FCQ 32 - What was the sin of our first parents? Eating the forbidden fruit.
FCQ 33 - Who tempted them to this sin? Satan tempted Eve first, and then he used her to tempt Adam.
FCQ 34 - How did Adam and Eve change when they sinned? Instead of being holy and happy, they became sinful and miserable.
Shorter Catechism Questions:
SCQ 27 - Wherein did Christ's humiliation consist? Christ's humiliation consisted in his being born and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.
Saul and Israel received their marching orders: destroy the Amalekites.Destroy every man, every woman, every child, and every thing they possess.What a harsh sounding decree from God!Yet, we saw last week that there was nothing unfair, nothing unjust, about God's dealings with the Amalekites.As a matter of fact, the truth that God avenges his people is part of our ultimate hope!
Now we come to the actual carrying out of God's decree.Saul gathered his troops and headed southwest to go meet the unsuspecting Amalekites.
I.Saul Misguided Attempt to Follow God's Decree, 4-9.
A.Notice how Israel's military strength increased.
1.14:2 à Saul had 600 men under his command.
2.15:4 à Saul had 210,000 men under his command – more than enough to lay waste any people group around him.
B.Saul wisely removes Kenites out of the theater of battle in order to avoid unnecessary casualties, 6-7.
1.Kenites were a branch of the Medianites who were kind to Israel while she was wandering in the wilderness.
2.The most distinguished Kenite was Jethro (or Reuel), Zipporah's father and Moses's father-in-law.
3.Throughout Israel's history, the Israelites held the Kenites in great respect.
C.Saul reinterpreted God's decree in order to suit his own taste, 7-9.
1.Saul and the Israelites were unwilling to destroy the best things the Amalekites had to offer.
a.They had no problem getting rid of the things they didn't value and didn't like.
b.Notice how the Holy Spirit goes out of his way to make this point, 9.
1)The sheep and the cattle were too valuable to be destroyed.
2)The king would make a great display of victory as the army parades back into town.
c.Later on they will say that they did it all for the Lord, 15.
2.Saul confused doing what he wanted with doing what the Lord wanted.
a.Notice he gave Samuel the "spiritual" response: "We kept the sheep and the cattle in order to worship God with them!"
b.But God doesn't want to be worshipped through disobedience – he CANNOT be worshipped through disobedience!
3.Time and again God has shown us that he is a God who desires precise obedience.
a.Adam and Eve in the Garden and the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
b.Moses, Zipporah, their kids and the near death experience for neglecting circumcision, Ex. 4.
c.Nadab and Abihu and just a little extra flame from outside the tabernacle, Num. 10.
d.Moses, a rock, a little anger, Num. 20.
e.Uzzah, a cart, the Ark, and a sincere desire to preserve it, 2 Sam. 6.
4.People say sometimes that God is only concerned with the big picture, that he doesn't care about the details.
a.I think that this is usually a cover for not wanting to do what God has revealed in his Word.
1)Our God is the God of the big picture, but he is also the God of the two sparrows falling to the ground and the numbering of the hairs of our heads.
2)To say that the God of the Bible is not the God of details is to actually not care for what the Bible says.
a)Look at the detailed account of the construction of Noah's Ark, the Tabernacle, and of Ezekiel's temple.
b)Look at Jesus's accusation against the Pharisees that they weren't precise enough in their opinion.
Mt. 23:23 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
3)To say that God is not concerned about details is really to say that the cross is not really necessary.
Jam. 2:10 – For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
b.I think we try to make God unconcerned with the details, or with the small things, because we want to minimize our own sin.
1)We make our sin insignificant.
2)We make other people's sin greater than ours.
c.One last thing, God is not just about the end result – he is about how we get there as well.
Gen. 50:20 – But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
WCF 5:2 – Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he orders them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
II.Saul's Sin Grieved Samuel Deeply, 10-12.
A.Samuel understood that God was just in dismissing Saul.
1.He knew that Saul deserved to be removed from the throne.
2.He will deliver another really tough message that the Lord gave to him.
B.But he also mourns and pleads with the Lord all night, 11b.
1.Samuel pre-figures David who, after hearing of the judgment of the Lord upon him in taking his son's life, pleads with God for days.
2.Samuel also pre-figures a greater one than David, the Lord Jesus himself, who pleads for the sin of his people day and night.
C.Samuel teaches us that sin should grieve us, both our own and others', and that grief should drive us to the Lord in prayer.
1.We are good at judging one another regarding the other person's sin, but are we grieved for them?
2.We can easily talk about the sin of the brethren, but are we taking them to the throne of grace and pleading for them?
III.Saul's Sin Grieved God Deeply, 10-12.
A.We will come back to this business of God regretting or relent or changing his mind in v. 11 and the seeming contradiction with v. 29 next Sunday.
B.For today, what I want you to see is that God is grieved by sin because he is a personal God – sin bothers him.
C.Some are quick to say concerning passages like this one that the Holy Spirit is using figures of speech (anthropomorphism and anthropopathism – attributing human emotions to God) in order to communicate in a way that we could understand.
1.And there is some of that in this passage.
2.But there is more than that here.
D.God is a personal God who is heavily invested in the lives of his people.
Gen. 6:6 – And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
1.Being nonchalant is not one of his attributes.
2.Even though his emotions are somewhat difficult for us to understand, as a personality he has them.
a.When the Bible says God loves us, it means that he loves us with everything that love is.
b.When the Bible says that God is angry, it means he is angry.
c.When the Bible says that the Spirit is grieved when we treat each other in an ungodly way, it means that our personal God is invested in our relationships, Eph. 4:30.
3.Our Confession says the following:
WCF 2:1 – There is but one only living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions….
a.The word passions means emotions.
b.But it usually used for human emotions.
c.So God doesn't have emotions like we do.
d.His emotions are grounded in his perfection, so they are always righteous.
4.At the end of the day, our God is personally invested in us – he is a person.
E.The ultimate display of how personally invested God is in the live of his people is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jn. 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Rom. 5:5-11 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
And our God who is deeply invested in us meets and eats with us at his table.