Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Temptation of Saul's Armor

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made! I will rejoice (spin) and be glad in it! This is a wonderful day that the Lord has given us, isn’t it?

The past couple of days we have been discussing a BEWITCHING spirit that the enemy tries to bring upon the church through people. Listen to this warning from Acts:

Acts 20:29-30 "I know that as soon as I'm gone, vicious wolves are going to show up and rip into this flock, people (30) from your very own ranks twisting words so as to seduce disciples into following them instead of Jesus.

Once again we see that Bewitching spirit mentioned: Wolves in sheep’s clothing secretly entering God’s family for the purpose of harming the family of God. How? By seducing or bewitching people to follow them. When people begin to follow them, the influence leads the group away FROM Jesus and TO the CHARMER. God warns us to beware.

Now, I want to discuss a very real temptation that is associated with this BEWITCHING spirit. Today I want to look at the story of David in I Samuel 17. Please allow me to summarize briefly. The Israelites are in battle with the Philistines. The Philistines have a ten foot tall giant who is named Goliath. Every day the challenge is given. The Israelites are on one hill, and the Philistines are on another, with a valley between them. In the mornings, Goliath would come out and ask for the Israelites to send someone out to fight him. Whoever won the individual battle, would win this particular war and the losing nation would serve the winning one. This went on for several days, with the Israelites scared to death, and no one willing to fight Goliath.

Enter David! He is at home tending his sheep when his dad sends him to the battle with food and to check on his brothers. Fast forwarding to the battle line, David walks up just as Goliath is making his blasphemous challenge to the Israelites and cursing Jehovah God. David wonders why no one will fight this champion, so he asks what will be given to the person who defeats Goliath. David’s older brother Eliab hears David talking and begins to mock him and make fun of him. I believe you can see the BEWITCHING spirit at work here. Eliab begins to talk against David and stir up trouble for him. Eliab ask him, “Where are your FEW sheep? I know your heart. Your motives aren’t right. You just want to see a bloody battle.” David was falsely accused and made fun of. You know this had to HURT. When someone falsely accuses you, makes fun of you, questions your motives that is very painful. One thing that I have learned is that “hurting people, HURT people.” But how do we react when we have been hurt? Remember the Word of God tells us to “come out from among them and be ye SEPARATE” This phrase, “Be ye separate” means to be marked by a BOUNDARY. So God is telling us to have boundaries in our life’s that are so different from the world that people will be able to tell the believer from the unbeliever by the way we respond, especially when we have been hurt or betrayed. The unbeliever strikes back, and tries to hurt the person that hurt them. Their motto is: “Do unto others AS THEY DO UNTO ME” That feels good to the flesh. However, that is not how the believer responds. We strive to “raise the bar” and live and respond the way that Jesus did and taught us. Our motto should be: “Do unto others AS I WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO ME.”

Now, let’s talk about the temptation of Saul’s Armor. Can you imagine what David felt like being questioned by his brother? He ignored him, and ended up standing before King Saul. King Saul heard that David wanted to fight Goliath. Listen to what happened next:

1 Samuel 17:38 Then Saul outfitted David as a soldier in armor. He put his bronze helmet on his head and belted his sword on him over the armor. 39 David tried to walk but he could hardly budge. David told Saul, "I can't even move with all this stuff on me. I'm not used to this." And he took it all off.

Can you imagine the temptation that was going on in David’s head? “Look at me now Eliab, big brother? You talked about my FEW SHEEP, but how do I look now in the Kings armor? You were WRONG in your thoughts and comments about me” I believe that was a very real temptation for David. However, he resisted the temptation and took off the armor and depended upon God to deliver him, and to VIDICATE him.

You see, whenever we are hurt or wronged, the Kings armor is very tempting. The Kings Armor represents vindication or validation.

What is validation? An act or process of proving one is valid, real, strong or powerful. What about vindication? The act of disburdening, discharging, or freeing morally or legally. To FREE FROM ANY QUESTION OF ERROR, DISHONOR, GUILT or NEGLIGENCE.

The temptation is to talk, discuss, email, and do whatever we can to prove the person that hurt us is WRONG and EVIL for hurting us. Down through the years as a Pastor, I have had people try to blame me for their problems, or even family problems. It is a very strong temptation to put on the King’s armor and vindicate myself. I am tempted to share the BAD STUFF that I know and have heard. However, with God’s help, I resist that temptation and allow God to give me vindication and validation, and He HAS NEVER FAILED TO DO THAT.

We are tempted to wear Saul's armor by taking matters into our own hands. We make statements like:

Let me tell you what the real truth is...
Do you know what she has been doing...
Let me tell you how big a hypocrite they are…

God has shown me something the past couple of days. I love Isaiah 54:17. It is a powerful verse. Listen to it again:

Isaiah 54:17 (AMP) But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.

I have always quoted this verse and believed that God would show those harming me to be in the wrong. But that’s not what this verse says. Look at it again. God says, “YOU shall show (the words spoken about you) to be in the wrong. Wow! The responsibility is put back on me to show that the harmful words or gossip spoken about me are WRONG by my actions. When I get angry and lash out I’m not proving the words wrong. Quite the contrary, I may be validating the accusations.

God help us today, to do what David did as he went out to face Goliath. He declared, “The battle is not mine, Lord, it is yours.” That is why he resisted “The temptation of the King’s Armor”. My prayer is that we will all RESIST this temptation today, and allow God to fight the battle for us! He really can handle it and will do a better job than we can. Our part? Show the accusations to be wrong by the love of Christ that flows from us.

God bless you all! I love you and thank God for you. If you would like to comment on today’s blog, please do so below!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day,

Pastor Rusty L. Blann

P.S. Please allow me to add a comment that I read from a Pastor friend of mine. I love it, and plan to use it from here on out. It is a commitment that he makes to the people that he Shepherds (Pastors). I have asked God to help this to be my commitment to you, the people that I am priviledged to Pastor:

"You will never knowingly suffer at my hands. I will never say anything or do anything knowingly to hurt you. I will always, in every circumstance, seek to help and support you. If you're down and I can lift you up - I'll do that. If you need something and I have it, I'll share it with you. If I need to, I'll give it to you. No matter what I find out about you, no matter what happens in the future - either good or bad, my commitment to you will never change. And there is nothing you can do about it."


Treasure Seeker said...

What an awesome challenge and truth from God's Word. Thanks for sharing. I love the blog!