1 Samuel 13:1-14 (Part 3) – No Matter How You Justify It, Sin is Still Sin…

Posted: January 8, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 13:1-14 (Part 3 of 3)
War with Philistia, Saul’s Disobedience, and Samuel’s Rebuke

Elena and I had been through two divorces by the time we met each other. We were both weary of marriage not so much from the perspective that we blamed the ones we married previously for the mistakes of our marriages but from the perspective that we no longer trusted ourselves at judging the people we were to marry. After two failed marriages each, we did not want to jump into marriage again. We knew that we loved each other. We knew that we connected on a soulful level. We knew those things but getting married. Wow, that was the last thing we wanted to do. Not another failed marriage. That was not for us. So, we were happy with dating. Having our separate spaces as our fallback positions. She was downstairs at Paces River Apartments in Rock Hill and I was upstairs. It was convenient. Her place or mine. Downstairs or upstairs. We ignored God’s commands when it came to sex outside of marriage. Marriage was that final commitment that neither one of us was ready to take. But we wanted the fun. I was very convincing in that regard. We were committed to each other from the time we started seeing each other exclusively in October 2007 and things were great. Separate apartments but spending all of our time together either at her place or mine.

Then the unthinkable happened. I was transferred by my job to California to assist the finance team out there to get the finance department of my company’s buy-resale division out in the San Francisco Bay area cleaned up and operating correctly. It was to be a temporary assignment that began in May 2008. I was to be back in South Carolina by Thanksgiving 2008. But lo and behold, the existing controller, a person that was over their head in the job (how she got the job I still don’t understand), saw the handwriting on the wall that she was on the way out. In October 2008, she resigned to take a job elsewhere. Immediately, the company offered me the job and I accepted. The job was now a permanent one out there in California. Although my and Elena’s relationship had survived the bi-coastal nature of our love affair from May to October, it was seen as a temporary problem to be overcome. When the job became permanent, we continued to try to make it work. Then, in the Spring of 2009, the seeing each other only every three or four weeks and flying back and forth across the country to do it became too great. We broke up for like two days. The worst two days of each other’s lives. We resolved then that we had to do something. Elena decided to put in for a transfer with her company from their Charlotte, NC facility to their facility in Stockton, CA. It all got approved and by early August 2009, we found an apartment in Livermore, CA which was about halfway between her job and mine.

When moved in together in Livermore, CA that August. It was an adjustment at first. New job for her. New community for us both. Long commutes for us both but we were together. No long flights across the country. It all made sense. But the marriage thing. We just weren’t ready for that. While we were living in Livermore, we found a great new church that was meeting in a school building using the gym and some of the empty offices and classrooms there. We got heavily involved in the church. Although I had accepted Christ as my Savior back in 2001, I was still a spiritual baby up until we started going to Livermore Alive Community Church. Elena accepted Christ as her Savior in October 2009 during a small group meeting at our pastor’s house. The pastor and his wife became our best friends. Although they were 10-15 years younger than us, the pastor and his wife were our spiritual mentors. They grew us up from spiritual babies. We were so rooted in culture that growth in the Spirit was foreign to us but we ate it up under their mentorship. We grew a lot. But as spiritual mentors do, they wait til you have grown up a bit before they start challenging you on how and where your life differs from Scripture.

Our living arrangements were the area that our pastor blasted us after we had grown up some in the Lord. Up until that point, we ignored the fact that we were living together but not married. We had all the excuses in the world. Two failed marriages each. What does a piece of paper mean in a relationship? It’s just a piece of paper. We are committed to each other. We have tried the marriage thing. It didn’t work twice for either one of us. You know the excuses. I bet some of you who are reading this may be in a relationship right now where you are having sex outside of marriage and/or are living with the person to whom you are not married. You probably have your justifications. You probably think it’s cool. It’s modern and all that. We thought that too.

But yet at the same time, we wanted to grow in our walk with Jesus Christ. We just ignored the whole marriage thing. We did not see what we were doing as fornication, as lustful pleasures. We certainly did not see it as wrong. It is funny how when we are immature in Christ how we can ignore our favorite sins as being OK for us. Just as homosexuals ignore the Word of God as their type of relationship being wrong and justify it through detailing their special circumstances, so too do we as heterosexuals often ignore God’s Word about fornication and lust because we build up our own special circumstances as to why God’s Word does not apply to us in this area. This is OK for me because….(insert your justification for actively opposing God’s Word here). We were the same way. We thought we had been granted a special exemption for our fornication because we had earned it from our failed marriages. We were engaged and that was enough of a commitment for us. We were playing married without the full commitment. Our pastor called us on it. He confronted me about it as the man of my house. He iistened to my excuses and to each one, he said “what does God’s Word say?” He went on to tell me that I could not be in any leadership position at our church until I dealt with this open rebellion to God’s Word in my life. It was tough love from a man I highly respected and was my best friend at that point in my life.

What’s your excuse for actively participating in sin? Do you rationalize away the Bible? Do rationalize away that the Bible is antiquated and we can pick and choose what we want to believe in it? Ignoring sin so that you can participate in the sin of your choice does not make it any less sin. God’s Word is timeless and eternal just as the One who inspired it. What was truth in eternity is still truth now.

That’s the thing that I got this morning on this third reading of this passage – how we justify our pet sins that we do not want to give up . Let’s read the passage now:

 

Chapter 13
1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty-two years. 2 Saul selected 3,000 special troops from the army of Israel and sent the rest of the men home. He took 2,000 of the chosen men with him to Micmash and the hill country of Bethel. The other 1,000 went with Saul’s son Jonathan to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin.

3 Soon after this, Jonathan attacked and defeated the garrison of Philistines at Geba. The news spread quickly among the Philistines. So Saul blew the ram’s horn throughout the land, saying, “Hebrews, hear this! Rise up in revolt!” 4 All Israel heard the news that Saul had destroyed the Philistine garrison at Geba and that the Philistines now hated the Israelites more than ever. So the entire Israelite army was summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000[c] chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore! They camped at Micmash east of Beth-aven. 6 The men of Israel saw what a tight spot they were in; and because they were hard pressed by the enemy, they tried to hide in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and cisterns. 7 Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead.

Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. 9 So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.

10 Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, 11 but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”

13 “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

In this passage, we see that Saul had plenty of excuses for his disobedience. But Samuel zeroed in on the real issue, “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you.” Like Saul, we often gloss over our mistakes and sins, trying to justify our actions because of special circumstances or extended logical reasoning that favors us. But our excuses are nothing more than disobedience. God knows our true motives. He forgives, restores, and blesses only when we are honest about our sins. By trying to hide his sins behind excuses, Saul lost God’s blessing over his kingship, pretty much before he got started reigning as king over Israel.

I am pleased to report that because of the tough love shown us by our pastor while we were living in California and our desire to grow in Christ, we recognized our sin as sin. We saw that living together and having sex outside wedlock was wrong. We knew that we loved each other and we know that we wanted ultimately to do things God’s way. We had tried the world’s way for so long. We decided that we wanted to be more like Christ each and every day and in each area of our lives. We no longer ignored and reveled in our sin of not being married but living together. We no longer justified because of our special circumstances. We just saw it for what it was – sin. We married right after a Sunday church service at our church on Sunday, March 21, 2010. We are now approaching our 8th wedding anniversary. It is amazing how God has blessed our marriage and how we have grown together since that confrontation about sin. Certainly, there are sins we each still commit everyday that God is still working on in us. But that recognition of our obvious and blatantly rebellious sin in our lives opened our eyes to all our sins. It opened our eyes to each stronghold sin has in our lives. We are no longer arrogant enough to think that we are good enough or that there are excuses for sin. That realization also makes us oh so grateful for the grace covering that we have in Jesus Christ and thankful for the scales being removed from our eyes by the Holy Spirit. We are aware of our sins and desire to be subject to the chiseling of the Holy Spirit concerning each one.
What are you justifying as an OK sin? What are you ignoring in God’s Word? I have been there. I get you. Open your eyes to the eternal truth of God’s Word and see that which you justify for what it is.

Amen and Amen.

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