Monday, June 27, 2022
We say it’s a new phenomenon. It’s not. We say it’s a new philosophy, yet it’s as old as the human race. Humanism has been around so long as humans have been living with a sin nature, and that started with the first humans. Over the next several devotionals I want to address several humanistic issues in the life of King Saul that are indicative of the status of the Christian church – a status that may not be worthy of praise.
In review, Saul was told to completely destroy the Amalekites and their possessions. He did not obey. He kept the King alive and then approved of his soldiers keeping the best of the flocks for themselves. That’s when God came to Samuel and said, “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” (1 Samuel 15:10-11)
God is grieved by our choices and activities when they don’t conform to His standards. When we choose to pursue personal benefit and accomplish our own agenda the heart of God is grieved. Why should we expect that it isn’t? We are created in His image, and since we have emotions and feelings that can be hurt and grieved, then He must also.
The next morning after God had spoken to Saul, Samuel went to find him. He was told that Saul had gone to Mount Carmel to set up a monument to himself. I’m sure we can all see the slippery slope of self-centeredness upon which Saul is sliding. After having received the Lord’s instructions, and gaining the Lord’s victory, Saul not only made an intentional choice to disobey God, but then set up a monument in his own honor, as if he had been responsible for the victory. Saul is choosing to glorify himself rather than God.
When Samuel finds Saul, the king makes a bold statement. It is the statement of a person slipping more into humanism by trying to hide something. Saul says, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. Samuel points out the lie by saying, “So what is this I hear? I hear sheep bleating and cattle lowing. Where did they come from?” Then here comes the next slide down the slope of humanism – the transfer of blame. Saul says, “The soldiers brought them.” Saul took no personal responsibility for the actions he had approved, let alone for being king. He tried to blame someone else for what he had done.
You remember the first time that happened. It was in the Garden of Eden when God asked Adam what had happened, and he said, “It was the woman you gave me.” He blamed not only his wife, but bottom line he blamed God for giving him that wife. Adam thought that he could preserve some positive self-image if he could convince God that his sin was God’s fault. Saul tried to justify his actions by claiming they had kept all the livestock was so that they could be sacrificed to God. Saul says that they would sacrifice the animals to the Lord YOUR God (my emphasis). No longer did Saul consider God to be his God. God was Samuel’s God. You see, Saul had decided that he was the god of his own life, not the LORD God.
The humanistic philosophy of the world declares that we are basically good, and that evil comes from the pressures and failures of society. Secular teaching contradicts the sacred. The ramifications of humanistic teaching are diverse. One is that we are forced to place the blame for sin on someone else. The admission of personal responsibility for evil would mean that evil is generated from our own heart, which contradicts what secular people want to believe. This philosophy is the great deception of Satan and has been around since Adam blamed Eve and God for his own sin. We cannot be forgiven for what we do not admit, so it is impossible to be saved unless we admit we have sinned. But secular thought teaches us there is no need to be forgiven because we are not responsible for evil. Any such thought would destroy self-esteem, and that is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Scripture.
Our life’s throne has only one seat. It is not possible to share the reign of our lives. As soon as Saul made the choice to serve his own interests and follow his own desires, he became his own god, and the LORD God was removed from his throne. This is serious. We and God do not have a time share on the throne. God does not share His reign or His glory with anyone. When we choose to disobey God, we choose to be our own god. Every choice that we make that is contradictory to God’s character and will is a choice to remove Him from the throne of our lives. For each such action we must repent. Saul made up excuses. He rationalized. He attempted to justify his actions. He did not repent, and God removed His blessing from his life. The same will happen to us if we persist in sin.
Satan has mounted an attack against true faith, and the result is a great falling away from faith in these last days. Guard your heart, and do not start sliding down the slippery slope of disobedience. Recognize that one symptom of sliding is blaming others for your choices. Take responsibility for your life and surrender it to God. He alone is LORD, and we are not gods.