Tag: Saul

Saul’s life-changing encounter!

Scripture reading for November 8th: Acts 8-9

In today’s reading we have the account of the conversion of one of the most influential people in the early days of the church.  The first 11 chapters of Acts are primarily centered around the life of Peter and his ministry to the Jews around Jerusalem.  Chapter 9 gives the account of Saul, a zealous Pharisee, who was a persecutor of the early church and was bent on protecting Judaism and eliminating disciples of Jesus.  He is spoken of first as one who gave approval of those who stoned Stephen. (Acts 8:1)  An encounter with Jesus is what Saul needed to radically change his world-view!

“Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.  He went to the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.  As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  So get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:1-6

Saul had been hunting down disciples and as he traveled on a mission to Damascus, the Lord met him personally.  The light of glory threw Saul to the ground and blinded him.  Jesus asked him a simple question.  The question reveals that when anyone persecutes one of Jesus’ followers, He feels it personally!  Saul was also addressed by first name.  Jesus knows each person by name and knows where they are and what they are doing.

Thankfully, Saul repented during the period of blindness that lasted three days.  God sent a disciple named Ananias to lay hands on Saul to receive his sight back.  Ananias was initially afraid of Saul because of his reputation, but God revealed that Saul was His chosen instrument to reach the Gentiles.  (Acts 9:15-16) After he was healed and baptized, Saul began to preach the Gospel in the very synagogues that he had come initially to hunt Christians in!  What a difference an encounter with Jesus makes!

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The witch connection!

Scripture reading for March 25th: 1st Samuel 27-31

Saul, tormented by the evil spirit that came as a result of his rebellion, sought information about the future by disguising himself and going to visit a medium.  He had tried to seek the Lord first, but God didn’t speak through the priests or prophets. (1st Samuel 28:5-6)   He was terrified and desperate for direction.  He, himself, had banned all witches, mediums, and sorcerers from the land in accordance with the law.  But obedience to God was not a priority in his life.

Amazingly, God allowed the spirit of Samuel to be brought up from the dead through this medium.  Samuel spoke prophetically to King Saul one last time, pronouncing his coming death the next day. (1st Samuel 28:16-19)  Because of his rebellion, truth did not bring repentance.  True repentance must be sought while the Lord may be found!  (Psalm 32:6-7)

Saul and his sons died the next day.  Saul was wounded and asked his armor bearer to put him out of his misery.  The armor bearer was terrified and refused, so Saul fell on his own spear, taking his own life!  Even in his death, he took matters into his own hands! (1st Samuel 31:2-6)

Saul’s anointing by Samuel to become king was a wonderful opportunity to rule and lead under God’s guidance.  Saul’s disobedience to God’s clear instructions brought consequences that eventually lead to further rebellion and death.  Someone has said, “sin truly takes us further than we want to go, holds us longer that we want to stay, and exacts a price higher than we want to pay.”

If you are doing something in clear disobedience to the Word of God, take time right now to get down on your knees and ask the Lord for mercy!  God gives grace to the humble.  Repentance is more than just saying you are sorry, it is getting up to go a new direction of willing obedience! (2nd Corinthians 7:9-11)  “But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)

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The Thunder and Rain

Scripture reading for March 19th: 1st Samuel 9-12

Does God ever get sad at the behavior of His people?  Does God ever cry?  Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus and cried out in mourning over Jerusalem as he entered it during Passover week.  We know that God’s heart is full of love for His people and He is sad when they reject Him and His love.

Samuel had faithfully led the people of God for many years.  He had tried to set his sons over them, but the sons were not of the same character as Samuel and the people cried out for a king like the other nations.  (1st Samuel 8:5-7)  God told Samuel that it was not him they were rejecting, but God Himself!  He instructed Samuel to give them what they wanted!

The search for a king went forth under God’s direction and the story of how Saul was chosen is an interesting one.  Saul was out looking for lost donkeys and decided to go to Samuel for wisdom.  God had spoken to Samuel a day earlier that a man from Benjamin would approach him and that was the man to anoint as king.  (1st Samuel 9:15-16)  I find it amusing that the man looking for lost donkeys was placed by God over a bunch of lost “sheep”!  Samuel told him that his donkey’s had been found and now he had a new job of leading the people of Israel!

As a final act after confirming Saul as king, Samuel confronted the people concerning their wicked request for a king.  He pointed out that they had a King in the Lord and had rejected Him.  Samuel warned them not to turn away from the Lord but to serve Him with all their hearts.  The king and people would be shown the seriousness of their ways by a special sign during the normally dry season of wheat harvest.  As Samuel called upon the Lord, He sent thunder and rain upon the land and the people stood in awe of Samuel and the Lord!  (1st Samuel 12:15-18)

This thunder and rain reminds me of God’s heart of weeping over His people when they sinned or rejected Him.  Jesus wept over Jerusalem as He entered it on Palm Sunday!  They missed the time of their King’s coming!  (Luke 19:41-44)  Would that we would remain true to our King and serve Him wholeheartedly!

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The “Witch” way to Trouble!

Scripture reading for March 25: 1st Samuel 27-31

Have you ever been curious about what will happen in the future?  Our world is full of curious people and everyone would like to know about tomorrow.  If we had that information, we feel that we could get rich, save ourselves from disaster, or control the world.  God warns us not to seek any source other than Himself for this information! (Leviticus 19:31) He is the only source of Truth because He alone knows the things to come!  (Isaiah 42:9)

Saul, tormented by the evil spirit that came as a result of his rebellion, sought information about the future by disguising himself and going to visit a medium.  He had tried to seek the Lord first, but God didn’t speak through the priests or prophets. (1st Samuel 28:5-6)   He was terrified and desperate for direction.  He, himself, had banned all witches, mediums, and sorcerers from the land in accordance with the law of God.  His disobedience showed that obedience to God was still not a priority in his life.

This incident is very perplexing because it seems that God allows the spirit of Samuel to be brought up from the dead through this medium.  Samuel speaks prophetically to King Saul one last time, pronouncing his coming death the next day. (1st Samuel 28:16-19)  Again, God’s Word is true and truth about what happened and will happen comes from Him alone.  He can record our sin truthfully and still show mercy to us in the midst of our sin by speaking truth.  When we are in rebellion and under God’s judgment, truth is hard to face.  True repentance must be sought while the Lord may be found!  (Psalm 32:6-7)

True to the Word of Samuel, Saul and his sons die the next day.  Saul is wounded and asks his armor bearer to put him out of his misery.  The armor bearer was terrified and refused, so Saul fell on his own spear, taking his own life!  Even in his death, he took matters into his own hands! (1st Samuel 31:2-6)

The life and death of this first human king of Israel has much to teach us.  Saul’s anointing by Samuel to become king was a wonderful opportunity to rule and lead under God’s guidance.  Saul’s choices to disobey God’s clear instructions brought consequences that eventually lead to further rebellion and death by suicide.  Someone has said, “sin truly takes us further than we want to go, holds us longer that we want to stay, and exacts a price higher than we want to pay”.

If you are doing something in clear disobedience to the Word of God, take time right now to get down on your knees and ask the Lord for mercy!  God gives grace to the humble.  Repentance is more than just saying you are sorry, it is getting up to go a new direction of willing obedience! (2nd Corinthians 7:9-11) Without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins!  “But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)

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We want a King!

Scripture reading for March 19: 1st Samuel 9-12

In yesterday’s reading, the Israelites had demanded a king like the other nations.  (1st Samuel 8:4-5)  God’s people already had a King with the Lord!  But they wanted a king like the other nations.  It was the latest fad!  They wanted a king they could see and follow.  God already knew this would happen.  He told Moses about it! (Deuteronomy 16:14-20)  God knows man’s deepest need is for a relationship Him.  He is always jealously working to bring about His purposes and sometimes lets us have what we want in order to give us what we really need.

God chose Saul, a person who stood above all the others, as Israel’s first king. (1st Samuel 10:23-24)  He chose one who looked the part.  As Samuel anointed him, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he began prophesying. (1st Samuel 10:1, 9-11)  Samuel introduced him to the nation and the people shouted,  “Long live the king!”  This king would not satisfy the people’s need, but would help them to learn that they needed the real King more than ever!  This first king would soon fail to obey and honor the Lord and fall under God’s judgment.  The people would suffer under his leadership!  We must be careful what we ask God for! Human “kings” almost always give us trouble and grief.

Today happens to be my 62nd birthday.  I lived for a few years without a King!  Then I invited the King to rule my life, but did not really let Him have complete say over everything.  I am thankful that my King was patient with me and compassionate towards me.  He drew me with His love and mercy.  I surrendered my life to Him and am so blessed!  My birthday request is that my family would all live under my King.  A further desire would be that all I have had the privilege of knowing and contacting would also know this King as Lord, Savior, and Friend!

Today, if you don’t have a King, please ask the Lord to be your King!  God hears the cry of your heart.  Confess to Him your sin and renounce any other idols in your life.  Believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and the only sacrifice for sin.  He died for our sins and rose again from the dead.  He is coming back as King of Kings!

“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.”  That is the word of faith that we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth,”Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and with your mouth  that you confess and are saved. Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:8-11)

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