Vol. 38, No. 2 February 2014
TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE
We strive to be as original as we can in preparing the messages for the WILDERNESS. However, in this message we cannot claim any originality. This text has been preached by countless preachers, authors, etc, down through the years. I am afraid the we can add very little to what has been said. I trust the God will use our part in this in reaching many more for Christ. The man who is the center of this message is King Saul. This is the tragic story of a man on his way down. Saul looked like he might be the right man to serve as king. God appointed him as king, but he was
not God’s real choice. That is, I believe that God appointed him because he was the man that we would want as king. When we read about Saul the Bible says that he was head and shoulders above other men. He was a big, jolly, powerful man. We would admire him because of his appearance alone.(1Sam. 9:1-2).
As we look at his life more closely, Saul seems to be a man prone to mistakes and failures.
In Ch. 13 of our text, King Saul is seen to be an impatient man. He had a victory over the Philistines with his small army of 2,000. However, the Philistines had an army of over 30,000 waiting for Saul in Michmash. When the Israelis saw their problem, they ran for cover in the hills and caves. Saul called for a burnt offering and as soon as the offering was made, the Prophet Samuel came and rebuked King Saul for his invasion into the Priest’s office. “Thy kingdom shall not continue.” was the warning of Samuel, (13:14).
And in Ch. 14, Saul would have killed his son Jonathan because of his brash decision about not eating, but his men stopped him, (14:43-45).
In Ch. 15, Saul is given another chance. Today, let us see the downfall of a man who had great possibilities, but he learned his lesson too late; TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE.
1. THE COMMAND.
Saul is given a command from God. “Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy him in the way, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” (ch. 15:3). “The LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites and fight against them until they be consumed.”(v18). The command was clear…”utterly destroy the Amalekites.”
WHO WERE THE AMALEKITES? These were the descendents of Amelek, a grandson of Esau.
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. Jacob deceived his father Isaac about his birthright and had to flee for his life from his brother Esau. You will find that story in Genesis 27. From that time there has been a battle between the seed of these boys, even unto this day. In the middle east, the battle rages between these two sons of Isaac.
WHY DID GOD SAY, “DESTROY?”
In Exodus 17, after The Israelites (sons of Jacob) had expressed their anger against God about the lack of water, “Is the LORD among us, or not?” “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim.” (Ex. 17:8-16). And in Deuteronomy 25:17-19, God said, “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way when ye came forth out of Egypt.” If you read the text very carefully you will see that the COMMAND was to utterly destroy the Amalekites.
2. THE COMPROMISE.
The orders given were simple’ “Smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have.”
But Saul and the people compromised. Samuel went our to meet Saul after the battle and Saul said to him, “Blessed be thou of the LORD, I have performed the commandment of the LORD.” (v13). Samuel’s reply was,”What meaneth the bleating of the sheep in mine ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Now, may I say that at the most inconvenient time, “YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT.” That’s just the way it is! The bleating of the sheep exposed Saul’s disobedience. Saul’s reply, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people have spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God.”(v14-15). Saul said, THEY have brought them from the Amalekites, to sacrifice.
The people, THEY, have brought them. It is always easy to blame someone else.
COMPROMISE #1…SACRIFICE. A great Bible word. There is nothing wrong with sacrifice. This is established in the Law of God. Animals were used according to the plan set forth in the Law of God. Oxen, sheep, calves, goats, turtledoves and much more from the animal kingdom were used as sin offerings, thank offerings, etc. There is nothing wrong with sacrifice. Oh how I praise God for the Sacrifice of His Son on the Cross that we might be made right with God. But God did not tell Saul to sacrifice anything. He said, “Destroy.” As we read the Book of Isaiah we see a nation on it’s way down. Please take a few minutes and read the first three chapters of Isaiah. The people were making sacrifices, but God was not pleased because of the Sin, rebellion and idolatry. The nation was in such bad shape God called it Sodom and Gomorrah. He was disgusted with the Spiritual, social, political condition of the land. He indicts Priest, Prophet, Prince, and People of the land. Oh yes, they were bringing sacrifices, but God said to them, “To what is the purpose of the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the LORD. I am full of burnt offerings.” Your heart is not right. The whole head is sick and the whole heart faint. People knew they were not doing right, but, so they thought, “I’ll just bring a sin offering and God will be pleased with that.” Not so. David said in his confession in Psalm 51, “ For Thou desireth not sacrifice else would I give it. Thou delightest not in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” (Psa. 51:16-17).
COMPROMISE #2….WORSHIP. Saul said, “Now there I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may WORSHIP the LORD. Worship is fine, is wonderful. To say from a clean heart, “My God, I Worship you, I praise you, I thank you! But if we worship God we must worship Him on His terms and not as we wish.
Cain went to worship, but he had no faith, and God was not pleased. (Gen. 4:1-7).
Jesus said in Mt. 15:1-9. “In vain do they worship me.”
Jesus said to the woman at the well, John 4:24, “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and and truth.”
If we worship God we MUST worship Him on His terms. People in the past have said to me, “Oh, I worship God in MY WAY.” This is man’s opinion. I will do it MY WAY. That’s OK if your way is God’s way! We must come to God on His terms and not ours.
3. THE CURSE.
Samuel indicts Saul with two capitol offenses.
REBELLION. “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” Witchcraft is condemned in the Law of God. God sees rebellion in the same way He sees witchcraft. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Ex.22:18)
STUBBORNNESS, Stubbornness is in the same category as IDOLATRY. Idolatry filled the land in Isaiah’s day. God announced a death sentence upon the land. Oh what a lesson; “To OBEY is BETTER than to SACRIFICE and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
4. THE COST.
“The LORD hath rejected thee from being king.” (v23). “The LORD hath rent the kingdom from thee this day.”
Our failure to obey God has a great price to pay.
Now, look on in the Book (KJB) to Ch. 31:1-5. Saul is in a hopeless battle with the Philistines. Saul was sorely wounded. He asked his armorbearer to kill him, but he refused, and so Saul took a sword and fell on it. His armorbearer did the same. For all intents and purposes we could leave this story right there. It looks like Saul has died. Now, turn the page to Ch. 1 of 2Samuel. The story here is that David is awaiting news about Saul. A young man runs into his camp and reports, “As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold Saul leaned upon his spear, and lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.” Saul then asked the young man “who art thou?” The young man answered him, “I am an Amalekite.” Saul said to him, “Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me, for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.” (v8-9). The young man reported to David, “I slew him.” “I took his crown and his bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither to my lord.” David said to the young man, “Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an AMELEKITE.” Saul was commissioned to SLAY THE AMALEKITES. He disobeyed, and what Saul failed to do, in fact, ended his life.
TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE!
And our LORD calls us to a life of OBEDIENCE. Let’s take a few moments and see how we do…
God commands ALL to Repent. “At the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to Repent. Because He has appointed an day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men that He hath raised Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) Repent means to “change your mind about Christ.” Christ alone is Lord and Saviour. We must change our minds about what or who we are trusting and receive Christ alone. Have you done that? To OBEY is better.
God commands us to destroy all ties to this world. Love not the styles, the glitter, the glamor, the philosophies of this world. “Come out from among them.” (2Cor 6:17). God has something better for us, but we cannot enjoy His blessing while we hang on to the world. Many a believer has not obeyed and has found himself/herself engulfed or trapped in the influence of this world. Have you obeyed?
God commands us to pray. “Pray without ceasing.”(1Thess. 5:17). That’s not a suggestion, that’s a commandment of God. Time and time again He calls us to pray. Have you obeyed? Remember, every failure we have is a prayer failure.
God commands us to study the Scriptures. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15). Have you obeyed? Do you study your Bible?(KJB). Don’t get side-tracked in one of these new “versions.” You know, NIV, NASV, TEV, etc, etc.
There is nothing wrong with the Bible. Just study it.
God commands us to be faithful to the Church. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb 10:25). Do you obey His command? TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE.
Remember the lesson from the Life of Saul. The thing we fail to do may well be our downfall.
THINK ABOUT IT..Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (Ja. 4:17).
THE DANGER OF DELAY
“Because I have called, and ye refused. I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded. But ye have set at naught all my counsel and would none of my reproof. I will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh.” (Prov. 1:24-26). The Bible teaches us that God’s Spirit has been working in our life, all of our life. His Spirit will not always strive with man. You can reject His Word, you can reject His Spirit, you can reject His calling too long. “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart.” “He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Prov. 29:1). Today while you have opportunity, today, NOW, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. How do you receive Him? The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Simply ask Christ to save you and freely give you Eternal Life. He will! He is there, wherever you may be, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He has been knocking at your heart’s door all of your life. Today is your day! Begin TODAY to live FOREVER! Christ is the Answer. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (Jn. 1:12).
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS..It is no friend to the Christian. The world crucified the only real friend it ever had, and He still seeks those who would be His friend.
THINK ABOUT IT….While the days of the prophetic clock get darker and darker, the Light of the Gospel shines brighter and brighter. The DARKER the night, the BRIGHTER the candle shines.
AND THINK ABOUT THIS…While the light of our government gets darker and darker, the Light of His government shines Brighter and Brighter. “Even so, come Lord Jesus”
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
I love to play and sing the hymns of the Church that tell of our Saviour’s Love. Love that brought Him down from Heaven to save a sinner such as I. How wonderful it is to know that God loves me-and He loves you too! The Bible is filled with love letters from our Saviour, telling us of His love for us.
I know this is February, the “love month,” and Valentine’s day is coming up with all the beautiful cards expressing our love for one another, and yes I already have a beautiful card picked out for my husband and maybe, just maybe he will have one for me. If he does have a card for me, it will be number 59. Lots of cards, lots of years, and lots and lots of love!!!
But we are talking about God’s love and nothing compares to His love for us. His love is forever and passeth all understanding. Ephesians 3:19; “And to know the love of Christ which passeth all knowledge.” He tells us that He loves us with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3; “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” He is a God of love and peace and promises to be with us. 2Corinthians 13:11; “And the God of love and peace be with you.” He loved us and sent His Son! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16).
Now, that is the love of God, God’s love toward us! Receive God’s love today. Call upon Him and tell Him that you are a sinner that wants to be saved from an eternal hell. Ask Him into your heart and He will come in and save your soul. “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn. 6:37).
Isn’t The Love of Jesus Something Wonderful!
O Love of God, How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall evermore endure,
The saints and angels’ song.
TEEN TALKS THAT MATTER
By Ashley Stevens
LIVING AS A YOUNG CHRISTIAN WOMAN
I’m not going to lie and say that being a strong Christian woman is easy to accomplish, because it’s not. Making the right decisions can sometimes be very hard. Standing up for what is right is hard and sometimes being confident in your walk with Christ can be a struggle. We need to be reminded of some things to keep us strong in this world that tends to drag us into situations we never want to be in.
First of all, we need to remember that God is the author of your story, not you. Sometimes we like to take control and think we know what is best for our life, but that’s not the case. God has a plan and purpose for you that is greater than you could dream up or imagine. Just sit in the passenger seat and let God take control.
Secondly, you need to be reminded every day that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. You are beautiful in every way. God made you unique. He made you, YOU! He made you in His own image. Always remember the Bible verse, You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Lastly, pursue your calling. At this time in your life, you may not know what the Lord is calling you to do today, and that’s okay, but pursuing your calling is a bold and very courageous thing to do these days. Ask questions, ask for wisdom, make a plan and dream big! However, always keep in mind you can make all the plans in the world, but the Lord is the One who directs each of our steps.
I left a verse at the end of this article that I want you to think about this week. Let it challenge you.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45)
May God Bless your heart each and every day.
Until next time, Ashley Stevens
‘TIL THE STORM PASSES BY
By Pastor George Mills
Life is filled with STORMS of various kinds. Some very violent. Some with heavy rain, Some with strong wind, and some with both. Sometimes they come so suddenly and frequently we begin to wonder”what have I done wrong?”
Job said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1). Some are predicting and saying that the increase in stormy weather is definitely a sign of the times, meaning; the last days. I do not believe that. God has designed weather patterns and cycles to keep this earth clean and in working order. I am aware of the tornadoes, cyclones, and tsunamis that have done much damage in places. Just a few weeks ago a violent storm hit the Philippine Islands leaving thousands dead or missing and perhaps as many as one hundred thousand homeless. Yukon Baptist Church has always been quick to offer our help in stormy weather. We sent an offering to help in the Philippines after that great storm. In turn, they sent us a small piece of metal taken from a roof of a Church that was destroyed in the storm. This small metal was meant to hang on a Christmas tree. We appreciate that. Oh well, we get through one STORM, and another one is on it’s way. That’s life. Sometimes we wonder, “how can I get through this?” How can I face the STORMS of life. There is sickness, disease, financial trouble, family storms. STORMS on the job, etc, and life goes on..
In our text in Acts 27, Paul was in a violent STORM at sea. This STORM was named EUROCLYDON, meaning, “an east wind and a north wind.” This was a real northeaster. The seamen had to wrap cables around the ship to hold it together, and then throw the ship’s cargo overboard in an attempt to save the ship. It is not clear just how many of Paul’s company were on that ship. There was Paul, Luke, the writer, and some companions mentioned in Acts 19:29 and 20:4. So on board that ship in that STORM there were some christian men and many non-christian men. We are reminded that “He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mt. 5:45). Christians are not immune to the STORMS of life. The two builders in Mt. 7:24-27 faced the same STORM. The difference was, one was clearly built on Christ. He is sufficient for the STORMS of life. Christ is with us in the STORMS we face. Now, back to the STORM with the Apostle Paul. The Bible (KJB) says in Acts 27:29 that the sailors cast 4 anchors out of the stern of the ship and wished for the day. They were trusting that the anchors would hold them through the night. Seeing that we too face STORMS, some natural, some satanic, and some of our own making, let us cast forth anchors, anchors that will hold us through the long, long STORMY night. Let me share with you four anchors that we can cast forth as did the sailors that night.
THE ANCHOR OF SALVATION. Be saved and know that you are saved. The Bible says that we have as an anchor of the soul that is both sure and steadfast. That anchor is Jesus Christ. “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul , both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Heb. 6:19) Our faith and trust is in Him alone. He did not promise to keep us from the STORMS of life, but He did promise to be with us in every STORM and get us through, safely to the other side. Have you personally invited Him into your life to be your personal Saviour. Without Him you have no anchor and no hope. The Apostle Peter cried out in a STORM,“Lord, save me,” And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore did thou doubt?”(Mt 14:30-31). As He was with Peter He will be with us. He is there when we call on His Great Name. He will calm the STORM of your life and get you through. Today, anchor your soul in the Rock of Ages; the Lord Jesus Christ. And then let us cast forth the…
ANCHOR OF SUPPLICATION.
Supplication is another word for Prayer. Let us learn to pray. Let us learn the power of prayer. Now that your anchor is in Christ, He wants you to talk to Him, (Jn. 14:13-14). Heaven hears us when we pray to the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. And by the way, since Jesus Christ is your Saviour, you do not have to find someone to do your praying for you. You do not have to dial some religious headquarters, or some telecast, or some preacher, or some “800” number. You do not have to pay any attention to that prayer number on the TV screen. You go to God in prayer at any time. No one has any more access to God than you have. Jesus Christ bought that access for you by His death on the cross, (Eph. 2:11-19). So when the STORMS of life come, and they will, the Blessed anchor of SUPPLICATION will get you through that STORM. Then let us cast forth the…
ANCHOR OF SCRIPTURE.
What a marvelous, blessed Book God has given us. The Bible,(KJB) contains the Mind and Will of God. Read it to be wise. It’s pages offer hope and encouragement when it seems as though that STORM will never cease. Again, life is filled with many and varied kinds of STORMS. If you will pray and search the Scriptures, you will find the answer you need. Spend much time reading the Book of Psalms and you will find a situation just like the one you are facing. Read the Gospel of John, read Romans, in fact, read it all. There is comfort in the Word of God.”For whatsoever things that were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES might have hope.” (Ro. 15:4). Yes, you will find joy and peace, and comfort in the Holy Bible, (KJB). Again, don’t fall for this stuff called ‘bible’ that’s on the market today. Dozens of “translations” and none agree with the others and it has led to confusion, confusion, confusion. And yes, there’s more coming. God is not in all of this. There is nothing wrong with the old Bible that brought us this far. It is God’s Great Anchor. And let us cast forth the…
ANCHOR OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
The Bible calls this the “Blessed Hope.” Now I know that some are looking for world war 3, or the anti-christ, or for the tribulation, but we are looking for the soon appearing of Christ as He calls His Church home. He is the One we are looking for. There is a STORM on the horizon. STORM clouds are gathering. The dark STORMY tribulation is nearing. The Bible says that a time like there has never been or ever will be is coming. This is a time when God will deal with the unsaved nations of the world. This will be a time when God deals with Israel “face to face” and when Israel “passes under the rod.” This will be a time when kings bow to the anti-christ. Thank God that the Church, the Redeemed ones He (Christ) purchased with His own blood will be taken out of here before that time. That will be a time of judgment on this earth…but the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has already been judged. Christ bore all, ALL our judgment on His Cross. I know that there will be a future Judgment Seat Of Christ but that is for rewards. He bore our judgment on His Cross! I know that some teach otherwise, but that’s their problem. Before the STORM of the tribulation, Christ will call His Church home, (1thess 4:13-18). What a hope, what an anchor we have! When all around gets darker and darker, the hope of His coming gets brighter and brighter. “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
Yes, life is filled with STORMS. They will come. But the anchors of God holds us together while the world falls apart. Trust Christ, Trust prayer, Trust your Bible (KJB), and trust the Promise of His coming.
THINK ABOUT IT…While “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble”…Man that is Born of God is delivered out of trouble. (Psa. 54:7).
‘TIL THE STORM PASSES BY
By Pastor George Mills
“Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? (Mk 4:35-41).
I once was on a raging sea,
And all of my labor was vain,
No hope for the light of the morning to see,
No rest from the wind and the rain.
My toil and my labor were hopeless indeed,
For the leaks in my vessel to mend,
Then said the Master as he came to my need,
“Trust me, and watch the storm end.”
“Peace, be still,” said the Saviour,
“Be calm,” He said to the sea,
“Now, rest from your toil and your labor,
For the winds and the waves obey me.”
How peaceful and calm is my vessel today,
So restful my soul within,
Since the night I heard the Dear Saviour say,
“Be still,” and the storm obeyed Him.
And now with such gladness I face each new day,
The storms, no longer I fear,
Jesus is near to keep calm the way,
And He whispers “Fear not, for I am near.”
And my dear friend, with great troubled soul,
While storms of life threaten each day,
Trust Christ alone while sea billows roll,
He can still send the storm away!
The life I have is not my own,
It now belongs to God alone.
‘Tis His to use as He knows best,
His perfect will, my only rest.
May others know, may others see,
Christ alone, revealed through me,
My life I give to Him alone,
Who gave for me, His only Son.
“WHAT DOES IT MEAN, TO RECEIVE CHRIST?”
“But as many as RECEIVED HIM to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (Jn. 1:12).
To receive Christ is to believe what the Bible says about Him…
That He alone is the Saviour of the world. “Neither is there Salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby ye must be saved.”(Acts 4:12).
That you are a sinner, regardless of your race, creed, social or moral background. (Ro. 3:23).
That Christ bore your sin in His body on the Cross. (Acts 17:30-31).
That Christ’s death satisfied the demands of the Law of God. (Acts 13:39).
That Christ arose from the dead to be our living Saviour. (Acts 13:33-35)
To Receive Him is to tell Him that you receive Him. His Holy Spirit is there, where you are, as you read this. Tell Him that you believe these things, and that you, by faith alone do Receive Him! (“Ask, and ye shall receive.”)
You can begin TODAY to live FOREVER!