You know, despite all kinds of military activities and victories that King Saul had experienced, the Philistines remained intact and a constant source of trouble for Israel. In fact, we are told in the fourteenth chapter of First Samuel that,
“There was intense warfare with the Philistines as long as Saul lived. Whenever any warrior or any skilled fighting man came to Saul’s attention, Saul would enlist him in the army (I Samuel 14:52)
Wow. Now remember, Saul continued to build a stronger and better army, but he could not defeat the Philistines. Well, Dr. David Tsumurah had an explanation:
“Humanly speaking Saul continued to make progress in strengthening Israel’s military power and administration. His drastic failure did not come from his mishandling of the people or his enemies, but from his neglect and disobedience to God’s Word.”
Oh! That explains it. It was this neglect and disobedience to the God of Isra’el by their king, that not only proved to be fatal for King Saul and his sons but also allowed Israel’s enemies to survive and fight another day as a never ending source of oppression and trouble for Yahweh’s people.
This is a common lesson that while preached and recorded and commented on in history books, and even lamented by every passing generation, the lesson continues to be ignored. Even today!
This is a lesson that modern day Isra’el refuses to acknowledge and makes the same mistakes that their ancestors made. The Lord says to never tolerate shrines to pagan gods in their midst, and modern Isra’el is full of them. The Lord says to drive out Yahweh’s enemies from the land, and instead, Israel tries to make peace with them. The Lord says they are to never give away any piece of the Kingdom of God, and Isra’el only negotiates how little or much they must give away to attain respect and friendship with the world.
This is also a lesson that disciples of Jesus fail to grasp. It is a lesson that says that obedience is the only acceptable demonstration of our love to our Messiah. That’s it! Nothing more. Come on! Jesus came right out and said, “If you really love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments” (John 1415). Can’t get much plainer than that, can He?
Yet false doctrines continue to flood our churches that irrationally proclaim that Christian obedience to God’s Word is legalism and that obedience is not only a thing of the past and something we need to avoid at all costs! Since Messiah’s advent, we are to primarily demonstrate our love for Him is through the affection and feelings of warmth towards Him and our fellow man.
Our Christian leaders have no fear creating self-serving doctrines and then attaching the Lord’s name to them. But come to think of it, many believers don’t feel any obligation to seriously study God’s Word and compare it to the things our leaders are teaching us! I guess our presumption is that if a “man of the cloth” says it, we are simply to sit and accept it as Truth. The problem is if we are given false information and we decide to live by it, that it is his sin and not ours. That he will bear the consequences, not us.
But my friends, that is not how it works (although many of us wish it did). The Lord presents His redemption on us, individual by individual. But almost everything else in this world is interconnected. The most despotic tyrants this earth has ever known, even those who were hated by his own people, will eventually drag his nation down with him.
This is seen over and over, throughout history. It is the fear of that leader that usually keeps the people from taking courageous action against him, hoping that “something” (whatever that is) will happen and save them. But sadly, in the end, it is the people who are held accountable before God for their inaction in the same way that the leader is held accountable for his actions.
You know, I always wonder about the United States. We are supposedly a free nation and given the privilege of selecting our leaders peacefully, and even removing them peacefully if we have to.But will we be held accountable by our Lord for our apathy, inaction, and poor judgment? These are the things we need to consider.
We tend to look at many of the godless nations around the world and wonder how great God’s wrath will be on them. But you know, they don’t actually have the freedom to choose their leaders, like we do. And many are persecuted mercilessly if they look to God for wisdom.
Yet those of us in the West turn around and, like King Saul, absolve ourselves from the terrible and godless decisions of our leaders who we chose and aren’t obligated to keep. We have full liberty to discover the principles of the Word of God and to live in harmony with those principles, but oddly prefer to just put on some blinders, live our private lives, gripe a little bit, wring our hands, and compromise. Well, maybe our sin is greater and our consequences will be greater, and maybe our present circumstances are simply the harbinger of God’s disgust with us. It is a familiar picture; one you can clearly see within our Scriptures.
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