I Get It, Saul

Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.”

1 Samuel 15:24

This morning, I was reading this passage of Scripture and, for some reason, this passage became remarkably clear to me. I don’t know if this is right to say, but I felt pity for Saul here. I’ve been there. Sadly, I still go there on occasions. The fear of man is a powerful tool of the Enemy. Too often, the Enemy is successful in dislodging us from the pure path through peer pressure.

I get it, Saul, I really do.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever been able to look back down the corridor of your life and see times where the fear of others brought about poor, maybe even unholy, decisions?

I’ve been where Saul was in 1 Samuel 15. I think others have, too. I think of Peter who after the resurrection had the incident Paul mentions in Galatians where Paul had to confront Peter’s hypocrisy for fear of those from Jerusalem (Galatians 2). The best of us are prone to it, and oftentimes for understandable reasons.

The fear of man, however, need not be a lifelong hindrance to the life of faith. It can be defeated. I’ve fallen in love with the way the Orthodox Church deals with such temptations: remember moment-by-moment the day of your death and judgment. This approach might seem morbid, but it is all over Orthodox literature. The fate of man is something modern society constantly tries to push to the back burner, yet death is an inevitable journey. Our entire world seeks to medicate us such that we forget we are but dust, and to dust we return.

Might have King Saul obeyed the Lord had he remembered death and judgment would come for him any moment?

Might Peter have not withdrawn from his Gentile friends for fear of men had he remembered the coming judgment (something he writes much about in his later letters)?

Might I be more consistently obedient if I too remembered my death and coming judgment moment-by-moment? I can only speak for myself here: Yes. I believe so.

Jesus said: “Do not fear those who can destroy only the body, but fear Him who can destroy body and soul.” Jesus stared at the face of the Roman empire fearing not him, but the God who gave Pilate the semblance of authority he thought he had. And, we are called to do the same. Do not fear man.

I get it, Saul. I’ve been there. But, by God’s grace, I will less and less fear man and fear Him from whom, and in whom I live, move, and have my being.

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To Humble and Test

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you […]

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Tragic End

Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2 Chronicles 21:20 When your timeis over, how will you be rememberd? Do you want said of […]

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Joy Comes in the Morning

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True Hunger

The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. Proverbs 10:3 The other day I was reading Proverbs when I came across the above passage. My first reading of the passage was on the literal level, where the passage was speaking literally about the righteous never going […]

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“What Do These Stones Mean?”

“What do these stones mean?” – Joshua 4:21 Yesterday, during a conversation with my mentor and friend I was reminded the importance of considering the past more than the future. So many of my wounds have been self-inflicted. Too often I have wondered from the narrow road turning to the right or left. The result of […]

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When Life Looks Bleak

What do you feel when you really look at the current state of our world? If I’m being honest, I’d have to say fear and anxiety would make my “Top Ten” feelings. With news articles like “Financial Collapse Imminent”, “Violent Extremism Expanding”, “City Government Bankrupted by Corruption”, “Crime Up 25%”, etc., it’s hard not to […]

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