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Kings In Conflict Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2022 1:00 am

Kings In Conflict Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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September 8, 2022 1:00 am

Relational conflict steals our peace and even our sleep. David’s long road to the throne was blocked by Saul, who attempted to kill him with a spear. In this message, we recognize three traits of a spear-thrower. While Saul tried to hold onto his kingdom, David humbly waited and trusted that God’s promises would come to pass.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Paul had a thorn in the flesh. David had Saul chasing him for years. God has ways of refining us, even though it hurts. God's choice of David as king set in motion a long road to the throne, a road blocked by an existing king who had no intention of leaving.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, I imagine being on the run for so many years had to leave an impact on David. It really did have an impact on David. But one of the takeaways is this, that in the midst of running from Saul, in the midst of his fear, in the midst of his veritable insanity as a result of being chased by this evil man, David displayed wonderful qualities. He could have, of course, killed Saul.

He had that opportunity and his men told him to, but he wouldn't. But not only that, I love this, as a result of running from Saul, David wrote psalms that we still love and read and are blessed by today. My friend, we never know the good that the trials that we are going through. We never see the full impact of the good that they produce. I've written a book entitled Growing Through Conflict. It's really studies from the life of David. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. There is a purpose in our suffering. There is a purpose in God allowing enemies into our lives. Why this emotional harassment? Why the paranoia? Why the schizophrenia? It is because Saul was disobedient and God was using the devil to discipline someone who was this disobedient.

Now, you see, what God was saying is, Saul, you aren't going to repent, are you? You aren't going to submit the kingdom to me. You think it's yours. It's mine, but you are unwilling to admit it. So you want to be jealous? All right. You want to be jealous?

I'll make you insanely jealous. Therefore, the duplicity, the duplicity. You want to live in sin? Fine. I'll let you live in sin. In fact, I'll let you live in so much sin that just like the children of Israel who wanted to eat manna and they got tired of it and they said, we don't like the manna. And God says, you want meat, don't you?

And they said, yeah, do we ever want meat? And God says, I'll give it to you until it comes out of your nostrils. Always remember this that the price of dabbling with sin is bondage to it. And God says, Saul, there's some work to do in your heart here and I'm going to use an evil spirit to harass you. What was God after? God was after Saul's submission. God was after Saul saying, game up. You own the kingdom.

Do as seems good in your sight. You have the right to take it from me and you have the right to give it to David because it is yours. Did Saul say that? Not on your life. Not on your life.

No. Don't ever underestimate the suffering that people are willing to endure in order to keep their precious little kingdom that they will not give up to God no matter what. Will we see Saul in heaven? Was he saved under the Old Testament sense of the word? Many people believe not. I think that he might be there because the Holy Spirit of God came upon him.

The Spirit of God anointed him. You say, well, surely, Pastor Lutzer, this was Old Testament. God would never use the devil like this in the life of a Christian, would he?

Notice the way you asked the question, would he? Please tell me that the answer is no. Well, the answer is yes.

The answer is yes. 1 Corinthians 5. Paul says you have somebody in your midst who's living in immorality.

As a matter of fact, he's actually in an incestuous relationship with his mother and you aren't dealing with it. And what I've decided to do is I've decided to deliver the one unto Satan that his spirit may be saved in the day of Jesus Christ. But meanwhile, I will allow him to be harassed by demons until he comes clean and until you as a church deal with the issue that you're avoiding. And so what does God do to Saul? He lets him stew in his own juice of his making.

He allows him to go through this tremendous, tremendous emotional and psychological distress until Saul becomes suicidal and he's trying to do all these things. Now, where's David in all of this? David understands the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of God. Would you take your Bible for a moment and turn to Psalm 59? You know why I'm asking you to turn to Psalm 59?

You've probably already guessed it. This is one of the Psalms written when David was pursued by Saul. And we get a glimpse into David's heart in Psalm 59. You'll notice that in your Bible it says, a Psalm of David when Saul sent men and they watched the house in order to kill him.

We read only the first few verses and a few verses from the end of the chapter. Deliver me from my enemies, oh my God. Set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from those who do iniquity and save me from men of bloodshed. For behold, they have set an ambush for my life. Fierce men launch an attack against me. Not for my transgression or for my sin, oh Lord.

For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me. Arouse thyself to help me. Notice how the Psalm ends. But as for me, I shall sing of thy strength. Yes, I shall shout joyfully of thy loving kindness in the morning, for thou has been my stronghold. What a beautiful figure of speech. Imagine running into a stronghold with all these spears being thrown at you and a refuge in the day of my distress. Oh my strength, I will sing praises to thee. For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me loving kindness. That was David.

Jealousy versus humility, manipulation versus trust, the evil spirit versus the Holy Spirit versus the Holy Spirit. Who was this man, Saul? Who was he? This is a series of messages on the life of David, but we have to comment on Saul because he intersects with David at this point for a 12-year period. Who was this man, Saul? Well, we know that he had an excellent lineage. He had charisma.

The Bible says that he was taller than all of the other ones who were there. He unified the nation. Saul was not that bad a king, really.

He got worse when the paranoia hit, but up until that time, you know that he unified the nation, he fought some battles, and he won. He was a prophet in the midst of all of this. Are you surprised that chapter 19, and your Bibles are open to 18, so notice chapter 19, it says in verse 23, Saul proceeded to Rama and the Spirit of God came upon him, that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naoth in Rama. The Holy Spirit is upon him. A man of good lineage, a good leader, charismatic in personality, anointed by God, and a prophet. Have you ever wondered why it is that God sometimes anoints unqualified people whose lives are so mixed in terms of their character? Why would God choose a soul? Well, as Gene Edwards points out in his lovely little book on this whole topic, he says the reason that God does it is that God is always exposing human nature. He's always exposing human nature, and therefore he will sometimes allow people in positions of responsibility, and you know this at your workplace, you know that sometimes some of the least qualified people get the job. You also know that sometimes when people get the job, they change, and instead of being your friend, they now become your enemy because what they want to do is to advance their kingdom, which they believe belongs to them, and no one can take it from them.

Don't you dare touch their kingdom. And sometimes even in Christian circles, God is always asking for the help of God, and God exalts those who are really in character disqualified because God wants to reveal to everyone the deceitfulness and the depth of human depravity and human sin. Let me help all of us put this in some kind of a perspective and hopefully to change our lives forever because we've heard God's word. That is always the intention. Whenever a Sunday school teacher stands up to teach or a preacher stands to preach, his intention should be through the Spirit of God and the Word of God to change people's lives forever.

We can't do it, but God can. What do we know about people who are spear throwers? And you've met them.

What do we know about them? Number one, they always believe the kingdom is theirs. The kingdom is mine, and therefore they will manipulate, they will cajole, they will intimidate, they will hang on, they will undermine others, they will set traps for people, they will delight in other people's weaknesses, they will exploit other people's failures, they will magnify their own successes, however small they may be, they become very, very big.

Why? Because in their hearts they say, this kingdom is mine. There's a second characteristic of people who are those who believe that the kingdom is theirs, and that is they will preach one thing and they'll do another.

As I say, Saul is a gold mine of psychological insight. But one of the things that he does is he makes a law throughout the land, and it was a good law that all the witches should be put out of the land. In fact, in Old Testament times, the witches are to be put to death. So what Saul said is, I want to obey the word of the Lord, and I don't want any of you ever going to a witch. And lo and behold, when he's really in trouble and God isn't answering him, because God knows that the guy is just playing games, God doesn't answer him, what does he do?

He ends up going to the witch at Endor. It is the law of the grand exception, the law of the grand exception. You don't do it, but I'm the leader, and I can't do it. You don't do it, but I'm the leader, and I can. Those kinds of people believe, you see, that the kingdom is theirs. They're the spear throwers.

They're the spear throwers, however nice they might be on the outside. Thirdly, that kind of a person would rather destroy the kingdom, destroy the kingdom, than give it up and leave it. You've seen this so often, haven't you?

If I can't have it my way, if things aren't going to go the way in which I want them to go, I will hope and pray and plot that the whole thing will go up in smoke and fail. My dear friend, I want to ask you something. I have to ask you this.

Whose kingdom is it anyway? That's the question. Why did God want David to endure the pain, the pain? And again, I refer to Gene Edwards. Why did David endure 12 years of harassment from a spear thrower?

I'll tell you why. God wanted to take all of the soul out of David's heart. Because, you see, if God just had exalted David and said, David, you know, you've won over Goliath, you're anointed, you're anointed, you're going to be king, you know what he'd have been? He'd have been king Saul number two.

That's what he would have been. Because Edwards is absolutely right when he says, and listen to this carefully, Saul is in your bloodstream and he is in my bloodstream. He is in the marrow of our bones. He is in our blood cells, yes, but he is in our sin. He is in every fiber of our being. We are all born souls and we will hang on to the kingdom until God takes us through enough difficulty and enough hardship and enough failure until we are willing to give it up finally and be rid of the whole thing and say that, God, you have the right to give it to whomsoever you will and I am your servant. We either do that or else we die a soul, paranoid, angry, suspicious, fearful, bitter, and miserable.

We do one of the two. You know, one day people came to John the Baptist and they said, you know, John, you're drawing crowds, you're popular. Everybody's heard of John the Baptist. And now they're somebody else out there who's named Jesus and, you know, he's baptizing and everybody's going to him and the disciples were concerned because they thought, you know, it's difficult to see someone and to see his popularity wane and it's hard after you're used to crowds to see them thin out and to go somewhere else. And they came to John and they said, you know, we're a little bit concerned and John said something that I wish would be branded upon the mind and art of every person.

I believe that if we understood John's words there would be less psychological difficulty, we'd have less conflict, we'd have more peace, people would sleep better. He said these amazing words. Are you ready for them, by the way?

I don't know that I can share them with you until you're ready for it. Preach, preach, preach. You think you're ready? Preach, preach, preach.

You think you're ready? He said a man can receive nothing except it be given to him from heaven. Nothing.

Nothing. You have ability, they are God-given abilities. You have opportunities, they are God-given opportunities. You have an income, it is a God-given income. And don't you ever think it is yours because the kingdom belongs to God. The kingdom belongs to God.

And when we understand that, suddenly we become free from all of the anxiety and all of the image building and all of the jockeying and all of the need to make ourselves look good. Finally, we lay it all at the cross because we know that the kingdom, the kingdom belongs to God. You say, well, I'm a Saul. Well, thank you for admitting it.

I'm not a poet, but I'm going to try it right now. There's a little bit of Saul in us all. So you're a Saul. Welcome to the Saul Club. In fact, you've been a member ever since you were born. It's just that you haven't admitted it until now.

What is the answer? Thorough, complete repentance. Not half-hearted, oh yes, yes, I realize that I should change. Yes, yes, I really should.

No, no, come on, you've said that before and nothing's happened. It's like Saul, I've played the fool, I've heard exceedingly, but then goes on living the way he's living. It is a submission to God that is thorough and that is complete, a finally giving up of all things because the kingdom is God's.

And secondly, secondly, a recognition that we now live pleasing the Father. You don't have to write all the injustices. Do you see now, by the way, the rebellion of this selfish age, do you see it where we have such individualism that if you don't do this, I'll sue you? You throw one spear and I'm going to take that spear out of the wall and I'm going to pin you to the wall. For the most part, godless, selfish rebellion.

Not maybe all the time, but for the most part. The Bible says when Jesus was reviled, he reviled not again. When he suffered, he uttered no threats. What did he do? He didn't say, boy, am I ever going to send you a zinger. You threw that spear. Wait till I get.

No. He committed himself unto him who judges righteously and said, God, I'm going to let you take care of it. I belong to you. The cross that I'm going to die on belongs to you. Luther says even the devil is God's devil. I submit myself to your will and to your plan because the whole thing is yours.

It's yours. It's God's. Blessed are those. Blessed are those.

Free are those. Happy are those who finally give the whole kingdom to God. Would you join me as we pray? And, Father, we ask in the name of Jesus now that you will do a mighty work in the lives of all who've heard.

Some who are listening need to go home. They need to get on their knees and they need to stay there, perhaps till tomorrow, until finally the kingdom has been submitted and surrendered. Oh, Father, would you work in my heart and the life of the Son of God? Would you work in my heart and the life of the staff and the elders, the leadership, all those who participate as members and our visitors and friends?

And would you graciously, would you graciously remove the soul that we see so clearly in ourselves? And we ask now in the name of Christ that your people will be submissive to your spirit. Father, complete the work that you've begun well after this meeting is over. May the Spirit of God spill into our lives this afternoon and tomorrow and all the days that we might be free. In Jesus' name, Amen.

If I could talk to you one on one, what would you tell me today? Are you in a place where you are going through conflict? Are you going through a place where you are being pursued, where there is injustice? Certainly we should seek justice, but oftentimes in this life it is very elusive and oftentimes we just need to let things go and give them to God. That's why I've written the book entitled Growing Through Conflict, Lessons from the Life of David. Perhaps nobody in all the Bible teaches us lessons just like that as David does. Failure, yes. Being pursued unjustly, yes.

Fear, yes. But at the end of the day, always coming back to God and that's where we always need to be. I believe that this resource will be of tremendous blessing and help in your walk with God. As a matter of fact, I trust that you will share it with others because they also are going through times of conflict.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer. Of course, as you know, rtwoffer is all one word.

rtwoffer.com, or you can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Yes, we do grow through conflict. David had to learn that and so do we.

Ask for the book Growing Through Conflict, Lessons from the Life of David, rtwoffer.com, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Dabbling in the occult is a very dangerous thing, something believers are told to avoid. One of our listeners has this question about an Old Testament king of Israel. Pastor Lutzer, do you believe that Saul was a believer even though he went to the witch at Endor? Excellent question, and someday when I get to heaven, I'm going to try to find Saul to see if he's there.

Not absolutely convinced that he'll be there, but I think he might be. You know, the Bible does say in his early days that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied, and it also says that he was changed into a different man. That sounds like conversion to me.

And yet when you read the rest of his life, it was such a mixed bag. Jealousy. An evil spirit from the Lord comes and terrorizes him so that he tries to kill David. Disobedience. He repents, but his repentance is fake.

It doesn't last. It is really half-hearted repentance. And then at the end, as you mentioned in your question, he goes to the witch at Endor, and what an experience that was. He goes into the occult, even though he's a believer, as he goes into the occult, even though the Bible says that he put away all false prophets and all witches from the land. Yet when he's desperate, he goes to a witch. Saul is one of the most interesting characters in the Bible. I've read his story with fascination. Will he be in heaven?

I hope so, but I'm not sure. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer, for those insights. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Pastor Erwin Lutzer has now concluded Kings in Conflict, the third message in a series on growing through conflict, a study in the life of King David. Next time, we turn to another conflict. This time, David's conflict with doubt. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 11:11:50 / 2023-02-28 11:20:43 / 9

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