Participants: Pr. Stephen Bohr
Series Code: GAB
Program Code: GAB000007
01:11 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
01:14 Our Father and our God,
01:16 what a joy it is to be in Your house of worship
01:18 on your holy Sabbath.
01:20 We thank you so much
01:22 that there's been a break in the rain
01:25 and we saw the sunshine this morning.
01:28 We ask Father, that the sunshine of Jesus
01:33 will radiate this place.
01:35 I ask Father, that You will speak
01:37 to our minds and to our hearts
01:40 that as we study the story,
01:42 the tragic story in many ways of King Saul
01:45 that you'll help us to learn the lessons
01:47 which will be useful in our personal walk with Jesus.
01:52 We thank You Father, for hearing and for answering our prayer
01:55 for we ask it in Jesus name, amen.
02:00 The title of our study for today is Rebellion is as Witchcraft.
02:08 Several of you have expressed
02:10 that this is a very, very intriguing title.
02:16 Actually it's not my title.
02:19 It's taken directly from the Book of 1 Kings
02:24 which speaks about the story of King Saul.
02:28 And I would like to begin our study this morning
02:31 by going to 1 Samuel Chapter 9
02:33 and I would invite you to go with me there.
02:35 We're going to be mostly in 1 Samuel
02:39 for our study this morning.
02:41 1 Samuel Chapter 9
02:43 and I would like to begin at verse 2.
02:47 We have here a physical description of Saul.
02:53 It says there "And he" that is Saul's father Kish.
02:59 "And he had a choice and handsome son
03:03 whose name was Saul.
03:06 There was not a more handsome person than he
03:11 among the children of Israel.
03:15 From his shoulders upward
03:17 he was taller than any of the people."
03:21 So you can imagine Saul very good looking
03:26 and very imposing because of his stature.
03:29 Head and shoulders above the rank and file.
03:35 But this did not go to Saul's head,
03:38 at least at the beginning,
03:40 because we're told that when God choose Saul to be king of Israel
03:44 he manifested a spirit of humility
03:48 and unworthiness.
03:51 We're told in 1 Samuel 9:21, 22 the following.
03:58 "And Saul answered and said, 'Am I not a Benjamite,
04:05 of the smallest of the tribes of Israel,
04:09 and my family the least of all the families
04:12 of the tribe of Benjamin?
04:15 Why then do you speak like this to me?'
04:19 " Why would God choose me to be the king of Israel?
04:23 I'm of the most insignificant tribe
04:26 in the most insignificant family.
04:29 I'm not qualified to be the king of Israel.
04:34 So in spite of his imposing appearance
04:37 and in spite of his good looks he felt his own unworthiness
04:43 when he was called to be king of Israel.
04:46 But in spite of his unworthiness he accepted the call of God.
04:52 And we're told in 1 Samuel Chapter 10
04:56 that when he accepted God's call and he became the king of Israel
05:00 he experienced a true conversion experience.
05:05 In fact, we're told in 1 Samuel 10:6
05:08 and we'll also read verse 9, the following.
05:13 "Then the Spirit of the Lord will come up on you,
05:17 and you will prophesy with them
05:20 and be turned into another man."
05:24 By the way that's called conversion.
05:27 You may become a new person.
05:29 And then we're told in verse 9
05:32 "So it was, when he had turned his back
05:36 to go from Samuel that God gave him"
05:40 that is God gave Saul "another heart,
05:44 and all those signs came to pass that day."
05:49 In other words God made Saul another man.
05:51 He gave Saul another heart. He gave him a new heart.
05:55 He experienced a conversion experience.
05:59 In fact we're told
06:00 that Saul was also given the gift of prophecy.
06:04 Notice 1 Samuel 10:10 the very next verse.
06:08 It says "When they came there to the hill,
06:11 there was a group of prophets to meet him,
06:14 then the Spirit of God came upon him."
06:17 That is upon Saul.
06:18 "And he prophesied among them."
06:22 Now when Saul was introduced to the people,
06:25 the people went wild
06:27 mainly because of his physical appearance,
06:30 head and shoulders above everyone.
06:33 They didn't realize that what God was looking for
06:36 was someone who had humility
06:39 and had a sense of his unworthiness
06:42 and someone who had experienced conversion
06:45 and who had received a new heart,
06:47 someone who could govern Israel with wisdom.
06:50 But we're told in 1 Samuel 10:23, 24
06:54 what impressed the people.
06:56 It says "So they ran and brought him from there,
07:00 and when he stood among the people,
07:02 he was taller than any other people
07:04 from his shoulders upward.
07:07 And Samuel said to all the people."
07:10 Even Samuel was impressed.
07:12 "'Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen,
07:16 that there is no one like him among all the people?'
07:21 So all the people shouted and said,
07:25 ' Long live the king!' "
07:28 Impressed about his physical external appearance
07:32 and even Samuel was impressed
07:35 and was caught up in this reason for exalting Saul.
07:41 Now it's important to realize that when Saul began to govern
07:46 he received a list of written instructions
07:49 on how to rule in a godly way.
07:53 We're told in 1 Samuel 10:25, the following.
07:58 "Then Samuel explained to the people
08:02 the behavior of royalty,
08:05 and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the Lord."
08:11 This actually was a copy of the Book of Deuteronomy
08:13 which has the blessings and the curses of the covenant
08:16 which told the king how to behave himself,
08:19 how to govern wisely.
08:20 So in other words Saul had written Revelation
08:23 about how to govern Israel.
08:27 But Saul not only had written Revelation
08:30 Saul also had a prophet in his midst.
08:35 Samuel we might say was his personal prophet.
08:40 He accompanied Saul wherever he went.
08:44 In other words Saul not only had the benefit
08:47 of written instructions from the Lord
08:50 he also had the benefit of a prophet in his midst
08:54 to enlighten and to describe and to amplify
08:58 what was contained written in that book.
09:03 At the beginning of his rulership
09:06 Saul manifested a wonderful character,
09:11 a character of a converted man.
09:14 In fact, when he was crowned as king
09:16 there was a group of rebels they were very unhappy
09:19 about Saul being king.
09:21 We're told in 1 Samuel 10:26, 27.
09:25 "And Saul also went home to Gibeah,
09:28 and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched.
09:33 But some rebels said, 'How can this man save us?'
09:37 So they despised him and brought him no presents.
09:42 But he held his peace."
09:45 It would have been very easy for Saul to say
09:47 oh, you don't want to recognize me
09:48 I'll take care of you, because he was the king.
09:52 Basically he could have done whatever he wished,
09:55 but he shows moderation and he shows calm,
09:58 he does not act rashly.
10:01 And so then Saul goes into his first battle,
10:05 the battle against the Ammonites.
10:08 And we're told that he gained a signal victory over them.
10:14 After he gained the victory
10:16 everybody of course was pumped up
10:19 and so they said to Saul,
10:20 you know what we ought to do now.
10:22 We ought to take all those rebels
10:23 who didn't think that you would make
10:25 that you would actually make a good king
10:27 and you could lead us to victory
10:29 and we ought to have all of them killed.
10:33 And even though Saul later on in his life showed rashness
10:38 and rush to action without thinking
10:42 we find that Saul said and these words are found
10:45 in chapter 11 and verse 13.
10:48 "Not a man shall be put to death this day,
10:52 for today the Lord has accomplished
10:56 salvation in Israel."
10:58 Notice that he gives honor and glory to God.
11:01 Notice that he does not act rashly,
11:04 he's actually benevolent towards his enemies
11:07 who might threaten his throne.
11:11 Now it's very important to realize that in a contact
11:14 that Saul had with Samuel.
11:17 Samuel told Saul that he should meet him at Gilgal.
11:21 In other words Samuel said, I'm gonna come to Gilgal,
11:23 I'm gonna meet you there
11:24 and wait until I arrive to make the sacrifice.
11:29 I'm going to make the sacrifice when I arrive.
11:31 1 Samuel 10:8 has that.
11:34 Samuel says "You shall go down before me to Gilgal,
11:38 and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings
11:42 and make sacrifices of peace offerings.
11:45 Seven days you shall wait,
11:48 till I come to you and show you what you should do."
11:52 Now there's a prophet is saying
11:54 don't make the sacrifices until I arrive.
11:56 This is the word of the Lord.
11:58 This is the command of the Lord.
12:01 And suddenly we begin to detect
12:04 a serious flaw in the character of Saul.
12:08 He had a problem strictly obeying the commands
12:13 and the Word of God.
12:16 Now what happened like this
12:19 the Philistines had come against Israel.
12:22 They had 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen,
12:27 plus all of the people in their army.
12:30 We're told in chapter 13 verse 5 through 7
12:32 that the enemies were like the sand of the sea.
12:36 And of course, Israel was filled with fear
12:40 and so many of the soldiers that Saul had started to desert.
12:45 They were actually 3,000 of them originally
12:49 and they were only 600 left.
12:52 And Saul said, all of my armies are gonna leave
12:54 and the Philistines are going to be able to defeat us.
12:57 And so I need to be assured of God's blessing.
13:01 And so contrary to the explicit command of God
13:06 we find that Saul decided
13:08 that he could wait for Samuel no longer.
13:12 And we're told that he decided
13:15 to offer the sacrifices upon the altar.
13:22 Here we find Saul a man
13:24 who acted not on the basis of principle,
13:28 but on the basis of impulse thinking that
13:33 the end could justify the means.
13:39 A man who had a lack of faith in God's word,
13:42 because God had said through Samuel
13:45 I'm coming we will offer the sacrifices,
13:47 God will be with Israel,
13:49 but he disobeyed the explicit command of God.
13:52 He acted by impulse not by faith in God's word.
13:58 And right after he offered the sacrifices Samuel appeared.
14:02 And Samuel said to him, what is this that you have done.
14:05 In fact, let's read it in 1 Samuel 13:11.
14:10 It says "And Samuel said,
14:12 'What have you done?' And Saul said."
14:16 Notice, he is saying the circumstances demanded
14:19 that I disobey the Word of God.
14:21 The situation demand that
14:23 that I change God's plan and then I go to plan B.
14:27 "And Saul said,
14:29 'When I saw that the people were scattered from me,
14:32 and that you did not come within the days appointed,
14:35 and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash,
14:38 then I said, 'The Philistines will now come down
14:42 on me at Gilgal,
14:44 and I have not made supplication to the Lord.'
14:46 Therefore I felt compelled,
14:49 and offered a burnt offering."
14:50 In other words, the circumstances demanded
14:53 that I disobey the explicit command of God.
14:58 And now notice.
14:59 "And Samuel said to Saul,
15:02 'You have done foolishly.
15:04 You have not kept the commandment
15:06 of the Lord your God."
15:08 In other words, you have disobeyed God's word
15:11 "which He commanded you.
15:12 For now the Lord would have established
15:15 your kingdom over Israel forever.
15:17 But now your kingdom shall not continue.
15:20 The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart,
15:24 and the Lord has commanded him
15:25 to be commander over His people,
15:27 because you have not kept
15:29 what the Lord commanded you."
15:31 You see Saul was not the type of person who said,
15:34 God commands us to do things this way
15:37 and I'm gonna do it this way
15:39 no matter what the circumstances,
15:41 I'm simply gonna do what God says
15:44 and let the chips fall where they may.
15:47 He felt that it was necessary sometimes to violate God's word,
15:52 because the situation demanded it.
15:54 We might say that he was a situation ethicist.
15:58 In other words type of Robin Hood ethics
16:03 where you steal from the rich and give to the poor.
16:06 I know God says that you are not supposed to steal,
16:08 but as long as you give to the poor it's okay.
16:11 And that's the way that Saul looked at things.
16:16 That was the first step downward
16:18 on the slippery slope to perdition for Saul.
16:21 We noticed this defect in his character
16:24 that he does not live by every word
16:26 that proceeds out of the mouth of God,
16:28 he takes circumstances
16:30 and allows the circumstances to dictate
16:33 what he should do and what he should not do.
16:36 Then we got a chapter 14.
16:38 We find another step down the slippery slope.
16:42 Do you see Jonathan went against the Philistines
16:46 and he gained a signal victory over the Philistines.
16:49 In fact, Jonathan only slew 20 plus Philistines
16:54 and God took care of the rest.
16:56 Because we're told there in chapter 14,
16:58 that the swords of the Philistines
16:59 were turned upon one another.
17:01 They had confusion in the camp
17:03 and they started slaying one another.
17:07 And Saul of course had given an oath where he said, listen
17:13 and tell I am avenged on the Philistines.
17:17 No one will eat or drink anything,
17:20 everyone will fast until the evening.
17:23 That is until sundown.
17:25 That was a decree that God had not given to Saul.
17:29 You see he is actually giving his own oath
17:32 and his own decrees about what his soldiers should do
17:35 and what his soldiers should not do.
17:38 And so what happens that the soldiers that Saul
17:45 had and whom had been commanded by Jonathan
17:49 went into a wooded area and they were famished
17:51 because they've been in battle.
17:53 And suddenly in the woods they find this area
17:57 where there's honey oozing from a tree
17:59 or oozing from somewhere a honeycomb
18:02 and of course they know the oath that Saul has given
18:06 and that is that no one is to taste anything
18:09 or drink anything until the sunsets, until the evening.
18:14 And so even though all of the soldiers were worn out,
18:17 they obeyed the command of King Saul,
18:19 the unreasonable command of King Saul.
18:22 But you see Jonathan had not heard
18:24 about this command or about this oath.
18:27 And so Jonathan saw one honeycomb
18:29 and he stuck his took his staff in the honeycomb
18:31 and he took his finger and he licked the honey.
18:36 And we're told in Scripture
18:38 that the eyes of Jonathan were brightened
18:43 as a result of the honey.
18:44 In other words his strength was refurbished.
18:47 And then they told him by the way
18:49 do you know that Saul your father has said
18:51 that nobody is to taste anything until sundown on pain of death.
18:56 And Jonathan said, I didn't know that
18:58 he had given that oath or he said that.
19:01 He says besides that that's an unreasonable decree,
19:03 because all these soldiers are fighting hard
19:05 why should they fast?
19:07 Why should they not be able to drink?
19:10 In other words it was an unreasonable decree
19:13 that Saul had given.
19:16 Well, Saul then says
19:18 let's go finish off the Philistines.
19:22 And there's a priest in the midst of course
19:24 and so the priest says
19:25 I think we should consult the Lord
19:26 before we go and finish off the philistines.
19:28 Most of the work has been done,
19:30 but we should go perhaps and finish off the rest.
19:34 And so the priest says lets inquire of the Lord to see
19:36 if this is His will.
19:38 And we're told of the story there in chapter 14
19:40 that Saul was not answered by God.
19:43 In other words God gave him no answer.
19:45 What God was saying is I'm very distressed
19:48 and disturbed by the fact that you gave this oath
19:50 and this decree that your troops
19:53 could not eat or drink anything.
19:55 That is not my command that's your word,
19:57 that's your command.
19:59 You should have allowed them to eat and to drink.
20:02 And so Saul takes the silence of God
20:04 as a sign that God is disturbed
20:07 because somebody has sinned against His oath.
20:11 And so to make a long story short
20:14 it's discovered that Jonathan
20:17 has eaten a little bit of honey there in the woods
20:21 and so Saul tells Jonathan this very day you're gonna die,
20:27 because you violated my oath.
20:30 We start detecting in Saul a very interesting defect.
20:35 He goes not by the Word of God, but when he gives the word
20:40 he expects everybody to do what he says on pain of death.
20:45 And if it hadn't been for the fact
20:47 that the soldiers and the people stood up for Jonathan
20:49 we find this in 1 Samuel 14:45.
20:53 It says "But the people said to Saul,
20:55 'Shall Jonathan die,
20:57 who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel?
21:00 Certainly not!
21:01 As the Lord lives, not one hair of his heads
21:05 shall fall to the ground,
21:06 for he has worked with God this day.'
21:09 So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die."
21:14 We begin to detect that Saul is becoming a bit unreasonable.
21:21 He with impunity violates the Word of God,
21:25 he imposes his own or his own oaths on pain of death.
21:31 But these were only the first steps
21:34 in the road to perdition.
21:36 We find in 1 Samuel Chapter 15
21:40 that Saul goes against the Amalekites
21:44 and God give some specific instructions
21:47 as to what to do with the Amalekites.
21:50 In chapter 15 and versus 1 through 3 of 1 Samuel
21:54 we find these words.
21:56 "Samuel also said to Saul,
21:59 'The Lord sent me to anoint you king
22:02 over His people, over Israel.
22:05 Now therefore, hear the voice of the words of the Lord."
22:08 Notice it's very clear.
22:10 "Heed the voice of the words of the Lord.
22:14 Thus says the Lord of hosts."
22:18 Is this the will of God that's been expressed clearly?
22:23 "I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel,
22:27 how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.
22:32 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy
22:38 all that they have, and do not spare them."
22:43 What does the word all mean?
22:45 It means just that, "All."
22:49 "But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child,
22:53 ox and sheep, camel and donkey."
22:56 He even gives a list of animals which are supposed to be slain.
23:01 But we're told that Saul once again disobeyed
23:04 the explicit word of God, the explicit command of God.
23:09 1 Samuel 15:9 says "But Saul and the people spared Agag
23:16 and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings,
23:21 the lambs, and all that was good,
23:25 and were unwilling to utterly destroy them.
23:29 But everything despised and worthless,
23:32 that they utterly destroyed."
23:36 And with this happens God is agonizing.
23:39 It's interesting to notice how in the next few verses,
23:42 you know, the attitude of God is revealed with such clarity
23:46 and the attitude of Samuel as well.
23:49 Notice verses 10 and 11.
23:51 It says "Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel,
23:53 saying, 'I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king,
23:59 for he has turned back."
24:01 Notice he's turned back, he was following
24:03 and now he's made U turn.
24:04 He was converted and now he's backtracking.
24:08 It says "'He has turned back from following Me,
24:11 and has not performed My commandments.'
24:15 And it grieved Samuel,
24:17 and he cried out to the Lord all night."
24:21 And so then Samuel after agonizing
24:23 and the Lord agonizing over this situation
24:26 where Saul has blatantly violated the command of God
24:30 and he's done things his own way
24:32 obviously we're gonna notice with the motivation.
24:36 The next day Samuel goes to meet Saul.
24:41 And I want you to notice it's a rather lengthy passage,
24:43 but it's very powerful, 1 Samuel 15:13.
24:49 "Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him,
24:54 'Blessed are you of the Lord!
24:57 I have performed the commandment of the Lord.'
25:03 " Now not only he is, he violating God's commandment,
25:06 but he is openly, what?
25:11 "But Samuel said,
25:13 'What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears,
25:19 and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?'
25:23 And Saul said,
25:24 'They have brought them from the Amalekites.'
25:26 " Notice they have brought them from the Amalekites.
25:29 Another flaw.
25:30 He didn't take responsibility for his own actions.
25:37 "So they have brought them from the Amalekites,"
25:41 for the people have brought them from the Amalekites,
25:44 "Its for the people spared
25:45 the best of the sheep and the oxen."
25:47 And now notice there was a good motivation Samuel.
25:51 "To sacrifice to the Lord your God."
25:56 So I doesn't see motivation in disobeying
25:59 what God said.
26:01 By the way this is called rationalization.
26:05 It's called justifying sin
26:08 under the pretext that we're doing
26:10 what God says we're supposed to do.
26:13 And so it says "And Saul said,
26:15 'They have brought them from the Amalekites,
26:16 for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen
26:19 and to sacrifice to the Lord your God.
26:22 And the rest we have utterly destroyed.'
26:24 Then Samuel said to Saul, 'Be quiet!
26:28 And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.'
26:32 And he said to him, speak on.
26:34 So Samuel said,
26:36 'When you were little in your own eyes.'
26:40 " What is he saying there?
26:42 He's saying you were once what?
26:45 You were once humble.
26:47 You were once willing to follow my will, what I said.
26:52 Not substitute your word in place of mine.
26:55 You weren't a rationalized,
26:56 you weren't a liar as you are now.
26:58 "He says, 'When you were a little in your own eyes,
27:03 were you not head of all the tribes of Israel?
27:06 And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel?
27:10 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said,
27:12 'Go, and utterly destroy the sinner, the Amalekites,
27:15 and fight against them until they are consumed.'
27:19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?
27:24 Why did you swoop down on the spoil,
27:27 and do evil in the sight of the Lord?"
27:30 You know, it's evil even to do
27:32 what we consider to be good under good pretexts
27:35 when God has said don't do it.
27:39 "And Saul said to Samuel."
27:42 Noticed this "But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord."
27:48 This is really self justification isn't it?
27:51 He said you are wrong
27:52 I have Obeyed the word of the Lord
27:56 or the voice of the Lord.
27:58 "And gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me,
28:01 and brought back Agag king of Amalek,
28:04 I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites."
28:09 And now notice.
28:10 "But the people took of the plunder."
28:14 Perhaps seen the buck.
28:17 "Sheep and oxen, the best of the things
28:19 which should have been utterly destroyed."
28:22 And we did it for a good reason Lord,
28:23 to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
28:29 Are you starting to detect a series of flaws
28:33 in the character of Saul?
28:35 Slowly but surely
28:37 he's backtracking on his conversion experience.
28:40 You know, there are people
28:41 who say that once you are saved you can never be lost.
28:43 This is one of the most powerful stories in Scripture
28:46 that you can be lost after you're saved.
28:48 You can be born again and you can be lost.
28:52 If you do not persevere onto the end as Scripture says.
28:59 And now I want you to notice what Samuel's response was.
29:02 It's found in verse 22
29:04 and this is where our title comes from.
29:08 "Then Samuel said, 'Has the Lord as great delight
29:12 in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
29:15 as in obeying the voice of the Lord?'
29:19 " Is God so concerned about rituals and ceremonies
29:22 and religious practices as with obeying his voice?
29:27 "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice."
29:31 That means to obey is better than
29:33 ritual are ceremonies.
29:35 "And to heed then the fat of rams."
29:42 And now notice. "For rebellion."
29:45 At this point was Saul rebellious
29:47 against God's clearly revealed will?
29:51 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
29:57 and stubbornness as inequity and idolatry."
30:02 You say how can rebellion be witchcraft?
30:04 We'll come to that in a few moments.
30:07 "Because you have rejected the word of the Lord."
30:11 See it constantly
30:12 the ideas he's rejected the word of the Lord
30:14 and following his own word and his own will.
30:17 "Because you have rejected the word of Lord,
30:20 He also has rejected you from being king."
30:26 And then of course Saul repents.
30:32 Notice what we find in verses 24 to 31.
30:36 "Then Saul said to Samuel, 'I have sinned,
30:41 for I have transgressed
30:42 the command of the Lord and your words,
30:44 because I feared the people and obeyed there voice."
30:47 See what he's doing.
30:49 Is this true repentance?
30:51 True repentance means the buck stops here.
30:54 I'm to blame nobody else is to blame.
30:58 But he's saying, you know,
30:59 I did transgressed the word of the Lord,
31:01 the commandment of Lord
31:02 but, you know, it was because of the people.
31:08 Verse 25 "Now therefore, please pardon my sin,
31:11 and return with me, that I may worship the Lord."
31:14 In other words, what he is sorry about
31:16 is that he's gonna lose his kingship.
31:19 He's not sorry because he had violated the commanded,
31:21 because he's truly repent be the case.
31:24 He's truly sorry for what he's done.
31:27 "But Samuel said to Saul, 'I will not return with you,
31:30 for you have rejected the word of the Lord,
31:32 and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.'
31:36 And as Samuel turned around to go away."
31:38 You can just feel the desperation.
31:40 "Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.
31:45 So Samuel said to him,
31:46 'The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today,
31:49 and has given it to a neighbor of yours,
31:51 who is better than you.
31:53 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent.
31:57 For He is not a man, that He should relent.'
32:00 Then he said, 'I have sinned, yet honor me now,
32:04 please before the elders of my people and before Israel,
32:07 and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.'
32:10 So Samuel turned back after Saul,
32:13 and Saul worshiped the Lord."
32:15 This was false repentance.
32:17 It was like the repentance of Judas
32:21 who went in through the money
32:23 when he saw that his plan had backfired.
32:27 In other words, it was repentance
32:29 over the consequences of sin and not over sin itself.
32:35 And God was already at this point
32:37 choosing the successor of Saul.
32:41 In fact in 1 Samuel 16:7 God says something
32:44 very interesting to Samuel,
32:47 because Samuel had been impressed
32:49 with the physical stature of Saul.
32:52 And so notice 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel,
32:57 'Do not look at his appearance
33:01 or at the height of his stature,
33:04 because I have refused him."
33:08 In other words, don't do like you did with Saul.
33:11 "For the Lord does not see as man sees,
33:15 for man looks at the outward appearance,
33:18 but the Lord looks at the heart."
33:24 And then comes the most tragic part
33:27 of the story of Saul.
33:29 This rationalizing, this liar,
33:32 this individual who blames others,
33:34 this individual who has the tendency
33:37 of constantly going against the expressed will of God,
33:41 this individual who substitutes his word
33:43 and commands on pain of death
33:45 instead of what God has commanded.
33:49 We're told that as a result
33:50 on evil spirits started tormenting Saul.
33:54 Do you remember that rebellion is as what?
33:59 When you failed to listen to the Word of God
34:02 you will end up listening to the word of another spirit.
34:05 When you seize to be under the control of God
34:09 and you rebel against God
34:11 another spirit will come to control you.
34:14 Someone in the world of your cult
34:17 whose name is Satan.
34:19 Its risky business going against the clear revealed Word of God.
34:24 We're told in 1 Samuel 16:14.
34:28 "But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul."
34:31 Notice that he did have the spirit departed from Saul.
34:34 "And a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him."
34:37 When it says from the Lord
34:38 it means that the Lord allowed it.
34:41 "And Saul's servants said to him, 'Surely,
34:44 a distressing spirit from God is troubling you.' "
34:48 But even at this point probation had not closed for Saul.
34:52 Because we're told in verse 23 that there were periods
34:54 when David came and played his harp before Saul
34:57 that the Spirit would depart.
34:58 He was not totally and completely possessed
35:01 at this point yet.
35:02 There was still hope.
35:03 Notice verse 23 "And so it was,
35:06 whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul,
35:09 that David would take a harp and play it with his hand.
35:13 Then Saul would become refreshed and well,
35:16 and the distressing spirit would depart from him."
35:19 You see his destiny hung in the balance.
35:23 He could yet return to the condition
35:26 he was in at the moment of his conversion.
35:29 The spirit was tormenting him,
35:31 but spirit had not possessed him.
35:35 But then David fights Goliath
35:37 and gains the signal victory over Goliath.
35:40 And the women of Israel begins singing the glories of David.
35:45 And now we catch another flaw of Saul,
35:48 which he does not allow the Holy Spirit
35:50 to overcome in his life.
35:52 You see he is hanging onto these tendencies and sins.
35:55 He's not allowing the Holy Spirit
35:56 to get rid of them.
35:59 In fact we're told there
36:00 "So the women sang as they danced."
36:03 Did I give you the reference?
36:05 The reference is 1 Samuel 18:7-9.
36:08 "So the women sang as they danced, and said,
36:10 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.'
36:16 Then Saul was very angry."
36:18 Oh, now he starts having the spirit of jealousy
36:22 and anger.
36:24 And he's looking over his shoulder.
36:27 "Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him,
36:30 and he said, 'They have ascribed to David ten thousands,
36:34 and to me they have ascribed only thousands.
36:38 Now what more can he have but the kingdom?'
36:42 So Saul eyed David from the day forward."
36:46 He had no peace from that day forward,
36:48 because he was always looking over his shoulder
36:51 thinking that David was gonna take his place
36:54 and then instead of allowing the Holy Spirit
36:56 to subdue this tendency in his life
36:59 he allows jealousy to become a rage
37:03 and he begins his onslaught on David.
37:07 In fact, we're told in 1 Samuel 18:10, 11.
37:11 That Saul tried to kill David.
37:14 Anger is now manifesting itself in an evil action,
37:17 because that's why the bible says
37:19 that he who is angry with his brother
37:20 has already committed murder in his heart.
37:23 It says there "And it happened on the next day
37:26 that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul,
37:30 and he prophesied inside the house.
37:33 So David played music with his hand,
37:35 as at other times."
37:36 But now notice the music is not going to
37:39 casts out this evil spirit whose tormenting.
37:42 It says "So David played music with his hand,
37:45 as at other times,
37:46 but there was a spear in Saul's hand.
37:49 And Saul cast the spear, for he said,
37:51 'I will pin David to the wall!'
37:54 But David escaped his presence twice."
37:59 And then of course Saul uses other means
38:01 to try and get rid of David.
38:03 He sends him on a dangerous mission
38:05 among the Philistines
38:06 with the hope that he'll get killed.
38:08 That's 1 Samuel 18:17
38:10 "Then he gives David his daughter in marriage."
38:14 So that he has closer access to David.
38:17 And then of course we have the story in 1 Samuel 19:5, 6
38:21 where Saul tries to pin David to the wall the second time.
38:24 We're told in verses 9 and 10 regarding this event
38:29 when he wanted to hurl his spear or actually hurled his at David.
38:33 It says "Now the distressing spirit
38:35 from the Lord came upon Saul
38:37 as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand.
38:41 And David was playing music with his hand.
38:45 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear,
38:49 but he slipped away from Saul's presence,
38:52 and he drove the spear into the wall.
38:55 So David fled and escaped that night."
38:59 And then of course you see the terrible
39:01 the horrendous character of Saul and how much how far Saul
39:05 so-to-speak Saul has gone
39:08 with the experience that happen in the City of Nob.
39:11 I mean, Saul had the high priest killed,
39:15 he had 85 of the priests killed,
39:18 he had every man, women and child slain
39:21 and erased the city to the ground simply
39:24 because he suspected that the high priest
39:27 was sympathizing with David his enemy.
39:31 And so in the next chapters of 1 Samuel
39:34 you'll find David being persecuted by Saul
39:37 relentlessly like a wild beast.
39:41 And then you come to the
39:42 tragic end of Saul's life.
39:44 Isn't this a sad story? I mean, it's so sad,
39:50 you know, I shed a tear too last night
39:52 when I was sitting and finalizing
39:55 what I was gonna share
39:56 with the congregation this morning.
39:58 Someone who had such a brilliant start,
40:01 but because of serious flaws in his character
40:03 which he did not allow the Holy Spirit to overcome
40:06 and to conquer in his life he went down the slippery slope
40:10 to distraction and prediction.
40:13 So now comes the final chapter of Saul's life.
40:16 Do you remember rebellion is as What?
40:18 Is as witchcraft.
40:20 Now Saul is gonna live the words of Samuel.
40:24 In 1 Samuel Chapter 28 we find Saul
40:30 going to contact a witch,
40:35 rebellion is as witchcraft.
40:39 He's rebelled against God,
40:41 he's trampled on the commandments of God,
40:43 he's justified himself, he's filled with jealousy,
40:46 he's filled with anger,
40:47 he's allowed all of the evil trades
40:49 of his character to manifest themselves
40:52 when he should have allowed the subduing
40:53 influence of the spirit to overcome them
40:56 and now comes the climax of his life.
40:58 God does not answer by hearing him
41:00 or thumbing or by prophets or by in anyway
41:03 any of the traditional ways.
41:04 So he goes to consult the witch of Endor.
41:11 And it's interesting I'm not gonna read the verses,
41:13 in but do you know the word witchcraft
41:15 that we read
41:19 is the identical Hebrew word kesem
41:23 which is used
41:26 where Saul says to the witch please divine for me.
41:33 What is going to happen tomorrow
41:34 the word divine there is practice witchcraft
41:38 and trying communicate with the dead
41:40 to tell me what's gonna happen,
41:41 because the Lord is not telling me anymore.
41:46 Rebellion leads to what?
41:49 To witchcraft. Rebellion is as witchcraft.
41:53 And stubbornness is as idolatry.
41:58 An amazing statement it says in 1 Samuel 28:8, 9
42:03 "So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes,
42:07 and he went, and two men with him,
42:09 and they came to the woman by night.
42:11 And he said, 'Please conduct a seance."
42:13 This is of the New King James translation.
42:16 "Please conduct a seance."
42:19 Actually it's the same word divine.
42:22 Divine not as in God being divine,
42:24 but to do work of divination.
42:30 "Devine for me and bring up for me
42:33 the one I shall name for you."
42:34 And so of course the purported spirit of Samuel comes up
42:38 although it's not really Samuel.
42:41 It's an evil spirits, its Satan disguise as Samuel
42:44 who now is going to speak to Saul.
42:47 Ellen White has a very perceptive comment on this.
42:51 She says in Conflict Encourage, Page 172.
42:56 "Saul knew that in this last act,
43:01 of consulting the witch of Endor,
43:04 he cut the last shred which held him to God."
43:10 See up till this point he still could have been
43:13 influenced by the Holy Spirit.
43:16 "He knew that if he had not before
43:20 willfully separated himself from God,
43:23 this act sealed that separation, and made it final.
43:30 He had made an agreement with death,
43:33 and a covenant with hell.
43:36 The cup of his iniquity was full."
43:43 And then do I need to tell you about the final end of Saul?
43:48 He committed suicide by falling on his own sword.
43:54 His body then was found by the Philistines in the field.
43:58 They strip the body of its armor,
44:01 they cut off the head, they took their head
44:06 to the Temple a Dagon and exhibited it
44:11 they hung it in the temple of Dagon
44:14 and then they dragged his body to Beth-shan
44:17 and hung it up by chains for the birds of the air to eat.
44:21 And if it hadn't been for
44:23 some friends of his from Jabeshgilead
44:25 that rescued his body and gave it an honorable burial,
44:29 he would have been eaten by the birds of the air.
44:34 Tragic story, a story that speaks to us,
44:40 because we might have had a good beginning,
44:43 but the Bible says he who perseveres
44:46 onto the end will be saved.
44:47 Ellen White says that one sin cherish
44:51 will annoy all the power of the gospel in our lives.
44:56 And by the way I would be remised not to introduce
45:00 what we're gonna speak about in the next
45:02 sermon in the series.
45:04 There's a striking parallels between Judas and Saul.
45:09 Both had a good beginning, both were chosen by God,
45:16 both overshadowed
45:18 all of the other disciples in stature and ability.
45:22 I want to share this with you.
45:24 But both were filled with arrogance
45:26 and pride and thirsted for power,
45:29 both desired to be praised and eulogized,
45:33 both were constantly warring against the will of God.
45:38 In both the devil entered their hearts,
45:43 in both they have an attempt to kill.
45:47 In one case David and the other the son of David.
45:53 In both cases after the fact they both repent,
45:58 but it's a false repentance and both commit suicide.
46:04 And in the case of Judas
46:07 the Bible says that the dogs ate his body
46:11 just like the birds were to eat the body of Saul,
46:14 because both of these individuals
46:16 went down the same road.
46:18 In our next sermon we're gonna study about
46:20 the character of Judas in the gospels.
46:23 It's interesting to notice that in Psalm 109
46:28 which is speaking about the experience of Saul
46:33 and it's quoted by Jesus about Judas as well,
46:37 it speaks about somebody taking his office,
46:40 somebody taking Saul's office, it's applied by Jesus
46:44 to speak about somebody taking Judas's office
46:47 when Matthias was elected. Let me read that for you.
46:49 Psalm 109:6-9.
46:52 It says "Set a wicked man over him,
46:56 and let an accuser stand at his right hand.
46:59 When he is judged." This is the betrayer.
47:02 "When he is judged, let him be found guilty,
47:06 and let his prayer become sin."
47:09 That's true of Saul. "Let his days be few."
47:13 In other words, he's not gonna reach
47:15 the full number of his years.
47:17 "And let another" what? "Take his office.
47:21 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."
47:27 That is a divine prophecy about Judas.
47:29 But according to scholars the historical context
47:32 is the context of the experience of Saul,
47:37 because Saul prefigures the experience of Judas.
47:42 Now folks, the Bible tells us that it is risky business
47:49 to go beyond the word of the Lord
47:51 to change the words of the Lord,
47:52 to substitute the word of the Lord,
47:54 to not follow the word of the Lord
47:56 as it is written, as God speaks it to us.
48:00 Do you realize if you go with me
48:02 to 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2,
48:05 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2
48:06 that this same thing is gonna happen at the end of time.
48:11 2 Thessalonians 2:9
48:14 it's speaking about the final antichrist.
48:18 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
48:22 Notice what it says.
48:24 "The coming of the lawless one
48:25 is according to the working of Satan
48:28 with all power and signs and lying wonders,
48:33 and with all unrighteousness or
48:35 unrighteous deception among those who perish."
48:38 Notice, why do they perish?
48:42 "Because they did not receive the love of the truth,
48:45 that they might be saved."
48:47 And because they did not receive the truth like Saul,
48:51 because they did not obey the commands of God like Saul.
48:55 It says "And for this reason God will send them," what?
49:01 "Strong delusion."
49:02 Doesn't mean that God deludes them,
49:03 it means that they step back from God and as a result
49:06 God allows Satan to come in and control, just like Saul.
49:11 It says "And for this reason
49:13 God will send them strong delusion,
49:16 that they should believe the lie,
49:20 that they all may be condemned
49:22 who did not believe the truth
49:24 but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
49:28 So at the end of time we're told that
49:29 those who do not receive the love of the truth
49:32 eventually God will step back
49:34 and a strong illusion will overtake them,
49:36 just like with the case of Saul.
49:40 That's the reason why in Revelation Chapter 18,
49:43 if you go with me there Revelation Chapter 18
49:45 speaking about Babylon.
49:47 By the way, Babylon is prostate Christianity.
49:49 You're aware of that right?
49:51 Babylon is a prostate Christianity
49:53 those who trample upon the Sabbath of the Lord
49:56 even though God says the seventh day
49:58 is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.
50:01 At the end of time they're gonna be many
50:03 who are gonna say we're gonna substitute our word
50:05 instead of the word of God
50:06 and they trample under direct command of God.
50:09 Notice what happens as a result.
50:11 Revelation 18:2 "
50:14 "And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying,
50:16 'Babylon the great is fallen is fallen,
50:19 and has become a dwelling place for'" what?
50:23 "Demons, a prison for every foul spirit,
50:27 and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"
50:32 That's quite a description of Babylon,
50:35 because she has rejected the truth of God.
50:37 She has filled with what?
50:39 With demons according to this.
50:42 In other words, he who does not allow
50:44 his life to be under the control of God
50:46 will inevitably be under the control of another spirit.
50:52 Allow me to read you a couple of statements in closing.
50:56 Great Controversy, Page 36.
51:00 "Every ray of light rejected,
51:04 every warning despised or unheeded,
51:08 every passion indulged,
51:11 every transgression of the law of God,
51:16 is a seed sown
51:19 which yields its unfailing harvest.
51:23 The Spirit of God persistently resisted,
51:28 is at last withdrawn from the sinner,
51:31 and then there is left no power
51:35 to control the evil passions of the soul,
51:38 and no protection from the malice
51:41 and entity of Satan."
51:44 It's a powerful statement.
51:46 That's why the Bible says if you hear His voice
51:48 do not harden your heart today,
51:50 if you hear His voice.
51:53 In another statement Ellen White
51:54 speaks about the unpardonable sin.
51:58 You know, some people wonder
51:59 what is the unpardonable sin?
52:00 The unpardonable sin was when Saul
52:04 reached the point of consulting to witch of Endor
52:08 at that point it was unpardonable,
52:10 up to that point he went down, down, down,
52:12 harden, harden, harden, harden.
52:14 But when he went and consulted the witch,
52:16 rebellion and witchcraft blended together.
52:21 The unpardonable sin is simply the culmination
52:23 of a series of disobedience is to the will of God.
52:27 Ellen white says "The same law
52:29 obtains in the spiritual as in the natural world.
52:33 He who abides in darkness
52:36 will at last lose the power of vision."
52:41 That's true, that's physically true.
52:45 "He who abides in darkness
52:47 will at last lose the power of vision.
52:50 He has shut in by a deeper than midnight blackness
52:54 and to him the brightest noontide can bring no light.
52:59 He walketh in darkness,
53:01 and knoweth not whither he goeth,
53:03 because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
53:08 Through persistently cherishing evil,
53:11 willfully disregarding the pleadings of divine love
53:15 the sinner loses the love for good,
53:18 the desire for God,
53:20 the very capacity to receive the light of heaven.
53:24 The invitation of mercy is still full of love,
53:28 the light is shining as brightly
53:30 as when it first dawned upon his soul,
53:33 but the voice falls on deaf ears,
53:36 the light on blinded eyes.
53:39 No soul is ever finally deserted of God
53:44 given up to his own ways
53:46 so long as there is any hope of his salvation.
53:50 'Man turns from God not God from him.'
53:54 Our heavenly Father follows us with appeals
53:57 and warnings and assurances of compassion
54:01 until further opportunities
54:03 and privileges would be holy in vain.
54:07 The responsibility rests with the sinner.
54:10 By resisting the Spirit of God today
54:14 he prepares the way for a second resistance of light
54:18 when it comes with my dear power.
54:21 Thus he passes out
54:22 from one stage of resistance to another
54:26 until at last the light will fail to impress
54:30 and he will cease to respond in any measure
54:33 to the Spirit of God.
54:34 Then even ' the light that is in thee'
54:38 has become darkness.
54:40 The very truth we do know has become so perverted
54:44 as to increase the blindness of the soul."
54:49 Sobering words.
54:52 It's kind of like an alarm clock.
54:55 What happens if you sleep
54:56 through an alarm clock enough times?
55:00 The time comes when the alarm clock sounds
55:04 and you can't hear it.
55:06 You see the voice of God is like an alarm clock
55:10 says wake-up give Me your sins,
55:14 allowing our spirit to come in
55:16 and subdue the passions of your life,
55:19 the defects of your character.
55:20 Allow Me to come in and rectify it.
55:23 Unfortunately many times people say well, you know,
55:26 I can do this one time and I'll overcome it later.
55:32 Reminds me of the story of Gulliver.
55:34 You remember Gulliver's Travels?
55:36 When he went into the land
55:37 of little small people and stature
55:43 and they started tying him up with threads,
55:46 you remember that?
55:48 And, you know, Gulliver says oh thread,
55:51 I can break thread.
55:54 But what happens if you have enough threads around you.
55:57 The thread becomes rope,
56:00 because a rope is composed of a bunch of threads.
56:04 And so what happens is
56:06 we're tide according to the Bible
56:08 with the coats of our own sins and there is no escape.
56:13 And that's what the Lord wants to prevent
56:18 from happening in our lives.
56:23 Are we listening to the voice of God?
56:26 Are we obeying every known duty?
56:30 The voice of mercy and compassion
56:32 is open before us today.
56:35 All we have to do is hear His voice
56:37 and walk out in faith in the path
56:40 that He has established for us.
56:44 Folks, I pray to God
56:46 that none of us will go down the road of Saul.
56:51 Tragic story, a life that began with true conversion,
56:56 a new heart, the spirit and the life,
56:59 but because he did not allow the spirit to come in to subdue
57:03 the cherry sins and his life
57:05 they overtook his life and eventually destroyed him.
57:11 May we listen to God's voice
57:14 and may God through His Spirit
57:17 refine and noble and overcome
57:22 the defects our characters.