Sunday, June 28, 2015

Zero to Hero: Saul and David

Pre-sermon sermon, addressing the week's events in our national life:
"We are not ruled by fear, we are ruled by love."

The message starts with the story of Saul in I Samuel 9.  Samuel recognizes that this comely young man is to be king over Israel.  The anointing was on Saul and he prophesied.  Saul was put in a position of authority because it was obvious that was where he belonged.

When the heathen hordes ordered Israel to submit or die, Saul burned with anger, cut up his oxen, sent the parts throughout Israel with the message to "join me to fight, or be even as this ox."  Saul was very motivational!  300,000 joined to fight with him.

God's promise to Saul:  You will be blessed so long as you are obedient to my will.

However, Saul had a problem.  The difficulty was not so much with what he did, but with the heart with which he did it.  Saul convinced himself that he himself could offer the sacrifice in Samuel's absence.  Samuel was pretty upset and told Saul his kingdom would not endure (chapter 13).

Saul looked good, but his heart was flawed.  He was lifted up with pride, the sin from which all other sin grows.

In the Book of Acts, we are told that God said, David will do what I want him to do.
Samuel saw something different in David.

David had a heart after God's own heart.  God's workman must be empty of self, and this we see in David.  Samuel anointed David, making him king over Israel years before David ascended to the throne.

Saul had it all.  My how far he fell.

cf. Saul and David

Saul was concerned with his own kingdom; David was concerned with God's will.
Saul was disobedient; David heeded God's word.
When you hear the Word of God, do you walk rightly in it?
Saul's heart was set to forget God's word; David's heart was set to receive God's word.
Saul was rebellious and defensive; David was receptive and repentant.

Oswald Chambers gave us a three-point test on the scale from Pride to Humility.
1.  Precedence.  How do we react when another gets the assignment we expected or when we are overlooked.
2.  Sincerity.  You may self-evaluate and be critical of yourself, but how do you feel when rivals criticize you?
3.  Criticism.  Does criticism arouse hostility in your heart?  Are you overly critical of others?

Saul was critical of others; David valued others.
Are your thoughts predominately  critical or uplifting?

God help us to have a heart that is after Your own heart.

I need You every hour.

David as role model:  When David fell, he got up facing the right direction.

Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning

As I left the sanctuary, Pastor greeted me.  I asked him this:  If I have a natural tendency to be critical, do I get points if I don't express the criticism aloud?
"Pray,"  he responded.  "Pray more."

A few years ago, vanilla posted a brief sermonette about Saul


Grace said...

Perhaps you have a natural tendency to correct and teach? Would that be considered criticism? I think we need a different word than critical for what Pastor is trying to convey.

vanilla said...

Grace, I would like to think that your first sentence defines my understanding of criticism. "Critical" and "criticism" are among those words that seem often to lead to misunderstandings. When I say that I have a critical nature I mean to imply that I tend to be analytical, seeing the positive as well as the negative. Here, perhaps, "critiquing" would be preferable to "criticising." I think most people tend to think "criticism" is a term implying only the negative, and in that sense, no one likes to be criticised.

Perhaps "evaluation" is what is sought here. Pastor pointed out that we can self-evaluate and sometimes be harshly critical, but someone else offering the same criticism might be deeply resented.

As a side-note using another "misunderstood" word, we find that seminarians speak of "apologetics" by which they do not mean they are apologizing for their beliefs, but rather they are making a rational analysis of the beliefs they hold, insofar as that might be done. Well, you studied all that.

Knowing, then, my bent to criticism, I pray, Lord, help me to have a heart that is after Your own heart.