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Tag: Satan

Saul & the Rare Medium

Two weeks ago, we saw that the Philistines were preparing to go to war against the Israelites. Now of course, that’s not unusual – as you read through the Old testament, it seems these two nations are always preparing to go to war with each other. But this time is a little different. This time, David, the future king of Israel, is preparing to fight alongside the Philistines against the Israelites!

You’ll remember that David had fled from Saul and had found refuge among his enemies – the Philistines. They had accepted him as a defector from Israel and had even given David his own Philistine city to live in – the city of Ziklag – and David lived there for nearly a year and a half with his 600 men and all of their families.

Of course, during all this time, David had been lying to the Philistine King – King Achish – about his true loyalties – and more specifically about his true military expeditions. For those 16 months, David had actually been raiding the enemies of Israel, but he told Achish that he had been raiding Israel itself.

And so Achish was convinced that David had turned against his homeland and would be a loyal Philistine subject for the rest of his life. Therefore, when the time came that the Philistines were preparing a full scale invasion of Israel, King Achish expected David to be a key part of that.

1 Samuel 28 begins like this:

About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.”

2 “Very well!” David agreed. “Now you will see for yourself what we can do.”

Then Achish told David, “I will make you my personal bodyguard for life.”

1 Samuel 28:1-2

It’s seems crazy that King Achish would place so much trust in David – the very guy who killed the Philistine champion Goliath some years earlier! But none the less, at this point, we are left wondering, what in the world will David do now? Will he actually join the Philistines and fight against the Israelites – fighting against Saul and his best friend Jonathan? Or perhaps will David turn on king Achish in the heat of the battle and join forces with the Israelites? Or will something even more unexpected happen?

Well, unfortunately, we’re not going to find out until next week, because at this point, without any resolution, the story shifts the spotlight back over to King Saul.

From verse 3 and on, it’s like an entirely different story as we see how Saul reacts to this imminent battle against the Philistines. Now of course, both stories are woven together and we’ll see that more and more as we go on, but today’s passage will revolve exclusively around Saul.

Now at first glance, verse 3 seems kinda out of place itself. It reads kinda like some random facts that don’t have any apparent connection to the story at all. Let me show you what I mean. Verse 3 reads like this:

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The Reality of Discouragement

dis·cour·age·ment

noun

  1. a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.
  2. an attempt to prevent something by showing disapproval or creating difficulties; deterrent.

How many of you are familiar with this word? I’m pretty sure we all are. And not just linguistically. We are intimately familiar with this word in our lives.

Discouragement is a reality that we all face. When our plans don’t turn out how we hope – or when unexpected problems arise – or when others do or say things that steal our joy and cause us to question why we’re even doing this – discouragement can set in.

We get discouraged at our workplace or when that pile of laundry or dishes never goes away. As kids, we get discouraged at school when we struggle with academics or when our friends are being jerks. We get discouraged as parents when our kids just don’t get it and they keep making poor choices. We get discouraged when we struggle with health or emotional problems or when our relationships are strained. We get discouraged when we pay our bills or when the car won’t start or whatever it is!

I think most of us face discouragement nearly every day of our lives.

So what do we do when that happens? How do we deal with discouragement? It’s easy to throw up our hands and say “I give up! I’m not doing this anymore.” Or maybe we get angry – at people or circumstances – ourselves – or even at God. Somebody’s got to take the blame – right?

How do we deal with discouragement?

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Satan’s Tactics: Discouragement, Distractions, & Down-Right Sin

This is our fourth week of looking at Nehemiah and how he led the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls after 70 years of exile. It’s been very interesting (for me anyway) to read through this story and discover what principles we can apply to our situation here.

And I’m very excited to share with you the next part of the story. It’s my favorite part and I think the lessons that we learn from it are very applicable to everyone here. So let’s jump right into it.

Nehemiah 4:1-3
Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”

3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”

God put it on Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall, God moved the king as to allow Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem, and God put everything into place so that the walls of Jerusalem can be rebuilt for the His glory. So what does Satan do? He tries to stop it. Doesn’t Satan work the same way today? When God is doing something, Satan tries to get in the way. And he uses the same tactics back then as he does today too. So we are going to look at three of Satan’s tactics to stop God’s work. The first tactic he employs is discouragement.

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