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How to Ruin Your Life: Failing Under Pressure

October 7th, 2011

1 Samuel 13

Challenges to faith:

Opposition

    • No trial is unique but all are common to man.
    • Saul faced terrible opposition from the Philistines.
    • Jesus promised we would have trouble in life – you will face opposition as a Christian because you made a serious enemy when you became one.
    • The devil will find ways to oppose you – the question is: how will we respond?
    • Saul allows the opposition to be the final word on the situation.
    • Our opposition is strong but our God is stronger. Jesus in the boat with his disciples in the storm – Jesus was asleep and it looked like they were all going down, but then Jesus gets up and commands it to stop. The disciples tremble more at the One who controls nature than the power of nature itself.
    • We need to see the Man with the sword drawn (Joshua 5:13-14) when we face opposition. Jesus doesn’t join our side, we’ve joined His.

Betrayal

    • 1 Samuel 13:6-7.
    • A lot of people leave Saul and drop out.
    • Betrayal will happen in some way if you really follow God.
    • This is another reason Saul doesn’t trust God.
    • God doesn’t need for everyone to like us in order to accomplish His work – in fact, we are to be concerned if everyone does like us.
    • 1 Samuel 13:8.

Delay

    • Saul is waiting for Samuel and he doesn’t arrive when he thinks he should.
    • Waiting and finding yourself being delayed is hard to face.
    • God has His own ideas about timing. ‘In a little while’ is a phrase used a lot in the Bible – not definitive. God doesn’t allow for Himself to be contained by our own idea of timing.

Escape

    • Saul takes an escape route rather than waiting – he takes matters into his own hands.
    • Do you still believe – will you still?
    • It’s not easy to keep going faithfully – it’s easier to lunge for the quick and easy solutions and escape from waiting and trusting in God.
    • Prayer is about humbling yourself under God.
    • If you want to be mature, this is what you have to do.
    • Samuel does eventually turn up – but Saul had already gone ahead and done the offering himself, and he has no sense of regret. In fact, he instead blames Samuel and defends his actions.
    • This is right at the heart of the human condition – like Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve and God rather than owning responsibility for his sin and rebellion. We all still do this – we should be careful of our hearts’ natural inclination. It calls for humility.
    • We often take ourselves too seriously and God not enough.
    • You can ruin your life by not listening to anyone or any correction. You need to keep a soft heart.
    • It might be admitting wrong just wasn’t attractive to Saul – he perhaps wasn’t attracted to his idea of what God was like: a hateful, impersonal force who can’t wait to punish those who do wrong.
    • If you see God as revealed in Jesus, your whole perspective will change.
    • Book of Hebrews – written for people going through trials who could think God doesn’t understand or sympathise. He DOES. Turn to Him and give up trying on your own.