Friday, June 26, 2015

The Judge of Judges

But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly….And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites…And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
1 Samuel 15:9, 15, and 33

No other person in scripture is like the Prophet Samuel.  His ministry gives a prophetic picture unparalleled.  Melchizedek was the shadow of Christ the King and Priest.  Joseph was a beautiful shadow of the rejected Messiah, the hidden Egyptian, who rises to sovereign power and saves His brethren, the sons of Israel.  Isaac was the child of promise marked for sacrifice.  Elijah and Elisha were Christ the Prophet in two appearances.  Aaron and Phineas pictured Christ the Priest, while David and Solomon portrayed Christ the King shadowed in two appearances.  Many others were used to show magnificent aspects of Jesus, but Samuel alone shows us a type of Christ as the prophet, priest, and judge.  No other episode of Samuel’s life bears this out any greater than the episode above—the slaying of Agag.

God’s command to Saul was sure and certain.  Judgment was decreed against Amalek and God wanted Saul to be his instrument of justice and truth.  Why Amalek?  Why such righteous anger?  Amalek was the son of Eliphaz who was the first born of Esau, the brother of Jacob who traded his birthright for dinner.  There is a midrash that says Eliphaz was charged by Esau to kill his Uncle Jacob but he failed to follow through with the assignment.  Later, after Esau promised peace between himself and Jacob (Israel), he secretly plotted with Amalek to destroy Israel and his descendants.  Amalek had sworn to be a thorn in the side of Israel. 

While they were in the wilderness, Amalekite soldiers plagued the Israelite by killing the weakened stragglers.  In Exodus 17 we read about one of their attacks at a place called Rephidim (resting place in Hebrew).  They gave the Israelites no rest.  Joshua was called to battle and Moses went up the mountain to pray having his arms upheld by Aaron and Hur.  The Bible then states, “…LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation (Exodus 17:16).”  Saul, as mentioned above, was to finish them off.  Finally, Amalek is an enduring shadow of our continual battle against the flesh.  (See note 3 on this post, YHWH who…)

King Saul only obeyed to a minor degree.  Notice above that he kept all of the good things of Amalek while destroying what the people deemed vile and refuse.  Read it again, “But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.”  In essence, the people disobeyed the command of the LORD and kept back what they considered important.  Samuel, the last great judge of Israel, shows up and he is not happy.   He followed the words of the people while ignoring the commands of God.  "
And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice (1 Samuel 15:24)".  He followed the justice of the people and was then spit out of the mouth of God.  (Jesus promised the same thing for the Laodicean church--Laodicea means "the people's justice").

Saul, like the US Government today, disobeyed God and chose for himself a new truth.  “I’ll bless myself”, Saul thought.  “This will be a victory for Israel”, he stammered.  “We will placate the Almighty and offer Him some of the booty”, he planned.  But God and His commandments never change.  To quote the US President from his gay pride “victory for America” speech this morning justice arrived, “like a thunderbolt”.  When Samuel was finished, the command of the LORD was executed in totality and Saul would eventually be out of a job.  Want to guess who finished Saul off later?  It was an Amalekite.  The final thing that Saul heard from the Prophet/Priest/Judge of Israel was,“ The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.  And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (1 Samuel 15:28-29).”  Jesus is not returning as a meek lamb but as The Roaring Lion of Judah!

Human government cannot overstep its bounds.  Judgment now is certain for the United States, and the Judge of Judges, Jesus Christ will wholly fulfill the commandments of the LORD in time across the Land.  Saul had a few years left, but that day was the beginning of the end.  Remember this saying America, “justice delayed is not justice denied.”  “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD (Proverbs 21:30).”

Finally, Samuel did something very interesting that every blood bought saint of God now needs to do across the land.  He spent agonizing hours in prayer for Saul.   The LORD would then say, “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons (1 Samuel 16:1).” Church, it is time to mourn for America and the world, but it is also time to look skyward.  The Greater Son of David is about to appear without sin unto salvation.  The SON of GOD is soon2come and every knee shall bow.  Witness while you can as the LORD is just about to recall His ambassadors. His name is GOD!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

His Voice--God's Great Equalizer

“…the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness…Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low;
Luke 3:2b & 5a

As a preparatory voice for the coming of the Messiah, John’s message focused on the Messiah’s work.  To put it another way, His message was Christ centered.  Again, this is not John’s message but GOD’s.  He is His voice crying out to lost humanity preparing them for the only remedy for sin—Jesus Christ.  Since he must decrease and Christ must increase—his ministry would always put Jesus first.  Having a prophetic ministry as directed by Isaiah 40, we get a glimpse of what Jesus will soon do from this passage as John would share.  Jesus Christ will make all men equal at the foot of the cross.

 Jesus would lift the lowly, hurting, shunned, and oppressed.  It seems that in John’s day many were disenfranchised from the grace of God.  Salvation was for the whole and not the sick.  As a result, many were overlooked and without hope.  Widows, orphans, the poor, the sinful, and many others were consigned to a lower status than those who saw themselves as the cream of the crop.  Jesus came to change all of this.  He fills every valley.  What was it like to be the woman caught in adultery when she looked into the eyes of God our Savior and heard, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? ...Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (see John8:9-11)?”  Imagine being the woman who was overlooked by all when she threw her entire living into the offering plate.  Her deed did not escape His eye!  How would you like to be like Matthew?  He was branded as a traitorous tax collector for Rome but he encountered Jesus and heard, “follow me (Mark 2:14).”  Yes, Jesus fills every valley!

Jesus also would be the humbling one because, “every mountain and hill shall be brought low”.  A certain Pharisee learned this the hard way.  In an effort to be the talk of the town he had invited Jesus to dinner.  He failed to offer Jesus even the common courtesies of the day.  When a woman of ill repute entered and began to wash Jesus’ feet with her hair, the Pharisee thought, “if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”  Imagine how he felt after being upbraided by the Lord for his lack of compassion and respect.  It doesn’t matter that your prayer starts out, “…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess (Luke 18:11-12).”  If you don’t humble yourself at the foot of the cross you will not be justified in His presence. Yes, Jesus brings every hill and mountain low.

John’s message is simple, we must all come equal to the foot of the cross.  That cross and the Savior who hung on it is God’s great equalizer.  Without it no man can be justified in the LORD's presence.  Do you feel so low that you think God couldn’t possibly love you?  Good news! He does so rise up and take a stand at the feet of Jesus.  Are you so high and mighty that you think you don’t need God’s plan of salvation or you are so holy that you need not His assistance?  Fall quickly on your face before the King of Kings and seek His mercy.  It is better to stand at that even place at the foot of His cross than to stand at the great sea of glass before His throne where there will be no place to hide your sin.  Hurry and call on Jesus—He is Soon2Come.