might result if we were to digest them.

The word lukewarm has many “not-so-positive” meanings – such as tepid, indifferent, perfunctory, non-committal, apathetic, and lacking conviction. Food fits the first definition – but not really the rest. Those apply more to emotional and spiritual feelings of being lukewarm.  We have all probably heard of someone getting a lukewarm reception; perhaps even receiving one ourselves.

It’s a half-hearted response.  Half-hearted means lacking interest or spirit.  This is not how we are to love the Lord as Christians (Deuteronomy 6:5).  God did not put His whole Spirit into us when we were born again of such (John 3:5), so we would live a life honoring Him with half a heart.  If we do, the rest of our heart has to be somewhere else (1 Corinthians 10:21, Colossians 3:2).

Any lack of passion as Christians can lead to passivity and apathy.  Any lack of commitment can lead to becoming comfortable and complacent.  Any lack of true worship from the heart (John 4;23-24) can lead to wrong works full of confusion, envying, and strife (James 3:16).  Any lack of interest or spirit can lead to indifference and insensitivity (Matthew 24:12). This can develop dull ears (Hebrews 5:11).

Lack of devotion leads to deviance from heaven’s straight path (Matthew 7:14).  Making us targets for the devil’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) and devices; increasing our ignorance of his subtle lies the less devoted we are (Genesis 3:3-4, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 2:11).  Remaining as novices – lifted in pride like this – and likely candidates to be taken captive at will (1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:26).

Any lack of the steadfast, moving forward daily faith God requires us to have unto the end for salvation (Hebrews 3:14) – leads to spiritual stagnation.  It’s a sense of feeling stuck in one place.  Air and water in such states quickly develop impurities from lack of movement.  They become very unhealthy to breath or drink.  Faith poisoning can result from any heart like this.  Bitterness can take root (Hebrews 12:15).

Salmonella can form on food sitting around too long. Sitting around too long as Christians can create problems for our salvation.  God requires us to move as we’re led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1).  Samuel was of no use to God when he started sitting around mourning over Saul.  God told him to get up and go – there were things still to do (1 Samuel 16:1).

Being in any of the lukewarm states of being above, such as apathy, makes it very easy for backsliding to be birthed among believers who may be stagnating, straying, or stumbling (Hosea 11:7).  This backsliding can feel perpetual (Jeremiah 8:5).  It stems from still being filled with some of our worldly ways – and not all of the Word’s (Proverbs 14:14).  It’s hard to climb heaven’s staircase this way (2 Peter 1:3-11).

All in all, it makes for a lackadaisical, lounging around and lukewarm walk with God for any Christian like this.  Some seemingly unconcerned about a salvation they feel is secure (Philippians 3:12-14).  This is the devil’s deception.  Satan wants people to believe they’ve already received a promise we’re all to wait with patience until the end for (John 3:17, Hebrews 10:35-36, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:9).

This is a very flippant approach to faith.  It is foolishly being nonchalant about salvation – a hope we all have not seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  It all fits the definition of a “devil-may-care” attitude towards God. Not really hot or cold – people professing faith just kind of lukewarmly hanging around waiting for Jesus to return.  However, maybe wondering if this will really happen at all (2 Peter 3:4).

God didn’t hang Christ on the Cross for us to be like this.  Much has been given to us – much is required (Luke 12:45-48).  Just as food sitting around too long in the same place can become lukewarm, so can a faith sitting around in the same place too long.  With lukewarm food, we can just spit it out of our mouth onto a plate.  If our faith should continue this way too long, God could spit us out into the pit forever.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord smitten us today before the Philistines?  Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant (of the Lord) out of Shiloh unto us – that when it comes among us – it may save us out of the hands of our enemies.” – 1 Samuel 4:3

The Israelites has just suffered a costly defeat – 3,000 of their own men killed at the hands of the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:2). After the battle was over – the elders in the camp were confused as to why they had lost so soundly – weren’t they God’s chosen people?  Why would He let them lose?

Their solution sounded simple: Return some men back to Shiloh and fetch the Ark of the Covenant – then bring it out to the camp near the front lines. God would now be right there in their midst. Surely victory would come the next time they faced the Philistines – right?

Wrong – despite the Ark being among them – the Israelites went out a short time thereafter and 30,000 of their own footmen were killed (1 Samuel 4:10).  This was 10 times as many men as before when the Ark was safe and secure back in Shiloh.  It didn’t really make sense at all.

Why would God let them suffer such a horrific defeat?  We can almost imagine the elders – each one standing there around the camp after the second battle, scratching their heads in bewilderment.  Perhaps some were thinking, “I thought God was always with us – defeats like these are not supposed to happen.”

So, what did happen?  Well, there was an old comic strip called Pogo which produced a very famous line … “We have met the enemy – and he is us.”  The Israelites’ enemy wasn’t the Philistines in these two battles – it was themselves.  Yes, God was in their midst – but it did not automatically mean He was for them in these confrontations with the Philistines.

Their sound defeats were due to their continued and blatant disobedience of the Lord and His ways.  The Lord cannot let His people get away with sin.  In the preceding chapter, God told Samuel of upcoming punishment because of this (1 Samuel 3:11-14).

If God is for us, who can be against us – right (Romans 8:31)? Well, it can be ourselves.  We can become our own worst enemies as believers – trying to kick against God’s goads – as the apostle Paul found out it was very difficult to do (Acts 9:5). We must never get to the point where we start assuming and presuming nothing bad can befall us just because we are “born again”.

Our Father in heaven must continue to punish disobedient children who should know better now about the consequences of refusing to repent and be corrected (Luke 13:3,5, Acts 17:30, Revelation 3:19). We are to be happy when we are – not harping against Him (Job 5:17).  Repeated reproof will come until we finally learn our lesson (Job 34:31).

We are putting ourselves in great danger if we ever reach a point as Christians where we don’t think we need any more admonishment from above (Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 4:13). Sin without true repentance from the heart has ripple effects – and more people than just ourselves can get hurt or killed – just like it happened with the Israelites above.

God is for us – if we are for Him within us; not just by lip service (Matthew 15:8).  If we keep forgetting Him and continue forging ahead by following our former worldly lusts, we are His enemy – because we have not yet put off our old man (Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 2:11, Colossians 3:8-9, James 4:4). We may not yet learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Our Father abides in us by the Holy Spirit – but we have to abide in Him (John 15:1-5).  It’s a two-way street.  If we fail to retain Him in our knowledge – or acknowledge Him in all our ways – we’ll most likely keep right on leaning on our own worldly understanding of how things are supposed to turn out as believers (Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 1:28).

Talking about Christ is a lot different from truly walking with Him.  God is our conviction – not our convenience.  When we insist on doing whatever we want in the world, or with the Word as believers – we’ll probably experience more “I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen – I’m a Christian” moments than we care for.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And be sure – your sin will find you out. – Numbers 32:23

Two men – Naboth and Uriah.  Both had something that two kings – Ahab and David – desired greatly. One was a vineyard – the other a wife.  Even though Naboth and Uriah did not sin in these situations – Ahab and David did so to fulfill the lustful desires of their hearts.  Three of the four died.  David survived. Although he repented – he still had to pay a dear price for his transgression against God.

David’s first son born of Bathsheba would be dead just a week after birth.  King Ahab would die soon, as well.  All because of sins that were bare before God from their beginnings (1 Kings 21:1-15, 1 Kings 22:34-38, 2 Samuel 11:1-27, 2 Samuel 12:13-19, Hebrews 4:12-13).  The kings were found out – and they found out the cost of their iniquity.  We can be sure our sin will find us out, too – at what price?

Scripture has concluded we are all under sin from the start of life (Galatians 3:22).  It withholds good things from us (Jeremiah 5:25).  As with David, sin can withhold even future blessings from us for a very long time (2 Samuel 12:7-8).  It can also cause many serious things to happen to others – even the deaths of those who did not sin with us.  Sin lies at our doors daily (Genesis 4:7).

We can choose to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season like Moses (Hebrews 11:25) – but pay for them our entire lives.  Yes, God is long-suffering, patient, merciful and gracious – but He will not at all acquit the wicked (Nahum 1:3).  Our Father by no means will ever clear the guilty.  The penalties for sin can even be passed from generation to generation (Exodus 34:6-7).

We don’t come to Christ because we’re good people – we come before the Cross because we’re sinners.  We don’t become good people because we become Christians, either – there is none good but God (Mark 10:18).  However, we do become God’s children again – reconciled and reunited with our Father in heaven (Romans 5:10, Romans 8:16, Colossians 1:20-21).

Still, our hearts are still desperately wicked and deceitful.  This is why God has to come dwell in them through the Holy Ghost – for only He can understand them (Jeremiah 17:9-10).  We have presumptuous and secret sins we might not even be aware of yet (Psalm 19:13, Psalm 90:8).  We have no power to repent of them without abiding in God – and Him in us through the Spirit (John 15:1-7).

Following the flesh as Christians has to result in us receiving some sort of heavenly punishment (Romans 8:1-14).  God’s discipline may seem mean while it’s happening – but it’s out of His love for us (Hebrews 12:6-11, Revelation 3:19).  However, we are assured it will happen (Hebrews 12:5-11).  All of our God’s commandments are not meant to be grievous (1 John 5:3).  We have to do our part by obeying them.

When we are born again of the Spirit (John 3:3). it comes when God has convicted us of our sin with His sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10).  No longer will He wink at us in any ignorance about sin’s consequences (Acts 17:30, Romans 6:23).  It is not to have any more dominion over us (Romans 6:14).  Willful sinning is now direct disobedience.  There will never be another sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10,26).

This is why Christ shed his precious blood on the Cross (Matthew 26:28).  This is the very same blood shed daily on a Christian heart as a salve for sins – to keep them in continual remission (Hebrews 10:22). So we keep repenting and not repeating the behavior of our old sinful man (2 Corinthians 5:17).  So we don’t fall away from such repentance.  If we do, it’s impossible for God to renew us to it (Hebrews 6:4-6).

A tentacle in the physical world is a slender and flexible limb used for grasping things or moving around.  A tentacle of sin does the same thing.  It is slender and flexible.  It reaches in and grabs our heart.  Then we move out and about as the tentacle touches another person’s heart, and pulls them into our sin.  Slowly and subtly it weaves its way into the fabric of our life – even our faith.

 

 

 

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