Friday, November 04, 2011

Salvation from Sheol!!

This devotion is very deep and thoughts for this devotion kept coming to my mind since early this week. The thoughts/points are immense and I was not sure if all the thoughts could be penned in a crisp and clear manner.

Early this week, the Lord was reminding me of the life of King Saul, the rise and fall of the goodly king. The beginning of this person was good but the end was very unfortunate. There are various reasons for his fall including shifting of his priority from God to post, position, people, and success, leading to disobedience, etc. The one major factor that made him to deviate from walking blameless before God was that his priority shifted from God to people. Holy Spirit gave the following verses as the key to walk blameless before God and to continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12),
Psalm 16:8-11 (Amp) I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (shaken). Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety, For You will not abandon me to Sheol (hell), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption. You will show me the path of life;

This is the Psalm of David, King Saul’s successor. In Psalm 16, David tells us the way to keep oneself from the destruction of one's soul. David says in a simple way that he has kept the Lord before Him continually and therefore, he says that his soul will not go to hell, and God will show him the path of life and utterly save him. Keeping the Lord before oneself is a deep truth to be practiced. The Lord searches our heart (Romans 8:27), therefore nothing can be hidden from Him. PEOPLE JUDGE BY THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, ACTIONS, BUT THE LORD WEIGHS THE HEART. So, David says in simple words “WHAT MATTERS TO ME IS THAT WHETHER I AM PLEASING JESUS ALWAYS. WHAT MATTERS TO ME IS TO WALK IN SPIRIT AND NOT TO BE LED BY FLESH. I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN IN MY FAITH NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. THE LORD SHALL SHOW ME THE PATH OF LIFE AND LEAD ME TO SAFETY FROM ETERNAL CORRUPTION.”

King Saul did not keep the Lord always before him and that has led to his downfall. The story of Saul begins with him searching for his father’s lost donkeys and when he is about to give up the search, his servant says to him to go to the seer (prophet) who lives in that town, where they have come, and ask him about the lost donkeys. Meanwhile the Lord says to Samuel the Prophet, "I have found a ruler over Israel who is a Benjamite who will come to you shortly and you will anoint him as king over Israel." When Saul meets Samuel the Prophet, Samuel says that his donkeys have been found and the entire desire or attention of Israel has been turned towards him and his family line. Saul says then “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” Samuel reveals the plan of God to Saul saying that he has been chosen by God to be the King of Israel. When he is anointed, the Spirit of the Lord descends upon Saul and he starts prophesying and people start wondering what has happened to Saul and if Saul also is one of the prophets like Samuel. To cut short the story, when the lot is drawn to select the ruler of Israel, Saul name comes up, and they seek for him to bring him up before people as he is now hiding behind the goods. When he is brought before people, some of the people despise him saying that “is he the ruler over us? Is he going to save us?” The people cannot accept Saul though he is chosen by God.

I Samuel 10:20-27
20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?”
And the LORD said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.” 23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 25 Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the LORD. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes. 26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.

Let us move on in the life of Saul under the light of the verses I Samuel 13: 7 through 14:Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

I would like to draw your attention to Saul’s reply, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” When he saw the men scattering, when he saw that men were restless because of the delay, when he saw that he would lose people strength, when he saw that he would lose people support or manpower to fight the enemies, he wanted to do something to retain the people on his side and he was compelled to offer the burnt offering, which he was not supposed to do. Although he says that he wanted to seek the Lord's favor, he wanted to fight against the enemies of God, he should have been aware of the ways to win the Lord's favor. Saul did not have a personal relationship with God as David had. He did not love the Lord and did not yearn to learn His Ways. Saul was not justified by his excuses. The prophet rebukes Saul for his action saying that the Lord wants our obedience than our offerings.

When we look into the root cause of this disobedience, deep beneath there has already been a shifting of his priorities from God to his post, his position, people strength and to prove himself as a King.
God chose Saul when he was going behind the donkeys. When he was in obscurity, the Lord brought him out in public and honored him. When he was brought before the public declaring that he was the chosen King, there was unacceptance of the people; some despised him. The Lord established Saul by giving him victories over the battles. The victories and people support made him to deviate from the course before the Lord. We see that many people do well and are applauded of their walk when they are in wilderness, in obscurity, but faltered before God when they are established and "settled."

Let this truth be established in our hearts, people will come to us only when we have something that is appreciative like talents, looks, money, status, etc. But the Lord sought after us when we were nothing and while we were yet sinners God loved us and gave His only son Jesus. THE TRUTH IS WE CAN AFFORD TO BE REJECTED BY MEN; BUT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE REJECTED BY GOD. WE CAN AFFORD TO BE A FAILURE BEFORE THE EYES OF MEN. BUT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE SAID "Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting" BY GOD.

When everything that adorns us is stripped away from us, we are nothing less than the dead; our closest one will abandon us (life of Job). When breath of life is taken away from us, we are no more among the living. God is the giver of life. He makes everything out of nothing. He transforms nobody into somebody. He remembers us in our low estate. He lifts us up from the miry clay and makes us to stand on the Eternal Rock. If this TRUTH is etched in our hearts, we will not fail to set the Lord before our eyes, we will not falter from dying daily to flesh and self. We will work out our salvation with fear and trembling, our soul will not be abandoned in sheol; our soul will not see corruption!!

Dear Lord, thank you for speaking to us a word of caution. Lord give us grace to keep you before our eyes continually. Give us grace to WALK IN SPIRIT continually. Your word is the lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. Help us to walk according to your WORD. Help us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Help us not to be a superficial Christian. Help us not to be shallow in our Christian Walk. Lord give us the grace to have an appreciable ending of our Christian Walk inheriting the Crown of Life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Written By: Shanta Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

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