Welcome to the InTouch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Friday, June 9. Privilege and opportunity at the beginning of your life don't always guarantee a strong finish.
Let's learn to identify common pitfalls to true success to keep you from getting knocked off track. If you'll turn to 1 Samuel, and Saul was one of those men who had a tremendously promising beginning, but who ended up with a tragic end. Now here is a man who has the responsibility of being the first king of the nation of Israel.
Secondly, he has the privilege of having the support of the people. In fact, after one of the battles, the people wanted to kill the few people who were in opposition to Saul. They said, Now, where are these folks who don't want Saul to be king?
They want to take care of him. And Saul said, No, nobody's going to be put to death today because the Lord has brought this salvation. So I want us to begin tonight in the 13th chapter. And if you'll notice the last verse of chapter 12, verse 25 says, But if you shall do wickedly, you shall be consumed both you and your king. And we said last week that here is a man who had who was standing at the pinnacle as the king of the nation of Israel, everything going for him.
But here's the man who tumbled all the way to the pits and ended up not in the pinnacle place of king, but in the poverty in the lowest area of his life, the lowest time of his life, ending up like many people end up today. We're talking about a man who knew God. Saul believed in God. Saul trusted God. So here's a man who believed God, who honored God, who served God, who obeyed God.
But something happened in his life. And what I want us to do is I want us to trace the events in the life of Saul. So we're going through all the rest of the book of First Samuel here just to trace these events. And I want you to see a pattern here and I want you to see where Saul made his mistakes.
And you see, though you and I are not in the same position he's in, we can also make the same mistakes that he made. So Chapter 13, it says, beginning in verse one, Saul reigned one year and when he had reigned two years over Israel, then he chose him out three thousand. So all through here, we're going to find Saul fighting the Philistines all the way through this first book. Verse five says the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen.
And the people were as the sands of the sea, multitudes of them. When the men of Israel saw them, the verse six says they were in great distress, hiding themselves in caves, thickets, rocks, high places and pits. So verse eight says, because some of the Hebrews, they were just running hither and yon and Saul hardly had an army because the nation of Israel were so frightened of the Philistines.
Verse eight says that he tarred seven days, that is, he waited seven days before the battle, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed. You remember that God sent Samuel to choose Saul and anointed him as the king. But verse eight, but Samuel came not to Gilgal and the people were scattered from him. And so here Saul made his first mistake. Verse nine, Saul said, bring hither a burnt offering to me and peace offerings.
And he offered the burnt offering. The first mistake that Saul made as the king was one of the worst mistakes he ever made. And it was the beginning of his downfall, because what he did here was instead of waiting for Samuel, whose responsibility it was to offer a sacrifice before this war was to take place. Saul took things in his own hands.
He was impatient, refused to wait. And he deliberately, listen, he didn't just commit a little act of disobedience. He deliberately violated a sacred principle and law of God. He knew what he was doing. He knew it was wrong.
In his moment of pride, in his moment of arrogance, in his moment of impatience, in his moment of fretting and becoming anxious and impulsiveness. He said, I will offer the sacrifice. And as a result, he violated probably one of the most sacred laws of the nation of Israel, that he would do the work of the priest when he was not the priest. The scripture says that he offered the sacrifice. Verse 11, and Samuel came. Verse 10, and Saul went out to meet him and might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? You see, Samuel didn't have to find out by asking him.
He already knew something was wrong. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? Saul said, Listen, because I saw that the people were scattered from me and that you came not within the days appointed and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash.
Therefore, said I, the Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal. I've not made supplication to the Lord. I forced myself, therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
How many times have you and I ever said this? And, Lord, you know, I just had to do it. And Samuel said to Saul, You've done a foolish thing. You've not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee. For now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever.
But now thy kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought him a man after his own heart. The Lord has commanded him to be captain over his people because thou has not kept that which the Lord commanded thee. Now, listen, here's the man who's at the pinnacle, but he deliberately violated what he knew was the law of God. And I want to say to you, if a man moves from the pinnacle of whatever God is calling to do, whatever it might be in his particular personal life, and he deliberately, willfully, knowingly, premeditatedly, knowing the law of God says, I'm going to do it anyway, what he's done, he's put a tremendous niche in his armor because he deliberately, willfully violates the law of God. Now, there are some laws that you and I violate may not bring the same penalty as others, but some bring a terrible penalty.
And some of them more than the immediate penalty is what it does to us in the long run because Satan gets a tremendous foothold into our life. And from that act of disobedience, it seems that Satan keeps moving in our life in a way that brings us down to the next step. When a man violates willfully the law of God, what that does, it puts him in a position in his own thinking, his own pride, and there is no real sense of genuine confession here. I mean, you know, he gets upset. And of course, when Samuel says to him, you know, this is what's going to happen as a result of this, naturally, he begins to try to explain it all away and so forth. And yet there's no real sense of genuine repentance on his part. Now, first of all, he rationalized what he did. He tried to explain it away. He said, yes, I did do what God said.
Now, watch this. This can happen to every one of us once we choose a wrong road. Friend, if we don't get off that road quickly, our thinking is going to get distorted.
Not only are we going to make impulsive decisions about things, but we're going to begin to rationalize what we know absolutely to be disobedience to God. So that's exactly what he did. And he lied. He said, now, you know, the people, thus and so. Well, verse 20, verse 21, but the people took of the spoiled sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been only destroyed to sacrifice the Lord thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, has the Lord his great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the boys of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken better than the fat of rams. Now, listen, don't forget this. Rebellion against God is equal to the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is equal to the sin of iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king. Now, you see, here is the man who had everything going for him, but he made a very, very unwise choice to willfully, deliberately, premeditated. He said, I'm going to take things in my own hands. I'm going to do it my way.
Can't wait for Samuel. His thinking got distorted because of his own bitterness. You see, everybody has times in their life when they get a little angry. Maybe it's this, that and the other. But unless we deal with these things, what I want you to see is it's like dominoes. When you hit one of them, the second falls, the second hits the third, the third hits the fourth, the fourth.
The first one doesn't hit the 25th one. It is a sequence of events that can take place in our life unless we stop somewhere and make a change in our thought processes. And I think here's something that we as parents, for example, we have to assume responsibility for our wrong, whatever it might be. Likewise, we must teach our children, assume responsibility for it.
And sometimes that's very difficult to do. For example, if a person has a poor self-image, it's hard to assume responsibility. If their self-esteem is always at the bottom anyway, it's often difficult to assume responsibility. If they're afraid of the consequences, it's difficult to assume responsibility.
But the assumption of responsibility is an indication of strength, not weakness, and of maturity, not immaturity. And so what do you see him doing? He makes a gross mistake and you see one leads to the other.
Let me ask you in your life. Is there something back there that you have grossly violated to the law of God that you have refused to deal with? Well, I want to tell you if it's true, watch out. You're going to make some irrational, foolish decisions. Then you're going to be disobedient about some things and you're going to, you see, listen, watch this. The longer you disobey God in a certain given area, I mean the same area, the longer you disobey God, the more fuel Satan feeds you so that after a while even you honestly believe. Well, you know, now I really don't think it's all that bad because you see it's this circumstance involved and this circumstance involved and before long you say it's really not all that bad. And you see what happens is we get trapped in our thinking. And the terrible thing about deliberate, willful, known disobedience is the fact of what it does to the mind.
It gets warped. And you and I must be very, very honest to deal with the problem. What is it that's motivating me in this area? Why do I keep coming back? How have I embraced what six months ago or five years ago I would have said is absolute gross sin before God? And here I have embraced the very thing.
Let me ask you something. Is there anything in your life tonight that three years ago, six months ago, you'd have said to someone else, you don't want to get involved in that. You don't want to be a part of that.
You don't want that in your life. You know what you would have said to someone else three months ago, six months ago, but tonight you've sort of quietly and slowly embraced that in your own life and tonight it's a part of you. Is there anything in your life tonight that you have embraced or even that you're beginning to rationalize in your life?
I sit and listen to people sometimes and I sit and then I think, no, no, God don't let them say that. When they start off and they begin to give me the story and I can see what they're doing, they're just coating sin. First of all, it's a little light coat and it's sort of tasteless and then they put another coat on there and it's a little bit more attractive. Another little coat, a little bit more attractive. Another little coat that shines a little better. The next coat has got sugar in it. It even has a taste. The next coat is just loaded with sugar and after all it's so sweet and so beautiful and so delightful.
I mean, who wouldn't want that? And that's what we do with sin. We rationalize it and we put in the bosom and we say, after all, that's not going to hurt anybody. It's like putting a rattlesnake in your coat pocket.
He may not bite you as soon as you put him in there, but eventually he's going to get you. And if you're playing with something tonight in your life that you're saying, well, I've got it under control, let me ask you something. When you go to the 66 books of this Bible, can you tell me anybody who could ever control sin?
Nobody. Sin's not to be played with, not to be looked at with, you know, two or three times. He says, flee all appearance of evil. Don't court it. Don't look at it. Don't get the other side of the picture. Don't say, well, you know, every once in a while somebody says, well, I think you've got to get all sides of the picture. I'm going to tell you something. When it comes to sin, there's only one side.
You know why? It's not, it doesn't have any sides. It's round.
It's the same all over and all the way through. When some young person says, well, but now listen, I think to be real honest and objective and intellectual, you've got to get all sides of the picture. Let me ask you this. How many sides are there to stealing? How many sides are there to covetousness? How many sides are there to adultery? How many sides are there to murder? How many sides are there to hatred, bitterness, gossip?
There's just only one side. And you see, here's a man who lost his kingdom because he wouldn't deal with himself. We're going to see a man, David, who had worse problems than Saul.
But you know what? You come back over and over and over today. What's David doing? He's repenting.
He's confessing. There's a heart in David that's not to be found in Saul. Well, then, chapter 18, look, if you will, because in chapter 17, 18, here is the episode of David with Goliath. And you'll recall that Saul and everybody was all troubled across the valley was Goliath the giant. And young David comes on the scene, picks him up a bunch of stones, goes out and announces to Goliath what he's going to do to him.
He's going to kill him and cut off his head. He says, I'm going to do it for the glory of God. And as a result of that, in the 18th chapter of First Samuel, look, if you will, in the seventh verse, as a result of David destroying Goliath, look at the sixth verse. It came to pass, as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistines, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing. The women really got David in trouble. Listen, they came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tabarets, with joy, and with instruments of music. The women answered one to another and they played and said, Saul has slain his thousands. If they'd only stopped that, it would have been all right. And David his ten thousands. What do you think that did? Watch the sequence of events.
Fear, depression, and what? Jealousy began to loom up in Saul's heart because all of a sudden, David. Saul was very rough and the saying displeased him and he said, they have ascribed unto David ten thousands.
To me, they have ascribed but thousands. And what can he have more but the kingdom? And Samuel said, one of your neighbors is going to be anointed king. God has wrenched the kingdom from you and has given it to your neighbor. And here is this young lad, a shepherd boy, who has killed Goliath and even Saul couldn't face him.
Nobody in the army could face him. And all of a sudden, he is a national hero. Now watch this.
Man, listen. When the dominoes in your life begin to tumble, what happens? Fear brings on depression. Depression brings on jealousy.
Jealousy brings on rage. Look, if you will, chapter 18, verse 10, it came to pass in the morning, the evil spirit from God came upon Saul in the midst of the house. And David played with his hand as at other times. And there was a javelin in Saul's hand.
You see, his servant said, let's get somebody to play some sweet music for him, you know, something that'll sort of cheer him up. So that's why my personal feeling was it was a tremendous cloud, a black cloud of depression that came upon Saul. So here's David playing and all of a sudden, in a fit of rage and jealousy, he slings that javelin. The scripture says, he said, I will smite David to the wall.
He said, I'm going to pin him to the wall with it. And David avowed out of his presence. And Saul was afraid of David. Listen, whenever the dominoes in your life begin to fall, here's what you'll find.
I could go all the way through and then one chapter, there are three times. Here's what you're going to find that the rest of 1 Samuel and Saul feared and Saul was afraid and Saul feared and Saul was afraid and Saul feared and Saul was afraid because you see, when the dominoes of life begin to tumble and you're not willing to deal with yourself and deal with things as they are, friend, fear is going to grip you. And if you aren't in the state of depression and rage and jealousy among people who are around you, you're going to do something irrational. You're going to do some things that you know are not right.
But you see, you lose control. And let me say this to you. All of us have sinned against God and he's forgiven all of us of a whole lot of junk in our lives. But here's what I want you to see.
It's one thing to be disobedient to God and be sorry and greed and regretful and ask God to forgive you. But I want to tell you, friend, when you stiffen your back and you say, I'm going to make it somehow, one way or another, I'm going to make it. I want to tell you that God's either going to break you and shatter you in tears and grief and remorse and confession, repentance.
Or he may just let your dominoes keep falling if you insist on having it your way and end up with a wrecked, ruined life. And I want to say to you, here's a man who is a perfect example of a fellow who had a promising beginning, but a tragic ending. But what I want you to see is this.
It could happen to any one of us. Father, we thank you tonight for loving us. Grace that is greater than all of our sin. Thank you for reaching down to forgive and to cleanse. And, Father, I ask tonight in Jesus' name that somebody here trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. Father, I pray that if the dominoes are falling in somebody's life tonight, God, that would stop this very night through confession, genuine openness and repentance. And this I pray in Jesus' name.
Amen. Thank you for listening to A Tragic End to a Promising Beginning. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-09 03:53:58 / 2023-06-09 04:02:17 / 8