The Story of Saul as the Story of Our Soul

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 28-31

The story in 1 Samuel revolves around Saul, the Philistines, and David. As I have meditated on this, I see 1 Samuel as the story of the soul (Saul) being fought over by the flesh (the Philistines) and Jesus (David).

Israel asked for its own king like the other nations, rejecting God as their king. Saul means asked for. Saul was made king.

Each of asks to be the king of our own life, rejecting God as our king. Our soul desires to rule itself.

In his very first battle against the Philistines, Saul  refused to wait on Samuel and “forced” himself to offer the burnt offering. Saul went against the command of God. Immediately, Samuel prophesied that Saul’s kingdom would not continue, even though God would have established the kingdom for Saul had he simply obeyed the Lord.

We, by our soul, want to be king and have our own kingdom. We refuse to wait on the Lord and obey our commands. We force ourselves to do what we should wait on the Lord for. Consequently, we lose the kingdom, our hearts, that God desires to establish in us if we would patiently wait on him.

Saul is told to strike the Amalekites and devote to destruction them and everything they have. But, Saul spares the king of the Amalekites and keeps the best of what they have, devoting to destruction only the things that were despised and worthless.

Amalekites means something like “people of lickers.” Dogs, which were despised and unclean in Israel, lick the blood from the earth in 1 Kings 21:19 and 22:38. Psalm 72:9 says that enemies lick the dust. And, Micah 7:17 says that the serpent licks the dust. Therefore, the Amalekites symbolize a people of the basest of natural desires.

Saul’s refusal to destroy the Amalekites pictures our soul’s refusal to devote to destruction our base desires. Instead of devoting to destruction our base desires – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – our soul attempts to hang on to those lusts that seem good while only destroying those that are obviously despised and worthless. So, the world and the flesh begin to rule our soul.

But, it is right at this moment that Lord tells Samuel to find another king, one that God will choose and will be after God’s own heart. It’s here that David, the beloved, enters the story.

When we have proven unable to be king of our own hearts as we asked for, God sends another, his beloved son, Jesus, to be king in our place. Now our soul is caught between the flesh and Jesus. It becomes the battleground.

The Philistines continually came to war against Saul. Saul went to war against the Philistines. David fought the Philistines too. But, he never fought Saul. Instead, David always served Saul. Yet, Saul was continually trying to kill David.

The flesh fights with our soul. And, our soul fights against the flesh in its own strength. Jesus comes in and fights the flesh for us. Jesus is anointed, chosen, to be our king. But, like David, he comes as king to serve us and help us. However, our soul, like Saul, sees Jesus as trying to usurp our kingdom and our kingship. So, we try to kill the life of Jesus in us.

In 1 Samuel, David eventually ends up living with the Philistines. He appears to be an enemy of Saul, ready to attack Saul.

The more our soul fights the flesh in its own strength, rejecting Jesus as the king who comes to serve the soul in its deliverance from the flesh, the more our soul sees Jesus and God as the enemy.

By the end of 1 Samuel, we read the final battle of Saul and the Philistines. Saul and Israel have encamped at Gilboa while the Philistines have encamped at Shunem.

Gilboa means bubbling or boiling spring. Our soul has encamped at a place where it is ruled by fervent, boiling emotions. Our is dwelling in a place of agitation.

Shunem means two resting places, doubly reposed, perhaps even double sleep. Scripture links the concept of sleep and death. Could it be that the place has come to dwell in the place of the second death?

The second death is mentioned four times in Revelation. Those who overcome and take part in the first resurrection are not hurt by the second death and are not overcome by the power of the second death. But, the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars all have their portion in the second death, which is the painful burning away of all that is of the flesh.

So, our soul continually rejects Jesus as its true king. Therefore, our soul views Jesus, God, on the side of the enemy, our flesh – the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. Our soul sees Jesus sided with the second death waiting to destroy us.

In the end, Saul dies on Mount Gilboa. But, the Philistines don’t kill Saul. Nor, does David kill Saul. We read in 1 Samuel 31:4, “Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.’ But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.” End, Saul kills himself, thrusts himself through, with his own sword.

Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua die with Saul on Mount Gilboa. Jonathan means the Lord gave or the Lord of giving. Abinadab means the Father is generous. And, Malchi-shua the king is salvation.

When our soul insists on being its own king, it is not the flesh that ends up destroying us. Nor is it God that destroys us. No, in the end, we die on the hill, the high place, a place of worship, of our boiling, agitated emotions. We thrust ourselves through trying to live by our own understanding. We try to live by our words, our swords. But, it our own words, our own swords, that  we fall upon in our death.

When we die because of our soul’s desire to rule itself in boiling, agitated emotions, then our concept of a God who gives, who is generous, and who is our salvation dies as well.

The story of our soul’s desire to rule ourselves and our ultimate demise is quite sad really.

Thankfully, there is an alternative. We can turn to Jesus. We can stop trying to be the king of our own hearts. We can deny ourselves. We can repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. That kingdom is within us, in our hearts. We can give Jesus his rightful place as the king on the throne of our hearts.

The Wise, the Fool, and Their Riches

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 25-27

1 Samuel 25 is the story of David, his young men, Abigail and Nabal. In this story, I believe we see a foreshadowing of two of Jesus’ parables – the parable of the sheep and the goats and the parable of the rich fool.

THE CHARACTERS

David means beloved. He is a picture of Jesus.

The young men of David picture “one of the least of these my brothers.”

Abigail means “my father is joy” or “the Father is joyful.” According to 1 Samuel 25:3, Abigail was “discerning and beautiful.” The word discerning in this verse is from two Hebrew words that more literally mean good understanding or good comprehension. We could say that Abigail was wise.

Nabal means fool, foolish, senseless. 1 Samuel 25:25 says, “Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him.” Also, 1 Samuel 25:3 says Nabal was “harsh and badly behaved.” Nabal was a fool.

THE STORY

Nabal was a rich man who had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. David heard he that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So, David sent ten young men to Nabal. Seeing as David and his young men did no harm to Nabal’s shepherds and protected Nabal’s flocks, David asked Nabal that his young men and he would find favor with him and partake of his feast.

In 1 Samuel 25:10, Nabal answered, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” So, despite all of his riches, Nabal refused to give any of them to the young men and David.

When Abigail heard this from of Nabal’s servants, she “made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys.” Abigail rode on the donkey to take the provisions to the young men and David. So, Abigail provided what she could to the young men and David.

When Abigail came back from providing for David and his young men, Nabal was holding a feast, “like the feast of a king.” Nabal’s heart was merry because he was drunk.

In the morning, Abigail told Nabal what she had done and Nabal’s heart died within him. About ten days later, Nabal died.

THE WISE AND THE FOOL, THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS

I believe we can seem similarities between the story of Abigail, the wise, and Nabal, the fool, and Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats.

David and his young men were hungry. But, Nabal said “Who is David?” So what about all these servants. Despite his riches, Nabal refused to feed David and his young men.

In Matthew 25:42-45, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me…Then they will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger…and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'”

Nabal refused to feed David’s young men, which was the equivalent of refusing to feed David. It’s very similar to what Jesus says about us and feeding the least of these.

In Matthew 25:34, Jesus says, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepare for you from the foundation of the world.” Remember, Abigail means “my father is joy” or “the Father is joyful.” Certainly, this verse seems to fit Abigail.

In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus continues, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?’…And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Abigail merely heard the report of one Nabal’s young men and she leapt into action to feed and give to drink David and his young men. She certainly seems to fit the type of person Jesus says should come and inherit the kingdom.

Abigail was discerning and beautiful. She was wise. Nabal was harsh and badly behaved. He was a fool. Proverbs 10:21 says, “The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.”

NABAL AND THE PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL

We saw that Nabal was a rich man. But, he was unwilling to help out David and his young men. In Luke 12:15, Jesus says, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” It’s pretty clear Nabal was guarding himself against covetousness. Surely, his life consisted of the abundance of his possessions.

Nabal had built up quite a flock of sheep and goats. And, when he prepared a feast, he was merry and got drunk. However, when he heard what Abigail did with his possessions, Nabal’s heart turned to stone and he died 10 days later. Abigail said that Nabal was as his name, a fool.

In Luke 12:19-21, Jesus says, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

This fits Nabal perfectly. He never got to enjoy the possessions he had prepared for himself. He could have enjoyed by being rich toward God and sharing them with David and his young men.

Proverbs 17:24 says, “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.” Nabal had his eyes on the ends of the earth, the riches of this world, and it cost him.

We need to be wise like Abigail and use our riches, whatever they are, for the Lord at a moment’s notice.

Everyone Is Justified by Jesus

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 22-24

“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his fathers house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.” – 1 Samuel 22:1-2

There were tens of thousand, if not hundreds of thousand, people in Israel. Yet, “everyone” who was in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul totaled just 400 people? Really?!?

The juxtaposition of 400 people making up everyone who heard that David escaped to the cave of Adullam should lead us to search for a deeper spiritual meaning of the text.

And, why would David escaping to the cave of Adullam have anything to do with people in distress, in debt, and bitter in soul gathering to David? That seems pretty weird.

It seems weird until the Spirit breathes life into the passage to reveal its witness to Jesus.

And, that witness is that everyone will hear the message of Jesus and everyone will be justified by Jesus.

DAVID, A SHADOW OF JESUS

The name David means beloved son.

Jesus is the beloved son of God. When Jesus was baptized, “behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:17)

DAVID DEPARTED THE ACHISH, THE KING OF GATH

1 Samuel 22:1 says, “David departed from there.”

Where’s there?

1 Samuel 21:10 tells us that David “went to Achish the king of Gath. Further, verse 12 tells us that David “was much afraid of Achish the king Gath.”

Who is Achish the king of Gath? What episode does this represent in the life of Jesus?

There is no agreed upon meaning of the name Achish, but it has something to do with anger and fear. A likely meaning for the name is “he was afraid.” The name Gath means wine-press.

So, here we have a picture of Jesus going to the winepress in fear and trepidation. This is a picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane before he went to the cross.

Matthew 23:36 says, “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane.” Gethsemane literally means “a wine-press of oils.” Then, in verse 38, Jesus says, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” Jesus was deeply grieved and trouble. We could even say he was in fear.

Luke 22:39-46 also recounts Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsemane before he was crucified. Luke 22:44 says, “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” When a grape is squeezed in the wine-press, its juice comes out. So, here we see the life of Jesus being squeezed in the wine-press as his sweat became like great drops of blood. Remember, the life is in the blood.

Because Jesus asked the Father to remove this cup from him, we assume that it was God putting him in the winepress. But, this is wrong.

The shadow that is David shows us who put Jesus in the wine-press. Achish the king of Gath was a Philistine. The Philistines represent the flesh. They were the people under the control of the god of this world, Satan. It was Satan through man that judged the man Jesus and put Jesus in the wine-press to squeeze his blood, his life, out of him.

DAVID ESCAPED TO THE CAVE OF ADULLAM

When he departed Achish the king of Gath, David “escaped to the cave of Adullam.” (1 Samuel 22:1)

Throughout the Bible, a cave is a burying place for the dead. After Jesus’ life was completely squeezed out of the wine-press of the cross, he was buried in a tomb, a cave.

There are two possible meanings for the name Adullam. The first is refuge or retreat. In this sense, David escaped the wine-press to the cave of refuge or retreat.

However, I find the second meaning even more intriguing. Adullam also means “the justice of the people.”

Romans 4:24-5:2 says, “Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

It is Jesus Christ was crucified, died, buried, and raised for our justification. We are justified by faith in his work. And, we even obtain this faith by which we are justified through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”

David “escaped” to the cave of Adullam. The Hebrew word for escaped, malat, means to flee to safety. That’s what escape means. But, malat also means to save someone. Therefore, by the Spirit we David’s escaping to the cave of Adullam as a picture of Jesus’ death and burial, which we he was resurrected from and leads to justification and salvation.

But, did you notice above that Paul said this one act of Christ – his crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection – leads to justification for and life for all men?

DAVID’S BROTHERS AND FATHER’S HOUSE HEARD

1 Samuel 22:1 says, “And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.”

It is the hearing that David has escaped to the cave of Adullam that draws his brothers and his father’s house to him.

What do we see here?

This is a picture of the gospel drawing all men to Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, Paul says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” This is just what we are seeing in the shadow of David.

How did Paul deliver this gospel?

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Paul says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.”

We saw above that it is by faith we are justified. Paul is preaching in 1 Corinthians 15 the gospel that says, which we shadowed by David.

But, how do we see receive the faith in this justifying work of Christ?

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Hearing the preaching of the gospel draws us to Jesus.

This is just we see with the shadow of David. He went to cave, the burying place, that was named the justice of the people. When people heard that he escaped there, they came to him. How wonderful is the inspiration of the scripture.

Take note of who heard.

First, David’s brothers. This is a picture of believer in Christ, the church. Paul called the Corinthians who had received his preaching, his brothers. And, when Jesus was resurrected and Mary found him in the garden, Jesus said, “Do not cling to me, for I have yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascneding to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (John 20:17)

Second, David’s father’s household. If we, the believers, the church, are Jesus’ brothers, then who is his Father’s household? The household of God is Israel, God’s spirit-filled people. Gentile believers, brothers, have been grafted into this tree, this household. Gentile believers, brothers, who were strangers and aliens are now fellow citizens of the household of Jesus’ Father, God.

Ephesians 2:13-19 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

So, David’s brothers and father’s household came when they heard David escaped to the cave that was the justice of the people.

So, just who comes to Jesus’ burial place when he hears the message of justification? Who identifies with Jesus by being baptized into his death and is so raised with him?

EVERYONE WHO IS IN DISTRESS

1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was in distress” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is in distress that comes to Jesus.

The Hebrew word for distressed means hardship or anguish. It comes from a root word meaning to press, drive, oppress.

Almost every time the word oppress is used in the New Testament it is in relation to someone under spiritual attack. The gospels often say that those oppressed by demons were brought to Jesus (Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 9:32, 12:22, 15:22; Mark 1:32).

In Luke 4:18, near the start of his ministry, Jesus announces he came “to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

In Acts 10:38, Peter tells Cornelius’ household, “He [Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

Oppression comes from the devil. And, everyone who is in distress, everyone who is under oppression, goes to Jesus for justification, salvation, and healing.

EVERYONE WHO IS IN DEBT

1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was in debt” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is in debt that comes to Jesus.

The Hebrew word for debt here is an interesting one. It comes from a root word meaning to lift or bear. It has the idea of carrying something away. One Hebrew dictionary says the word comes from a primitive root meaning to lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce.

This is fascinating.

Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which once walked, following the course of the this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Paul says that we have all been led astray, deluded, seduced by the world and Satan. But, look at what Paul says about us who have been led astray.

Colossians 2:11-14 says, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

We are in all debt because we have been led astray from the truth by Satan. But, Christ cancelled that debt by nailing it to the cross.

EVERYONE WHO IS BITTER IN SOUL

1 Samuel 22:2 says that “everyone who was bitter in sould” gathered to David. Therefore, it is everyone who is bitter in soul that comes to Jesus.

The Hebrew word for bitter means to be bitter, to be desperate, bewildered, to make bitter. Interestingly, the root word for bitter is used as the root for the Hebrew word meaning gall bladder, gall, or poison.

When the apostles heard that Samaria had received Jesus, they sent Peter and John to them. While the Samaritans had received the word of God, they had not received the Holy Spirit. Simon saw this and offered Peter and John money so that he could receive the Holy Spirit too.

In Acts 8:22-23, Peter said to Simon, “Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Peter links the gall of bitterness with the evil intentions of the heart. These evil intentions are like poison in our hearts.

In his death, burial, and resurrection, Christ acted as poultice, a balm, that sucked the poison of bitterness out of our souls.

DAVID BECAME COMMANDER OVER THEM

1 Samuel 22:2 says that David “became commander over them,” everyone that came in distress, debt, and bitterness of soul.

The Hebrew word for commander means representative of the king, official, commander, etc. It comes from the verb meaning to rule or reign or to have oversight of.

David as a commander  is a picture of Jesus as lord.

While Jesus was called lord by many all throughout the gospels, the full understanding of Jesus as Lord did not come until after the resurrection. In fact, in Peter’s first sermon he links the death of Jesus to his being made Lord. Peter says in Acts 2:36, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

God made Jesus Lord because he was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)

EVERYONE IS 400 MEN?

So, David’s brothers came to him. All his father’s household came to him. Three times we read that everyone came to him. But, then 1 Samuel 22:2 says, “And there were with him about four hundred men.”

Wait…so all and everyone means that just 400 men came to David? What’s do significant about that? Why the stressing of all and everyone to be let down by just 400 men coming to David?

Something seems off and that doesn’t sound like much…if we read the text literally. But, if we read the text by the Spirit, then we see something entirely different.

The first mention of 100 is found in Genesis 11:10, which says, “These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood.” Shem was the son of Noah that Jesus would ultimately come from.

The name Shem is the Hebrew word for name. It can also mean identity or personality. The name Arpachshad means something like “light trickles from his bosom.” Therefore, at 100 years of age, the name fathered the light that trickles from his bosom.

This alludes to God fathering his only begotten son, Jesus, the light of the world from the bosom of the Father. Jesus is the identity of God. Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God.” And, Hebrews 1:3 says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Jesus is the light from the bosom of the Father, or the radiance of the glory of God. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature, the light that is the identity of the Father.

The next two mentions of 100 are related to Abraham and Issac, who are a picture of the Father and Jesus. Genesis 17:17 says, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?’” Then, Genesis 21:5 says, “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

Issac was the child of promise. Paul says in Galatians that Jesus is the true child of promise. Therefore, the number 100 speaks to the child of promise, Jesus.

The number four is a symbol of the universal picture or meaning of something. Something is universal means it includes or covers all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit.

In the Bible, we have four directions that include the earth. We have four gospels that give the universal or whole picture of Christ.

Also, the number four symbolizes the people that will come to God. Revelation 7:9 says, “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, stranding before the throne and before the lamb.” Here there are four descriptions that define all the people that will before the lamb on the throne.

So, when we combine the number 100 and four we understand that the 400 men that came to David represents the universal people of the child of promise, Jesus. It’s not a literal 400 people. Therefore, all and everyone in 1 Samuel 22 means everyone.

BUT, DO ALL COME TO JESUS

You may say that the all and everyone does not really mean all will be justified because not everyone will come to Jesus.

But, recall Romans 5:18 form above. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” All men were condemned. All men will be justified and receive life.

I mentioned above Philippians 2:8-9, which says that Jesus was exalted as Lord for his obedience to the point of death.

Why did God exalt Jesus and to Lord and give him a name above every other name?

Philippians 2:10 says, “So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.” That’s every knee and every tongue of all creatures, all things created.

Also, in 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” So, if every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, then every tongue will be in the Holy Spirit.

Remember that in the first sermon ever preached by Peter he said the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the fulfillment of God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh.

I could go on with many references to the all’s and every’s in scripture that related to the justification of all people in fulfillment of the shadow of David justifying everyone in 1 Samuel 22.

The Flesh Seeks to Kill the Beloved Son

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 19-21

 

“And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David.” – 1 Samuel 19:1

Saul means asked for. He  is the king that Israel asked for when they rejected God as their king. From Adam and Eve on, man has sought to be, or asked for, his own king. Man wants to rule himself instead of submitting to the rule of God.

Jonathan means Yahweh has given or the Lord is giving. Jonathan is a picture of those who know that the Lord gives a king better than the one we asked for.

David means beloved. David is a picture of Jesus, the beloved son of God.

Saul seeks to kill David. Jonathan delights much in David.

This is an issue of control. Do we want to be in control of ourselves, living in the flesh? Or, do we want to yield ourselves to the Spirit to be “controlled” by him?

OUR FLESH LOVES JESUS WHEN HE SOOTHES US

In 1 Samuel 16, David was anointed by Samuel to be king. According to 1 Samuel 16:13, “And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” Think of this as the baptism of Jesus when the Spirit descended from heaven and remained on him (John 1:32).

In 1 Samuel 16 after the Spirit rushed upon David and remained, the very next verse says, “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.” While Saul was tormented by an evil spirit, I wrote in Does God Work Against Himself? that this evil spirit was not from God.

Even though David had been anointed king, he came into the service of Saul, who was still in the office of king. David soothed Saul’s tormented spirit. Saul was refreshed and well. And, “Saul loved him greatly.” In 1 Samuel 16:22, Saul said, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.”

When Jesus serves us, soothes us, heals us, then we say that he has found favor in our sight. When our flesh is soothed, calmed, and healed by Jesus it is willing to give honor to Jesus.

OUR FLESH SEEKS TO KILL JESUS WHEN WE SEE HIM AS KING

Saul had no problem with David when he soothed his tormented spirit. But, things changed after David defeated Goliath, Israel’s feared enemy. After David defeated the Philistine, the women of Israel sang, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and Davis his ten thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7)

1 Samuel 18:8-9 says, “And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?’ And Saul eyed David from that day on.”

Saul is jealous of the praise heaped upon David for slaying Goliath. Saul is in the flesh. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:2-3, “And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”

Further, Saul perceived that the next step was for David to have the kingdom. This angered Saul. From this moment on, Saul eyed David.

The Hebrew word for eyed is awon. It means to twist, to do wrong, to be bent, irritated or confused. Saul was not simply watching David. Rather, Saul began to twist everything David did into a plan to take the kingdom from him. Saul began to take the good David was doing and see it as doing wrong.

So, when the harmful spirit came back upon Saul the next, David played the lyre to soothe Saul as before. But, this time Saul’s tormented spirit was not soothed. Instead Saul took his spear and hurled it at David in an attempt to kill him. It was when Saul twisted what David was going, believing that he was going to take the kingdom from him, that Saul sought to kill David.

Our flesh is fine with Jesus when he soothes. But, when our flesh twists Jesus’ healing into an attempt to rip our self rule out of our hands, then our flesh seeks to kill him. It’s at this moment that our flesh works against Jesus.

THE FLESH STRIVES AGAINST THE SPIRIT, THE LIFE OF JESUS

Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

David freed Saul from the spirit that tormented. But, instead of using this freedom to love David, Saul used this freedom as opportunity for his flesh to seek control of the kingdom even though David had been anointed king.

Galatians 5:16-17 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.”

To walk by the Spirit is to permit the Spirit to rule you or control you. But, this puts the flesh against the Spirit. The flesh fights against the Spirit because it knows it must be crucified if we are going to walk by the Spirit.

So, the flesh seeks to kill the life of Jesus in us, the Spirit, so that it can remain in control.

Putting Judgment to Open Shame

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 17-18

Have you considered that God has judged judgment? That God has put judgment to an open shame?

The open shaming of judgment is the story of David and Goliath.

GOLIATH OF GATH, A CHAMPION OF THE PHILISTINES

Israel and the Philistines had lined up for battle against one another. “And there came our from the camp of the Philistines a champion name Goliath of Gath.” (1 Samuel 17:4)

Who was Goliath? What is he a picture of?

The name Goliath derives from the Hebrew verb gala, which means to uncover, to remove, or to exile. The literal meaning of the name is probably exiler or exposer.

Gath was one of the main cities of the Philistines. The name Gath is identical to the word for wine-press. Throughout the Bible, the wine-press is a place of judgment.

A Philistine is one who wanders, roams, or moves to and fro. Philistines deviate from the true course. The Philistines were ruled by five lords. While the number five often represents grace, it can also represent the five natural senses. The Philistines were a people ruled by their natural senses.

The word champion is derive from two Hebrew words. The first means a man, and the second means between. The word between actually comes from a root word meaning to see or understand. So, the underlying meaning of a champion is one who stands between to act as an intermediary to teach.

Therefore, Goliath is a picture of Satan who attempts to expose us and exile us from God by attempting to be our intermediary to the spiritual world through our five senses. His goal is to get us to deviate from the true path of knowing God and his life by condemning us to a judgment of death.

Jesus, John, and Paul all call Satan the ruler or god of this world. Jesus says he will be cast out (John 12:31). John says the whole world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). And Paul says that Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4).

But, Paul shows us that Satan is just like Goliath. Satan rules us by the ways of this world, our natural senses, causing us to be sons of disobedience and children of wrath, condemning us to death and separation from God.

Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at works in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

GOLIATH WAS SIX CUBITS AND A SPAN

Goliath’s “height was six cubits and a span.” (1 Samuel 17:4). This was Goliath’s stature.

A person’s stature represents the quality of their character or the status they achieved. It is symbolic of who they are. Samuel was said to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord (1 Samuel 2:26). Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favor with the Lord (Luke 2:52).

What does it mean that Goliath’s stature was six cubits and a span?

The number six symbolizes work in the Bible. God created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rested on the seventh day. God worked for six days. And, Israel worked to gather the manna for six days and rested on the seventh day.

The span is half a cubit. To halve something is to divide it. Covenants were made by splitting animals in half and the passing between the halves. We see an example of this in God’s covenant with Abram in Genesis 15.

In addition to being a half cubit, the span is the distance between the thumb and the pinky finger when the hand is stretched out. Therefore, the span can be seen as the fullness of the man’s five senses or the fullness of our walking in the flesh.

Therefore, Goliath’s stature of six cubits and a span could be thought of bondage to sin as we sold ourselves to Satan or put ourselves in covenant to him. This is the full work of the flesh.

In John 8:34, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” In verse 41, Jesus goes on to say that this slavery to sin is doing the works that our father did. The father that Jesus is referring to here is Satan. And, the works of Satan are lies and murder.

So, the six cubit and a span stature of Goliath represents the quality of the character we have “inherited” from Satan when we walk in the fullness of the flesh.

GOLIATH WORE A HELMET OF BRONZE

Goliath “had a helmet of bronze on his head.” (1 Samuel 17:5).

In the Bible, the refers to the source of something, like the head  of a river. On his head, at his source, Goliath had a helmet of bronze. Bronze symbolizes judgment. Therefore, Goliath’s source that fed everything else he was and did was judgment.

The helmet of bronze is also a picture of Satan’s judgment coming back upon his own head. Speaking of the unrepentant and the wicked, Psalm 7:16 says, “His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.” The violence of the wicked one returning upon his own head is a theme repeated throughout scripture.

GOLIATH WAS ARMED WITH A COAT OF MAIL

Goliath “was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coast was five thousand shekels of bronze.” (1 Samuel 17:5)

Every other time except this one, the Hebrew word for armed is translated clothed. Goliath’s clothing was a coat of mail or, more literally, a coat of scales. The word for mail is translated scales, as in scales on a fish, every other time this one. So, Goliath was clothed in a scales like a fish. Of course, fish live in the sea. But, Revelation 21:1 says that “the sea was no more.” Here, we see Goliath’s coat symbolizing the final judgment of Satan as death resides in the sea because man lives on land.

The coat was made of bronze, which also symbolizes the judgment of Satan. The fact that the coat weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze symbolizes the fullness or the totality (1,000) of the flesh (five) being judged.

GOLIATH HAD BRONZE ARMOR ON HIS LEGS

Goliath “had bronze armor on his legs.” (1 Samuel 17:6)

Legs are symbol of strength and work. The Hebrew word for armor here is used only this one time in the Bible. The root word literally means to shine. Goliath’s legs shined with bronze, or judgment. Judgment is the work of Satan.

GOLIATH’S WEAPONS WERE BRONZE AND IRON

The first mention of bronze and iron in the Bible is that Tubal-Cain, one of Cain’s descendants “was a forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.” (Genesis 4:22). Instruments of bronze and iron were developed by the line of man that was fully in rebellion to God and most pictured the flesh.

Goliath’s bronze javelin was between his shoulders. Shoulders are the place of strength and government. This symbolizes Satan’s strength and government is one of judgment.

Goliath’s spear head weight 600 hundred shekels of iron. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. Of course, the flood was a picture of judgment.

Therefore, both of Goliath’s weapons picture Satan’s weapons as judgment and condemnation to death.

DAVID SLAYS GOLIATH

When David went to battle Goliath, Saul clothed David with his armor. But, the word armor literally means robe. David initially put on a helmet of bronze, wore a coat of armor on top of the robe, and took Saul’s sword with him. But, none of these were suitable for David. So, he discarded the helmet of bronze, symbolizing a mind of judgment, and Saul’s sword.

David only took five smooth stones. Stones are smoothed by water flowing over them. Water is a picture of God’s word. Jesus is a rock. And, five is grace. So, here we have a picture of the word of grace through Jesus that David used to strike Goliath in the forehead.

But, David ultimately killed Goliath with Goliath’s own sword. It was Goliath’s own weapon that ultimately killed him. This is a picture of Jesus destroying the one with the power of death, Satan, through death.

JESUS PUTS SATAN AND JUDGMENT TO AN OPEN SHAME

Satan is the accuser. According to Revelation 12:10, he accuses us “day and night before our God.” As our accuser, Satan seeks to condemn us to a judgment of death. Hebrews 2:14 says that “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,” has subjected us to lifelong slavery through the fear of death, his desired judgment upon us.

But, Hebrews 2:14 also says that Jesus came to destroy Satan, who has the power of death and desires to pronounce that judgment upon us, through his own death.

Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

Instead of a judgment of death, God made us alive together with Christ. He canceled the record of debt we had accrued to the law. God nailed the debt to the cross in the body of his own son. He disarmed the ruler and authorities of their power of death. God put Satan’s desired judgment of death to an open shame.

The Greek word for open literally means boldness, confidence, plainly, frankness. The connotation is public speech, outspokenness, and freedom of speech.

Note that David ran toward Goliath – a display of boldness. And, the five smooth stones symbolized a word of grace.

As he was being judged on the cross to condemn sin in his flesh, Jesus made a bold and outspoken judgment against the rulers and authorities. He put them and their judgment to open shame by declaring that the Father should forgive us all because we did not know what we were doing by crucifying him.

In this way, Jesus put to open shame the very idea of judgment. Instead of the judgment that accuser desired, death, Jesus proclaimed his judgment of forgiveness, which brought life.

Does God Work Against Himself?

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 15-16

“And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” – 1 Samuel 16:13

“Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.” – 1 Samuel 16:14

“And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand.” – 1 Samuel 16:23

The Spirit of the Lord came upon David and stayed with him the rest of his life. At the same time, we are told that the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul. When the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, the text says that God sent a harmful Spirit to torment Saul. Yet, David, who had the Spirit of the Lord, went to Saul and calmed “the harmful spirit from God” that was upon Saul.

If we believe the text as it is written, then we need some questions answered.

Is God confused?

Why is God sending a harmful spirit on Saul yet sending David, who had the Spirit, to calm the harmful spirit?

Is God completely sovereign over everything single thought and action of every person?

Does God work against himself, as it seems in this passage?

Or, is it that in the Old Testament God could not be perceived clearly? Therefore, everything that happened was attributed to God.

JESUS REMOVES THE VEIL

Paul clearly says that prior to Jesus there was a veil that prevented every single person from seeing God clearly. He takes the veil that Moses wore before the Israelites and analogizes it to the veil that has prevented us all from seeing God clearly.

2 Corinthians 3:12-15 says, “Since we have such hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted…Yes to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.”

It’s possible for anyone to still read the Old Testament through a veil. Therefore, it’s possible to not see God clearly in the Old Testament. If we read the Old Testament with a veil, then we would answer the questions I asked above that say God is confused, God send harmful spirits to people, and because God is completely sovereign over every single thought and action he works against himself.

However, Paul says the veil can be removed. In 2 Corinthians 3:14, 16, Paul says, “Only through Christ is it taken away…But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” This is what was meant by the veil being torn in the temple when Christ was crucified. The death of Jesus on the cross and the forgiveness he offered to all from the cross removes the veil that obstructed our view of God.

When we put Jesus into the midst of today’s passage, then we can understand clearly what was happening.

SAUL WAS TORMENTED BY HIS OWN EVIL DESIRE

Without the veil removed by the cross of Christ, the writer of 1 Samuel though Saul was tormented by a harmful spirit from God.

But, Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature. And, Jesus is the only one to have seen the Father, so he is the only one able to accurately reveal the Father.

In the gospels, we only see Jesus healing and delivering people from harmful spirits. Not one time do we see Jesus putting a harmful spirit on someone. Since Jesus and the Father are one, we know that the Father did not send an evil spirit to torment Saul.

James 1:13-14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

These verses tell us clearly that Saul was not tempted with a harmful Spirit by God. Rather, he was tempted by his own evil desire. In 1 Samuel 15, we see that Saul desired the good things of the Amalekites and his own righteousness, hence his disobedience to the word of the Lord.

But, David, as a shadow of Jesus, comes to Saul to calm the evil spirit he is tormented by.

JESUS IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Saul said to Jesse, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” (1 Samuel 16:19) David was a shepherd.

In John 10:11, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

In Luke 15, Jesus describes himself as the shepherd that will leave the 99 sheep to go after the one sheep that was lost.

David going to Saul is a picture of Jesus going after the one lost sheep.

JESUS REFRESHES WITH BREAD AND WINE

In 1 Samuel 16:20, David is sent to Saul with bread and wine.

The imagery of bread and wine, grain and grapes, is used all throughout the Bible. One of the first mentions of them together is in Genesis 14. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought bread and wine to Abraham to refresh him after his battle to retrieve Lot.

Jesus made a new covenant with us with bread and wine. In Matthew 26:26-29, Jesus institutes this covenant with the disciples by breaking bread, which he said was body, and drinking from a cup of wine, which was his blood.

In John 6:56-57, Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will because of me.”

Jesse, David’s father, sent him to Saul with bread and wine to give Saul life and removed the evil spirit that was tormenting him.

JESUS COMES ON A DONKEY

In 1 Samuel 16:20, Jesse sends David to Saul with a donkey.

Throughout the Old Testament, horses symbolized war and pride. But, donkeys symbolized just the opposite – peace and humility.

Matthew 21:5 says, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

Jesus came as a king to his people riding on a donkey. He came humble and bringing humility.

But, John 15:25 says, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

John adds “fear not” because Jesus came as a king of peace. He did not come to destroy us or make war with us. Therefore, we do not need to fear him.

Jesse sent David with a donkey to Saul just as the Father sent Jesus as king to us on a donkey symbolizing that Jesus was a humble and peaceful king.

JESUS ATONES FOR OUR SIN

In 1 Samuel 16:20, Jesse also sends David to Saul with a young goat. It’s very important to note that Jesse sent David with just a, one, goat.

Leviticus 16 is about the day of atonement. Aaron, the high priest was to take two goats and set them before the Lord. On whichever goat the lot fell, Aaron was to present that goat as a sin offering. Only Aaron alone as the high priest was allowed into the holy place behind the veil to present this goat’s blood as an atonement for sin.

Jesus was the single goat that was a sacrifice for our sin. He alone took his own blood behind the veil into the most holy place. Hebrews 9:11-14 says, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

David going to Saul with one young goat to remove the evil spirit from him is a picture of Christ taking his blood into the most holy place to purify our conscience, to remove the evil spirits tormenting us.

JESUS ENTERS OUR SERVICE

1 Samuel 16:21 says, “And David came to Saul and entered his service.” Even though David had been anointed king, he was sent by his father to serve Saul.

The same is true of Jesus. He was born king, but he came to serve us.

In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus said this after he said the Gentiles rule by lording it over us. Jesus rules not by lording it over us but by serving us.

JESUS IS OUR ARMOR-BEARER

1 Samuel 16:21 says, “And Saul loved him greatly, and he [David] became his armor-bearer.”

David carried Saul’s armor everywhere that Saul went so that he could put it on at a moment’s notice to protect himself from the enemy.

In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul instructs us to put on the whole armor of God. Every piece of that armor is part of the character and work of Christ. Jesus is our armor-bearer always there with us so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.

God did not send an evil spirit to torment Saul, nor does God do that to us. Instead, Jesus reveals that God delivers us from evil spirits. With the veil removed, we see David as a shadow of us who was sent to remove the evil spirit that was tormenting Saul.

Grace Is God’s Answer to Whatever We Ask

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 13-14

Grace is God’s answer to man’s questions. Always

In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Later, in Matthew 21:22, Jesus says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Each one of us asks for all sorts of things from God. Jesus says that if we have faith then we will have whatever we ask in prayer.

But, do we even know what we are asking for? Do we event know what we want? Do we even know what we should we should pray for?

No.

Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

We are weak. Therefore, we do not know what we really should ask for in prayer. But, the Holy Spirit spirit helps us by interceding for us groanings too deep for words. So, we can ask whatever and the Holy Spirit interprets what we are asking.

How this work?

Romans 8:27 says, “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

God is the one who searches hearts. He knows what the mind of the Spirit is. God knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit prays for us in groanings too deep for words that are according to the will of God.

Therefore, Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

So, we ask for whatever we want, but the Holy Spirit helps the weakness of what we ask for. He prays with groanings too deep for words that the Father understands because the Holy Spirit’s groanings are according to the will of God. Therefore, God is able to take whatever we ask and work it together for our good.

But, what is our good? What is God working things together toward?

Romans 8:29-30 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

The good that God is working for you is to be conformed to image of Jesus.

How does God do this?

By grace.

Therefore, whatever we ask the Spirit interprets into a prayer for grace so that God can work everything together that we might be conformed to the image of Jesus, the firstborn among many brothers. For, what we have always longed for is to be a child of God.

Whatever we ask, the Holy Spirit knows that what we are really asking for is to be a child of God. We became a child of God through grace. So, whatever we ask, the Holy Spirit turns it into a prayer for grace.

This is why Jesus came.

John 1:14, 167-17 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

What is the end of God working all things together for good for us?

That we would be conformed to the image of Jesus – glorification.

John writes that the disciples saw the glory of Jesus and it was full of grace. He says they received from his fullness, grace upon grace. Grace came through Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-9 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loves us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Jesus said whatever we ask in prayer we would receive if we have faith. Whatever we ask in prayer the Holy Spirit turns into a plea for grace if we have faith. It is by grace through faith that we are saved. This is not of our own doing, but it is the gift of God. The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. God has given such a gift to us that whatever we ask will be changed into a prayer of grace. For it is grace that we need to become whatever our hearts truly desire, a child of God. Even if we are weak and don’t truly know what we should ask for.

WE ASK FOR WHATEVER

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about how Israel asked for a king of men like all the other nations had. God told Israel that a king of men like the other nations had would do nothing but take from them. When Israel chose a king of men, they got Saul.

Who was Saul?

According to 1 Samuel 14:51, “Kish was the father of Saul.”

Kish means snaring or bird catcher.

Saul means asked for.

Idols and false gods are described as snares for Israel throughout the Old Testament.

Speaking of the inhabitants of the promised land:

  • Exodus 23:33 says, “For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
  • Exodus 34:12 says, “Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst.”
  • Deuteronomy 7:16 says, “Neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.”
  • Judges 2:3 says, “And their gods shall be a snare to you.”

Snares are linked with bird catchers in scripture. Speaking of the man who commits adultery, which is linked with idolatry, Proverbs 7:23 says he is “as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.”

And, Ecclesiastes 9:12 says, “For man does know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.”

Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare.” And, Proverbs 18:7 says, “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

Kish, the snaring, the bird catcher, fathered Saul, the king Israel asked for.

Out of fear of the nations around them, Israel laid a snare for itself. Their foolish request was their ruin and a snare to their soul.

But, it is no different for us. We seek after the things of this world. Whether material things or just the wisdom of this world, we foolishly ask for them and they become snares to our soul. So too, we ask for help from kings, politicians, and governments, rejecting God as our king, not knowing that this foolish request will be a snare to us and cost us our life.

BUT, GOD ANSWERS WITH GRACE

Saul represents the king of men, the idols of this world, the false gods of this world, the mammon, that we ask for. But, in reply to whatever we ask, God answers with grace.

According to 1 Samuel 14:50, “And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz.”

Ahimaaz means brother of anger or my brother is wrath. Brother is the name Ahimaaz could also be kindred.

Saul’s wife, Ahinoam, was the daughter of the kindred of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Ahinoam was a child of wrath and so are all of us by following the thinking and the idols of this world. Although, I quoted Ephesians 2:4-9 above, which shows that by grace through faith we go from children of wrath to being made alive together with Christ. Ahinoam was a child of wrath. But, Ahinoam means my brother is delight, brother of grace, or kindred to sweetness. By grace, we become one of Christ’s many brothers. We are a kindred to sweetness.

Saul and Ahinoam had five children. According to the 1 Samuel 14:49, “Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua. And the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn was Merab, and the name of the younger Michal.”

Saul, what we asked for, knows Ahinoam, the kindred to sweetness, and produces five children. Five is the number of grace throughout the Bible. But, it’s interesting that they have three sons and two daughters.

Note that for the three sons we are not specifically told their birth order. We are just give their names.

Jonathan means the Lord gave or the Lord giving.

Ishvi means man of Yahweh or equal.

Malchi-shua means the king is salvation or the king of help.

We are not given the birth order of these three sons because together the three sons represent the trinity. String the meaning of the three names together and we have the Father gave Jesus, a man of Yahweh, his equal, and the Holy Spirit, the king of help.

But, we are given the birth order of the two daughters.

Merab means multiplication or increase.

One meaning of Michal is a little stream of water.

Throughout the Bible, God and Jesus are pictured as the husband, the bridegroom, of the man. But, God’s people are pictured as the wife, the bride, or the woman. Therefore, we could see Merab, the firstborn daughter, as Israel who multiplied or increased. And, we could see Michal, the younger, as the church who is continually flowing with the stream of the Holy Spirit.

According to 1 Samuel 14:50-51, the commander of Saul’s army was Abner the son of Ner the son of Abiel.

Abner means the father is a lamp of the father of light.

Ner means lamp.

Abiel means father of strength or God is father.

By grace, our the weapons of our warfare are spiritual not carnal. Therefore the commander of our army is God the Father of Jesus, the lamp, who gives rise to the light of the Holy Spirit shining in and through us.

GRACE IS ALWAYS GOD’S ANSWER

Israel asked for a king and got Saul, a king like all the other nations had. But, God answered with five children. Whatever we ask of God he turns the answer into grace.

Paul had a thorn in his flesh. I believe the Holy Spirit intentionally did not have Paul reveal what the thorn in the flesh was. Because what the thorn was did not matter. Whatever Paul was asking for relief from was irrelevant. What mattered was the answer God gave. In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Paul tells us the answer he got from Jesus, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But, he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”

Whatever we ask in prayer and believe to have in faith, the answer that God gives is, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

God always gives grace for everything we do. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:9, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every work.”

All grace. All sufficiency. All things. All times. Every good work.

Seek. Ask. Knock. Whatever we ask in prayer and believe by faith Jesus will answer.

Whatever we ask, God’s answer will always be grace.

A King Who Gives or a King Who Takes?

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 8-12

Do you want a king that gives or a king that takes?

Seems like a pretty easy question to answer. I think we would all want a king that gives to us. Yet, throughout history people, even followers of Christ, have chosen men that take to be their king.

You might be thinking, “I am a Christian. I don’t desire a man who takes as my king. Jesus is my king. He gives.”

Then why is it that Christians so quickly to turn to political leaders and earthly governments to pledge their allegiance to them? Why does the body of Christ divide itself according to right and left, Democrat and Republican, capitalist and communist, fascist and libertarian, dictatorship and democracy?

Because many Christians desire a king of their own choosing. A king that will rule them like all the other nations. Their hearts desire to take from others so they want a king to rule them that will take from others.

Everyone one of those divisions I mentioned above is nothing more than a system of men ruling themselves by taking. Every single earthly political system ever devised is a system of taking. Therefore, to participate in the politics of this world is to participate in a system of taking. This is a rejection of God as king.

We are ruled by kings, political leaders, and governments who take by our own choice when reject the God who gives as our king.

APPOINT US A KING

Israel had gotten the ark back from the Philistines. Afterwards, Samuel judged Israel for a long time. When Samuel became, he appointed his sons judges over Israel. The problem was his sons took bribes and perverted justice.

So, the elders of Israel came to Samuel and said, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5) Israel saw the prospect of Samuel dying and that they were being judge by his two sons who didn’t judge in the way Samuel did. Therefore, Israel decided they would be better off with a king like all the other nations ruling them. In the mind of the elders, they were rejecting Samuel’s sons as judges.

Samuel was displeased by the decision of the elders of Israel. So, he took the matter to the Lord in prayer. The Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.” (1 Samuel 8:7-8)

There is no indication that God chose or wanted Samuel’s sons to judge Israel. And, given what we are told earlier in 1 Samuel about Eli and his wicked sons, God most likely was actively working on behalf of Israel to give them a good judge. But, Israel was impatient, not willing to let God work his goodness in and through the situation. So, Israel desired a man to be king over them.

Why?

Because men take action through force to achieve a desired outcome immediately. But, when God is your king you have to be patient and wait for his goodness to work.

ISRAEL DEMANDS A KING THAT TAKES

Israel demands Samuel to appoint a king over them like all the other nations have. God tells Samuel to do it. But, God first tells Samuel to tell Israel what the king would be like.

“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over your; he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.” (1 Samuel 8:11-17)

God warns Israel that the kings of the nations, every earthly king, every political leader, every man-made government does nothing but take:

  • your sons
  • your daughters
  • the best of your fields, vineyards, and orchards
  • the tenth of your grain
  • your servants
  • the tenth of your flocks

The end result of choosing men to be you king is that “you shall be his slaves.” Your life will be used for the king’s pleasure and satisfaction.

The manner of every earthly king, ruler, politician, and government is just the opposite of the character and nature of God. Let’s compared the God who gives with the rulers of men who take.

GOD GIVES HIS SON, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS

The kings of men take your sons. However, God gave his son, Jesus, to make you his son through the Holy Spirit.

John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Jesus says in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Just before his crucifixion, Jesus says in John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

Then, Jesus says in John 16:13-15, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore i said that he take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The Holy Spirit takes what belongs to Jesus, the king of kings, and gives it to you.

What belongs to Jesus that the Holy Spirit takes and declares to you?

Sonship.

Jesus is the son of God, which is why all that the Father has is his.

So, the Holy Spirit takes the sonship of Jesus and gives it to you, thereby giving you everything that belongs to the Father.

Romans 8:14-17 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

GOD GIVES HIS SON TO FIGHT FOR YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS TO FIGHT FOR THEM

Earthly kings take your sons to wage war for them. This what it means for kings to take your sons to drive his chariots and be his horsemen.

But, God gives you his son to fight for you.

“You know that he [Jesus] appeared in order to take away sins…Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:5, 8)

Satan is the prince, the ruler of this world. Every king and every kingdom, every political leader and every government, belong to the kingdom of Satan. These kingdoms are based on sin since Satan has been sinning from the beginning. These kingdoms take your sons to wage ware for them.

But, God gives his son, Jesus, to fight for you. This is why Jesus appeared. To destroy sin and every work of the devil for you.

Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

How did Jesus overcome the world, Satan, and sin?

God gives Jesus, his son, to fight for you and overcome the enemy through the cross. It was on the cross that Jesus defeated our enemies.

Colossians 2:15 says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And, in 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Paul says, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”

GOD GIVES HIS SON A SERVANT, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS TO SERVE THEM

The kings of men take your sons to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties. In other words, the kings of men take your sons to make a hierarchy to lord it over you.

But, God gives his son to be a servant to you.

In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus says to his disciples, “You know that those who are considered rules of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

GOD GIVES HIS SON TO FEED AND PROTECT YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS TO FEED AND PROTECT THEM

God warned Israel that the kings of men take your sons to plow their ground and reap their harvest to feed themselves as well as making weapons of war to protect themselves.

But, God gives his son, Jesus, to both feed you and protect you.

Jesus says in John 4:10, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

And, in John 7:37, he says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”

In addition to giving us drink, Jesus feeds us. In John 6:56-58, Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not the like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Not only did God give his son to feed us, but he gave his son to protect us, to be our armor.

Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh, 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.”

GOD GIVES HIS SON A SACRIFICE FOR YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR DAUGHTERS AS A SACRIFICE

The kings of men take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. Read through the Old Testament you will see that these were positions of service for the king. And, underlying these positions of service was the idea of worship and sacrifice.

But, God gives Jesus, his son, to be a sacrifice for us.

Jesus says in John 10:17-18, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”

John follows this up in 1 John 3:16 with, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.”

So, Jesus willingly gave up, or sacrificed, his life for us.

In the Old Testament, the sacrifice was made to offering a pleasing aroma to God. When Jesus sacrificed his own life, he offered a pleasing aroma to God. God gives him as a perfumer. Paul alludes to this in 2 Corinthians 2:15 when he says, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God.”

In the Old Testament, the Levites were cooks and bakers that prepared the meat and grain for the other priests to eat. This pictures Jesus he gives his body as the meat and bread that we are to eat.

GOD GIVES YOU THE EARTH, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR FIELDS AND THE BEST OF ITS PRODUCE

Earthly kings take the best of your fields, vineyards, and orchards as well as the best, the tenth, of the produce those fields, vineyards, and orchards produce.

But, God gives you the earth, which he owns.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Instead of taking what you have, God gives you what is his, the earth and the fullness of it through his son.

Hebrews 1:2 says that Jesus is “appointed the heir of all things,” including the earth.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Ephesians 2:11 says that “in him [Jesus] obtained an inheritance,” which is the earth, indeed all creation.

GOD GIVES HIS SON TO WORK IN AND FOR YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKES WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

The kings of men take your servants and your animals. These are things that work for you. The kings of men take what works for you to work for them.

But, God gives you Jesus, his son, to work in and for you.

Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”

Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.”

But, in Philippians 1:6, Paul says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

GOD MAKES YOU SONS, KINGS OF MEN MAKE YOU SLAVES

Prior to coming to God, we were slaves to sin and unrighteousness. But, in John 8, Jesus says that he came to free us.

In John 15:15, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants [slaves], for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

Jesus says we are no longer slaves but friends of his.

But, we become even more than friends. Jesus tells Mary this after his resurrection. He says we become sons. in John 20:17, Jesus says, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but to go my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

What a difference there is between how God and Jesus, the king of kings, treat us versus how the kings of men treat us. Therefore, let us forsake the kings, the politicians, and the governments of the earth to pledge our sole allegiance  to Jesus.

The Battle Is the Spirit against the Flesh

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 4-7

There is a battle going on in us between the Spirit and the flesh.

Galatians 5:17 says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.”

Romans 8:15, 19 says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what i want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep doing.”

This is exactly what see going on today’s reading. The battle between Israel and the Philistines in the promised land is a picture of the battle between the spirit and the flesh in our hearts for the kingdom of God is within you.

WHEN THE BATTLE BEGINS

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that we must pour out all of our soul, all of our carnal mind and fleshly understanding, so that the Spirit of the Jesus, the son of God, can be poured into us.

So, 1 Samuel 4:1 says, “And the word of Samuel came to all Israel.”

Samuel pictures each one of us as a son of God by the Holy Spirit. We have taken the name of God, which is the meaning of the name Samuel. Because we have been born of the Spirit, the word of this new man comes to our entire heart, mind, and soul. The word of this new man born by the pouring out of the soul is Jesus.

How does the word of Jesus come to us?

In John 14:16-17, Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

Then, in John 14:26, Jesus says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The Holy Spirit, who birthed us as sons of God when he was poured into us, brings the word of Jesus within us as ones who have taken the name of God.

It’s at this moment of new birth, becoming the sons of God, that a battle begins within us.

THE BATTLE IS BETWEEN THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH

“Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek.” (1 Samuel 4:1)

There are several possible meanings of the name Israel:

  • God strives
  • He will be prince with God
  • God’s governor

Regardless of the meaning you prefer, Israel is a picture of the Spirit-filled man. We saw at the beginning of this post that it is the Spirit that strives against the flesh. As Spirit-filled people, we are at war against our fleshly natures and carnal minds.

It is the Spirit-filled man that has been raised from the dead  that will be a prince with God.” Ephesians 2:5-6 says God “made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up together with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places with Christ.” Christ is seated on the throne at the right hand of God as king. Raised to the life with Christ by the Spirit, we are seated with him as princes.

Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and Christ, and they reign with him for a thousand years.” Raised with Christ by his Spirit, we will be governors, ones who reign, with him.

Israel was encamped at Ebenezer, which means stone of the help. The Spirit-filled encamps with Jesus, who is the stone of the help. But, a camp is temporary dwelling place. The Spirit-filled man has not yet arrive at the place of abiding in Jesus and Jesus abiding in him (John 15:4).

The Philistines represent the natural man, the man of the flesh, within us that our Spirit-filled man is at war with us. The Philistines were ruled by five lords, which represent the five natural senses that strive to rule our soul and our body. Therefore, the Philistines represent those that roll about, migrate, move to and fro, wander, and deviate a true course.

Ephesians 2:1-2 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses ad sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is not at work in the sons of disobedience.”

Natural men are “children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14)

The Philistines, the flesh, were encamped at Aphek. Aphek means strong, holding firm, tenacious, fortress. The flesh is strong. We know this because of our personal struggles with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And, in 2 Corinthians 10:3, Paul alludes to our carnal minds being strongholds.

When we become sons of God, the spirit begins to battle against the flesh.

WHY DOES THE SPIRIT MAN LOSE THE FIRST BATTLE

“The Philistines drew up in line against Israel, and when the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 4:2)

God is for us and not against us. God is all powerful. Jesus has been given all power and authority. He has crucified the flesh. So, how it is it that the Spirit-filled man loses the first battle between the Spirit and the flesh?

Israel asked just this question in 1 Samuel 4:3, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines?” However, Israel wrongly attributed their defeat the Lord.

How so?

“Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” (1 Samuel 1:3) Remember that the ark of the covenant was symbolized the place of God’s presence in Israel.

The Spirit-filled man loses the battle, not because the Lord is working against him but because he doesn’t even bring the Lord to the battle. The Spirit-filled man loses the battle when he tries to fight in his own strength. We are weak. Therefore, we have to rely on the strength of God to fight our battle for us.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:9-11, But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When we fail to recognize our weakness to usher in the power of Christ, then we lose the battle to the flesh.

IT MATTERS HOW YOU BRING GOD’S PRESENCE TO THE BATTLE

After losing the first battle against the flesh, we realize we need to bring the presence of God to the battle. We need his strength.

“So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.”

What does this say about how we bring God’s presence, his strength and power, to the battle between the Spirit and the flesh within us?

The name Eli means my God, but perhaps the meaning is more appropriately God of me.

Hophni means pugilist. A pugilist is a professional boxer.

One meaning of Phinehas is a brazen mouth.

So, we lose the first battle against the flesh but failing to bring God’s presence to the battle. Then we bring the presence of God by saying the God of me is a pugilist with a brazen mouth. In other word, we attempt to bring God’s presence as a verbal boxer of judgment.

In 1 Corinthians 10:26, Paul says, “I do not box as one beating the air.” Paul doesn’t fight by just throwing words into the air, spewing just anything our of his mouth.

To box as one beating the air is to be one that fights with a brazen mouth, a mouth of judgment.

Even though we are trying to bring the presence of God to the battle, we do bring it in judgment.

Romans 2:1 says, “For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

Romans 5:16 says, “For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation.”

But, the ark of the covenant, the presence of God, was dwelling in Shiloh when Israel brought it to the battle. Shiloh means pacificator, tranquility, tranquility town, or pleasantville.

So, we take the presence of God from his peaceful place and try to fight as a verbal boxer bringing judgment and condemnation.

When Israel did this, they lost the battle to the Philistines. Except this time Israel was thoroughly defeated. In the first battle, 4,000 men died. But, in the second battle, Israel lost 30,000 men. The ark of God was capture. Israel lost the presence of God completely.

The same is true for us. When we try to fight the flesh with judgment and condemnation, the Spirit-filled man loses the battle to the flesh in an even grander fashion. Not only do we lose the battle, but we lose the very presence of God that brings peace and tranquility.

THE VERBAL BOXER OF JUDGMENT DIES IN THE BATTLE

In the second battle, not only was the ark of God captured, but Hophni and Phinehas died. Once our Spirit-filled man has thoroughly lost the battle, we are willing to give our verbal fighting by judgment.

It’s at this point we realized that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Recall Ephesians 2:14 from above. But, note what Paul says we should instead.

“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”

Instead of judgment and condemnation, which causes us to lose the battle against the flesh all the, we need to speak the truth in love for there is no condemnation in Christ.

When we reach this point, the Spirit begins to win the battle against the flesh.

Pour Out Your Soul for the Spirit of the Son to Be Poured into You

TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 1-3

“But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman of troubled spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” – 1 Samuel 1:15-16

Hannah was barren. She had no children. But, she was married to a man who had another wife who bore him many children. Even though Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, gave her a double portion of his sacrifice, Hannah remained barren.

Every year Elkanah, Hannah, and the other wife, Peninnah went up to the Shiloh to worship and to sacrifice. Year after year, Elkanah gave Hannah a double portion. But, Hannah remained barren year after year.

And, Peninnah would provoked Hannah year after year. Peninnah would irritate Hannah because she had children but Hannah did not.

One year, Hannah did not take the double portion from Elkanah. Instead, she did not eat and she wept. Elkanah asked Hannah why she wept and would not eat Was her heart sad? Was Elkanah not more to her than ten sons could be?

After everyone else had eaten and drunk from the offering in Shiloh, Hannah rose. She was distressed and prayed bitterly to the Lord. She vowed that if God would see her affliction and remember her then she would give the son she was asking for to the Lord all the days of his life.

So, Hannah prayed before the Lord. She was speaking in heart, moving with her lips without her voice being heard.  Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk. He ask Hannah how long she would remain drunk and instructed her to put her drink.

Hannah answers the she was trouble in spirit and not drunk. Rather, she was pouring out her soul before the Lord. Hannah asked Eli not to see her as a worthless woman but as a woman who was speaking out of her great anxiety and vexation.

So, Eli told her to go in peace and that God would grant her prayer. Hannah responded, “Let you servant find favor in your eyes.” It would be easy to assume that she wanted to find favor in the eyes of Eli. But, it’s quite possible that Hannah asked to find favor in God’s eyes. For, later we find out that Eli’s eyes were dim, implying he was not close to God.

Therefore, Hannah went her away and ate. She was no longer sad. Hannah was trusting in the favor of the Lord that her prayer would be answered.

So, Elkanah, Hannah, and Peninnah got up early in the morning, worshiped, and went back to Ramah. Elkanah knew Hannah his wife and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. Hannah called him Samuel. After year and years of provoking, vexation, irritation due to her barrenness, Hannah’s prayer had been answered.

What a tremendous story of perseverance in prayer!

What are we to learn from this story?

We need to pour out our soul before the Lord so he can pour the Spirit of his son, Jesus, into our empty vessels.

Let’s read the story by the Spirit to see how this works.

THE SETUP

“There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim who name was Elkanah the son Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrahthite. He had two wives. The name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.”

The meaning of everyone of these names helps to set up the spiritual understanding of this story. Let’s take them in order of their mention. Then, we will put them together.

Ramathaim-zophim means “the heights of the watchmen” or “the deceits of the honeycomb.”

Ephraim means fruitfulness.

Elkanah means “God has possessed,” “God has redeemed,” “God has created” (but is perhaps unlikely), or “God has taken possession.”

Jeroham means “he is pitied” or “he will obtain mercy”

Elihu means “he is my God” or “God the Lord”

Tohu means wilderness, wasteland, emptiness, nothing.

Zuph means honeycomb, honey, or sweet.

Ephrhath means fruitfulness or worthlessness. Worthlessness is a secondary meaning of Ephrhath, but there is a strong connotation.

Hannah means graciousness or gratuitous gift.

Peninnah coral or pearl.

The lineage of Elkanah starts with honey in the honeycomb. If we take Zuph to mean, then the lineage of Elkanah starts with something tasteless. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” A tasteless thing is worthless, not good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled.

Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” But, if we have not tasted the Lord, then we are tasteless. If we are tasteless, then this produces a wilderness within us.

Speaking of Israel in the wilderness, Psalm 106:14 says, “But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert.” Led by tastelessness into the wilderness, we have a wanton craving, literally a craving for the grave. In this craving, we put God to the test. However, Isaiah 40:3 says, “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” While there is a wilderness, God is the Lord.

God is the Lord fathers a son who will obtain mercy. Isaiah 30:18 says, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” God promised his mercy to Israel when he was exalted.

Jesus, God who exalted himself on the cross, shows mercy to you. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Father’s promise of mercy. Luke 1:68-69, 72 says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant.”

Through the one who obtains mercy God takes possession of and redeems. This is Elkanah. But, by the Spirit we can see that Elkanah’s lineage prophetically speaks of Jesus.

Elkanah was of a place that could mean both “the heights of the watchmen” or “the deceits of the honeycomb.” Jesus is our refuge, a strong tower. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

But, how can this same place be “the deceits of the honeycomb?”

Proverbs 24:13 says, “My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.”

Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

How is sweet to our taste, but the words of Jesus are even sweeter. Honey comes from, drips from, the honey comb. But, if the honeycomb has no honey in it, then what we thought would be sweet is tasteless. So, Jesus’ words are sweeter than honey and give life because they are from God. But, if the word of Jesus, the voice of God, is not heard, then we are left with only the physical, natural, flesh and blood man Jesus. We are left with the honeycomb, which is deceitful because what we thought would be sweet, the man Jesus, is actually tasteless without the honey, the voice of God.

Ramathaim-zophim is in the land of fruitfulness. We can be so close to the heights of the watchmen, Jesus, the strong tower, yet at the same time be in the deceits of the honeycomb, the man Jesus with the voice that carries the true word God nowhere to be found.

Elkanah was an Ephrahthite. He was a man of fruitfulness or worthlessness, depending on the perspective.

Elkanah had two wives. One was graciousness, a gratuitous gift. But, Hannah was barren. She had no children. In other words, she produced no fruit. The other was a pearl, a precious thing produced through the affliction of a grain of sand in the flesh. Peninnah was very fruitful.

A DOUBLE PORTION FOR HANNAH

Every year that Elkanah would go to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice he would give portions to Peninnah, but he would give a double portion to Hannah because he loved her even though she was barren, or fruitless. Remember that as the product of his lineage, Elkanah represents that work that God is doing through Christ to reconcile. Therefore, the sacrifice that Elkanah and Peninnah are eating from is a picture of Jesus.

The phrase double portion is found five times in Bible – four in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. The New Testament mention is related to Babylon, but the four Old Testament mentions are related to the unloved one getting a double portion of the inheritance or blessing.

However, the mention is 1 Samuel 1:5 is very interesting because the Hebrew word for double is appayim, which comes from two Hebrew root word meaning to be angry with and anger, face, nose, or (dual) nostrils.” The word translated double doesn’t actually mean double at all.

What is going on here?

The Hebrew word for nose or nostrils is associated with anger. So, I believe in this passage there is a bit of double meaning going on here. Hannah was perceiving that she was getting an angry portion from God’s nostrils because she was barren. But, because Elkanah loved her, we know that was not the case. In reality, Hannah was getting a “double” portion in the sense that she was getting what was breathed out from God’s two nostrils. If we see the sacrifice that we got a double portion of as Jesus, then we see that she was getting the Holy Spirit as he is what is breathed out by God into us (Genesis 2:7 and John 20:22).

What is so fascinating, and I believe confirms my double meaning hypothesis, is that year after year Hannah would weep and not eat the double portion of the sacrifice.

What does this show us?

God loves us and wants to us a double portion of his Holy Spirit to speak to us, but some of us refuse to partake of what God is offering. God asks those that refuse the double portion, “Why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more than ten sons to you?”

HANNAH PRAYED AND VOWED

Hannah’s barrenness is a picture of our fruitlessness, which is a result of not partaking of the double portion of the Holy Spirit that God is trying to give us. God wants to speak to us through his Spirit, but we won’t partake of the Spirit.

However, after years of barrenness, Hannah gave in to God and made a vow. She said that if God gave looked on her barrenness and gave her a son then she would give that son to Lord his whole life. I can imagine Hannah praying for years for a son but never receiving the son she wanted because it was all about her own desires, passions, and benefits.

What does this picture for us?

We may cry out to hear from God, to receive his Spirit. But, perhaps we are like Hannah, desiring the Spirit for our own benefit. James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

But, in order to receive the Spirit, to truly hear from the Lord, we need to make a vow like Hannah. “Lord, I have not heard you. I am without your Spirit speaking to me. But, if you fill me with your Spirit and make me a son, that I will give you myself to the service of you the rest of my life.”

By the Spirit, I see Hannah asking for a son and vowing to give him to the Lord as a picture of us asking to be made sons of God so that our lives can be devoted to the Lord.

HANNAH POURS OUT HER SOUL

Hannah continued to pray and poured out her soul. It was only after she poured out her soul that in due time she bore the son she vowed to give to the Lord the rest of his days. His name was Samuel, which means name of God (a godly name), heard of God. The son she birthed had the name of God.

In order for us receive the double portion of Christ’s offering, the Holy Spirit, we need to pour out our soul. We need to empty ourselves of our natural reasoning, our carnal minds, our fleshly instincts. We have to empty ourselves of all earthly desire. This is taking on the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

Christ had to empty himself of his deity to become like us. Of course, it works in reverse for us. We have to empty ourselves of all that is of the flesh, every carnal instinct, in order to become a son of God, to be filled with the Spirit, to hear God’s voice, to see and touch the supernatural.

God cannot do this for us. We must pour out our souls so that he can pour into us his Holy Spirit. For, it is the Spirit that God pours out.

Peter says the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled in Acts 2:17-19, which says, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and my female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below.”

We have to hope, expectantly waiting not wishing, for this. Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Titus 3:4-6 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, hesaved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.

If you want God to speak to and through you, if you want God to show you visions and dreams, if you want God to show spiritual signs and wonders, then you must completely pour out your soul, your natural man, your fleshly man. You must give up your natural reasoning and understanding. You must give up all your earthly philosophies and ways of seeing things.

This is why Paul says in Colossians 2:8-9, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit [remember the honeycomb from above], according to human tradition, according to elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

But, in order that you may “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19), “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9), and “be filled with all joy” (2 Timothy 1:4), you must pour yourself out first. Everything of your natural, fleshly, carnal man must go.

When we do this will bear the son we have always wanted, just like Hannah. And, our name will be Samuel, the name of God.

Romans 8:13-16 says, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

A FINAL WORD – DO NOT BE FULL OF THE NATURAL

Remember above what we saw about honey. We have to taste the honey, the words of Christ, and see that they are good. But, if we are full of the natural and the flesh, we will loathe the spiritual and the supernatural. We won’t hear from God.

Proverbs 27:7 – “One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.”