Numbers 20-22

Mark 7:1-13

“The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” —1 Samuel 17:37

Sometimes, we can get fairly complacent in our Christian lives. We go to church and feel good about it. We enjoy the singing, like the message and feel good to pray. But what is it like when we leave the church? Is the Word of God really making a difference or is it metaphorically tucked into our pockets or just an app on our smart phone?

Saul heard an amazing message from God through the prophet Samuel that made a difference in his life. He was to be God’s anointed, the first king of Israel and the one chosen to free his people from the hand of the Philistines. The Lord was with Saul and gave him great victories, but then Saul became proud, arrogant and disobedient. At this, God withdrew His Spirit from him and sent Samuel to anoint another king. David, a simple shepherd boy, was God’s chosen, and Samuel anointed him the next king of Israel.

No longer God’s anointed but still Israel’s king, Saul became a man quaking in his boots, terrified to fight the Philistines. In the Valley of Elah, Goliath, a giant of a man and the greatest warrior among the Philistines, challenged the Israelites for 40 consecutive days to find one man willing to fight him, and in this way, determine victory. Saul, a head taller than the rest of his men and also experienced, would have been the likely candidate, but he was petrified. David not only volunteered, but was confident he could slay Goliath, because he believed God was as good as His Word. Saul said to him, “Go, and the LORD be with you” (1 Samuel 17:37).

Saul was characterized by fear instead of faith, oppression instead of obedience. Although he operated totally by human resources, he knew the language of faith. “The LORD be with you,” he said to David, but it was simply spiritual jargon. Had he truly believed that, he would have gone himself, but Saul had become detached from God. He knew nothing of spiritual reality, only spiritual talk.

To better understand this spiritual reality, we could consider it by way of analogy: an aspirin will not work unless we take it; a sweater will not keep us warm unless we put it on, and the Word of God will not work unless we read it. The truth has to go deep inside, alive and active into our hearts. We cannot get by on spiritual rhetoric. Spiritual reality lives and breathes within our hearts, and plays out every day as we apply the Word of God to our lives.

Dear Lord, may I never be content in just hearing Your Word, but allow it to penetrate deeply into my heart, and appropriate it in my day to day living. Thank You, Lord.

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