Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are You Practicing Witchcraft?

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." I Samuel 15:23a

The L-rd sure does have a different view of things than we do, doesn't He? We tend to make light of our sin; justify it; excuse it; call it "a mistake"; show it in a positive light. Take stubbornness, for instance. Don't we tend to think of that as a strength of character? If someone is stubborn, we generally define it along the line of tenaciousness: they aren't easily swayed or moved, something we tend to think of as an attribute. A stubborn person can have many good qualities, but as Proverbs 16:2 says, "All the ways of man are clean in his own eyes; but the L-RD weigheth the spirits."

The Bible is clear to remind us that G-d's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not like our thoughts: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isa. 55:9

In G-d's eyes, stubbornness is a wicked sin---akin to idolatry! If we think about it, that makes sense.

Stubbornness is saying that we think we know best; it isn't just a matter of being tenacious. Stubbornness digs in the heels, and is not reasonable, even when proved wrong! Stubbornness is like the proverbial donkey---it wants his own way, to do his own thing; disobedient!

Stubbornness prevents us from having an open mind and heart to the will of G-d. Stubbornness says MY way, MY opinion, MY will, MY decision.....stubbornness is very willful. Do you see the relation of stubbornness to idolatry when we put it in this context? Remember the discussion about pride being the same as idolatry? G-d says that stubbornness is as idolatry because of the prideful component inherent in the sin of stubbornness.

Stubbornness isn't something to brag about; it isn't to be worn like a badge of honor. If we have a heart to please G-d, we will want to repent of and root out this sin in our lives. When we see a stubborn streak in our children, we need to deal with that, and teach them that it is sin.

Rebellion is kin to stubbornness. G-d says it's as the sin of witchcraft. We wouldn't even think of dabbling in that wickedness, yet, we may be steeped in it within our hearts!

G-d does know our hearts.

Saul, King of Israel, was guilty of the sins of witchcraft and rebellion---and this was before he sought out the witch of Endor!

When the L-rd, through the prophet, Samuel, confronted him about his sin in I Samuel 15, Saul justified himself: "Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the L-RD, and have gone the way which the L-RD sent me..."--vs. 20. In vs. 21, Saul further insisted that it was all "to sacrifice unto the L-RD thy G-d in Gilgal."!

Oh boy---don't we do the same thing at times?! Justify a wrong attitude or justify doing something we know is not what the L-rd would have us to do by insisting we really did do the right thing, and even had the right motive! Why--we did it for the L-rd!! Doesn't that make it right?

G-d's ways are higher than our ways......Samuel rebuked Saul in vs. 22, 23---"Hath the L-RD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the L-RD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams."

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the L-RD, He hath rejected thee from being king."

What a sad, pitiful moment in the life of Saul, the first king of Israel! To be rejected by the L-rd! Too little, too late, Saul then admits his sin and seeks pardon. But G-d knew his heart.

Saul was sorry he got caught. Right up until the time Samuel pronounced G-d's judgment upon him, Saul insisted.....stubborn, rebellious man that he was.....that what he had done was not so bad, he had even done it for the L-rd (so he said, anyway)! Only when he was told the consequences of his wicked disobedience in rebellion and stubbornness did he try to make amends. But G-d would have none of it.

Friends, the L-rd does not take our rebellion and stubbornness lightly. These sins will destroy us; G-d will not use us because He cannot trust us to obey faithfully.

We need to ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate our hearts and show us if we harbor the sin of witchcraft within us.

May we truly pray with King David,

"Search me, O G-d, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psa. 139:23, 24

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