Summary: This is the 6th sermon in the series Pot Holes. What are you replacing God with?
Sunday Morning August 9, 2009
Bel Aire Baptist Church
Series: Pot Holes [#6]
Have you ever been driving down the road and noticed a warning light pop up on the dashboard? What do you do? I have to be honest usually I worry about it for a second and then forget about it until something happens like the car dies or it won’t start, etc… Now more often than not, this usually happens at the most in opportune time possible; so I end up replacing or fixing the part with something that wasn’t designed for that- You know, “rigging it up” until you can fix it right? Usually when you substitute parts that are not the correct part, you will end up “broke down”.
Your life is no different; but aren’t you glad that God is a God of 2nd, 3rd, etc… chances? When we mess up, God allows us to start over. Now, that does not mean that God does not discipline us, because He does; but He corrects us so that we will learn from our mistakes and grow stronger in Him.
If anyone had reason to become a success, it was Saul, the first king of Israel. In the beginning everything was in his favor. He had a divine call from God, and he had the power of God’s Spirit to enable him to do what God wanted. He had a wonderful praying friend in Samuel the prophet, and he had a group of men who supported him. Yet God had to discipline Saul because of his disobedience and lack of trust. Saul went down in history as a great failure at a time when the Nation of Israel needed great success. He lost God’s blessing, his crown, and his life. How do we explain a tragedy such as this? Saul was to blame for his own failure. He abandoned God’s way and began to live on substitutes.
1. Don’t substitute talk for action.
Saul was told to go and destroy the Amalekites. God was allowing Saul another opportunity to serve Him by using him to destroy a long time enemy of His people. How many prisoners was Saul suppose to take? How much spoil and plunder was Saul suppose to take- None. God wanted the enemy totally destroyed and Saul was honored to be the one God chose for this task.
Saul claimed to be obedient to God when he really wasn’t. God knew Saul was lying, as did Samuel; before long, even the people knew about Saul’s lie. The bleating of sheep and the lowing of oxen were clear evidence that he had not obeyed God. Saul was substituting saying for doing. It’s so easy for us as God’s people to substitute words for actions.
2. Don’t substitute excuses for confession.
Saul tried to excuse his disobedience by claiming that the animals were only kept to be sacrificed to God. He then tried to excuse his behavior by putting the blame on the people.
One sin often leads to another when we try to hide our sin. When Saul began his career as king he was humble, obedient, and responsible. He had the respect of the people and the blessing of God; but the more he was elevated, the greater his moral decline became, until finally God said that He was grieved that He had ever made Saul king.
Stop making excuses and confess your sins to God so that you can move forward for Him.
3. Don’t substitute sacrifice for obedience.
Anyone can go through the motions. What God wants is obedience.
4. Don’t substitute reputation for character.
Saul was only concerned about his reputation with the people. He wasn’t concerned about his character or what God thought of him. Twice he said, “I have sinned”. I know we can’t judge a man’s heart, only God can do that; but it sure seems that Saul wasn’t sorry for what he did. He was sorry that he got caught.
Saul also insisted that Samuel go with him to make sacrifice so that everyone could see how holy he was.
5. Don’t substitute your will for God’s will.
God had warned Saul about rebellion the day he was confirmed as king. Saul was told to fear the Lord and follow in His ways; and if he did so everything would go well. When you fear the Lord, you don’t fear the enemy; but in chapter 14 Saul was afraid of the people. In chapter 17 Saul was afraid of Goliath, but David wasn’t because he trusted the Lord. In chapter 18 you will find Saul was afraid of David; and in chapter 28 Saul was afraid of the great enemy army that was about to attack.