Day Four: Daily Devotions
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Today, I was reading in I Samuel 14 & 15
In these chapters, Saul is in full swing as king and one of his son's Jonathan is in charge of 1,000 men. It doesn't say why, it just says that Jonathan decides to attack the Philistines. Well, this causes all kinds of grief. One because Jonathan acted on his own and did not consult with God before the attack it put Saul in a bad position. One he is king NOT Jonathan he should NOT have acted on his own. When Saul heard what Jonathan did he took the blame/credit for the attack to save face. As king your authority can't be overstepped not even by your own son. Then once Samuel hears that "Saul" has attacked the Philistines he rebukes Saul for not asking for God's hand...
Even more grief, because the Bible says, that the Philistines gathered against Israel and with 3,000 chariots, six thousand charioteers and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. Israel had 3,000 men total and the Bible goes on to say, "Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel... So, on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Johathan had them." (I Samuel 13: 19 - 22)
The Israelite army was scared and the men ran and hid. The Bible says, "...they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns...Saul remained in Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with frear....Saul's men began to scatter." (I Samuel 13: 6 - 10)
Saul waited seven days for Samuel to come and build a sacrifice and to pray to God for his hand to be with them in battle. After seven days of waiting, Saul got impatient and (knowing he was rebuked for attacking the Philistines without going to God first "even though that was Jonathan" he desides to build the alter and make his own sacrifice and ask God himself.
It seems here that Saul is trying really hard to get things right. He knows that the last time he fought without asking God's help he got in to trouble so this time he tries to take the proper route and wait for Samuel to come and bless the army and ask for God's help. But Samuel takes a week and has not arrived so Saul "not wanting to do a bad thing again" builds and alter and does the ceremony himself....
Well, Samuel arrives the Bible says, "Just as he finished making the offering. Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him."
No doubt to say, "Hey Sammy, I waited but you were running really late and the men were beginning to run off so I thought I would save a little time and did the sacrifice myself but at least this time I didn't go to battle without asking God...
I can just imagine that Saul is thinking, "I got it right this time."
"What have you done? asked Samuel.
Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord's favor, So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."
"You acted foolishly," Samuel said, "You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdome will not endure..." (I Samuel 13: 11 - 13)
I feel kind of bad for Saul here because you can just here the tone in his words that sound like a child that goes to a parent and says, "Look what I did." Thinking they did a wonderful thing but in reality instead of making art the child has glued his mom's expensive pearls to a piece of cardboard and poured finger paints all over them. The child thinks they worked hard to create a work of art to show the mom or dad but when the art is revealed to the parents all they see is expensive pearls that have been misused and abused.
However, unintentional Saul's mistakes were they were still wrong behaviors. Sometimes we try to use the "but I didn't know" line as a get out of jail free card or even a drop all charges card but when we mess up whether intentionally or not it still matters.
My life has been like that often. I wish I could say but I didn't know how bad that food was for me or I didn't know that secretly within the walls of my arteries I was collecting plaque that was going to cause us to have a heart attach some day. The heart attack will still come whether we know what we are doing to ourselves or not.
It also works with people who try to say that ignorance is an excuse. The people who march arround in sheets and burn crosses on lawns in protest to people who have black or dark skin. Some times they will say, "I was raised this way" or "I saw it growing up and just thought that was normal or ok" but it is still wrong.
Hate is wrong. Right is right and Wrong is wrong no matter what it is and whether we know it or not. We canNOT possibly know everything that there is to know. We have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. We all need to know the Lord as our God and Savior. God knew that there was NO WAY we could be GOOD enough to get into heaven on our own. That is why he sent the gift that is JESUS.
Poor Saul tried so hard to get it all right and he still got it wrong. We will try very hard to get our eating habit formed and our exercise routines down but we are going to have bad days. We are going to stumble and fall. We are going to have failures in our lives but Praise God that He already knew that we would before we do and he is waiting there with his arms out wide. He is waiting to pick us up, dust us off, and set us back facing the right direction. He is our comfort and our peace.
Don't sweat the little things...God is always with us...there will be consequences for our sin...but God is with us ALWAYS...he forgives us but sometimes our sin still holds certain truths to be true...like the plaque is still in my arteries right now...just because I now know what caused it and that I need to do something about it and that I am no working on it, it does not just go away automatically. There are consequences but still forgiveness...
I think I can learn from Saul. Be patient and wait and seek after God's will always. And even though I try really hard sometimes to get stuff right, I have to know that I am still going to get stuff wrong, and there might be consequences for my actions but God is always with me and He loves me still.