Rash promises can get us in trouble! Today we will carefully dissect the anatomy of a mistake and see what can be done to keep us from destroying God’s intended blessings in our lives!
Key Principle: How we think determines what we accomplish. God tells us both WHAT to think like and HOW to accomplish this thinking!
It was God’s intention to bless Israel with the return of control to all the land (cp. 14:23;47). Saul’s incompetence as a king showed he had become a king ”like the other nations” (1 Sam. 8:5). He had three kinds of thinking that are often the cause of our own problems today:
Saul took personally the infringement of the Philistine army and made the problems of the Kingdom all about him (14:24). The heart of this thinking is not calling upon the Lord for direction, but satisfying some personal need for appeasement, or caring for a personal lust to have attention, etc. James 4:1-10 addresses the heart of the problem. Other person centered thinking must be cultivated:
- We feel a need that is left unsatisfied and quickly believe we can fulfill the need by taking what we want from someone else, but only the Lord can fill us. Our self centered way causes death, struggle and pain (4:2a).
- We don’t have some of our needs met because we haven’t sought the Lord to meet them and discussed the needs with Him (4:2b).
- Sometimes we go through the motions of asking, but only do so for our own selfish reasons – trying to get from God what is not good for us to have (4:3).
- We must recalibrate our desires from that which the world offers to satisfy us, for it is directly opposite what God wants us to have (4:4).
- God will not share a place in your desires with other gods of your mind. Either we work from the softness of submission, or from the hardness of self sufficiency (4:5).
- God offers His special undeserved favor to those who think of others first, and place the needs of others above their felt needs. From that experience of imitating Him, we please Him (4:6; cp. Phil. 2). How? By making three choices:
- We must deliberately first choose to place ourselves and our desires under the God’s authority in our lives (submit is Gr. ‘upo-tasso: to rank beneath, literally “under” + “to arrange” – James 4:7a).
- A second choice must also be made – to resist (anti-histaymee: to take my stand against) in a blocked stance against the enemy, and he will not continue to press, but will flee (4:7b).
- A third choice must also be made. We must choose to draw near (engidzo: to approach) to God by focusing on Him, setting aside sin and self, and with full focus, set to please, praise and know Him! It will take persistence and serious pursuit. It will produce a humble spirit (humble: tapino’o from tapinos- to be low like brush to the ground (James 4:8-10).
Untempered (Unbiblical) thinking:
Saul bound his troops to a “death curse” if they ate, making it difficult to accomplish the total victory over the Philistine armies (14:25-26). This is a direct violation of the “Law of the Balances” in Leviticus 19:16-18, an “eye for an eye”.
Jonathan hadn’t heard the command of his father, and there was no provision for special circumstances like that. What about the wounded? Saul thought only of his immediate situation and not the ramifications of what he commanded (14:27). This led to an exhausted army unable to complete the job they were given (14:28-31). We may think we know what is best, but without counsel, careful deliberation and thorough communication, we may make a blunder that will cause God’s intended victory to be elusive!
How we think determines what we accomplish. God tells us both WHAT to think like and HOW to accomplish this thinking!