Posts Tagged ‘Satan’s attacks’

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1 (Part 2 of 3)
The Lord Speaks to Samuel

One of the things that has been going through my head and my soul here in the years since I finished my Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree back in May 2014 is whether my calling from God is real or whether it is just some egotistical personal desire. That’s a big difference, ya know! Did God really call me to full time ministry? Was that really His voice, His nudging, His pricking of my soul or was it just an ego trip? One thing is for sure is that all this time, 3 years, later I do begin to wonder. Right now, I am in a phase where I am just saying to the Lord that if it is your will, you will make the path clear and you will make it very clear to me. God certainly knows with me that I am not the brightest bulb in the marquee and instead of tapping me on the shoulder with His ways that He has to hit me up side the head with a 2×4. For you non-Southerners reading this, that means He has to make something exceeding and abundantly clear in no uncertain terms!

However, there have been periods of anger. I have been angry at God for having given me what I thought was His calling but yet He has opened no doors. Lord, I have been faithful. I have done what I perceived as doing what you wanted me to do which was to learn more about you, about your Word, about writing about your Word, about church governance, about working in a church setting, about the administrative part of church, just learning all that I can learn about being a pastor and all the hats they can wear (especially in solo pastor churches). Nothing has been happening. Not even that overwhelming urge drawing me to a people group where I plant a church among them. Close but no cigar kind of feeling.

There have been periods of disillusionment where Satan has a field day in my heart and soul and in those periods where you are down and out about something you are susceptible to listen. Satan can grab hold of even the most vibrant Christ follower at times through disillusionment. Satan, in these times, has told me that I am not good enough to be a full time pastor. He will tell me that you just don’t stack up against these guys who have been pastors since college. You don’t stack up to these pastors who accepted Christ as their Savior at like age 2 or 12 or 22. You, you Mark, you only accepted Jesus as Your Savior at age 39. You ain’t nothing compared to them. You didn’t grow up wanting the same things they wanted. You didn’t learn the preacher lingo. You didn’t learn the secret handshakes. You not even good at quoting Scripture off the cuff. You may know the general idea of books of the Bible but you, you Mark, you can’t pull out a verse of Scripture from memory appropriate for a situation if you tried all day long. You don’t talk, walk, or act like all these lifetime preachers that you know at your church or through North Greenville University. You are just half-ass.

There have been periods where I examine myself for all my character flaws of which I have many. Satan will point to those things as disqualifications and the reason you are not being allowed by God to enter into full-time ministry. That’s a pretty good solid way that Satan speaks to us. You, you Mark, have a sordid past full of bad decisions – divorce, partying too hard, bad choices, choices you wish you never made, loose morals, compromised ethics, all those things. You, you Mark, are not pure of heart. You are just some guy who just a poser. These are the worst attacks of all because it’s all true. I am not qualified to be a man of God full-time in no way shape or form. It is so very true. I am probably the last person God should call into full time ministry.

Do you hear voices in your head? Are you like me in that way? Which one to you listen to? Satan? God? How do you discern the difference? What is of God and what is of Satan? Whose voice are you and will you listen to? That was the thought that came to me this morning as I read through this passage for a second time. Now, with these thoughts in mind let’s read the passage again this morning, 1 Samuel 3:1-4:1:

3 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel served the Lord by assisting Eli. Now in those days messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.

2 One night Eli, who was almost blind by now, had gone to bed. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tabernacle[a] near the Ark of God. 4 Suddenly the Lord called out, “Samuel!”

“Yes?” Samuel replied. “What is it?” 5 He got up and ran to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go back to bed.” So he did.

6 Then the Lord called out again, “Samuel!”

Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

“I didn’t call you, my son,” Eli said. “Go back to bed.”

7 Samuel did not yet know the Lord because he had never had a message from the Lord before. 8 So the Lord called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?”

Then Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9 So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. 12 I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. 13 I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God[b] and he hasn’t disciplined them. 14 So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.”
Samuel Speaks for the Lord

15 Samuel stayed in bed until morning, then got up and opened the doors of the Tabernacle[c] as usual. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had said to him. 16 But Eli called out to him, “Samuel, my son.”

“Here I am,” Samuel replied.

17 “What did the Lord say to you? Tell me everything. And may God strike you and even kill you if you hide anything from me!” 18 So Samuel told Eli everything; he didn’t hold anything back. “It is the Lord’s will,” Eli replied. “Let him do what he thinks best.”

19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. 20 And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle.
4 And Samuel’s words went out to all the people of Israel.

Here, in this passage, we see that, although God had spoken directly and audibly with Moses and Joshua, His audible word became rare during the three centuries of rule by judges. By Eli’s time, no prophets were speaking God’s message to Israel. Why? Look at the attitude of Eli’s sons. They were reflective of the times. They either refused to listen to God or allowed greed to get in the way of communication with Him. Listening and responding is vital in a relationship with God. Although God does not always use the sound of a human voice, He always speaks clearly through His Word under the influence of the Holy Spirit. To receive His messages, we must be ready to listen and to act upon what He tells us. Like Samuel, be ready to say “Here I am” when God calls you to action.

Samuel was confused at first. He didn’t realize that God was speaking to Him. He, first, thought it was his master, the high priest, calling for him. It took three times for Samuel to realize that it was God calling to him. Even though Eli had some serious issues that were going to cost him and his family, he did give Samuel some godly advice – that it was God calling Samuel and not him. Sometimes, we need that godly advice that we need to listen to what God is telling us. So many times in life, we confuse Satan’s twisting of the truth to keep us from following what God wants us to do. Sometimes, we may confuse our pride and/or Satan’s words for God’s words. Sometimes, Satan will keep us from hearing God because he does not want us to be effective in ways God has talented us for the kingdom. He wants to blur the picture such that we will back away from serving God. He will blind us from seeing the path that God has set for us. Because most of all Satan does not want us to be warriors for God’s army. He wants us to be distracted so that we will not serve God. He will even use the difference in God’s timing and our desires to twist the truth that God has called you to do something. God may be growing you and pruning and it may be taking longer than appears necessary to you and then Satan will tell you that you were just barking up the wrong tree, you are not qualified, you are not really called by God. Satan will do whatever it takes to keep you from your God calling.

If God has called you to do something for Him, it will be consistent with Scripture. If God has called you do something, it is not because He thinks you are qualified (because none of us are qualified to serve Him). If God has called you to do something for Him, it will be more than a passing fad. It will be a burning in your soul that you are willing to make any sacrifice to get to it. If it is a true God calling, you will work, work, work to get there. If it is true God calling, you will not take no for answer. If it is a true God calling, you will want it for a long period of time and it will not wane. If it is a true God calling, you will let go of your egotistical desires and wait upon the Lord as He molds you into the servant He wants you to be. If it is a true God calling, He will make the path clear and He will make it plain to you which door you should open and He will make the door appear at the right time. Don’t let Satan be the voice you listen to and shy away from or give up on your God-ordained calling. Listen to the voice of God not Satan.

Listen to the right voice.

Amen and Amen.

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Luke 22:31-38 — This is another passage where we will have to spend a two days. There are three things here that we need to discuss. First, Jesus tells the disciples that they will be targets of Satan. Second, tomorrow, we will look at what Jesus meant by taking up swords and how on the surface that seems a contradiction to his teaching.

Today, let’s talk about Jesus’ prediction of Satan’s attack on the disciples which begins with His prediction of Peter’s denial. Jesus tells the disciples in vv. 31-32 that Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat, but Jesus says, He has pleaded in prayer that their faith should not fail.

The first thing that you will notice here is that Jesus said that Satan had asked to sift the disciples like wheat. Satan has much power in this world because we give it to him. He is not all powerful and independent of us as is our Father in heaven. The only way Satan has power is through our listening to his siren song. He only gains power through the free will God has given us to choose. Remember in Job, Satan must ask to tempt and destroy the life of Job. We must remember that it is our desire for earthly pleasure and security that gives Satan his power. It is not real power. The only real power is the one who created the universe and everything in it including Satan, who at one time was an angel in heaven. His pride and arrogance got him thrown out of heaven. He has spent eternity trying to gather enough power through singing the song of “did got really say that?” to the rest of us to get us to join him in rebellion against God. He has no power except that which we give him.

Satan gets really fired up when we follow Jesus and especially when we serve Him. We are targets of Satan when we are in service to Jesus. When we are doing the Father’s work, Satan will attack us and he will do so at our weakest point. He will look for your weakest point and try to exploit it. If you have lust for beautiful ladies, that is where Satan will attack. If you have lust for money, that is where Satan will attack. There was a television show not too long ago called The Weakest Link. In that show, a person would disqualify themselves with incorrect answers and the host would say, “you are the weakest link, goodbye!” Satan searches for our weakest link so that he can exploit it and make us ineffective for the kingdom of God. If you have lust for power and position, that is where Satan will tempt you. If pride is your weakness (the inability to realize that you are flawed and weak and make mistakes), that is where Satan will attack you. If you have self-worth issues and seek approval in the love and approval of others, that is where Satan will attack you. He will sift us like wheat when we are Christ followers and particularly when you are in service to the Lord. We must recognize our weakest points and steel ourselves. We must not venture in those areas of sin where we know that we are most susceptible to the siren’s song of Satan. We need to be vigilant in prayer because one thing about our weaknesses is that we do not see that they are there.

We need to be constantly in prayer for God to reveal our sin weaknesses to us. Plane crashes are often caused by one flawed piece of equipment necessary for flight. We are the same. Our weakest places for sin are the very places that will crash and discredit our service to the Lord. We are only as strong as our weakest link. So, we must expect Satan to attack us when we are followers, and particularly, leaders among Christ followers. We have seen great Christian leaders brought low by their moral failures due to them not recognizing where they were weakest. We are no different as leaders in our local churches. It doesn’t always make headlines like television evangelists’ failings, but adultery, greed, and any number of other failings have brought down and destroyed leaders and even whole churches at the local level. We have a target on our back when we serve the Lord. Satan will come. “Make book on that, missy” as Principal Vernon said in the Breakfast Club.

Peter was no different. Satan would come after him. Peter’s ultimate flaw was his need for approval from others. His self worth issues led to self-preservation rather than dying with Jesus as he had promised. His need for approval led him to deny rather than defend. He failed at his weakest point. His weakest link was the need for human approval rather than the approval of the Father in heaven. Right where Satan knew he could attack and be successful.

The saving grace in all of this is that when we recognize our weaknesses and our failing and know that we are not self-sufficient, we can repent of our sins and our weaknesses. We can come to Jesus and say forgive me for the things that I listened to Satan about. Forgive me for not seeing my moral weaknesses and letting them destroy me. Please Lord I NEED you. I am flawed and imperfect and I NEED you. I need you to help me overcome my weaknesses and make me effective for your kingdom. Help me to be your child. Help me and cover my weaknesses and give me your strength. When we come to him in weakness, we are ready to be used by him. Peter was restored when he was broken. From that point forward, Peter knew that it was no longer what he could do FOR Jesus but rather what Jesus could do THROUGH him. It is when we realize that we can’t operate on our own strength that we are ready to be used by Jesus. When we realize that, Satan’s sifting reveals wheat and no longer reveals chaff.