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When Flesh Rules
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Isa 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:

 

Sept. 1, 2006                      When Flesh Rules                      Kathleen Maples


It started almost from the beginning of their deliverance, back in the wilderness. The people were not satisfied with the manna from heaven that God was sending them to eat and they "abhorred it" they got bored with it, and murmured and asked for flesh.


Num 11:4 And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?

Num 11:5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:

Num 11:6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.


First, there was a mixed multitude among them. Not everyone was committed to God. Some were committed to self. Some had misjudged the situation when they saw the powerful displays God put on to free His people in Egypt, from Egypt, and saw all the wealth given Israel, and thought, this looks like a good opportunity to escape my ho-hum life, so I'll follow this crowd, and leave with them. They might have been Egyptians, discontent with their masters. They might have been Israelites who just couldn't be satisfied no matter what God did. But remember by this time, they had not only seen their God destroy the land of Egypt for their sake, they'd seen him part the Red Sea, a sea that was 1200 miles long, 190 miles wide at its widest point, and in the center, 8200 feet deep, with depths ranging from shallows at the edge to 1640 to 3000 to 5000 feet deep in different places. They'd seen Him provide water in the wilderness from a rock-and for that many people it would have had to have been more like a huge waterfall out of a rock to satisfy the thirst of 3 1/2 million people and their animals. Now, what does that have to do with me, you wonder? When God saves us He takes us on a journey. He already demonstrated He is greater than the sins that held you tied to this world and the powers of darkness which would have destroyed you. He's taking you somewhere and He wants to make you something pleasing in His sight. He has a job for each one of us to do that will glorify His name, and cause others to want Him in their lives. It's all about Him, and leading others to Him. Glorifying Him. He is WORTHY-never listen to any voice that tells you different. He is not unreasonable, His commands are not grievous. He's done for us what no one else could ever do.


Psa 78:13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as a heap.

Psa 78:14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.

Psa 78:15 He cleaved the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.

Psa 78:16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.


He protected them from their enemies. He gave them victory after victory over everything that opposed them, so long as they stood in His counsel, and obeyed Him. But they left out of Egypt with their idols, both in their tents, and in their hearts, even after God exposed the utter helplessness of these idols by plaguing Egypt.



Amo 5:25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

Amo 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. (See also Acts 7:43)


None of Egypt's idols could stand up to defend her. God put them all to an open shame-publicly. They were vain imaginations of men, that's all. Now, fast forward a few generations. Let's visit Shiloh. The prophet Samuel has been judging Israel. These people kept him busy, traveling around through their cities, judging their causes, and it makes you wonder why Samuel's own sons did not come to know the Lord or fear Him.


1Sa 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

1Sa 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,

1Sa 8:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.


Once again, the people were dissatisfied with God, with the way He governed their lives, because they wanted flesh they could see to rule them. They did not want to be ruled by the Spirit of God, whom they could not see-although there was marvelous evidence of His works on their behalf-for example, in the previous chapter, 1 Sam 7, when the Philistines gathered against Israel, Samuel offered sacrifice and prayer to the Lord, and the Lord just thundered loudly against the Philistines and it frightened them and the men of Israel went out and smote them, the Scripture says in 1Sa_7:11, they were subdued and didn't come at Israel anymore, according to the Scripture. The cities taken from Israel were restored, and there was peace. The Lord fought for Israel. He secured her from her enemies. He gave her peace. He provided for her needs. But she was so ungrateful, unthankful, and always wanted more. She could not get her eyes off the world and the ways the world governed themselves. She coveted the pleasures of the world, the idols of the world. As I read these Scriptures, I wondered at the pain this must have caused God when after everything He'd done for His people, they rejected Him, in favor of flesh.


1Sa 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.


God knew their hearts. And it had to hurt His, this betrayal. But even though they turned from Him, he still loved them enough to warn them. He warned them this king, would take their children, which is the strength of the people, the future generation, he'd take their fields, their vineyards, the best of all they had for himself, he would tax their resources, he would take what was meant for God. He would take the best the people had for himself, (and that belonged to God, correct?) This is an illustration of how if we allow our flesh to rule us, it will strip our spiritual life away to nothing. God was not unreasonable, nor looking to get rich or powerful, as flesh would. God was not unfair as flesh would be. The people listened to the warning of the Lord, and then rejected and dismissed it, and said, no, we will have a king over us, that he may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles. (1Sa_8:19-20) God warned them the king which they would choose would end up oppressing them and they would cry out to the Lord then. We might think that sounds foolish for these people to become convinced they could take care of themselves, that they no longer needed God...but don't we all have a tendency to try to solve the problem ourselves instead of taking it to God? You can see if you look back at Deu_6:10-12, they were told not to forget God when he gave them all the goodness of the promised land. When you have inherited the blessing, the houses you didn't build, the vineyards you didn't plant, and all you have to do is cast out the enemy whom the Lord will defeat for you, don't forget the Lord, don't forget it was Him who delivered you. Tell your children about Him. Teach the children about what He's done for you, and His ways. That whole chapter 6 in Deuteronomy is a warning to the people of God, and a plea, also, don't forget God when times are good, and easy. Don't forget him, don't forsake Him for the idols of the people around you. How merciful He is to such a fickle people, and I am not excluding myself from this. When times are easy and we are prospered and blessed, it's dangerous because that's when people will slack on their prayer life and Bible reading and communion with the Lord. That leads to weakness, to being unprepared for what the enemy of your soul is planning. He sees when you get slack, and it delights him. He will consider you easy pickings.


We know Saul was chosen to be the first human king of Israel. His name means "Demanded, desired, ditch, death". He started out humble, small in his own sight. God gave Saul another heart, changed him, and put His holy Spirit on Saul. When Saul was made king, the first test he had to face concerned the Ammonites, and a man named Nahash. His name means "serpent, snake" so we know the powers of darkness were coming against the people. They were so intimidated, they requested that Nahash just make a deal with them and they'd serve him. But when he set his terms, they sent messengers out through the coasts of Israel seeking help. Saul, under the power of the Spirit of God, united the people together and soundly defeated the Ammonites. Samuel gathered the people (1 Sam 12) and reminded them of the goodness of the Lord, and how he'd repeatedly delivered them. He warned them and their king to always follow the Lord, because Samuel knew he was getting old, and he wanted to see the people remain faithful to God.


When Saul had reigned two years over Israel, things start going bad. There was an area in a city of Israel, Geba, in which the Philistines had a stronghold. They had a fortified military post in Geba, which meant that city was under enemy rule. Jonathan, Saul's son, takes a thousand men and attacks and overcomes this stronghold of the enemy. Well, the Philistines didn't take this sitting down. They gathered themselves together to fight back and here Saul is with his 2,000 men, and Jonathan with his 1,000, and here comes the Philistines with thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and more soldiers than could be counted. When Israel saw they were so vastly outnumbered, they did what flesh will normally do, panic, run and hide. This was the first real test of Saul as king, and he failed. His soldiers were like rats off a sinking ship, running and hiding in caves, in rocks, holes, thickets, where ever they could find cover. Saul was afraid, and because the leader feared, the people feared. He was supposed to wait on Samuel to come and offer the burnt offering to the Lord. Saul was watching the people scatter. The pressure on him was mounting. His fear and desperation were mounting. He runs out of patience, his desperation gets the best of him, and with no sign of Samuel on the 7th day, Saul offers the burnt offering, and peace offering. To understand the seriousness of what Saul did, we have to understand what the burnt offering means, and how God sees it. When something is burned, it is totally consumed, offered up completely to God. Remember, our God is a consuming fire (
Heb_12:29). Everything in the Old Testament illustrates a New Testament spiritual principle. The burnt offering was serious to God, it spoke of dedication, sacrifice, and offering of everything by the one who did the sacrifice, to God, complete submission to the will of God-mind, body, soul, all of himself. It was to be offered by one of the Levitical Priesthood..... and just what does that have to do with me, you might wonder. I live in the age of grace. Yes, you do, but consider what the Word says:

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:


That's what it has to do with us. Just as the burnt offering was to be made in the order God prescribed, as He prescribed. The burnt offering was to be without blemish, be offered voluntarily, but there had to be one of the priests, (which Samuel was) who ministered to the Lord, to do this. The priests were to cut the offering in pieces, put the wood on the fire, in order, and the offering in pieces, in order, but the inward parts and legs were to be washed in water and the PRIEST shall burn all on the altar to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet savour unto the Lord. It's a holy thing to the Lord. (You can read this for yourself in Leviticus 1). We fall on the Word of God, and it breaks us in pieces. (Luk 20:18). We let it break us up, and present ourselves to God, letting him wash us clean with the washing of the water of the Word (Eph 5:26) and we offer our vessel to the Lord, sanctified, meet for the Master's use. (2 Tim 2:21)


Saul had been instructed in the ways of the Lord. He knew Samuel was the only one qualified to offer the burnt offering. Saul stepped out of order, and put himself in the position of priest, wholly dedicated to the Lord, to offer up a sacrifice. Saul allowed himself to be ruled by fear, flesh, and the sight of his eyes-he saw the people scattering. They scattered in fear because their leader was fearful. A fearful leader does not inspire confidence in the people. Instead of exhorting the people to trust in the Lord, no matter how it looked, reminding the people of the previous times the Lord had delivered them against what looked like long odds, Saul just shook with fear and couldn't get his eyes off the situation. Remember, this all started when the children of God took down a stronghold of the enemy. This caused the enemy to want to fight back, and we must know when we start evicting things from our lives that don't belong, the adversary of our soul won't just roll over and let us have the easy way out. He will fight. He will try to intimidate. But we have to trust God will not leave us in his hand, or allow us to be defeated. The devil is the one who has already been defeated. Just as the burnt offering was to be offered up regularly, we are to offer ourselves up daily to the Lord, for his purpose, for his plan, his pleasure. Flesh doesn't like that idea at all. Remember, when the offering was acceptable, the fire of God fell and consumed it. Oh, doesn't that cause a hunger in your heart to place yourself on God's altar and pray for the fire of the Holy Ghost to fall on you and consume the chaff, and fill you with the power you need to walk and live holy before God, to be the witness for Him that this lost and dying world needs so desperately to see?


1Sa 13:9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.

1Sa 13:10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

1Sa 13:11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

1Sa 13:12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.


Can you hear the fear and accusation in Saul's voice? "Samuel, you weren't here when you were supposed to be. The people were leaving me alone. " And you can also be assured the enemy was making their voices heard...and all the pressure mounted on Saul, and instead of crying out to God, he gave in to the flesh which always feels it has to do something. When we are in a situation where we feel trapped and afraid, and unsure what to do, the best thing we can do is get alone with God, get in His presence, and just pray, just talk to Him, and let Him impart His strength, His wisdom to us. Let Him love us. He will not fail us or forsake us. Never forget He brought us out of sin, out of darkness, into His light and love. He didn't bring us this far to let the enemy triumph over His child.


1Sa 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever.

1Sa 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.



I don't ever want to hear those words, do you? I don't ever want the Lord to say I had a job for you to do, but you let fear and flesh rule you right out of it. He won't ask us to do something He's not going to be the power in us to do.


Psa 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.


When the Lord begins to deal with us about what He wants us to do, oh, how we need to listen. Our flesh won't like the sound of it. Our carnal mind will tell us we can't do it. We're not good enough, smart enough, mature enough in the Lord. But, remember this: HE is our strength, HE is our resources, HE is our life, our Guide, our Teacher, our Source of Power, and HE sees the whole picture. HE sees the traps ahead the enemy has so carefully laid. HE sees the temptations just around the bend ahead. HE loves us so much HE gave HIS ONLY SON for our lives. HE has invested so much in us. The Lord demonstrated and proved His love for us before we were ever born. God help us learn not to listen to our carnal minds, our fearful flesh, and the lies of the devil...Help us remember we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us! (Phi_4:13)

Saul refused to listen to God. He would give in to the people, to his flesh, and make excuses. He would blame the people for his failures instead of honestly repenting before the Lord. God told him to deal with some things. To kill some things. And Saul spared some of them instead. Just as when Israel first crossed into the promised land, and were told to destroy and spare not the enemy, they didn't listen. They spared some. They got tired of the constant battles and spared those who didn't seem much of a threat. But those that were spared came back to haunt and overcome them. Just as when Saul spared some of the Amalekites. It was an Amalekite that ultimately killed him. God is wanting to take His people into the fullness of the promises, the life of Christ He has made available to them. He wants us to be partakers of His Divine Nature. But we have to lay aside some things that hinder us. Things that distract us. We have to let go of those things God is dealing with us about-myself included, and turn to Him with all our hearts, and not be half-hearted, or divided. We can rest assured whatever we lay down will in no wise compare with HIM and what HE has for us....don't be cheated out of God's best. Don't settle for less than what God has for you.






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