Taken from the Book: " The Bait of Satan" By John Bevere
"The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master; the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him. Seeing he is the anointed of The Lord." So David restrained his servant with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. 1Samuel 24:6-7.
David was mistreated by the man he had hoped would be a spiritual father to him. David kept trying to understand where he had gone wrong in his relationship with him. He couldn't think of a thing that he had done wrong to turn Saul's heart against him, and wondered how could he win it back? He proved his loyalty by sparing Saul's life even though Saul aggressively pursued his.
While he was within sight and earshot of Saul, he cried out to Saul with his head bowed to the ground, saying," See that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you." Once David knew he had shown his loyalty to his leader, his mind was eased. Later David learned that Saul was still determined to destroy him even though he had no ill will towards him. God was testing David by putting Saul's army to sleep, giving him ample opportunity to strike him while his defenses were down. He even had a companion who tried to convince him to take Saul's life, and his hands would be free from shedding innocent blood.David discerned that God wanted to see whether David would kill to establish his kingdom, after the order of Saul, or allow God to establish his throne in righteousness forever.
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says The Lord.
The Bible asserts that it is righteous for God to avenge His servants. But it is unrighteousness for God's servants to avenge themselves. Saul was a man who avenged himself. He chased David, a man of honor, for fourteen years and murdered the priests and their families. The Lord was waiting to see if David would remain the humble shepherd of his youth, or become an insanely jealous insecure man like Saul. Initially it is always better to assert our rights and go after the things we feel are owed to us, rather than to wait on the timing of The Lord. God allows others who are close to us to encourage us to protect ourselves. We sometimes believe that we are protecting others by avenging ourselves. But this is not God's way, it is the world's way, and it is earthly and fleshy,
Many saints and people alike wonder,"Why does God put people under leaders who make serious mistakes and even some that are wicked?" Take for example Samuel. 1 Samuel 2:5). God, not the devil, was the one who put this young man under the authority of a corrupt priest named Eli and his two wicked sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who were priest as well. These men were very wicked. They took offerings by manipulation and for personal gain. They committed fornication with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle.
Can you imagine if you had to serve a minister who loved this kind of life ? A minister who was so insensitive to the things of the Spirit that he couldn't recognize a woman in prayer and accused her of being a drunk! He was so fleshy that he was grossly over weight, so compromising that he did nothing about his sons, whom he had appointed as leaders, who were committing fornication right in the church.
Most church folk would have been outraged and become offended. We would have left the church , telling tales of woe and telling others of the wicked lifestyle of their former pastor and his leaders. In the midst of such corruption, I love the report that Samuel gave in (1 Samuel 3:1). "And the word of The Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation" (1Samuel 3:1). God seemed distant to the entire Hebrew community. The lamp of God was about to go out in the Temple of The Lord . Yet did Samuel go look for another place to worship? Did he go to the elders to expose the wickedness of Eli and his sons? Did he form a committee to put Eli and his sons out of the pastorate ? NO, he ministered to The Lord !
God had placed Samuel there , and he was not responsible for the behavior of Eli or his sons. He was put under them not to judge them but to serve them. He knew Eli was Gods servant, not his. He knew that God was quite capable of dealing with His own. Children do not correct their Fathers . In some cultures you don't even look them in the eyes. But it is the duty of fathers to train and or react the children. We are to deal with and confront those whom God has given us to train. This is our responsibility. Those on our own level we are to encourage and exhort as brothers and sisters.
Samuel served Gods appointed minister the best that he could without the pressure to judge him or correct him. The only time Samuel spoke a word of or correction was when Eli came o Samuel and asked him what prophecy God had given him the night before. But even then it was not a word of correction from Samuel, but from God . If more people would get hold of this truth, our churches would be different .
Saints of God churches are not cafeterias! Today people men and women leave churches so readily. If they see something wrong in leadership they get offended and are ready to head up outta there. Perhaps it is the way the pastor takes the offering or talks about the giving of tithes and offerings excessively. Maybe it is the way the money is being spent. If they don't like what the pastor preaches, they leave. He or she is either not approachable, or he or she is too familiar. Maybe the issue is that you've been an associate minister for years and the pastor hasn't ordained you yet, so you leave disgusted and go to another man or woman of God's church to discuss your hurts and feelings of rejection. The list goes on and on! Rather than face the difficulties and maintain hope, they run to where there appears to be no conflict. But how many of you know that where there are many people there are many minds and mind sets. I got that from Deacon John Franklin at HBC.
Lets deal with it, Jesus is the only perfect pastor! So why do we run from difficulties in America instead of facing them and working through them? When we don't hit these conflicts head on, we usually leave offended. Sometimes we say our prophetic ministry just was not received. We then go from church to church looking for a place with flawless leadership.
In my lifetime, I have been a member of two churches for more than 47 years. I have had the opportunity to leave both of them on two occasions because of areas of offense. Most of the time the offenses stemmed from my own lack of maturity. I became critical and judgmental with church leaders, but leaving was not the answer. I joined a church a little more than a year ago that I was only suppose to sit briefly and help leadership, but I was disobedient to God and joined, got ordained in that fellowship, and got reprimanded by God because He told me that He wanted me start a church and become its pastor.
He allowed a man of God to call me out in a service before my pastor, expose my disobedience in public, because I refused to do what He had released me from my church to do. I said, The Lord released me from the church I had served in for over 28 years to start a establish a church and become its leader.
Scripture bears out the manner in which we are to leave a church: "For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace. (Isaiah 55:12.) Sometimes you have to repent, confess you wrong doings and profane heart towards your leader,if they forgive you, great, if not at least your conscious is clear and your heart towards them has been made tender because you have taken yourself and them before The Lord in prayer, The Lord will certainly give you the grace and humility to make amends with your leader.
Unfortunately, most people do not leave this way. Again, people treat churches like cafeterias. They think they can pick and choose what they like! They feel. They enjoy the freedom to stay as long as there are no problems. But this does not agree at all with what the Bible teaches. You are not the one who chooses where you go to church! God does! The Bible does not say,"God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as they please." Rather it says," But now, God has set the members each one of them, in the body just as "He pleased!" (1Corinthians12:18).
Remember that, if you are in a place where God wants you, the devil will try to offend you to get out. He wants to uproot men and women from the place where God plants them. If he can get you out, he has been successful. If you will not budge, even in the midst of great conflict, you will spoil his plans.
The Bible says in Psalm92:13, " Those who are planted in the house of The Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God". Notice that those who flourish are "planted" in the house of The Lord. What happens to a plant if you transplant it every three weeks? Most of you know that it's root system becomes weakened, and it will not blossom or prosper. If you keep transplanting it, the plant will die of shock.
Many people go from church to church, ministry team to ministry team trying to develop their ministry. If God puts them in a place where they are not recognized and encouraged, they are easily offended. If they don't agree with the way something is done, they are offended and go. Then they leave blaming the leadership. They are blind to their own character flaws and do nor recognize God wanted to refine and mature them through the pressure they were under.
When a fruit tree is put in the ground it has to face rainstorms, hot sun, and wind. If a young tree could talk, it might say, "please get me out of here! Put me in a place where there is no sweltering heat or windy storms!" But if the gardener listened to the tree, he would actually harm it. Trees endure the hot sun and rainstorms by sending their roots down deeper. The adversity they face is eventually the source of great stability. The harshness of the elements surrounding them causes them to seek another source of life. They will one day come to the place that even the greatest of windstorms cannot affect their ability to produce fruit.
The psalmist David, inspired by the Holy Ghost, made a powerful connection between offense, the law of God, and our spiritual growth! He wrote Psalm 1: Blessed is the man.... (Whose) delight is in the law of The Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night. Psm 1:1-2). Then in Psm. 119:165 he gave us more insight into people wo love God's laws. "Great peace have they which love ( or delight in) thy law; and nothing shall offend them, Verse 3 of Psalm 1 finally describes the destiny of such a person.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season , whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
In other words, a believer who chooses to delight in the Word of God in the midst of adversity will avoid being offended. That person will be like a tree whose roots search deep to where the Spirit provides strength and nourishment. He will draw from the well of God deep within his spirit. This will mature him to the point where adversity will now be a catalyst for fruit. Glory to God! Now we can gain insight into Jesus interpretation of the parable of the sower. And these likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately received it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arise to for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. ( Mark 4:16-17).
Once you leave the place God has chose for you, your root system begins to dwarf. The next time it will be easier for you to flee from adversity because you have been careful not to root yourself deeply. You end up. Coming to the place where you have little of no strength to endure hardship or persecution. You then become a spiritual vagabond, wandering from place to place, suspicious and afraid that others will mistreat you. Crippled and hindered in your ability to produce true spiritual fruit, you struggle in a self-centered life, eating the remains of the fruits of others.
I hope that this teaching today has been a help to those out there in cyber-space that have struggled or are considering leaving their church. Make no hasty decision. Pray about it, talk to your leader, pray for your leader, seek the counsel of Gd, ask him to show you your true heart condition: if you feel Bods peace, then take the appropriate steps according t God's leading.
This is Pastor Lydia Ford and as always:
Don't Forget To Say your prayers!