Keep It Honest
by Lary R. Hale
“And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee” (I Sam. 13:7-14). “Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass… And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt… But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly… And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed… And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? … Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal… And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou” (From I Sam. 15).
So King Saul lost the kingdom, his life, and maybe his soul as well, for disobeying the commandment of the Lord to him on several occasions (I Chron. 10:13,14). And those commandments just happened to be delivered to him by a man, that being a man of God named Samuel. The fact that Saul failed Samuel’s instructions from the Lord was one thing, but the biggest factor in that equation was something even more serious. If you read the passages carefully, you should have noted that on both occasions listed where Saul failed to keep Samuel’s instructions, he MADE EXCUSES when Samuel reproved his failure. He simply did not come clean with honesty and humility, and that was most assuredly a BIG mistake! In contrast, when David was king, and he took Bathsheba in adultery, and then tried to fix things by having her valiant warrior husband Uriah killed; he also was rebuked for his sin by a prophet. And when that harsh rebuke was delivered to David, he had only one thing to say: “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (I Sam. 12:13). David was worth of death three times over, for adultery, for murder, and for judging the rich man in Nathan’s story, which happened to be David, worthy to die (I Sam. 12:1-7). Nonetheless he was spared, though he was promised a punishing harvest for the things that he had done (I Sam. 12:10-14). If David had made excuses upon being reproved by the prophet, things would have gone much differently for him, and that not for the better. We see something in the book of Deuteronomy that gives us a bit of insight into this matter of not submitting honestly and humbly to the judgment and reproof of a messenger of the Lord: “And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously” (Deut. 17:9-13). The point is that God still has priests, Levites, judges, and prophets today; though in reality they are very few and very far between. Nonetheless if such an one reproves a child of God with instruction, counsel, or reproof that is from heaven; dire consequences can be expected for resisting such a messenger. Jesus said that anyone refusing that kind of correction is to be dealt with “as a heathen man and a publican” (Mat. 18:15-18). The apostle Paul turned disobedient saints over to the devil on certain occasions for unrepentant ways (I Cor. 5:4,5; I Tim. 1:19,20). He also uttered a curse on others who had strayed from the truth and were also bent on turning other saints aside as well (I Cor. 16:22; Gal. 5:12). The moral of the story is that excuses for transgression are NEVER accepted, not by God, nor by his true messengers. One can only expect some kind of woe for such behavior, so be wise and always come clean with honesty, humility, and godly fear; for that truly is the only safe way to deal with God, or with anyone he truly sends to you (Prov. 18:12; Prov. 28:13; Prov. 29:23). Amen.
Original Post at By One Spirit Ministries Facebook page May 11, 2013