Part 3 of “Saul: The Story of a Man Who Forgot His Work’s Purpose!”
Based on 1 Samuel 15
Pastor Jerry Ingalls
September 3, 2017
As we continue in our sermon series on the Old Testament Kings & Prophets, we look at one of the most challenging chapters in King Saul’s story (I Samuel 15). This is the turning point of Saul’s story!
What can we learn from Saul’s fall from humility to pride? What life lesson can we learn and apply to our lives?
King Saul’s story has tragically moved from humility to pride and we all know that pride comes before the fall. As outside observers of his story our hearts are broken for what has happened to King Saul, but do we realize that Saul’s story also tells our story? We shouldn’t stand in judgment of his fall, we should learn from it and ask for God’s mercy to lead us into deeper faith and Spirit-dependency.
With successes under our belts, we become confident, self-sufficient, motivated for future victories. Like King Saul, we become conceited in our own self-sufficiency and stop working out of the calling and anointing of God on our lives. We forget the One who gave us the blessings in the first place!
Saul stopped living out of the Spirit, and started fulfilling his fleshly desires and soulish intentions. Saul became intoxicated by power and influence and then God gave him over to his own intoxication. This week and next, King Saul’s story is going to teach us how to live in the Spirit so that our pride doesn’t become our fall!
Here is today’s Big Life Lesson: The Spirit of God must be the dominant influence of our daily work. We cannot live out of fleshly desires or soulish intentions. You have heard it said that the way to Hell is paved with good intentions; I think this may be what that quote is referencing. To know God we must live by Faith, which is a life of walking in the Spirit. This is the life that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Your good intentions don’t please Him; your faith in Him does!
In our Scripture today, King Saul had been given a very important task to do by God through the prophet Samuel. We enter this story after Saul has completed his work, but Saul had not completed the task as God has commanded. Listen to First Samuel 15:17-23 (NIV): Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”
20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”
22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Saul is the story of a man who stopped allowing the Spirit of God to be the dominant influence of his decision making. Saul let his soulish intentions (“burnt offerings”) and his fleshly desires (“sacrifices”) be more important to him, than what God was asking Him to do through His Word (“obeying the Lord”).
God gave King Saul over to his soulish intentions and fleshly desires. The evidence of this was his half-hearted obedience and his replacing of the Word of God with his own personal ambitions for his projects and people as the direction for his life. Saul sincerely thought his works should have please God, but that is because Saul had deceived himself in thinking that what he wanted was what God wanted. He had stopped listening and obeying.
Guess what? Pastors and people in the church do this every day of every week! We convince ourselves that we are working for God when all we are doing is fulfilling our own personal ambitions (fleshly desires and soulish intentions) for “our” church instead of obeying God and being “His Church.”
Our efforts to please God are not pleasing when they are our efforts! There is only one thing that pleases God and that is a life of faith. Hebrews 11:6 states that it is impossible to please God apart from FAITH!
It’s time for us to repent and get our lives back in rhythm with God: The Spirit of God must be the dominant influence of our daily work. We must surrender and submit our good intentions and well-meaning projects to God. And in place, we need to allow the Spirit of God in us to direct our lives according to the Word of God. That happens through faith!
What does the life of the Spirit look like when it is lived in faith? Please welcome up Carole Hiatt who will be sharing with us from her spirit to our spirits, through the quickening power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each of us through faith in Jesus Christ.