“Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
This is a statement made by Samuel [a prophet] who wept for Saul’s condition.
Great opportunity was given to Saul to serve God and man as king of Israel. God offers us sublime riches, which are eternal. Saul was only physically qualified. Young people must be strong and healthy. God gives to us Gospel-health also. Do not ever say it is God’s will that I should be sick and suffer. God gives us health and beauty that springs out of a clean heart. A real Spirit-filled man is beautiful. It is your right to claim health. We must have physical courage. When faith comes in, you are much stronger to face evil within and without.
Physical courage alone will not do. With physical courage Moses killed a man and fled from [Egypt]. But with spiritual courage he stood before Pharaoh. God’s children fight with the blood of Christ. Is your courage physical or spiritual? We all know of heroes with physical courage, but they fell victims to sin and died eternal death.
“God gave [Saul] another heart” (1 Samuel 10:9). Merely a physically fit man was not good enough for God’s Kingdom until God gave him a new heart. “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). God gives his people a new heart, “a heart of flesh”. This heart can withstand temptation. A mighty banyan tree which once withstood many storms fell to the earth. A worm had eaten its roots from one end to the other; so is a man whose faith is not established in Christ.
Saul began to use his power and position for his own glory. Converted men who heal the sick and drive away devils fall an easy prey to pride. “Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?” (1 Samuel 15:19). We have inherited an evil nature from Adam. Adam put the blame for his disobedience on the woman God gave him. Likewise, Saul blamed the people for his disobedience; but as a king he could overrule the people’s wishes.
[Christians] are sons and daughters of the KING. We have to conform to the discipline of royalty. The Holy Spirit of God teaches us royal discipline. We are given power to glorify God. We are directly responsible to Him as to how we use it. 1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”. If we conform to this description, the words will feed us, the hills will dance!
We are representatives of God. We cannot do as we like. Revelation 5:9-10: “Thou . . . hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” If people observe your life and see the royal discipline, they cannot brush away your advice or suggestions. King Nebuchadnezzar could not do what he wished with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Joseph could not be enslaved or imprisoned for long. You think you are younger than others—but God will declare who you are. The life of the living God in you will declare itself. A divine nature is seen operating in you because of the Cross. The dual activity of the Spirit of God works in you the Death and the Resurrection of the Lord.
When a bridge is constructed there are two types of work done—digging and building. You are dying and living. Chastening and correction remove the resistance to the formation of Christ in us. This resistance is hidden deep down unknown to us. God also adds many graces to us through unlearning and learning in the school of God. You are dying and growing. Saul did not die to self. Saul usurped God’s authority. He tried to alter God’s way to accommodate his own way and then he put the blame on others. Do not say your friends persuaded you to disobey God. You cannot testify and preach and also do things as you like.
Many misuse their witness to lift themselves up before people. They fell victims to the devil. When Edward VIII was choosing an unholy marriage alliance, Baldwin (then Prime Minister of England) warned him. The British people loved their country; they could not accept a king who would marry a divorcee. So Edward had to abdicate the throne. You need your time for prayer so that the dual operation of the Holy Spirit can be carried on in you. This discipline is needed if God should use you. . . .
Saul began to do his own will. He did not want the discipline of obedience to God. Samuel told him that obedience was better than sacrifice. Right at the beginning of creation God tried to teach Adam and Eve obedience; they failed to obey. You are a free-willed person. You can choose to submit to God’s discipline. If you do, you will be above kings—even a counsellor to kings. We must be very careful. Romans 7:5: “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins . . . did work in our members”.
When sin is in us, there are promptings of the flesh. When we are in Christ we become new creatures. Romans 6:16: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are . . . ?” We are servants of God to obey the Word of God. He is pleased with such obedience. Then no evil power can reign over us. So many . . . are possessed by the devil. Parents are not placing their children under the blood of Christ. There are epilepsy and fits due to devil-possession. Parents also suffer and do not know the cause.
It is a royal discipline to have the dual power of the Cross and the Resurrection operating in us. Christians should humble themselves, confess their sins, and identify themselves with the Cross of Christ. They should turn away from sinful pleasures. There is no joy in them.
We are a royal priesthood. Your hands should be preserved clean to heal the sick. Your mouth must be clean to preach the Word of God. Your eyes must be pure to be able to look into the hearts of others with all their sufferings.
Study the Word of God and meditate on it. Thus it will go into your heart; it will hold you steady and give you power. You will not cross the instructions of God. Take the Word into your heart. You will live. When you grow into the likeness of Christ many souls will cling to you. . . .
In certain places in Andhra, there [was] drought for . . . years at a stretch. Why did the people allow this? When revival visited those places and people turned to obey the Word of God they learnt to pray. They could pray for rain and also pray that rain may stop and not hinder people from coming to meetings during the dates they fixed. This is how it should be—obedience to the Word of God leading to power in prayer
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon