Monday, March 7, 2016

"The tragic end of King Saul ..."

Day #68

Scripture Reading:  I Samuel 26 - 31 ...

They should have never asked for a king in the first place.  Israel had a King who ruled over them, who delivered them from their enemies, who guided them to the promised land.  He was a King who was faithful, who always kept His promises and whose power and wisdom were beyond limit ... and they traded all that for ... Saul.  Remember what God said to Samuel when Israel wanted a king:  "It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected ME as their King!"  (I Samuel 8:7).  It was a tragic mistake that led to a tragic end.  We need to be sure that we have learned the lesson that few in Israel ever did:  that only when God Himself is your King, your Ruler, your Lord, will you ever rest in peace, assured of victory against your enemies.

Saul's demise was sealed from the beginning, but his character was revealed when he continually disobeyed God's clear commands and thought that he was wiser than God.  David did not want to make the same mistake.  Once again, David had the opportunity to take things into his own hands.  Had not God chosen him to be king, and had not Samuel anointed him king already?  So why not kill Saul when he had the chance and begin his reign?  But David would not strike the Lord's anointed with his own hands.  When Abishai wanted to kill Saul in his sleep, David stopped him and said, "Who can lay a hand on the LORD's anointed and be guiltless?  ... The LORD Himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish" (26:9-10).  David trusted that God would take care of Saul in His time and in His way.

Saul revealed his desperation when he decided to consult a medium to determine whether he should go fight against the Philistines.  Whether Samuel really appeared to Saul or this was a demonic spirit pretending to be Samuel we may not be able to know with certainty.  There are reasons to choose the latter.  What we know is that Saul was afraid, terrified of fighting the Philistines (28:5).  He already knew the answer he was seeking:  the LORD was not with him and it was a matter of time before he reaped the just reward of his disobedience, of his sin before the LORD.

Meanwhile, David and his men were spared fighting against their countrymen.  They had traveled into the land of the Philistines to avoid Saul and his search party of 3,000 chosen men.  David had only six hundred men with him, yet God was with him and granted him success in all he did.  How much better to have God on your side when facing your enemies!  Even when his wives and possessions, and those of his men, were taken by the Amalekites, God restored them to him and gave him victory over his enemies once again.  Now the time had come for Saul's reign to end.

Think of what the Apostle Paul would say to the men of Athens more than 1,000 years later:  "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:26).  Daniel praised God during the time of the exile of Judah and said, "Praise be the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.  He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them ..." (Daniel 2:20-21).  And Asaph writes in Psalm 75, verse 7, "It is God who judges:  He brings one down, He exalts another."  Those who seek to rule today would do well to remember this!

Saul's kingdom was over and soon David would be King of Israel.  From his line would come THE Anointed One, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the descendant of Judah who would fulfill God's promise that "the scepter will not depart from Judah until HE comes to whom it belongs" (Genesis 49:10).  All of this points to the coming of the kingdom of God and the reign of God's chosen King, Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

Jesus came preaching that the kingdom of God was near, it was at hand.  For the past two thousand years the Gospel has gone out into all the world declaring the reign of Jesus Christ.  Our vision statement at Lighthouse Community Church states:  "We exist to proclaim the reign of Jesus Christ over all things; glorifying and enjoying God, now and forever!"  This is the purpose of those who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  One day all the world will acknowledge the reign of Jesus Christ.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

Blessed are those who do so willingly and joyfully now!  While many put their hope in the ruler of their nation or the nations of the world, we who know Jesus testify that only when He reigns from His throne in Jerusalem will there be peace on earth.  For a thousand years Jesus will reign over the nations.  "The LORD will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one LORD, and His Name the only Name" (Zechariah 14:9).

Have you bowed the knee before God's Anointed?  Jesus promises, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:32-33).  The time is now.  The enemies of God in the days of Saul and David perished.  So it will be when Jesus returns.  So it IS today.  Jesus says that you are either for Him or against Him; there is no middle ground.  Saul and his house suffered a tragic end, but the end of those who reject God as their King will be even more tragic.

TODAY God offers forgiveness, hope and life to those who acknowledge His King, His Anointed, His SON!!  Confess Him today and lay down your life in His service, thankful for His grace.  Then, when He comes, you will be among those who are gathered to meet Him in the air and then to reign with Him over all the earth!  Our God is able!  He is with us!  To HIM be glory, now and forever!!

"Almighty and everlasting God, You alone are KING!  In Your wisdom and power You have anointed Your Son, Jesus, the Christ, to reign over all the earth.  I joyfully acknowledge Him as my Savior and my Lord, trusting in Him for all I need, and desiring to follow Him, to obey Him and to serve Him all my life and then to enter Your eternal kingdom, to praise You with the angels and the saints throughout all eternity!  To You be praise and glory and honor, now and forever, in Jesus' name, Amen"

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