Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wrath of the Lamb


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great.
Nicolas Bataille, tapestry, Angers Apocalypse, 1377

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Multitudes, multitudes,
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
in the valley of decision.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.

The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the Lord is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel. (Joel 3:13-16)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, 
 and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, 
and a sharp sickle in his hand. 
And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud,
“Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, 
and the earth was reaped. 
(Revelation 14:14-16)

The happiest words to me in the bible are "He is not here. He is risen!" (Matthew 28:6). O, what joy to proclaim our Savior perfect and ascended!

The saddest words to me are "the earth was reaped." The simplicity of the words are startling, he put in his sickle...and the earth was reaped. Just. Like. That. Wow.

Our Jesus is holy and loving. But He is just. He will bring justice to the earth one day, and soon, I think, and take vengeance on those who mocked, scoffed, persecuted, and blasphemed HIS HOLY NAME.

It is all well and good to focus on the love of Jesus. But not to the exclusion of His Righteousness, His Justice, His Holiness...and His Wrath. This essay is my part in reminding us all of some of the attributes fellow Christians seldom focus upon. But in failing to ponder them, we result in a skewed view of Jesus, and fail to appreciate the love He has for us all the more. We also fail to have urgency in speaking of Him and in being living Ambassadors for His name to the lost.

So think about wrath and justice for a while. It does a heart good.


Will that day be tomorrow? Will that day be today? Will that day be next week? Only God knows when He will tell His Son to get His Bride so the wrath can begin. Only He knows after that when the Tribulation will begin the vengeance and wrath. But our Jesus is not only love. He is wrath. Never forget it.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is your Christianity a Cruise Ship or a Battleship?

Some Christians think that once they're saved, life will be like a cruise ship. False prosperity teachers tell us that too. All will be well, just sit back, enjoy the ride, it's the Love Boat.

source
On a cruise ship, it's all about you. The cruise is for YOU. You will be served at every moment. Need something? Want something? Our friendly staff will seek to fulfill your every dream. You deserve this cruise! Your Captain is the genial Joel Osteen, the ship is directed by the friendly Joyce Meyer. The ship was designed by corporate-model, seeker-sensitive guru Rick Warren, so you can be sure that the best minds thought ahead to what all your felt needs might be, and aboard this cruise, they will be fulfilled. You'll enjoy smooth waters, and clear skies- Gloria Copeland guarantees it. Aboard the Cruise Ship, Every Day Is a Friday!

Relax, lay back, sunny skies and a pleasant trip awaits. Come aboard, all you need to do is want it enough and your dream Christianity Cruise will be yours!

[Note small print, Captain Joel Osteen was taught by Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino on how to abandon the sheep to their fates and save himself. No worries though, because if the ship hits a reef and sinks, no one will come to harm, because as a Christian Cruiser, you already have enough faith on the inside of you to overcome any obstacle.]

Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. 
We're expecting you. 
And Love, life's sweetest reward. 
Let it flow, it floats back to you.  
Love Boat soon will be making another run 
The Love Boat promises something for everyone 
Set a course for adventure, Your mind on a new romance.  
And Love won't hurt anymore 
It's an open smile on a friendly shore. 
Yes LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE! 

source
Meanwhile, sailing on the same oceans, was the Christian Battleship. No one is allowed aboard this ship through enlistment. Only by conscription can a person board. The Captain, Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner), will hone His crew into a sleek fighting machine. The waters are infested with enemies seeking to sink the ship. Your Captain is the Lord Who Sees (Genesis 16:13) and He knows where each enemy legion lies in wait. This ship is the safest of all the ships plying all the waters of all the earth.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! (Psalm 24:8)

USS Missouri (post refit)
Captain Jehovah, The Shepherd and Bishop of Souls, (1 Peter 2:25) cares for each and every one of His draftees. He will care for them in battle or in between battles. He will never abandon them nor forsake them. When the enemy strikes, He knows where to station each crew member for maximum effectiveness. In between battles, there are lectures to show how to polish the draftees' armor, (Ephesians 6:10-18), army manual study time (bible) and special tutoring sessions for new draftees (Acts 8:30).

USS Eisenhower
The song the Christians sing on this ship is:

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, 
With the cross of Jesus going on before. 
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; 
Forward into battle see His banners go!  
Refrain  
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, 
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)


Source


Monday, August 18, 2014

At what point does one declare a teacher like Beth Moore false? Here's some help.

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Isn't that an evocative and a sweet description of how we fall asleep! I've always loved it.

Apostasy is like that. It shows up slowly, then all at once.

In Philemon 1:24, Paul called Demas a fellow worker. By 2 Timothy 4:10, Paul had declared him a friend of the world. There was approximately an 8-10 year span between the two verses.

Judas was never in the faith. For three and a half years, he followed Christ. But unknown to the disciples, Judas held secret sins in his heart, he stole from the group purse, he met with Pharisees...By the end, he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Demas and Judas never abandoned the faith, because they never were in it in the first place.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19).

A tweet by Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore this week is causing dismay and consternation. I wrote about it here. Here is the tweet:


Beth Moore and also Christine Caine on her Facebook page, confirmed the partnership. The topic of the program series will be "unity" Moore tweeted. Meyer said on her own Facebook page that they haven't scheduled the programs for broadcast yet. But that the programs will be on soon.

From Christine Caine's Facebook page
Since Meyer is well-known heretic who teaches unorthodox and unbiblical doctrines, Moore's partnership on Meyer's program has disappointed many. Yet for others who have been sounding the alarm about Beth Moore for many years, (including myself) this comes as NO surprise. We are hopeful that at last, this will be the evidence your church needs to root out FALSE TEACHER Beth Moore from your church.

In Numbers 32:23 we read that our sin will find us out. Can any apostate keep their position hidden forever? Of course, Jesus knows all. He knew Judas was not of the faith, because Jesus sees the heart. He knows what is in a man. (John 2:24). But what about us, who cannot see the heart, but only the fruit?

Apostasy is a funny thing. It is like a chain that keeps lengthening. At which link does a person declare a false teacher false (if they are)?

Public Domain
No sensible person will declare a teacher false after only one link appears. That is not discernment, it is Pharisaical judgment. But how about after four links? It depends on the link. It depends on what they have said or done. If the teacher has said "Jesus never came in the flesh" then that's good enough, because the 2 John 1:7 declares that people who say that are deceivers and antichrists.

If a person declares that they do not believe in Jesus as the Resurrected Son of God, and are in fact an atheist, as the Christian metal band singer Tim "I was faking faith the whole time" Lambesis said recently, then one need not wait for more links in the chain in order to know they are false.

But what of Beth Moore, who has been on the forefront of the Christian scene teaching and preaching since 1997? At what point in the chain does one say, 'cut it off, I know she's false?' Some said it early and some say it late and others say it not at all.

As Justin Peters said on Brannon Howse's World View Weekend radio program this week, a person can follow a false teacher for a season. It stands to reason that a false teacher can teach a false doctrine for a season, too, but correct it. That is why we must be vigilant, but not hasty.

For me the final, straw that broke the camel's back moment came when Moore claimed to have been visited by Jesus. Moore said he lifted her into another dimension to see the church as "He" sees it. Moore claimed that during that vision, "Jesus" told her "My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief". "Jesus" then told Moore to return and teach this new revelation to the church.

Jesus would never say His Bride is unbelieving. To be part of the Bride, one must believe. If one doesn't believe, they are not the Bride. Moore's supposed revelation is an internally contradictory statement. And since Jesus doesn't contradict Himself, it must be Moore who is false.

Others gave the benefit of the doubt for longer periods. And still other things that we could add to the pile of proof, links in the apostasy chain as it were, stayed mostly hidden. Unless one cared to look. I did.

When the bible says to be vigilant (1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 16:13) it means be vigilant. Observant. Watchful. Once the alarm bell went off about Moore, I listened closely and I researched for evidence. This is so one can either conform or exonerate.

For example, Non-profit tax returns are public. I read all of the tax returns from Moore's Living Proof Ministries, as far back as they were available, to 2000. That was how I discovered that Moore donated significant money to Lakewood Church as long ago as ten years.

Or when Moore made a statement that though she travels a lot, that she is a biblical wife and leaves Friday night and is home by Saturday afternoon, thus retaining her stay-at-home status, it hit me wrong. So I researched her schedule. I knew that she had many Living Proof conferences that year, and was on a book tour that year, spent time writing alone in a cabin in the woods, and did weekly TV shows. So I looked through her public calendar, pieced together the weekends, and found the truth was the opposite. But unless one did the research, one would not know she had told a falsehood.

Link by link I built my case.

So, when did Beth Moore’s apostasy show through? For me, early. Others, later. Still others do not have ears to hear, so they don't remain vigilant. They are not watchful. When does the tip of the iceberg of apostasy show above the surface?

Jude 1:4 says,

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Unnoticed...Yet at some point, they stumble, their sin shows. They are seen by the discerning. The discerning raise the alarm. Some don't see it. The wolf remains unnoticed still.

Was it in 1994 when she founded Living Proof Ministries and set herself as President, (and her husband as Vice-President) and claimed on her (2000) IRS tax form that she worked 50 hours a week, yet said in interviews she was a stay at home mom at the same time?
Source: Publicly available IRS tax return for tax year ending 5/2001
Was it in 2003 when she donated $1000 to Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, for “ministry support?”

Or in 2003 when she described writing her book “When Godly People do Ungodly Things” as having been taken over by a force which wrote the book FOR her? (a process known as automatic writing/channeling the occult/Spiritism)

Or in 2004 when she donated $34,429 to Joel Osteen’s church for “ministry support”?

Was it in 2005 when Moore claimed to have been visited by Jesus, who lifted her into another dimension to see the church through His eyes, at which time He told gave her new revelation- that, and I quote her quoting Jesus, “My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief”, and that Moore was to return to earth and teach this? (Jesus would NEVER say His Bride doesn’t believe, it is an internally contradictory statement!!)

Or in 2006 when Moore participated in a DVD program called “Be Still” and promoted the Catholic mystical practice of contemplative prayer?

Or in 2008, when her pop psychology tainted with faith conditions (legalism) began to show through, when she wrote for example, in her book Looking Up When Life Is Looking Down, that "I believe God has scheduled a time and a way for you to get out of our pit. You're going to need to show up for the appointment, though."

Or in 2009 when Moore taught from Deut. directly and blatantly allegorized the passage, twisted it, and made it about ourselves when the verse was clearly about God? (which she does with all her verses in all studies?) [Living Proof Conference, Charlotte NC]

Or again in 2010 when Moore taught a passage from Hebrews in one of her studies and completely allegorized it, twisted it, and made it about ourselves, beginning an obvious pattern of bible eisegesis?

Or in 2011 when her programs on Life Today with James Robison became more about “mistakes” and not sins, and more about pop psychology and earthly desires than honoring God and learning His word? When she said "I believe" more than "The bible says"?

Or in 2102 when at the Georgia Passion conference when she led the youths in the Catholic Mystical practice of Lectio Divina and prayer walking?

Or perhaps 2013 when her language while teaching included much more of “God told me to teach you this” or “I heard God say to me” and taught from her own vain imaginings and visions than the word itself but called it ‘teaching the word’?

Or in 2013 when she praised Catholic Mystic Roma Downey and Word Faith prosperity teacher Victoria Osteen at Lakewood Church during women’s conferences they did together?

Or in 2014 when Moore said “God told her” that there will come an awakening and an outpouring, and that she and others who speak “the genuinely prophetic” will be called false, but not to believe them, the people (us) who will say she is false will be bullies?

Or finally in 2014, when she linked with heretic Joyce Meyer?

Justin Peters is a pastor, teacher, and has been invited by John MacArthur to participate with him in several conferences. Peters teaches discernment. He spoke about the Joyce Meyer/Beth Moore partnership this week. He said in the past he has declared Moore’s teachings bad, her bible hermeneutics terrible, and her approach too casual. He has said she is not qualified to do the things she has been doing. He said he's urged women to study under other women, like Susan Heck, rather than Moore…but has been hesitant to say outright that she is false. However, this Moore-Meyer link has pushed him over the edge, and unfortunately Moore can be seen to be a wolf. Many others are finally saying the same.

Those of us with the gift of discernment who spot it early, it is often a mournful time. It's hard to be practically the only ones saying “watch out, Moore is false” not because we want everyone to see we’re right, but because we can see the wolves carrying off the lambs and the sheep! It hurts to see women impacted negatively by false teachers. It is a grief to see them absorb and adopt the false hermeneutics Moore teaches, false approaches to the bible that these women carry with them. It is a pattern of destruction that Moore embeds, which women then use as the filter to see God’s word and His attributes. The Spirit in His will gives gifts, one of them is discernment. If you have a discerning person in your church, please understand it is a gift from Jesus, not a harassment to torture you in your love for certain teachers.
"Plate facing page 10, An Argosy of Fables" by Paul Bransom,
New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921. Wiki CC

You would not believe how wide Meyer's sphere of influence is. Meyer's social media influence is huge too. Meyer has 7.6 million followers on Facebook.

Moore is extremely popular. Women trust Moore and trust what she says, so when Moore promotes and endorses books like Jesus Calling, teachings like heretic Meyer’s, and practices like direct revelation as normative, women believe it. Then women get defeated because they aren’t hearing directly from God, they aren’t climbing ‘out of their pits’ in their own strength, and they aren’t having visions where all these lively experiences happen. "Why Beth Moore and Not Me?" Moore’s sphere of falsity widens ever larger because the more women trust her the more they are entrapped into their sin and bondage.

Justin Peters said this week in an interview with Brannon Howse on World View Weekend, “If the SBC had a pope, it would be Beth Moore.”

Moore and Meyer are the two most followed and best selling women bible ‘teachers’ in Christendom. In partnering, they have become the face of falsity for most women who claim to love Jesus. It is a dangerous time.

You might be familiar with the good Christian movies Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. They were made by the Kendrick Brothers at their home church in South Georgia, Sherwood Baptist. Did you know that the Kendrick Brothers are now making a fifth movie, but have have struck out on their own, apart from Sherwood church? Their new movie is about prayer…and did you know Priscilla Shirer AND Beth Moore appear in it?

Discernment is a never-ending process. It is important to be vigilant! (1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 16:13)

Why am I saying all this? Because women in our church have to know. They have to be told that Moore, Meyer, etc are destructive to their walk. We have to gently approach our sisters, to tell them. We ask the husbands and the leaders to be attentive to discernment issues. It seems to me that the noose is tightening and that false teachers and false doctrines truly abound.

Because of these verses:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Good news!






MyBible.com has a Creative Commons Share-Alike license.
This art has been modified, to add the verse

Friday, August 15, 2014

Anti-Semitic incidents worse than they've been in decades- "Something's changed"

In the news article excerpt below (from Breitbart) you will read that attitudes toward Jewish people are taking a horrific turn for the worse.

South African Union Leader Calls for Attacks on Jews 'Everywhere'
In a posting on his personal Facebook page Wednesday, Tony Ehrenreich, the leader of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape province, called for "an Eye for an Eye against Zionist aggression" and warned that "if a woman or child is killed in Gaza," then Jews who support Israel must face an equivalent fate. ... Ehrenreich is one of South Africa's more important political voices. He was the Cape Town mayoral nominee in 2011 for the country's major political party, the African National Congress (ANC), and still leads the opposition in the city council. He has strong anti-Israel views, and recently called for boycotts of Jewish businesses in South Africa if the Jewish community's leadership, the Board of Deputies, refused to stop supporting Israel. Now, Ehrenreich has apparently taken his campaign one step further--to possible incitement. ... Last month, another member of the ANC in the Western Cape province posted an antisemitic statement to her personal Facebook page--an image of Hitler with the comment, "Yes man, you were right!" and the caption: "I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to tell you why I was killing them."
That a person could even hold this attitude but speak it out loud, or write it for the world to see, is depraved. That a leader of men is doing it is even worse.

Yet sadly, this attitude toward Jews is not silently contained in one man's heart, or posted on an obscure man's Facebook page, but is becoming widespread among the world's nations. See this interesting news piece. Here is the art from it. Click to enlarge-


Anti-Semitism In Europe: A Crisis
Two weeks ago, a secret emergency meeting was held in Jerusalem, chaired jointly by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, whose cabinet portfolio includes the relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. On the agenda was the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks on Jews across Europe in the wake of the Gaza conflict. The meeting was attended by representatives of government departments and major Jewish organizations operating in Europe. They heard assessments from the leadership and security bodies of some of the European communities, and from experts in Israeli agencies who have a brief to monitor the physical safety of Jews around the world and discreetly assist communities at risk.
No conclusions were reached at the meeting. As of now there is little Israel can or perhaps should do. The rash of attacks on Jews, vandalism of synagogues and homes, and virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric is being confronted energetically by police, local authorities and national governments. The level of violence, while unprecedented in decades, is not yet causing a scared exodus – no-one is chartering planes for an airlift. But something has changed.
Those who have been monitoring levels of anti-Semitism in Europe for years are struggling to put their finger on what exactly has changed in recent weeks. Looking back at the last 15 years, the current wave of attacks is just the latest in a series beginning with the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, and repeating itself with each round of violence in Gaza, the West Bank or Lebanon. So what is different this time?
“It’s worse than any previous period we can remember. Worse than the waves after Operation Cast Lead and the Marmara incident,” says Richard Goldstein, operations director at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London, where he closely follows the situation of Jewish communities in Europe. “Intimidating demonstrations in numerous places in Europe, often leading to attacks on Jewish businesses and synagogues – we haven’t seen things like this for decades. On the other hand, there have been sudden waves like this in the past and afterwards things went back to normal. It’s hard now to predict how things will look once Gaza calms down. But it looks like a red line has been crossed where many don’t make the distinction between Israel and Jews anymore.”
The reason that the world is turning against the Jews is because of God.

“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. (Zechariah 12:2)

Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: Thus says your Lord, the Lord, your God who pleads the cause of his people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.” (Isaiah 51:21-23)

Gill's Exposition says of the Isaiah verse:
Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of trembling; which he himself had put there, Isaiah 51:17, and which none but himself could take out; not she herself, nor any of her sons, nor indeed could they give her any relief; but when the Lord's time is come to favour his people, he himself will remove it:

So God will render His wrath upon His rebellious people Israel. When He determines the time is finished for His cup of wrath to be poured out upon her, He will remove the cup of staggering and put it in other nations' hands and pour out His wrath on them, for tormenting His people.

The Tribulation as defined here says,
"The Tribulation, as taught by most Bible scholars, encompasses a future seven year period when God will complete his discipline of Israel and final judgment upon the unbelieving citizens of the world."
At some level, just as the world's peoples know that God exists, (Romans 1:19-20), they know that the reason for the world's anti-Semitism is also God, because He loves the Jews. Here is an example of a person's secular opinion in answer to the question of why the world hates the Jews, illustrating  they know religion is at the root:

Religion: The root cause of the crises in the Middle East
Sunni vs. Shia, Muslim Brotherhood vs. other religions, especially Coptic Christians and the secular state in Egypt, Muslims vs. Christians in Lebanon, Jews vs. Muslims in the Israel-Arab conflicts, and Sunnis and radical Islamist groups vs. Alawites (and President Bashar) in Syria.

The more I investigated all of this, the more I found that much of the terrible turmoil can, in fact, be traced to the fundamental beliefs of different groups that they are right and righteous. These groups cling to ancient stories and teachings that define their identity, their morals and their politics. These traditions also pinpoint the geographic space to which they believe they are entitled — their homeland and holy land
But his answer is only the beginning of the answer. Here is the rest of it, and the truth:

What is the cause of all the anti-Semitism in the world?
This brings us to the real reason by the world hates the Jews. The apostle Paul tells us, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!” (Romans 9:3-5).
The truth is that the world hates the Jews because the world hates God. The Jews were God’s firstborn, His chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). Through the Jewish patriarchs, the prophets, and the temple, God used the Jews to bring forth His Word, the Law, and morality to a world of sin. He sent forth His son, Jesus the Christ, in a Jewish body to redeem the world of sin. Satan, the prince of the earth (John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2), has poisoned the minds of men with his hated of the Jews.
May the Lord have mercy upon those who torment the people who are the apple of His eye. May He have mercy on His own People...for the Lord's wrath is very great. The hatred of the Jews will only increase as we slide ever closer to the Tribulation, when both satan's hatred and God's wrath will be poured out in full measure. I personally believe that when officials at the high levels, who are in-the-know, say that something's changed, that thee level of hatred and the number of incidents are inexplicably increasing, it is because we see the Lord's hand directly at work.

I believe it also is a sign. I believe that it means we are closer than ever to the rapture, because the Tribulation shortly follows that event, when literally all hell will break loose against the Jews. Come soon Lord Jesus, we long for Your manifold mercies, in rapturing your Bride before it gets to that point. You, dear reader, can be part of the Bride too, if you repent and believe on the Son.

Maranatha!

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Further Reading

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary: The Wrath of God

What is the Tribulation? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Samuel's retirement as Judge of Israel and the lessons for us today

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621–1674)
Hannah presenting her son Samuel to the priest Eli
Samuel had been a faithful man of God since his mother Hannah had presented him to Eli in the temple when Samuel was three years old. You might remember Hannah's prayer. The LORD had closed her womb, and desperately Hannah wanted a child. She prayed in the temple, promising to deliver a child that the LORD gives her, back to Him for His glorious service. The LORD was pleased with this. He opened Hannah's womb, and the child born was Samuel.

Samuel served for many years as Priest, Prophet and Judge.

The day came when Samuel was going to retire as their Judge. The People had clamored for a King instead, and God acceded to this. So Samuel gathered the People, and spoke to them in farewell.

And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.” (1 Samuel 12:1-5)

I find this profoundly beautiful.

When the LORD called little Samuel into service, you'll remember the scene. Sadly, old Priest Eli was dim of eyesight, and as we'll see, dim of hearing also. The visions to Israel were rare in those days. The LORD called to Samuel.

Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. (1 Samuel 3:4-5)

Three times the LORD called and three times Samuel answered "Hear I am!" It took three times for Eli to figure out that it was God who was calling Samuel. Samuel opened his service to the LORD with those powerful three words, 'Here I am'. As a parallel, when the LORD called Isaiah, Isaiah also responded with, "Here I am!" (Isaiah 6:8).

Samuel ended his service as their Judge with the same phrase he began service, "Here I am." We know that when we are before the people of the Lord, we are before the Lord. (Acts 5:4, Acts 9:4).

Before Samuel spoke last words to prompt them to remember the LORD and all He had done for them, Samuel did something first. He checked his relationship with the People. He asked them if there was any blight in his behavior to cause a stumbling, to cause an offense, to have come between them and him. He would make amends. The People answered, "No". Samuel had not defrauded, had not oppressed, had not cheated, had not bribed.

Samuel went on with his message, bringing all the Lord had done to the Israelites' mind. Samuel closed with this-

"Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:24-25).

It is such a parallel to us today. Now, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant distinguishes us from the OT Israelites and the NT Christians. Further, there are not Priests, Kings, Judges, or Prophets of Israel anymore. However, the principles are the same. For example,

1. Samuel was a faithful servant of the LORD all his days. He was attuned to God's will, he was diligent to follow His voice, and he was faithful to God's people. Eli's spiritual hearing had grown so dim, he failed to hear God calling to Samuel. Yet Samuel was attuned all his days. Are we attuned to the Lord? Are we available to perform service to Him? Do we diligently and actively comply when we do hear His voice (through the scriptures)?

2. Samuel lived a holy life before His people. We are called to do the same.

Source: Elegant Finishes by Gina
Living holy and blameless before the Lord means living holy and blameless lives before His people, too. I'd said a moment ago, 'We know that when we are before the people of the Lord, we are before the Lord.' (Acts 5:4, Acts 9:4). I'd used those two verses from Acts to show the truth of my axiom. When Ananias and Sapphira lied about the portion of money they had pledged to the church, they were not lying to Peter. They were lying to the Holy Spirit (who is IN Peter). When Saul was persecuting Christians, he was not just persecuting some people who happened to be living in the Middle East, he was persecuting the Spirit IN the people. That's why Jesus said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"

When we are before God's people, we are before God.

3. Samuel's call to charge him so he could make amends, before he got to the business of reminding them of what God had done, is similar to today's New Testament charge to cleanse ourselves before we approach the Lord's Table for communion. We are not only charged to cleanse ourselves before the Lord but to clear things with any of the brethren. If there are any outstanding sins, we must rectify them first.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 27-29)

It is a call to be reverent, holy, and mindful of all Who God is and what He has done. Attempting to be reverent about what Jesus has done for us though a filter of unconfessed sin or through the muck of grudges and bitterness against one in the Body, is not behaving in worthy manner. Samuel cleared the decks first. We must do the same.

Old Testament or New Testament, we are called to live holy lives.

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16, cf Leviticus 11:44, Leviticus 19:2)

Samuel's call to the people to charge him with any wrong he had performed so as to make amends was not only holy but humble. In that way, it was a beautiful moment. God, grant me the humility and ability to live a holy life as Samuel did and as You call us to do.