Summary: Deal with your fatal flaws before they deal with you.
Dealing with Fatal Flaws (Saul)
Rev. Brian Bill
Video Clip: “Who Do You Place Your Confidence In?”
Did you notice that most people are uncertain when they’re asked this question? If we could ask this same question to people who lived during the time of Samuel, they’d probably give similar answers. A few would say that they trust God but most responses would reveal some pretty shaky spirituality.
We turn now in our study of the Old Testament to the first king of Israel, a man named Saul. Unfortunately, he fell short and he fell hard. We can learn much from him by making sure we don’t follow in his steps. Next week Pastor Dick will be preaching on the life of King David and we’ll find much more positive qualities to follow. Let’s do a little review to see where we’ve been so far in our study.
• Genesis Creation, Fall, and Patriarchs
• Exodus Captivity and Exodus
• Leviticus Offerings and Blood Sacrifices
• Numbers Wilderness Wanderings
• Deuteronomy Loving and Obeying God
• Joshua The Walls Fall When the Will Falls
• Judges Breaking the Cycle of Sin
• Ruth God Weaves His Ways for His Glory and our Good
• 1 Samuel Deal with Fatal Flaws Before They Deal With You
As we focus on the remaining chapters in 1 Samuel, I see eight errors that we need to avoid. These fatal flaws caused huge problems for God’s people. Let’s learn from these negative examples so we don’t repeat these same mistakes. Keep this phrase in mind as we go through the message: Deal with your fatal flaws before they deal with you.
1. Don’t reject God’s reign (8:1-21). Samuel is now getting old and has appointed his sons to be judges. As the people look at these sons they realize that they are not leadership material. Notice verse 3: “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” As a result, in verse 5 the people make a demand: “…now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” Samuel is not very happy about this request and so he goes to prayer (which is his practice). God gives a surprising answer in verse 7: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” After Samuel warns them about the burdens a king will bring, the people refuse to listen to Samuel and are adamant in their demands in verses 19-20: “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
What’s really going on here? While it’s true that Samuel’s sons are sinful and that the nation is not really united and their enemies are threatening to attack, there are two root causes that are still pretty common today.
• A rejection of God’s reign. This is not the first time God’s people have rejected Him. In Numbers 14:4 in the King James Version, we read this: “And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” Instead of living in community as subjects under God’s loving and direct reign, they want to run everything by themselves. In essence they’re saying that they no longer trust God to take care of them. Frankly, they’d rather put their confidence in themselves and in a human person because they don’t believe God’s ways are good enough. Here’s the tragic irony. Every time God’s people trusted in Him they never lost a battle and yet now they want a human king to lead them. If we fast-forward from this point we’ll discover that all of Israel’s kings were bad; and only a handful of Judah’s kings were godly.
• An acceptance of worldly ways. God’s whole mission for Israel was that they not be like the other nations. They were to be different and distinct because they were His treasured possession, offering hope and light to the nations. We all know the pervasive power of peer pressure, don’t we? Romans 12:2 in the Phillips translation is helpful here: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within…” 1 John 2:15 adds: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
God gives them what they ask for. Psalm 106:15 in the King James says: “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Friend, be careful of demanding something that is not what is best for you because God just may give it to you. Perhaps you’ve been warned but you still want what you want. One of the strongest judgments God can make is to hand us over to the desires of our own sinful hearts. Be careful about demanding something that will ultimately be destructive – God just may give it to you! He gave them what they wanted, instead of what He wanted them to have. Hosea 13:11 reveals what God was thinking: “So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away.” Deal with your fatal flaws before they deal with you.