WEEK 50, Day 4, Thursday, 15 December 2022


Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 15 December 2022:

1 Chronicles 10:4 – Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.

Saul and Judas had this in common — they both rejected the Lordship of God in their lives and committed suicide in defeat.

1 Chronicles 10:6 – Thus Saul died; he and his three sons and all his house died together.

1 Chronicles 9 describes fathers who raised their sons to serve God faithfully, while 1 Chronicles 10 reveals that Saul’s ungodly leadership led to his death and the death of his sons. Rejecting God can have a devastating effect on not only you, but also upon your whole family and others you care about.

1 Chronicles 10:9 – …the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people.

The world’s “good news” is the defeat of God’s people. Our Good News, is that Christ is King, rules all, and offers salvation to all who are willing to accept it. Note that Saul and the kingdom was defeated not because of the might of the Philistines but, rather, because of the sins of God’s people. The Church can only be defeated in infidelity.

1 Chronicles 10:12 – …all the valiant men arose…

The valiant continue to resist the sinful world for God’s glory even when it seems like all has been lost. Are you valiant for the Lord today?

1 Chronicles 10:13-14 — So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

The tragic life of Saul provides to those called by God an important lesson on remaining faithful to their calling and walking in continual fidelity to God.

Saul was miraculously called by God from humble beginnings to serve God mightily – “When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” (1 Samuel 9:17) “Saul answered, ‘Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?’” (1 Samuel 9:21) God called Saul not to show what a great person could do but rather to what a Great God can do through a humble servant. This calling was for God’s glory, not Saul’s, and Saul was just as surprised as anyone else that God chose Him.

God empowered Samuel to do great works for His glory – “God gave him another heart…. the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them…. And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul.” (1 Samuel 10:9-10; 11:6)

God equipped Saul to great works for His glory, providing him with Samuel as a Spiritual advisor, giving him the support of his people, and providing Saul with 3,000 capable warriors – “Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.” (1 Samuel 11:15)

However, under pressure, Saul gave in to fear and pride; he trusted in his own judgment rather than God, and He disobeyed God’s commands for sake of expediency rather than waiting upon the Lord – “Samuel said, ‘What have you done? … You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:11-14)

Rather than repenting of his sin, Saul fell further out of fellowship with the Lord and turned to others (such as the medium) for answers rather than to God, “So Saul died for his breach of faith.”

God has miraculously called us all out from humble beginnings and has given us the Great Commandment (Luke 10:27) and Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). He has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation as ambassadors for Christ. He has empowered us with His Holy Spirit and has thoroughly equipped us for the good works He has prepared in advance for us. Now, will we prove faithful to our calling? “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.”

“He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord…. He did not seek guidance from the Lord.” Learn from Saul’s tragic mistakes: Keep God’s commands, seek His guidance in Prayer and Bible study, and follow Christ alone. Fulfill your calling in the Lord – Know Him and make Him known. Faith trusts God today, and hope trusts God with the future. Be led by the Spirit, not by the flesh or the world. Pray continually, listen intently, and obey God in the moment, one day at a time; and seek the Lord’s guidance for the future, rather than other sources of ‘knowledge,’ of which there are many. Wait upon the Lord. When you fail, and you will, draw nearer to the Lord in humble repentance, not further away — “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Revelation 11:1-2 – Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.”

God’s people are divided between the faithful and the unfaithful.

Of note, Solomon’s temple could be rebuilt today without disturbing the Dome of the Rock which is located in the area of the outer court. Many believe this will occur as a precursor to the Tribulation.

Revelation 11:2-3, 11 – Compare the time references to Daniel 7:25; 12:7, 11-12.

Revelation 11:3-6 – “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.”

In the worst times on earth, God retains His witnesses.

Revelation 11:7 — Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.

A life well lived: The above verse from Revelation concerning the two witnesses reminds me of Acts 13:36 concerning the life of David –“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” On the contrary, Jonah, running from what God had called him to do, was so depressed he cared not whether he lived or died. It took a near death experience and God’s miraculous provision for Jonah to accept what he had been called to do: “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord…. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” You have been saved miraculously and have been called as a witness (martyr in Greek) to testify before a sinful world. How committed are you to fulling your purpose? Is sharing the Gospel your life ambition and greatest joy?

Revelation 11:11, 12 – But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.

God will again raise people from the dead before His return. Still, unbelievers will remain in disbelief. Contrary to what many say, miracles cannot solve a faith problem. A lack of faith is not an evidence issue; it is a heart issue. Being afraid of God is not the same as Fearing God in a biblical way that honors God as God and obeys Him.

Revelation 11:13 – And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

God knows that some will only give Him glory when terrible things happen to them. Even under the worst conditions, some will still refuse Him.

Revelation 11:15-19 – The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.

God’s Kingdom will come on earth.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 December 2022: Today honor God by dishonoring sin. Have nothing to do with what God abhors, speak out against sin and call for repentance. Don’t run from your calling like Jonah but rather stand as a lampstand like the two witnesses in Revelation 11. (Proverbs 8:13; Revelation 11:3-12)

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