Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Tale of Two Saul's

I know this is going to sound crazy, and you are asking how a new hot water heater and a story of two Saul's fits together, but if you know my writing at all, you'll understand from whence this comes, and by the time you get to the end, I promise, it will all fit together, perfectly.  GOD always uses everyday kind of events to teach us more and more about Himself, and about the kinds of people He chooses to use.  I learned a very valuable lesson through the heartache that GOD caused in my life through the abuses of two men.  
I wrote much about these two men in a previous blog, "The Men Who Rejected Me," and you can go back and find that.  GOD taught me all about his love through those two men that I HATE loving.  The human side of me wants GOD to get back at them in a Biblical way, but the Jesus that dwells in me, also wants GOD to get them, but in the Jesus way.  In the Old Testament days, when  GOD says that He's going to put a hook in someone's nose, He's not kidding, He literally puts a hook in their nose.  You can find the stories in 2 Chronicles 33, and Isaiah 37.  GOD chooses his own unique ways to get our attention, and all of them HURT!  It's kind of like when we were children and we stepped WAY over the line of our  family rules, we felt the consequence, either by suffering through a month long grounding, like when I got suspended in high school for getting caught smoking in the bathroom at school, OR, when I was a small child, and caught the back end of that dreaded and hated wooden spoon. 
Well, let me tell you, GOD will put a hook in our noses, either by punishment, or by correction, depending on whether or not we have His favor.  One of those men GOD used as an example of His punishment for evil, and the other as his chastisement and correction from the evil done.  If you were wise, you read those two stories I sent you to.  Today, however, I'm going to tell you a different story about two men named Saul. If you are familiar at all with the Bible, you know that there was a King Saul circa 1,000 BC, and a Saul, the Pharisees in the book of Acts about 1,000 or so years later.  There were two VERY passionate zealous men about their beloved Israel.  One was passionate about the people, the other about their GOD.  One was humble and afraid, but yet became obstinate and obnoxiously disobedient, the other was obnoxiously disobedient who became humble and afraid. Both, however, were chosen for two very different roles for two very different lessons about the will of man versus the Sovereign will if GOD.  One was an example of not having GOD’s favor and the other of having a huge LOT of GOD’s favor. 
In an earlier blog, I mentioned that the counterfeit always comes before the real thing, and this is another example of one counterfeit and one real thing. It was the time of the Judges, GOD decided it was time to teach the disobedient Israelite's just how imitating the way the world does things really sucks and never turns out right. The people of Israel from the time Moses brought them out of Egypt about 1500 BC to about 1,000 BC, had no king, except GOD.  These people were a MESS, with all capital letters.  They went through periods of disobedience, then GOD would raise up a deliverer, then they would come back to GOD, then back to a horrendous people, the kind that rape, pillage, and chop humans up in pieces and send them to each other. Yes, very gross, and very real.  That story is in the last part of the book of Judges, again, this is a story you have to read for yourself.  It’s abhorrent to us, now, but it was normal to them then. 
It was right after that time that the people thought it best to seek a human king to rule over them just like all the nations around them had. They thought the grass was greener in other nations who worshiped pagan gods. They asked Samuel,  their spiritual leader,  to talk to God about a king of their very own, to lead them.  So, GOD gave them what they wanted, a human king.  He chose a scaredy-cat humble man, head and shoulders above most men. He was a handsome man, one that most people would see as the perfect fit for royalty.  He would end up being the counterfeit before the real man, the ruddy runt of a humble litter of eight sons of a nobody called Jesse, who would in turn, eventually be known for all time as a man after GOD’s own heart. This very tall handsome man wanted nothing to do with being a king, until he realized the perks of kingship, and I don’t have to tell you what perks a man likes best, it’s fairly obvious, but I won’t go there.  This man saw much success in all areas, as a leader, a warrior, and a Casanova.  All was going well, until all that success started going to his head, (both of them). Yikes, I just went there!  

Well, eventually, obeying GOD wasn’t part of his agenda, but doing things his own way became THE agenda in his own eyes.  He got in trouble with his spiritual advisor Samuel, but that wasn’t enough to stop the male ego from inflating to Biblical proportions, until it popped!  Eventually, the perks of kingship started slowly slipping away from King Saul, and he became a mad king, not just the angry kind.  GOD let his heart grow stone cold, because GOD’s hand of favor never really rested on this man.  In other words, King Saul is the perfect example of the man GOD chose to use as an object lesson of what happens to the natural man that GOD did not choose to do a mighty work for Him, a good mighty work.  King Saul died in the worst of circumstances, he was decapitated, and his body hung as a trophy in the palace of the king of the Philistines as a tribute to their pagan god that they believed delivered King Saul into their hands.  Little did they know, it was the GOD of gods who allowed it to happen.

Then, about 1,000 years later, GOD chose another Saul, one who was just as arrogant as the first, was never cowardly, but so full of himself from the start that he felt murdering innocent people all in the name of GOD was his true calling.  You know I’m talking about the Pharisee of pharisee’s in the book of Acts, Saul, who later became Paul, the greatest of Apostles and writer of most of the New Testament.  This man had GOD’s favor, even while he was out persecuting GOD’s people, the new followers of the Way, and approving of their murder.  How can GOD favor such a man?  It’s because GOD does not see the murderer, but the finished product, the one whose heart would be so broken, so humbled, so pliable and moldable in His Precious hands, that nothing but good would eventually come from this man, and a great and mighty work would be done by GOD through this new heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36). 
I have the story of two such men in my life.  I asked GOD, last night, while so confused about these two men, having watched both grow stone-cold hearts, “If you are so powerful, how is it that you can’t break the stubborn stony hearts of these two men, and turn them into Biblical heroes?”  The answer came back, “Because one has My favor, and one does not.” When one is chosen by GOD with whom GOD’s favor rests, He will move heaven and earth to break that man’s stubborn willful heart, to shine a light on it’s ugliness to the man and the rest of the world.  Once that heart is shattered into a million pieces, GOD will carefully, like an expert Craftsman, take that busted up heart mold it and shape it, and create the most beautiful, gorgeous masterpiece out of it, then use it for the good of His Kingdom and people. 
GOD did not favor King Saul, but He favored Saul the Pharisee.  Both men were decapitated, one in shame, the other in such glorious victory, that two thousand years later, the world is still astounded daily with new insight from the writings of this newly molded heart.  So, that was my answer.  One of the men has GOD’s favor, and He will shatter that man’s heart in glorious victory, and tragically, the other, GOD has let grow so hard, that’s it’s calcified now, and nothing good will ever come of it, but a legacy of shame and abandon.
So, you ask, what does all this have to do with a hot water heater?  Well, it’s dollars and sense, and I mean that as written.  One man is paying through the nose for his hard heart.  Everything in his house is breaking, and each repair is costing way more than he expects or wants, because money is his god, and the GOD of gods is ripping that money right out of his hands.  The other? I don’t know, but if I had to guess, I’d say that GOD is keeping that man from prospering in many ways until the day, that glorious day that GOD gets a hold of that man’s stony cold heart, and shatters it into a million pieces and replaces it with a wonderful warm heart of flesh. 

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