My Musings

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Tale of Two Kings: The Preacher's Rebuke

Hello and welcome to the first in a three part series entitled “A Tale of Two Kings.” Throughout this series, we will be diving into the amazing lessons learned from the lives of King David and King Saul. I invite you to read two brief passages of scripture before delving into today’s lesson: I Samuel 15:1-15 and II Samuel 12:1-7.

The lives of King Saul and King David were scarred with major sin. Their lives tell the story of tragedy and despair. They both fell hard, slamming themselves against the laws of God and committing disgusting wickedness.

Saul’s sin was disobedience. God had directed Saul to destroy the Amalekites and leave nothing remaining. Not a sheep, a cow, or a piece of gold was to be saved. Saul decided, however, to destroy only the garbage from the sacked city. He kept the best of the sheep and the best of the oxen. He had directly rejected God’s command clearly placing convenience above that of obedient character. This was Saul’s sin.

David’s sin was arguably much worse. He began his rebellion by having an adulterous affair with a neighbor lady named Bathsheba. He then moved on to murder her husband to cover his tracks, and then brushed it under the rug for nearly a year. David’s sin was far worse than that of Saul.


It becomes clear from the scripture, however, that the ultimate, long-term fate of these two men was not molded by the sin they committed but rather, by their actions following their wicked misdeeds. After their fall from grace, these men followed two unique paths which would eventually determine if they lived or died.

It is important that we first take notice of the Preacher’s Rebuke. There are three distinct phases that these men journeyed through after their sinful rebellion, and this was the first. The Preacher’s Rebuke!

It Was a Personal Rebuke

When Samuel confronted Saul about his disobedience, he didn’t speak in vague generalities and he didn’t beat around the bush. He specifically mentioned Saul’s sin. He made it personal.

When Saul returned from his conquest, he was all smiles. He had just enjoyed a huge military victory and had gained a lot of gold, silver, sheep, and oxen. He was so excited. His adrenaline was pumping. That is, of course, until Samuel interrupted with his timeless rhetorical question, “What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” (I Sam. 15:14) Apparently Saul’s mother had never told him the story of Achan.

This same principle was true in David’s situation. When Nathan stood before David, he began by telling him a parable: A rich man owned many sheep and cattle. A poor man owned only one small lamb. In fact, the poor man’s one sheep was treated like family and ate with them and was more of a pet than a piece of livestock. One afternoon, the wealthy man had a visitor and rather than go all the way to his fields to fetch a sheep for a meal, he stole the lamb from his lower class neighbor.

David was outraged and immediately proclaimed, ”As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die!” (II Sam. 12:5).
Suddenly Nathan makes it personal. You can almost see his bony finger pointing up at David as he says, “Thou art the man!”
Too often we find ourselves getting upset at something that the preacher says to us. ‘That’s none of your business, preacher. That’s personal!’ We fail to realize that these men of God are only following the Scriptural pattern laid out for them by these two prophets, Samuel and Nathan. Get over yourselves, friends. Take the rebuke at face value. Accept it. Repent.

It Was a Prophetic Rebuke

“Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel…” I Sam. 15:10
“And the LORD sent Nathan unto David…” ~ II Sam. 12:1
A prophet was simply someone who presented a message on behalf of God. Neither Samuel nor Nathan had any personal interest in seeing these men reconciled to God. They didn’t speak out against their respective kings because of self-interest or pride. They weren’t trying to make themselves look better than their audiences. They were simply relaying a message that they had been commanded to preach.

When Saul and David accepted or rejected their rebuke, they were not answering the prophet. They were answering God!

Go ahead, friends. Get offended at something that the preacher says. Get upset that he would preach against the way that you dress or the music that you listen to. Get angry that he would mention a part of your sinful lifestyle. How dare he mention your rebellion or sinfulness during one of his sermons?

But before you do, take a lesson from the two men in our story. You’re not rejecting your preacher…you are rejecting the tender call of God's mercy! Be careful where you tread.


In Christ,

Nick

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