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Friday, March 3, 2017

Remember: Fight them the right way.

They chased and killed the Philistines all day from Micmash to Aijalon, growing more and more faint. That evening they rushed for the battle plunder and butchered the sheep, goats, cattle, and calves, but they ate them without draining the blood. (1 Samuel 14:31-32 NLT)

It may seem strange to include this kind of detail in the story of Saul, but the story is there for a reason.  Saul had already wavered on following God’s instructions once before.  The instructions were specific to Saul and delivered through Samuel the prophet.  Now, they are facing a problem with people following the Law of Moses.  This law was given by God, delivered by the prophet Moses, and applied to all Israelites.  The question becomes this: “Will Saul waver on the LORD’s laws as well?”

Someone reported to Saul, "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that still has blood in it." "That is very wrong," Saul said. "Find a large stone and roll it over here. Then go out among the troops and tell them, 'Bring the cattle, sheep, and goats here to me. Kill them here, and drain the blood before you eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with the blood still in it.'" So that night all the troops brought their animals and slaughtered them there. (1 Samuel 14:33-34 NLT)

Thank God, the answer is, “No.”  Saul did not waver on God’s Laws.  Instead, he took the time to teach and model the godly way to eat the meat that the LORD had provided for their meal.  He made sure that they all followed the LORD’s laws; himself included.

Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first of the altars he built to the LORD. (1 Samuel 14:35 NLT)

When we fight the enemy and love God or fight the enemy and love people, we need to do it the right way.  We won’t win if we fight the wrong fight, letting pride drive us to hold on to our own rules in the same way we should hold on to God’s.  We also won’t win if we fight these battles in the wrong way.  We cannot say, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  We need to teach through living.  We need to walk together with God ourselves before we can help others do the same. Setting captives free takes real purposeful work.

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NIV)

How about you?  Do you recognize when your goals are different from God’s goals?  Do you see when your methods are different from God’s methods?  Do you fight the right battles in the right way?  Are you setting captives free?