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Hatred, Anger and Criticism

June 28th, 2011

1 Samuel 10:25-11:13

  • Saul has just become king and faces his first test. With new jobs/roles come new challenges – applies to the Kingdom of God as well as all anything in life. We get tested when we’re called to do something.
  • All of us should be viewed in some way as having responsibility like kings. Adam and Eve were charged by God to rule – God has given this to us as humans. In the Garden of Eden, the test came along – the snake, who got Adam and Eve to trust in him instead of God.
  • Saul’s “snake” is Nahash – a cruel, savage, violent man. He also shows arrogance, so convinced he is invincible. “Nahash” even means snake/serpent.
  • Adam handled the test badly – he lost. But Saul has success – points to the Greater King, who took on the snake and crushed him completely.
  • There are lessons here for us to learn for how to handle tests.
  • Saul is last to get the news – he is looking after the oxen, showing he is still the same unassuming man, obedient to his father, even though he has just been named prophet and king. Something to learn here – he is wisely waiting for his time.
  • You will have to be ready to fight spiritually – you need to prepare. But you don’t turn every opportunity into a fight. You don’t need to look for fights – your enemy will come to you.
  • Some apparent “snakes” are just earthworms – they’re not a big deal and you don’t need to pick a fight with them. Saul was being criticised but he let it go.
  • Temptation is high to respond to criticism and negative talk about you – wanting everyone to like you and respect you. You can become obsessed with it and with winning every argument. Save your bullets and fight wisely. Ask what is on the line and whether it is worth fighting for.
  • The more you serve God, the more you will face criticism.
  • v.5-6 – the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul and the result was that his anger was kindled. Anger is a misunderstood emotion. Eph. 4:26 says be angry but do not sin. There are things you should be righteously angry about, because God is.
  • When God became a man He got angry on occasion. He is slow to anger but He does get angry at all that is wrong.
  • This is the first time Saul shows any passion – and it is when the Spirit of God comes on him.
  • Anger makes no sense without God – it is a problem for atheists. If we are meaningless, evolved collections of atoms then there is no right and wrong and therefore no reason to be furious about injustice.
  • Anger is a gift from God. Our problem is that we’ve distorted it and use it for our own selfish reasons and purposes.
  • Christ redeems our anger – we learnt to channel it and use it for fruitful, godly reasons.
  • How does Saul use his anger? For one thing, he doesn’t nag or whinge but he vividly communicates to Israel that they will participate in the battle. If the Spirit calls you to act, He will cause people to rise up and join you. If He didn’t, you’d have to resort to nagging.
  • If you’re called to do something and rally others, you need to pray first that God would do a work in people’s hearts. Principle for all of life – instead of nagging, pray – about your spouse, family, work colleagues, etc. Even if you gain something by nagging, you lose something far greater in the process. Pray then be wise with the timing of when you speak to the people involved.
  • Leadership sometimes goes out a limb – there is risk involved. Will people follow you?
  • Saul also doesn’t isolate himself – he joins with Samuel. He needs leaders, men of God alongside with him. It is very tempting to strike out on our own and make something for our own name. Humble yourself and draw in support.
  • Israel win and have total victory in the end.
  • After the battle, some soldiers carry on in anger, but wrongly – but Saul won’t allow. He doesn’t care about his reputation and he is in line with God. He has such the right perspective – he recognised it was God’s work.
  • The battle for our life is to kill our pride, in light of the gospel of grace which humbles us. Remember who you were and what you’ve been forgiven of.
  • Don’t just try to be like Saul – even Saul couldn’t be Saul without the Spirit of God. Look to Jesus who loves us and gives Himself for us.