evil spirit

1 Samuel 16.  I love the first part of this chapter.  Its a feel good, lift me up, praise God kind of chapter!  7b “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” really makes my heart leap for joy!

I don’t consider myself to be extremely attractive.  I’m not terrible to look at but I consider myself average when it comes to looks and as I age I seem to get rounder and softer!  So when I read that God looks at the heart that makes me feel like I’m in good shape!  Not perfect but doing pretty good.

However today is not where I rested in the chapter.  Verse 14 has me in thought today.  “Now the Spirit of the Lord has departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.”

Saul had to of been in really bad shape emotionally.  To once had the Spirit of the Lord come upon you.  To feel that closeness with God, glorious strength, and then emptiness.  Alone.  I couldn’t imagine a more desperate emotional state a person could be in.  But Saul wasn’t alone for long.  An evil spirit from the Lord came and tormented him.

God has an evil spirit?  I thought everything from God was good.  God did make everything didn’t He.  He made Satan.  Satan made a choice.  Could this be the same with an evil spirit?  And then with Saul being so empty, so alone, without God’s spirit he would be open to what?  Evil.  He was emotionally vulnerable to an evil spirit.

Because of Saul’s lack of repentance verse 21 tells us that David came to Saul and entered his service.  Again, God is in control and will use the sin of others to complete His will.   His will for our good.  Setting the stage for Christ to fulfill prophesy.

 

whose in control?

Babylon.  Known as the City of gods.  Daniel was captured and taken there.  Revelations 17-18 talk about this great city and it was not as I had expected.  Larry Osborne in his series “Thriving in Babylon” described it as “wicked and evil, the personification of all evil in the sight of the angels”.   Psalm 137:8 warns “O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction”.  Honestly, I wondered if that doesn’t describe the world in which we are living in today.

I have worked in Legislation in two different states.  I have seen some good Legislators who really wanted to make a difference, trying to do the best they thought they could do.  I’ve seen some Legislators who just wanted the position and the freebies that came with it, corruption.  Even though, God was still in control.

Upcoming elections, a lot of trash is going to be talked.  Each candidate is going to be accusing the other of horrendous actions.   Emotions are going to run high, not only on tv but in our homes as well.  God is still in control.

Other countries are going to do unthinkable things, religions will be fighting against each other, killing.  Countries against countries.  Cultures against cultures.  Co-workers against co-workers, fighting between family members.  It’s all on the news every night.

But no matter what is happening God will always be working. God will always be in control.  Just as He was in control when He allowed Nebuchadnezzar to besiege Jerusalem, He is in control of everything today.  Just as God situated Daniel to be His voice to Nebuchadnezzar, God will use godly men and godly women to be His voice even today.

We may not always see His hand working behind the scenes  but “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God” (Rom 14:11).  What will my confession be?  What will your confession be?  Jesus is Lord of my life except when I’m scared, hungry, tired, lonely, hurt?  I have to know that God is in control just as Daniel did.

Just as Daniel resolved not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8) I too want to make sure that with everything happening in the world today, both locally, nationally, world-wide, that I resolve not to defile myself either.  I also pray that God gives me knowledge and understanding  so that I can understand what I need to understand and make my choices according to His will.  Not by my emotions or desires but by His will.  His good and perfect will!

In order for me to make those choices I am going to have to be in Bible daily.  Not as an obligation or scheduled event but to search for answers, to hear God’s voice and allow Him to speak to me.

my God

1 Samuel 15:24-25, 15:30 “..I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.  Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”  “Saul replied, “I have sinned.  But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”

What if I’ve messed up so much that God has left me?  I continue to sin, how much is God willing to forgive?   Go to bed every night begging God to forgive your sin?

Have you ever asked these questions?  Today I have thought about it.  I thought about Saul and how God rejected him.  I started asking God why.  Why did He leave Saul?  Did He lose hope in Saul?  In verse 28 it says the Lord had torn the kingdom of Israel away from Saul.  Why?

Verses 25 and 30 also gave me the answer I had for those questions.  I saw the progression of sin in Saul.  Saul revealed his heart in verse 30 by saying “so I may worship the Lord your God”.   Your God.  He didn’t say my God he said your God.

God had ceased to be Saul’s God.  Saul’s heart had stopped beating for his God and turned his worship towards himself.  It was then that God left Saul.  It wasn’t because Saul was a sinful man.   Paul tells us in Romans 7:7-25 that even he struggled with sin.  He struggled with sin the same as we do.  It’s recorded for us to see and learn from.

If our hearts never leave God, now I’m not talking about when we get so mad that we can’t talk to him, or our pain leaves us with hurt, so exhausted, that to look towards God may leave us feeling faint.  No, I’m talking about the leaving God, walking out, divorcing kind of leaving.  If our hearts turn cold towards God, rejecting Him, then it makes sense that He will leave us.  Just as He left Saul.

humble out girl

1 Samuel 15:24-25, 15:30 “..I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.  Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”  “Saul replied, “I have sinned.  But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.”

Last night I was so mad at my husband.  I had done something and I wanted my husband to give me full recognition and to do it publicly.  I was so full of pride of myself that I wanted him to talk about it with everyone.  He didn’t and  in my arrogance I couldn’t see my sin.  Until this morning while reading God spoke to me and I understood.

Saul was afraid of the people.  Afraid they were going to think less of him then what he wanted them to think.  Saul was in sin but he didn’t see it either.

Samuel wasn’t buying into it either and Saul was getting frustrated.  As Saul progressed into his sin he went from “so I that I may worship the Lord” to “so that I may worship the Lord your God”.

Saul’s heart went from obedience to God to serving himself.  When I started serving myself rather than serving and being obedient to God then I too want to be honored before the people.  I want my husband to praise me and my works.

Jesus tells me (Matthew 6:5) that when my heart wants to be seen by men then I have received my reward in full.

I regret my actions.  God’s reward would of been so much more satisfying than what I received.  Sin only leaves regret and I sinned but I also have hope, hope that God’s kindness will lead me to repentance (Romans 2:4) and reconciliation (Romans 5).

Amen.

 

Friends

Have you ever had a friend that you wondered why they were your friend?  And I’m not talking about when we have insecurities thinking we aren’t good enough.  I’m talking about someone who is hanging around and you aren’t sure of their motives.   Do they like you and your company or are they there because of something you can offer, because you might hold a certain position?  Maybe your are that friend, hanging out with someone for the wrong reasons because they hold a position in your church and you want people to think you are spiritual because you’re friends with that person.  You try to stay close to the boss so that things could possibly be advantageous for you.

I thought about this as I read about Jonathon and his young armor-bearer and their relationship.  This young man would of been assigned to Jonathon.  He might not of had a choice or he might of volunteered for the position.  Either way because of his position he would be with Jonathon all the time.  It would be easy to walk around all puffed up because he served someone of importance but we can see that this young man’s character was that of devotion to God and to Jonathon.

1 Samuel 14:7b “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul”.

They were getting ready to head into battle.  Death was a possibility.  He believed in God and in Jonathon.   He wasn’t following blindly or out of obligation.  He was devoted heart and soul.  So much so that verse 13 tells us that “his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him”.

This is the relationship I pray that my sons grow up experiencing.  That they would be and have friends that would be with them heart and soul.  Not afraid to face the battle together.

I praise God that I have girlfriends I know are not afraid to face the battle with me as well.  And I am not afraid to be in the battle with them either!

I am blessed.

 

Regret

 

1 Samuel 13:12b …and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.  So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.

We moved.  We moved to be closer to family.  We have the right motives, our desires were not impure.  From the outside our move even looked noble.  Our family was getting older and we wanted to try and establish relationships, be closer to parents.

It turned out disastrous.  Feelings were hurt, misunderstanding arose everywhere.  One Christmas almost was cancelled because of the family fighting.  We felt alone.  After a few months we knew that the hand of God had not been with this move.

After everything went horribly wrong we felt compelled to see the Lord.  Had we sought the Lord first we wouldn’t have moved.  The relationships that were distant are now almost nonexistent.  It’s heartbreaking.

But when we looked to God for guidance, when we started listening to His voice again, He moved us back to where we had moved from.  He re-established our relationships, He brought us to where He said home was.  And life is so much richer for us.