Tuesday, April 17, 2007

he seemed like such a good guy...

I've been reading 1Samuel for my devotion, and I can't help but wonder what happened to Saul. He started off being such a nice guy. He "held his peace" in chapter 10, when there were those who despised him, even though he was the king! He even stopped the men from killing those who were against him, stating "Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel." (11:13) He displayed amazing humility, patience, and understanding.

However, Saul's success depended on more than just a nice personality. It required more than his own humility to keep him from trouble. He needed more than the right words to say. He needed more than the right things to do. Saul went down the road of destruction because of his pride and lack of relationship with God.

Don't think that being a nice person will save you. That just doesn't cut it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

all must bow down.

We live in a society that encourages independence, marvels at autonomy, and lauds freedom; we disdain anything remotely hinting to bondage, subjection, and servitude. Those are synonymous to weakness, and no one wants to be weak. However, deep inside the core of all of us is a strong desire to bow down to something.

This urge is innate, naturally designed in our being. Though its true intention was for us to commune with God, and fellowship with Him; sin has manipulated it and made it into a conflict within our souls. Obedience to God is looked upon as dependence; to believe is seen as a lack of intelligence; bowing down to our Maker is considered weak. So instead we fool ourselves. We think we are in control, but this need to worship drives us to bow down to idols with no substance. They don't seem like deities, and so we carelessly dismiss the fact that we have made very trivial, powerless things our gods. Money? Fame? Beauty? Are these things really what this life is about?

The Philistines bowed down to Dagon, a stone statue. Looking with our modern eyes, we see that as primitive. Actually, the word philistine sometimes is used to described such uncivilized and barbaric behaviors. However, is the pagan worship so different than our worship today? Lives are thrown away daily because of drugs, sex, and money. Do we really think we are so much more civilized because we mask our pagan worship under the mentality that we are free?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

misguided worship

I just read 1 Samuel 4, when the Israelites took the Ark of Covenant out to battle, hoping it would help them defeat the Philistines. It seemed like a good idea. Even the Philistines trembled when they heard the news. However, the Israelites were not seeking God's help; their confidence was in the concept of the Ark. I mean to say, they were disillusioned. They were finding their solace and strength in what the Ark was, in the past, and they were actually worshiping the object itself, making it almost into a good luck charm.

Their worship was misguided. I think I fall into this category sometimes. I start to think, if I could just do more devotions or read some commentaries I wouldn't feel so dry, so weary. Then again, maybe I should just seek God directly and talk to Him. It seems too easy, but it was never meant to be hard.