FROM THE DESK OF THE ARCHBISHOP AND PRESIDING PRELATE
His Beatitude Sir Godfrey Gregg DD
To my brothers, sisters, friends and well-wishers greetings. As we read our scripture I want you to fasten your seat belt for an explosion of God’s word to the church.
My brothers and sisters, is this a problem today. Here we have the king of Israel. He is the highest ranking man in the nation, and in the world. He is the final authority in the nation. One problem though, his rank and his authority are on the plain of carnal things. I am not talking about carnal as in sinful carnality, but the physical realm of this world and humanity. He was the final word. Obviously this was not enough for him. Here he was, king, he answered only to God. Of course, God spoke to the king through the man of God, Samuel. Let’s look at what took place.
1 Samuel 13:8-10 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
Yes, we have that problem in our day. People become dissatisfied with their church life and want something more. It just doesn’t seem to some that the man of God is doing his job quite right. Maybe he didn’t word his message to suit us. Maybe he just doesn’t do things exactly when we think he ought to. Maybe we think we could manage this or that a little better than he does. Let’s just stick to those carnal things which concern us. Leave the carnal things of others alone and while we are at it, we had better leave the spiritual leadership of the local church to the man that God has there for that purpose. Only one man is to lead, feed and intercede for the church, and that man is the Leader. King Saul was not satisfied with this man between him and God. Just like today many want their own way and feel they must be in the leadership position. If God did not place you there then you just cannot lead. He wanted to be able to go beyond the man of God. He could not stand the thought that this man was closer to God than he was. HE WAS THE KING! Who did this man think he was, advising the king? Don’t we get that way? “I’d like to know just who that preacher (man) thinks he is, trying to tell me what to do.” We know each other and I can’t stand him.
Oh yes, there are a lot of people like that. Are you one of them? You can look at king Saul and see that he was ruined and eventually died because he would not be satisfied with all of the great honour wherewith God had blessed him. He wanted more than God wanted him to have. Do you? Are you willing to stay in the position or office you are placed in? Just remember if you have no vision the people will perish. Our behaviour and actions are what most people read about us. Are you King Saul?
Saul was not this way at first. He was meek, he was humble. Only after God had made him king and blessed him, after he had won some battles, did he become dissatisfied. Check in your lives and see if you are walking right? Don’t get swell headed because you are given a task that you want all and every job to perform. Look at Saul’s behaviour closely. The blessing Saul enjoyed had blinded him to the one from whom all blessings flow and he had gotten proud. This really brings this message home doesn’t it? Many people are too proud to be taught, led, directed, or corrected. I have heard some complain that the leader is too old, too young, to educated, or too uneducated, he thinks he knows it all. There are some in every church who are lifted up with pride and think they know more than their leader. That was Saul’s problem too. And so, we have the same situation today among us.
1 Samuel 15:17-19 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And 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. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
How about that, “When thou was little in thine own sight.” In other words when Saul was humble. Saul had thought himself to be unworthy to be king. That is one of the reasons that he hid himself when it came time for him to be proclaimed king. Somewhere down the road he had lost that humility. Pride had crept in and, as ever, “pride goeth before destruction.” Saul had become dissatisfied because he saw in Samuel something he did not have and in pride he coveted that power with God. In his pride he despised the man of God’s authority over himself the king. Saul wanted all and intruded into a place in which he did not belong. He was dissatisfied with his church life. He would not be in subjection to the man of God. Hallelujah, we see it every day and wonder if this is how we started? O, God our help in ages past and our hope for years to come.
He was also dissatisfied with his social life.
1 Samuel 15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
If ever there has been a testimony to the fact that the fear of man bringeth a snare, it is before us here in king Saul. He said it himself; he transgressed because he feared the people. We are all guilty of this.Every one of us has failed God here at some time or other. Maybe we should stop here to scrape some of our calloused hides off and soften up a bit. Let us not look down our noses at Saul. Rather, let us still respect and honour his position while observing his humanity that we may grow thereby. It is true that we all are guilty of fearing the people at some time or other. Not necessarily a fear of being physically assaulted, but the fear of not being accepted or loved by all. Yes, we are all made of the dust, we are all weak. All men want to be accepted and loved. Saul was no exception. He wanted to be loved by the people. He was not satisfied with the kingship but he sought to be everybody’s best friend too. One thing we do forget is that you cannot please all the people all the time. You will have enemies, you will be slandered, mocked, abused. It is a simple fact of life to the Christian. “Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. You don’t need to justify anything, you don’t need clarification. If ever you are troubled with a load of sin take it to the Lord in prayer.
We must come to grips with the truth. We cannot live for God and be everyone’s best friend. A father cannot raise kids as a father and as their best-buddy too. That is what is wrong in most circles today. Parents have compromised their responsibility in order to keep their kids happy. You cannot train up a child in the way he should go without conflict. There will be conflict and there must be discipline. In the church there are always conflicts, but there is a responsibility of every believer to live a godly, righteous and sober life. All conflicts have consequences and under the rules of The Mystical Order (Article 13). One of the responsibilities that come with authority is that of accepting, even demanding or requiring the respect due you position. Here is where we find Saul dissatisfied. He wanted everyone to be happy with him. He wanted to please the whole crowd and it is not possible! You must accept the fact that someone is not going to like you. Some will actually hate you and all that you stand for. A father knows that there will be times that his children may be hurt or angered at him. Still, as a father this is a burden to be borne. For a preacher, he knows that there will be many who will not like him. Many may be angry or hurt at him but he must preach the whole counsel of God. We must not compromise to make friends. We must stand firm on God’s word. We must satisfy ourselves with the station that God has given us in life.
You will notice also that Saul was dissatisfied with his spiritual life.
1 Samuel 28:5-7 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.
Here we have the king of Israel, chosen, called and anointed, in a very bad position. His testimony is wrecked, his kingship is quickly being taken from him, he is being threatened by the enemies of God and now he is trying to pray and to no avail. God is not interested in what He is hearing from Saul. Saul cannot get any help from God to get him out of the mess that he has gotten himself into. He wants God to give him victory once again, or warn him not to go. He wants the very God that he won’t obey and won’t follow to give him victory.
Before we try to be too hard of him let us examine ourselves. We are often neglectful of God. We often forget God and what His word says. Isn’t it convenient, we can choose to forget some things when we want too?
This is the way that so many of us get ourselves in a mess. Maybe we want something God does not want us to have. Maybe we want to do something God does not want us to do. Or maybe we don’t want to do something that God does want us to do. We are just like Saul. We often see someone who will give us exactly what we want. Old Balaam did this long before Saul did. If you remember Balaam in Numbers 22, the king of Moab sent and asked Balaam to come and curse Israel. After being told not, he tried to bribe Balaam.
Numbers 22:16-17 And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: For I will promote thee unto very great honor, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.
This is just too much, Balaam went to God again and again and God refused to allow him to curse Israel. Instead, God made Balaam bless Israel. But Balaam was so desirous of reward from Balak that the bible tells us he turned against God and sought help elsewhere.
Numbers 24:1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.