Essentials of Godly Success – Part 2
(Continuation from last week’s blog post)
The Problem of Irreverence or a Lack of the Fear of the Lord
Psalm 36:1 (AV)
1 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
o Romans 3:9-18 gives us a description of those who are in sin.
o It starts with “there is none righteous, no not one”
o It ends with…
Romans 3:18 (AV)
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
o So a lack of reverence is a primary characteristic of those who do not know Him; the unbeliever still in sin.
o So how important for us as believers to understand and flow in this area?
Eli; His Children and the Fear of the Lord –
1 Samuel Chapters 3-5
1 Samuel 3:1 (ESV)
1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
o The Word of the Lord was precious i.e. rare – there was no open vision.
o This means that the Spirit did not manifest Himself much in the revelation gifts of the Spirit: the Word of Knowledge, the Word of Wisdom or Discerning of Spirits.
o Eli was High Priest and judge of Israel 40 years which means that he had the anointing of God working in his life. In The Old Testament, only the prophet, the priest and the king had the anointing. However in Eli’s case, there was a problem.
1 Samuel 3:11–13 (ESV)
11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them.
o God said that He was going to judge Eli because he did not restrain, discipline, or frown upon the behavior of his sons.
o What did the two sons Hophni and Phinehas do to bring upon themselves such wrath?
1 Samuel 2:12–17 (ESV)
12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD, for the men treated the offering of the LORD with contempt.
o These boys were sons of Belial i.e. wicked men – they knew not the Lord.
o They made men to abhor the offerings of God by their greed in dealing with those sacrifices.
o God had given specific instructions for handling the peace offering to the priests.
o They were supposed to bring the fat and the shoulder and burn it upon the altar first. Afterward, they were to take the shoulder and wave it before the Lord. After all this was accomplished, a part of that offering would go to the priest to sustain him and his family.
o Side note: The church that doesn’t take care of its pastor despises the gift that Jesus gave unto the church when he led captivity captive (Eph. 4) and that church will not prosper.
o They committed fornication with the women that were doing some of service at the Tent door (Ex. 38:8).
o Side note: It’s wrong for a pastor or church leaders to sleep around with the women in the church. The very judgment of God can come upon those who commit such irreverence.
o In all of these things, Eli, who had the authority to do something about his son’s behavior, refused to do so, allowing his sons to go on in sin.
o God indicated that He was going to bring judgment upon both the father and his sons. They were going to die in the same day.
o 1 Sam. 4 – the judgment comes
o The Philistines come up to war against Israel and 4000 Israelites die in the battle.
1 Samuel 4:3 (ESV)
3 And when the people came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”
o Israel did not consider that the reason why they lost the battle was that the Philistines were a superior army. Israel had fought many battles against far superior armies and had won because of their blood covenant relationship with God.
o They instead concluded that God had done this to them since the covenant afforded protection from their enemies.
o Their solution to this dilemma was to state, ‘Let us go and get the ark, the symbol of the covenant‘. And we will be delivered from our enemies.’
o The ark also symbolized the presence of God, which is the Holy Ghost.
o Take special notice of the words, ‘LET US”! I.e. they decided that this is what they were going to do. In addition, the Bible said that there was a great shout in the camp! Well if you continue reading, you will see the fact that Israel took the ark to battle, they were whipped, the ark was captured, and the two sons of Eli were killed.
Joshua 6:2–4 (ESV)
2 And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
o This reminds you of a similar situation with the ark of the covenant but I want you to notice an extremely important difference – God told Joshua when they came to Jericho, to get the ark. There was no let us!
o The priests and all the people and marched around those walls and they did so 7 days and on the 7th day, they marched 7 times and God said shout!
o In the first case, they decide to get the ark and they decided to shout, in the second case God told then to get the ark and God told them to shout. Notice the difference in the results between these two cases.
o The Philistines then take the captured ark and put it next to their god Dagon in their temple.
o Dagon was 1/2 fish and 1/2 man and was supposed to have been, according to their religion, the father of Baal.
o The N.T. states that they worship idols worship devils.
1 Corinthians 10:20 (ESV)
20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
o So here, you have the ark representing the presence of God, the Holy Ghost housed in the same place with the devil. The door is closed.
o The next day they woke up and the devil was on his face at the foot of the ark. They tried it again resetting the image and once again closed the door. The next day they found Dagon the father of devils, cut in two – the presence of God had cut him down!
o Look at vs. 6, 7,9,11.
1 Samuel 5:6,7,9,11 (ESV)
6 The hand of the LORD was heavy against the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and afflicted them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory.
7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for his hand is hard against us and against Dagon our god.”
9 But after they had brought it around, the hand of the LORD was against the city, causing a very great panic, and he afflicted the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them.
11 They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there.
o The hand of God was heavy upon them.
o God did not allow Israel to use the ark in the flesh and neither did He allow the Philistines to think that it was their god Dagon that got them their victory.
o The Holy Ghost, the hand of the Lord, broke out in judgment when He was not properly reverenced.
Lessons about Reverence Learned from these passages:
o How Was the Holy Ghost Not Properly Reverenced?
o From Israel’s standpoint.
o You cannot use the Holy Ghost to promote your own agenda.
o Israel wanted to use the ark to win the battle.
o You don’t use the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost uses you. You don’t go out and do your plan and then ask God to bless it.
o As many as are led by the Sprit….
Romans 8:14 (ESV)
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
o You must be led by the Holy Ghost.
o Being led means you follow – you do not go out on your own which means that you respect Him enough to wait on Him and to listen to Him.
o From the Philistines standpoint:
o You cannot mix the world and the Spirit of God together.
o The world is enmity with God.
o You will grieve the Holy Ghost if you continually mix darkness and light.
o You cannot mix the presence of God with the enemy.
o In all of these things we must learn that the Holy Ghost and the presence of God are to be reverenced and that there is a high cost associated with lack of respect.