Tag Archives: turning from sin

January 30; Walk Away

Genesis 45:1-46:12; I Chronicles 5:1-6, 2:18-55

Pharaoh is inviting Jacob to come to Egypt so he and his family could be saved from the effects of the famine. That invitation spoke to me today.

Pharaoh said that Jacob should pack up his whole family, and come. “Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.” (Genesis 45:20)

It reminds me that some people hesitate to repent of sin, and accept God’s grace because of what they will have to give up. Friends, lifestyle, that sin they enjoy, maybe family or a job. They see what they have, and hold tight.

But hear God say, “Never mind about any of that. Because what you’ll receive as My child is so much better than you can even imagine. The best of My kingdom will be yours.”

Walk away, dear one. And walk toward your best life as a man or woman forgiven, clean, and in a relationship with God Himself.

It really doesn’t get any better than that.

2 Samuel 1; Saul’s Sin Killed Him

Remember in 1 Samuel God had instructed Saul to go to war with the Amalekites, and wipe them out. 15:2-3 says:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.

But Saul only almost obeyed. He defeated the Amalekites, “But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good.”

Saul didn’t wipe them out exactly the way God had instructed him. And God was not happy.

The end of I Samuel and II Samuel 1 seem to contradict each other. Who really killed Saul? I’ve been of the opinion that the man we read about in II Samuel tried to cash in on Saul’s death, that he found the king already dead, took his crown and arm band, and ran to David to be rewarded for taking care of David’s enemy. But I might be wrong.

The story we read in II Samuel might not contradict I Samuel after all. Consider this: Saul, being mortally wounded, falls on his sword to commit suicide. His armor bearer sees him do that, watches his king fall, then commits suicide himself. However, Saul is only mostly dead at that point.

The young man in II Samuel comes up to Saul and hears the king whisper, “Kill me,” and he does. Saul was a dead man walking. He most likely would not have survived his wounds. The young man just accelerated the inevitable. Saul, at the end of I Samuel was dead for all intent and purposes. As you turn the page, you see him finished off.

That’s what I’ve come to believe after studying what others have said about the subject. It’s an opinion that doesn’t really matter in light of eternity, and I recognize it as an opinion. But J. Vernon McGee opened my eyes to a spiritual truth we can learn from this that does matter in light of eternity.

Remember Saul’s sin way back in chapter 15? he didn’t completely destroy the Amalekites like God told him to. Now, years later, it’s an Amalekite who ends up destroying him.

Could Saul have actually survived his wounds? We’ll never know because the young Amalekite killed him.

In Sunday School this past Sunday we were studying Psalm 32, written after David received forgiveness for some pretty awful sins. His sin with Bathsheba was bad enough, but David’s efforts at covering up that sin resulted in more sin, and more guilt until he felt crushed to the bones. You can hear David’s relief at being freed from that guilt here in this psalm.

I shared something I found written by John Dunn. And I was reminded of it as I read this chapter in I Samuel this morning. Dunn calls sin a serpent. He says when we cover up a sin, we’re just keeping it warm so that it may sting more fiercely, infect us with more venom.

When we don’t deal with sin, when we don’t eradicate it, turn from it 100%, we are only protecting it. And it will bite us in the end.

Let’s not be nursing sin. Let’s not ignore it, or cover it up. When God reveals sin in us, let’s fall to our knees and repent immediately.

Otherwise, that sin could be the very thing that ends up destroying us.

 

April 14 – God Uses Sinners

I Samuel 21-24

David was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” But David sinned. And some of his sins were doozies. Here in these chapters of I Samuel we see David lie to a priest of the Lord. Ahimelech the priest gave David food and Goliath’s sword because David told him the king had sent him. In fact, King Saul had not sent David.

David got what he had come for. But it cost Ahimelech his life, and the lives of his family. David would have to live with the fact that his lie brought about those deaths.

Yet this liar is described as a man after God’s own heart.

My pastor talked to us last night at prayer meeting about Zaccheus (Luke 19). Zaccheus was a hated tax collector, getting rich by extorting money from the people. His neighbors described him as a sinner. But Zaccheus was radically changed when he met Jesus.

Think of the cruel and murderous Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus. And think about how he was used by God after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.

What I notice about these three men is that they didn’t let their past sins stop them from serving God. Read David’s psalms and hear him repent of his sins, and put his trust in the Lord. The Bible is full of examples of how God used David to bless the nation of Israel, and yes, even examples of what a man after God’s own heart looks like. See how, when God called Zaccheus and Saul by name, their encounter with the Savior effected the rest of their lives.

God didn’t say, “Clean up your act, then come back to me.” Instead God says, “Come as you are.”

Hear God call you by name, then respond to Him with a repentant heart. No sin is too great for Him to forgive. No life too shattered for Him to transform. And no sinner is too far gone to be used by God, once that sinner has met the Savior.

I prayed for you today.