Listen to the words of the Lord.
Bold words Samuel said to King Saul as he faced a battle with Israel’s long time enemy, the Amalekites, as chapter 15 of 1 Samuel opens. Also a warning I often sense in my own spirit. Listen to the words of the Lord. Listen with an intent to obey, is what Samuel was trying to get across to Saul. And it’s what God tries to get across to me.
* Does the Lord try to highlight this for you, too? Who are we listening to? When we hear the Lord through His Word do we respond with instant obedience or do we talk ourselves out of it rather than moving forward with obedience?
God’s instruction through Samuel was for Saul to destroy the Amalekites, utterly and completely. No exceptions. The Amalekites were a real group of people. They had brought harm to God’s people when leaving Egypt. Remember when Joshua fought them while Moses’ arms were upheld on the mountain top? Same people. They represent sin in the Old Testament. This is a clear picture of how strongly God views sin. He desires to completely destroy it. All sin. Every detail of sin. Every selfish motive, prideful sin, unkind thought. Even that which seems so harmless and small. Even that. God is utterly and completely holy. That means ALL sin, no matter how small, is repulsive to Him and blocks my fellowship with Him.
*Am I confessing sin as He reveals it to me? Am I asking Him to search my heart for even those hidden motives that I try to defend?
Saul then goes to the Amalekite city and he lays in wait. In the wait, he sees that the Kenites are there too. They had been a blessing to Israel when they left Egypt. They were the people that Moses’ father-in-law was from. Saul was careful to not harm them. He warns them to leave since he is about to attack the Amalekites. He knew who his enemy was. He didn’t just go into the city with barrels blazing harming all in his path. In his waiting and watching, he saw that the Kenites were there. And rather than mistake them for the real enemy, he tells them to leave.
* Do I recognize my real enemy? Do I pause long enough when I have been hurt or offended to recognize who is the real enemy and who is not?
Ephesians 6 shines the spotlight on our real enemy. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,(husbands, children, friends) but against the rulers , against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. That is our real enemy. We have got to know that and fight accordingly. My husband, my children, those around me are NOT my enemy. So when I am offended, I need to pause long enough to recognize that and pray before proceeding with the weapons of a sharp tongue or hurtful words. Instead, like Saul did in this situation, I need to separate the two and fight for my child in prayer, fight for my marriage by dying to self, fight for my friend with kindness and not evil for evil. There is a time to speak truth, especially when it comes to faithful discipline of our children, but we must keep in view our goal. We are not here to destroy those around us, but rather in kindness we are to demonstrate Jesus to them. Speaking truth in love to our children rather than out of anger, dying to selfish expectations of others and accepting our husbands where they are.
Know who the enemy is. He is hates you and me and he has a terrible plan to drag us down, but he is very good at what he does. But the glorious truth is: Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) We just need to pause long enough to recognize where he is at works and fix our eyes on the One who is far greater and able to empower you and I as we submit ourselves joyfully to our faithful Creator and continue to do good.