1 Samuel 19:1-10 (Part 1) – Jonathan’s Choice & Today’s Prosperity Gospel

Posted: March 3, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 19:1-10 (Part 1 of 6)
Saul Tries to Kill David

Joel Osteen. Creflo Dollar. Jim Bakker. Jen Hatmaker. Male. Female. Stretching gospel truths or departing from them altogether. It’s not just a now problem, but it has been a problem throughout the past decades and throughout the centuries since Jesus ascended. There are false teachers out there. They will teach you what sounds like the gospel but is not the gospel altogether or is a twisting of Scripture to meet cultural acceptance – which is the worst kind of false teaching. Sounds good. Meets our fleshly desires not to have our favorite sins exposed against the harsh truth of the Bible. We must be weary of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who portray themselves as purveyors of God’s truth but they are ravenous wolves on the inside. Jesus warns us about these false prophets in Matthew 7:15. In this blog and the next five, we will look at some of the false teachings that are prevalent today that we as Christ followers and as Christian pastors should be wary.

We must always compare what we are hearing from the mouths of pastors to Scripture. We must ourselves as pastors to check ourselves against Scripture when we speak even informally to those that we lead in our local flocks. There are some very common lies that are purveyed by those who claim to be prophets or pastors today. We must be weary of these lies that are passed off as gospel truth.

The first false doctrine that wildly popular today is the prosperity gospel, as it is known by its detractors. Undoubtedly, some adherents of the carnal prosperity message are motivated by greed. For them, preaching Jesus is a means of financial gain, something Paul rebuked in the strongest possible terms, speaking of men “of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:5).

Yet many sincere believers embrace this message too—and back their case with Scripture. They point to the covenant blessings the Lord promised to Israel for their obedience, including financial prosperity (Deut. 28:1-13). They highlight verses in Proverbs and Psalms that link financial prosperity to generosity, hard work, godly living and faith (e.g., Ps. 112). They remind us of wonderful promises, such as those found in Proverbs 3:9-10—and how Jesus reiterated these in the New Testament with teachings such as, “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38). And they quote Paul, who wrote about the financial principles of sowing and reaping (1 Cor. 9; 2 Cor. 8-9; Phil. 4:11-19).

This philosophical twist on the message of these Scriptures turns the focus on others to a focus on ourselves. It is an if-then proposition. If we give money to the church, God will bless us back financially. If we invest in God’s causes we will reap financial gain on this side of heaven from God. God will bless us financially if we do His will and if we are not getting a return on our investment we must have some unconfessed sin in our lives. This message is so in contrast to what the Bible teaches us as a whole. The Bible wants us to take care of others because we love God and we love others. Love is not an investment. Love is given freely without expectation of return to us. God is not our investment banker. God is not our vending machine. He is the sovereign ruler of the universe who cannot be manipulated by us. God teaches us in His Word and through Jesus that we are to have more concern for the well-being of others than we do for ourselves. We are to store up treasures in heaven not on earth (Matthew 6:19-24). Jesus did not die to make us financially secure. He died to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). We are not to live according to what the people of the present age covet (1 Cor. 7:29-31; 1 John 2:15-17).

The prosperity gospel is an abomination to the faith. There is guarantee that God will bless those who live according to His will but it is not guaranteed that those blessings will be monetary or any other form of earthly financial blessing. Our blessings may come in the form of loosening our grip on our things and seeing things from God’s perspective and we look for ways to bless others with our money or property without expectation of repayment, glory, or reward. Our blessings come from seeing our money and our property as tools for ministry. We become outward facing instead of inward facing. Those are the blessings of aligning ourselves with God’s will. We are not in this ride with Jesus to make ourselves rich. In fact, those that are truly sacrificial in their faith often encounter great suffering and financial loss to serve the Lord. But true faith thinks not of material gain but of the pleasing of God in all that we do. True faith doesn’t care about material things. True faith does not do things for God because we expect a return. True faith just loves God and wants to follow what He commands whether we are financially rewarded for it or not.

That was the idea that came to mind this morning when I read this passage about the choice that Jonathan had to make – to be obedient to his father or to honor his friendship with David, to follow his father’s command which was not biblical or to follow that which was right and true according to God. With that idea in mind let us read about the choice that Jonathan had to make:

Chapter 19
1 Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David, 2 told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. 3 I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”

4 The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. 5 Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”

6 So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”

7 Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before.

8 War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away.

9 But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit[a] from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp, 10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.

In this passage, we are challenged by the concept of obedience to our parents (which is a biblical command) or to obey what we know to be right and true by God’s nature. It is clearly a principle of Scripture that when a father instructs a son to break God’s laws, the son should obey God rather than man. This principle assumes that the son is old enough to be accountable and to be able to discern the difference between an unbiblical command from a parent and what God’s nature is like and what God’s Word tells us to do as to what is right and wrong. A son’s role is to be respectful, helpful and obedient to his parents (see Ephesians 6:1-3 as a New Testament example of this command), but always to be understanding that any commands given by our parent should be compared to Scripture. We must pray as children that our parents are seeking after God’s own heart themselves and would never force us to choose between obeying them and breaking God’s commands.

This very same principle is what we must apply when it comes to the lies that Satan guises in the form of heresies such as the prosperity gospel. We must always compare what we hear from our pastors to what we find in God’s Word. We must understand the message of the entire Bible. We must read and know our Bible so that we know the nature of God. God is not in the investment return business. We do not invest in him to get money back. We do not obey him so that we can have material things. In fact, true faith teaches us that the things that we use to care about so much are just vapors in the wind. True faith calls to care about only that which matters in eternity. If we are being told something different from the message that we know is the tenor and tone of the Bible then we must walk away from it as heresy. We must call heresy what it is and warn others. The true message of the Bible is simply this…loving God, loving others. It is not an eternal plan to make us materially rich on this side of heaven. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The funny thing is that the person of true faith just sees whatever money God grants them as tools for their ministry not as something to be hoarded and accumulated. Sure, we must make sound financial decisions as Christians to ensure that we can take care of ourselves when we are old but thinking of God as our investment banker and thinking of our money as an indiciation of our blessing from God is just plain heresy.

We must compare what we hear from our pastors to Scripture always. We must always obey God and not a preacher. If a preacher is obeying God then he will never ask us to believe something that is in opposition to God’s Word. Pray for your preacher to be one who never strays from God’s Word. I thank God that my current senior pastor, Tim Bowman, and my former senior pastors have all been men who bow down to God’s Word and have never preached anything other than what is consistent with God’s Word.

Amen and Amen.

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