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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Connect The Dots!

Connect The Dots!

          It’s frustrating to be misunderstood, isn’t it? If you have something that you truly want to get across to someone and you explain it in the best way possible, it’s frustrating when the information is taken wrong or ignored.

I suppose that the very worse cases are where some information is given to someone that is of an important, life-changing topic. I sit through regular safety-meetings where I work and we still have accidents. The accidents that people have are almost always preventable if the safety information that was given in the prior meetings had been used. I tried to figure out why some people just don’t pay attention. The information is clear but the advice or facts are just not received.

As far as personal things, I feel the person just doesn’t care to spend enough time to understand what I am trying to say. I keep reminding myself that Jesus was misunderstood many times. I try and give them the benefit of the doubt and take blame myself, too. I conclude that it was my entire fault and that I probably just wasn’t a good enough communicator. I always try and connect with someone in the Bible whenever I think about such things and try and find an answer. When I meditated on it the Holy Spirit took me to the story of Saul in the Old Testament. Saul was a man who just couldn’t connect all the dots.

Saul was the first King of Israel. In 1st Samuel 8 Samuel was pressed by the people to get them a King. God had Samuel explain to the people that a king was not in their best interest. But they insisted that they wanted one to be like other nations. I compared this to how our nation wanted to change from being a Christian nation to being more like other nations in the world. Saul was definitely anointed by God in the beginning. God chose him and Samuel anointed him as king in 1st Samuel 9:17 and 10:1. He outwardly had the signs of having the anointing of the Holy Spirit in him. Look at Chapter 10 verse 6. Samuel prophesied that Saul would have the Spirit of God come over him and that he would “be turned into another man”.

In verse 9 we see that as he turned to go from Samuel God did indeed change Saul’s heart. We find that a man of God is born and Israel has a king. Saul was a good king to begin with. In chapters 11 and 12 Saul’s kingdom was established. But in chapter 13 two years later he had changed. Something happened to Saul that he never recovered from. Look at verse 8. Saul has the people of God with him and they are waiting on Samuel to come. They are distressed with the enemy. Samuel tarried and Saul got impatient and made a bad decision. He sacrificed an offering to God. This sounds very holy on the surface. It sounds like a man who turned to God in a desperate situation. If a man stepped forward to worship God we would immediately say that he was a devoted man. But there is something wrong in this act. Saul is out of order here. In fact, Saul’s worship is not worship at all.

Samuel is the priest and therefore the only one qualified to offer up a burnt offering to God. Saul tried to explain that he “forced himself” (v12) to do this. The truth is that Saul wanted to look like the only one that Israel needed. You have heard that we are not saved by works lest any man should boast (Eph 2:9). Here Saul tries to impart his works. He wants it to be his act that saves Israel. God will never let anyone gain glory where He deserves it. He alone is worthy of praise.

Saul stepped out of line but really thought that he had made the right choice. Samuel told him that his kingdom would not continue but would be taken away from him (v14). Saul did win the immediate battle with the Philistines. But, little by little he again made foolish mistakes. God is the God of second chances. In Chapter 15 Saul is given another chance. This is the Mercy of God on display. Samuel came to him to anoint him as king again (V1). Samuel gave Saul specific instructions to take Amalek and every living thing that belonged to his kingdom.

We often do not understand such passages where Israel killed men, women, and children. But these Amalekites were steeped in pagan worship. Their entire society was occultic beyond anything we have ever imagined. There is symbolism here to those of us under the new covenant. This parallel shows that we need to get rid of every sin; no matter how small it seems. Saul was given a mandate to destroy the Amalekites and leave no survivors. Again he disobeyed. In verses 8 and 9 Saul is said to have killed the rest but he saved the king and also the best of the livestock.

We might, again, feel like he did a good thing to save the good livestock. But the next verse shows that he did make a mistake. In fact, God directly said that Saul had not obeyed His commandments. Examine Saul’s comment in verse 13. Saul was so spiritually blind that he thought he had done exactly what God required. Samuel told him that the sound of livestock proclaimed a different story. Isn’t it amazing that someone can truly believe that they are correct to the point where they don’t even try to hide their disobedience? Just think; they can be blatantly in sin and openly practicing something that is directly against God’s Word. And yet, they truly believe that they are living in the middle of God’s will.

What causes this spiritual block where men cannot see the connection? Is it something that you and I need be concerned about? Let us continue in this chapter and we will find the answer. Samuel gives Saul the reason in verse 17. Saul was brought in when he was small in his own mind and followed God. It was only when he became prideful and thought well of himself that he sinned. Saul was so proud that he thought that his way was better than God’s.   Pride will do that. It will mislead you into thinking that you are something more than you really are.

The company that I work for is an electrical utility. As I mentioned, we have regular safety meetings to keep us all focused and to remember that we can make mistakes that can cause a fatality. I have looked at many accident reports where several men were killed down through the years because of pride. These men were skilled lead linemen who had over 20 years of working with high-voltage. But something felt common to them and they forgot to respect the job and remember their weaknesses. When linemen fail to respect electricity they slip up and get hurt. When we fail to listen to God’s Word we fall and get hurt. We might think it doesn’t apply to us, but it does.

I remember my Dad saying something when I was learning to ride a motorcycle in my youth. He said that I would be careful and wouldn’t have any trouble unless I felt like I had mastered it. He was right. I had several spills after I got comfortable riding. I had several falls showing off to my friends or trying to impress some girl. Before that, I was still cautious and never got hurt. Pride is just like that. We need God in the beginning. We realize that we are sinners and we come to Him. He saves us and gives us a new heart just like He did for Saul. We ride carefully as we are learning about Him and study His Word.

But at some point we can become prideful. We might feel like we have all the answers and someone may start telling us how wise that we are. We may get to a point where we win battle after battle and forget that it is God who wins them for us. And just like the enemy sneaking up on us we fail to see it coming. When it overtakes us we don’t even know it. We still think we are acting according to God’s commandments. The fact is we are directly disobeying Him.

Saul tried to confess but didn’t even know what sin he should be confessing. In verse 24 he tried to explain that he had feared the people. The fact is that he had no reason to fear them. Saul’s haughtiness caused him to sin and believe that he was in the right.

Have you ever seen pride at work on someone? It blinds them into thinking that they are better than the rest of us. It distorts their direction and they end up somewhere other than where they wanted to be. When the time comes in which they want to find their way back they will be so disoriented that they won’t be able to tell up from down. Saul had already been given another chance. Now, God took the kingdom away from him. You know the rest of the story. David was anointed but had to hide until after Saul’s death because Saul kept trying to kill him. He refused to accept that God had rejected his kingdom.

What about us? Is pride something that can sneak up on us and slowly keep us from hearing God’s voice? Yes, it is. Proverbs 16:18 says that “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”. Pride was Satan’s downfall that permanently separated him from God (Isaiah 14:12-14). If we ever begin to think that we are more than a sinner saved by grace we are in danger. There are many that I have known who fell because of pride. I’ve known ministers who felt like God had done His part and the rest was up to them. They boasted and shouted about; strutting around like the rooster who tried to get attention when it was the chicken who laid the egg! Their lives all came crashing down. You’ve read about many in the news who once stood on the pinnacle of public attention.

You and I are not immune to pride. It can sneak up on us just like Saul. He was placed in power by God and God took him down. God will make us more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, yes. But if we ever start thinking that we are the ones defeating the enemy, watch out!

I ask you today to connect the dots. Maybe there is a broken connection in facts. We sometimes jump over information right in front of us. How many marriages have we all seen fail in which the victims stated that they never even knew that there was a problem? How many employees do you know of who were terminated because of breaking company rules? How many people die on the highway each day because of breaking basic, simple driving laws?

Don’t be fooled today. Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We are not immune to his attacks. Pride will keep you from seeing clearly. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Don’t forget where we came from. Without Him we would be nothing!


Prayer-Father, I ask that You help us to see who we are and who You are. Again, remind us so that we remember where You’ve brought us from and where we are going. Keep us humble, Dear Lord. When we begin to drift bring us back on course. As we read Your Word help us all to remember the importance of connecting the dots.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen


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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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2 Responses to "Connect The Dots!"

  1. Virginia says:

    Amen, Thank you Paul for these scriptures. Thank you for the wonderful message that reminds us that we are truely human and can make mistakes, but if we look to God for Guidance and read his word, we will find the answers.

  2. Anna says:

    Thank you so much for this message! Especially for the explanation you give of why, in this case, God *seems* unmerciful in the insistence that all the Amalekites be destroyed. When God does something that seems out of keeping with mercy, often we question rather than looking for the deeper sense. Thank you for helping me understand this better!

    I was noticing something else as well–when Saul does not kill all of the Amalekites, he does *not* preserve the women and children, which is what we would expect if his motives were mercy. It’s interesting to me, as well, that whenever, in the Bible, one of God’s people begs God for mercy, the answer is virtually always “yes.” It’s almost like God waits for us to show him we’ve learned mercy!

    But more than this: Saul’s choice of what to save really reveals that his own motives are far darker, and actually contravene God’s purposes here pretty completely–or at least, so it seems to me.

    When Saul saves the King, and not (for example) the women or even the children, he shows a preference not for mercy but for power: he saves only those of his own social class. However, on an even darker note, as I understand it, the ancient near-eastern kings were often associated with (and sometimes even coterminous with) the gods they worshipped. In saving the king, Saul saves a god who is not God!

    And when Saul saves the livestock, he actually privileges his own gain over obedience to God. He doesn’t save the livestock to give them away to the poor, after all. No mercy here, no justice, and no generosity are shown. Not only does Saul disobey the orders God gives to cleanse sin, he contravenes them in such a way as to actually work *against* what appear to be God’s motives not only here, but throughout the Bible!

    Thank you so much for bringing this story–and your wisdom–to us!

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