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Procrastination: Our Underestimated Enemy

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Procrastination

Our Underestimated Enemy

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Procrastination: Our Underestimated Enemy

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We should be on guard against procrastination.

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This message was presented on Pentecost, June 8, 2014.

Good afternoon everyone and pleasant greetings to you. On this Sabbath before Pentecost, I’d like to take us through an area of concern that applies to each and every one of us as human beings and especially those of us called to be part of the body of Christ. We all have to struggle against a problem. The Bible talks a lot about overcoming, there is something that we have to overcome that affects us every day, something that we must not give in to but on occasion we do falter, we’re all guilty of this and so it is something that I want you to stop and consider and join with me today as we discuss this human problem and this struggle that we all have in overcoming. It’s what I call “The Mañana Syndrome.” Better referred to, and this is the title of the sermon, “Procrastination: Our Underestimated Enemy.”

Now you might not be familiar with a song years ago, some of you might, it was called “ Mañana ,” and it went like this – I’m not going to sing it for you, but I will refer to it and you’ll kind of get the feel and the pulse of what it’s all about. It goes like this: “ The window she is broken and the rain she is coming in. If someone doesn’t fix it, I’m going to be soaking to my skin. But if I wait a day or two, the rain she goes away and who needs a window on such a sunny day?”

Mañana – tomorrow. In other words, put off what needs to be done for another day. And when we read the Biblical admonition with regard to overcoming, we realize this is an underestimated enemy that we all struggle with because we’re all guilty of putting off things we know we should be doing. How many times have we put off prayer? That’s why God says, in the book of Jeremiah, “ My people have forgotten me, days without number .” Means they go days without prayerful communication with God. How can any of us survive if we go days without prayerful communication with God? We’re just kind of out there floating, hoping everything will go O.K. but without God’s guidance and God’s help, He makes it very clear in scripture, He says we don’t know how to come in and go out. We may think we do, but we really don’t and all we are doing is leaning to our own understanding which the Bible tells us we must not do.

It’s imperative that we do not practice this thing of procrastination in our daily lives because anytime you put something off or you delay it and it is something that needs to be done and done now, creates a very dangerous trend within our own physical make up. Now I think you’ll see it as we go along here. People belong actually and they make fun of this thing of procrastination, they belong to the Procrastination Society! And what they do is they simply put off, for no good reason, into the future, something that needs to be done right now.

Now you know we are blessed by God to have wives. Some might not think so but that’s their problem, they are a blessing from God and they were intended to be a helpmate and all wives, all are for the most part familiar with what they call the “honey do” list. Honey do lists simply mean that husbands need to get on the job and get it done. Husbands tend to procrastinate and they tend to do what? Put it off…”well, I’ll get it done dear, I’ll get it done” but of course the woman wants to see it done now, or very rapidly, as close as possible. So I have trained myself over the years to listen to the voice of my dear wife because she is so often right and I am so often wrong. And I mean that from the standpoint of, I think maybe if I just wait a day or two, I could take it in and she’ll encourage me and say, “no, no, no, you need to do it now.” And then of course I started doing that and getting in the habit and so then she saw the opposite result of that because she would say, “Honey, you know we need to do such and such” and I would stop what I’m doing and I would jump up and then go do it! And she would say, “No, no, no, I didn’t mean to do it right now!” And I said, “But you asked for it to be done!” She said, “But it can be done later.”

Well what I have learned and what I’ve tried to internalize within me is the following – if it’s something super serious that I’m involved in and so forth, I’ll say, “Honey, just wait a while, I’ll get to it as soon as possible.” And that’s the way we basically should approach it. But when she speaks to me, her voice is very important and if she thought it was important enough to bring it to my attention, then it should be important enough for me to get up out of the seat and get it done. So if it means take out the garbage, it means stop what you’re doing and take out the garbage.

If it means this has to be done, do it. Why? You’ve got to get into the habit of doing. Remember God has called us to be doers; He didn’t call us to be individuals who are just inactive, sitting and listening but not doing. He called us to be doers, not the hearers of the law but the doers of the law. And so we have to learn how to do certain things. So from that standpoint, that’s been good training for me, that helped me. See, that’s why God gave wives, men would be in terrible shape if they didn’t have the ladies, we might not get anything done and that wouldn’t be good would it? So we thank God for our ladies and what they’re able to contribute in our relationship.

But basically what we want to understand is this – that being funny or cynical sayings don’t overcome the problem. Procrastination is something one must constantly be mindful of, because again, 2 Corinthians, if you will join me there, in chapter 2. 2 Corinthians 2 , we have an interesting aspect mentioned here. The apostle Paul, he’s encouraging the Church to have a loving approach with dealing with an individual that had to be put out because of a very bad sin but who repented, came back to the Church and he said to the people, now it’s important for you to encourage lest this person get overwhelmed and then just give up and want to quit. And so he says in verse 11 something very interesting that is broad in its principle and in its application for all of us. He’s said the importance of this is because:

2 Corinthians 2:11 2 Corinthians 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
American King James Version×
lest Satan should get advantage of us …he can get an advantage of us… for we are not ignorant of… note …his devices .

One of Satan’s devices is the use of procrastination or putting it off tomorrow. We might say, “Oh I don’t feel good today to be praying and so I’ll feel better tomorrow so I’ll pray tomorrow.” But the need for prayer is now, not tomorrow and so you have to override how you feel and do what you know you have to do, that’s part of the discipline of life that God requires of all of us. And notice, he said “devices.” Do we understand Satan’s devices? And what he uses against us? To try to overthrow the conversation process God has started in our lives? That’s why it is mentioned as it is and he tells us that wherever these weaknesses are, you can rest assure Satan knows it and he’s going to exploit it to his advantage, to take advantage of us. To make us think that we’re O.K., when in reality we’re not O.K., in reality we’re on dangerous thin ice.

Because look what happens to our government, take a look at it. What have they done? We have a national debt now that has made us the worse debtor nation in human history. How in the world did that get that way? It’s called procrastination, kicking the can down the road from one political administration to another until finally they are forced to do something and usually by that time it becomes drastic in its behavior and everyone suffers for it.

So again, procrastination is done among nations, procrastination is done among young and old alike and to validate that, I’d like to show you how this is also going to impact when it comes to our spiritual life. It can affect physical life every day but when it comes to the spiritual, this is when the flags go up, this is when we need to be extremely careful and be very much aware of what’s going on in our own personal life. Are we going backwards, are we procrastinating and going backwards instead of going forward and being proactive as God’s Word admonishes us?

This is no laughing matter, not when we’re talking about our spiritual well-being and the subject here being life and death, that we have to choose every day. You see we can live life and just forget about everything else that’s going on, just living life. But what was life meant to be? What was it meant to be? How are you supposed to live life? This thing, this marvelous thing that we have been so blessed by God, given the gift of life. We just come into a world, ready-made world, different cultures, different societies, and what happens? Everybody just goes along, goes along enjoying what they can do in terms of getting for themselves. It’s me, myself and I. That’s what we’re concerned about until we realize that wasn’t the purpose for which life was given. And where does life come from? Well it obviously comes from God. And where do you learn about the things of God? From His sacred scriptures which the adversary doesn’t want us to read, doesn’t want us to follow. Because why? Because it outlines his demise, he doesn’t want anybody to know that it’s a lost cause if you join ranks with him.

But if you join ranks with the Almighty and surrender yourself, you’ve got eternity before you and you’ve got your sins forgiven and you’ve got the hope that God has promised - that of eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

There was a man named William Knox, he was a business consultant and a clinical psychologist and he wrote an article for the U.S. & World Report some years back and he made this statement, he says: “Procrastination is a universal and greatly underestimated problem…” I’ll call it more than a problem, I call it an enemy, because to cave to this enemy can cause spiritual demise and we can’t afford to lose ground on this one. We’ve got to gain ground by the grace of God and not lose. He pointed this out, that “procrastination is a universal and greatly underestimated problem. It can (as he points out) sabotage careers.” Why? Because careers demand certain things of you, if you want to be a certain type of individual and you want to learn this skill, you’ve got to discipline yourself, you can’t afford to be a procrastinator when the instructor says you need to be there at 8:00 in the morning and you say, “well I don’t know, I wanted to sleep in today, I think I’ll get in about 9:00, that should be good enough.” Sorry, not good enough to pass, not if you want a degree in this particular skill. So careers can be sabotaged by that. 

Not only careers, relationships can be hurt. Because of procrastination, husbands and wives begin to develop friction. Why? The wife expects certain things to be done, the husband doesn’t want to do it when he wants to, so he drags his feet and procrastinates. That doesn’t elevate his credibility in her eyes, she wants to see results. It would be the same in reverse, a husband depends on his wife to fill in the gap and if she just decided to stay in bed all day or watch television because she wanted to see Days of Our Lives and that was more important than getting busy and doing what she had to do, then what do we have? The same thing, she loses credibility in the eyes of her husband because you’re called to be a team, you’re called to work together, you’re called to contribute the best of what you have together so that the two have a good reward as Ecclesiastes reminds us. It tells us two are better than one because you always have a partner, one there to help and assist.

So it can sabotage yes, careers, it can hurt relationships – and that’s young and old alike, that’s not just older folks, that can be the younger ones as well. And it can cause tremendous emotional misery for people. Why is it that sometimes women are referred to as nags? Because the man is procrastinating and all she is doing is trying to say is - Honey, we need to do this. “I’ll do it when I get around to it.” And then he gets ugly and things can happen. I mean this is the stuff they call into the psychotherapist and try to get answers to.

It’s very simple if we just do it God’s way. This world is not geared God’s way is it folks? It’s hard for us sometimes and we’re trying to be geared God’s way and sometimes we fail in these matters and have to go to God and ask God, “I really blew it today, please help me, I don’t want to go like that anymore, help me to get on the stick and get moving.” That’s why God talks about stirring up the spirit, that power source that we’ve all got to have because if we don’t stir up the spirit of God in our lives, then we tend to get powerless. We find ourselves unable to do some of the things that we should do and this psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical psychologist, Mr. Knox, mentioned that he had experience and noticed that it was even showing up in four and five year olds, exhibiting these tendencies, that they learn it at a very early age. How is that? Their response to their parents, “I don’t want to.” Mom and Dad says, “Do it now.” “I don’t want to!” That’s verbally saying, I’m procrastinating, I’m not going to do it now, I’m going to put it off. If I have to do it, I’ll do it later or maybe not do it at all. So these are important things here that we tend to miss.

We find that 25% of college students are procrastinators. 25%! Maybe even higher now because these are a little bit old statistics by comparison and the way the world seems to be falling apart, colleges are falling apart, students would rather play than study – where can we find our fraternities or sororities so we can go play? Mom’s and dad’s send them off to college hoping they’re going to have a career, something good and if they’re disciplined people, it will work fine. If they’re not disciplined to accomplish, if they tend to be a procrastinator, they don’t meet deadlines on reports that need to be done at a given time, they can fail a course.

You and I cannot afford to fail the course that we’ve been called to, we cannot afford to be procrastinators. God has been watching this whole equation with human beings and what’s been going on in societies for a long time. The Bible shows that around 6,000 years coming to a close and the start of the millennial period up ahead and He warns that this is a serious problem. Now how do we know that? Matthew 25 talks about the Ten Virgins – five are wise…what makes you wise? The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom – five are foolish. What defines a fool? Only a fool has said in his or her heart, “ There is no God .” How would they do that? They might say, well I believe in God, but what they do, what makes them foolish is they don’t apply what God is saying to their daily lives and that makes them foolish.

Because when God speaks, He expects certain reactions to take place in light of what Jesus said, we are to live by every word of God – every word of God. But we don’t always do that as human beings and that’s where the problem lies and why we have to practice repentance and going to God. Matthew 25 implies that when the call went out, what happened? It says, “they all arose…remember, they were all asleep, does that mean there are areas of our spiritual life that we might be guilty of being asleep at this time?

That gives us pause to stop and reflect, that’s why we have to know what’s going on in our lives. Have we gone to sleep in certain areas? Not all, but in some areas? We surely don’t want to be asleep. But when the call came, the others had oil, they stayed close enough to God, oil is a type of God’s holy spirit and they were ready to act.

What about the others, the foolish virgins? They ran out of oil, or as the scripture says, the oil was going out, the flame was going out. So they quick had to go get some oil. But you know, when you get in panic situations, sometimes you can’t quite get the end result of what you’re wanting because you didn’t plan and prepare for it. That’s why it says, they were ready and fixed their particular lights, their candles, but the others did not have sufficient.

What we want to do in the remainder of time is to make sure we ask ourselves this very important question. Can we afford to put off developing the right relationship with our God and Jesus Christ and with one another? Because we’re called to love one another. Can you imagine what it would be like if God looked down and said, you loved this half of the audience but the other half you can’t stand? God says, I can’t have that in My kingdom. You’re all going to have to learn one another as I have loved you, Jesus said, or otherwise, what good are you to me? Remember we’re no good to God alone and the only reason that He even deals with us is because He has an everlasting love for us because He made us in His image, male and female and He provided a way of escape from our foolishness that started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve – and every one of us have been guilty ever since.

And what have we done? We’ve fallen prey to the subtle influence of the adversary and what has he tried to do? Get us to put it off till tomorrow, put it off till tomorrow. Well in light of the Biblical admonition in the book of James, what are you and I told to do? Can we always count on tomorrow? According to that, the guy says, Look, I’m doing great here, I’ve done all this and made a lot of money, I think what I’ll do is I’ll go over here and I’ll build some buildings and everything and still make money and I’ll say, Have ease soul, just relax and enjoy. And what happened? Tomorrow never came. That’s why James’ admonition was, as you live each and every day, you say, God willing. And you don’t want to make that some type of a superstitious type of thing, you just want to understand, that Lord, with Your blessing please, may we be able to do this or do that. There’s different ways you can say it but you need to always acknowledge God because our lives are in God’s hands and we live, move and have being only because of His divine mercy. Mankind only has a future because God has willed it be so.

There are a lot of individuals today who dismiss this thing of procrastination, but as I’ve already read to you, it is greatly underestimated as a problem in human life. We do it more than we tend to realize. We know we have to get up and get going and…oh my body tells me I want to stay in bed, we say, ooh, can I stay a little bit longer? And then God warns us, He says, Well be careful with that! And Satan says, That’s alright, I put a snooze alarm on there so they can hit it and they can sleep a little bit longer, they’ll still get it done…maybe.

So this is what God is wanting us to understand – don’t underestimate the power of the devil and one of his devices is to use procrastination on all of us because it is a weakness of the flesh we all have and we have to overcome it. And how do you overcome it? “ Not the hearers of the law, but the doers of the law shall be justified. ” We’re here every Sabbath, every Holy Day and we’re privileged by the grace of God, you don’t want to be anywhere else, you want to be here and hear the words of God. These words are spirit and life and they speed the spirit in man and woman and give us meaning and purpose to our life. Because He’s the great life giver, He knows how we are to live this life, but human beings think they know better and we’ve all been guilty of it and that’s why we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.

But God, in His loving mercy, His great spirit of mercy and compassion brings us to repentance and shows us what we do – repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the holy spirit as pictured by the Feast tomorrow that we will be observing. It’s the greatest thing that could be offered to you, to have all your mistakes erased by God Himself. Because you and I can’t erase our mistakes, we’ve done so many terrible wrong things, leaning to our own understanding.

You listen to the people calling to the talk shows asking for help and they’re crying and they’re bleeding and they’re emotionally suffering. Why? Because of sin. Ministers can get up and mention the word sin but they don’t teach the people how to go away from sin, they just stress that God loves you just as you are. God says, I love you, but not just as you are, you’ve got to change. If you want to be in My kingdom, you’ve got to make every effort to change, I’ve got to see that in your heart. That’s why God could look at Abraham after Abraham went through everything and put his faith and confidence in God and acted, then what did God say? “Now I know…” Can God say the same about us? Now I know…and put your name in that blank. That gives us all pause for consideration.

The whole purpose of the Word of God is not to throw stones at any of us, it’s to help us get these motes out of our eyes so that we can see the little specks and help other people instead of doing what? Thinking we have all the answers to everything when we don’t. It is God who has the answers and God is teaching us many things in the process.

Now what I’d like to do is to take us to Proverbs 6:6 Proverbs 6:6Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
American King James Version×
. Remember the Proverbs were given to grant us wisdom and to see the mind of God in action in many places.

Proverbs 6:6 Proverbs 6:6Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
American King James Version×
Go to the ant you sluggard ! Now sluggard, slothful is another way of saying procrastinator, it’s just another way of saying it, it doesn’t use the word procrastination but it has the same effect. Consider her ways and be wise .

Very important what God is telling us. The Proverbs has much to say about this thing of procrastination or slothfulness.

Proverbs 6:9 Proverbs 6:9How long will you sleep, O sluggard? when will you arise out of your sleep?
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How long will you slumber …is what God is telling us, He wants to know how long are we going to play this game? Notice now if you would, Proverbs 10:4 Proverbs 10:4He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
American King James Version×
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Proverbs 10:4 Proverbs 10:4He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
American King James Version×
He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand …a slack hand, does not really put oneself into it, just gives it a slow effort… but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Another way of saying it is you become poor if you are a procrastinating individual and you deal with this slack hand, but the hand of the diligent, the one who really gets out and does what needs to be done, that’s where riches are made possible.

This applies to jobs, today we’ve got people who are willing to work hard, we’ve got other people who are just there for a paycheck and they don’t put forth any effort whatsoever, we call them slackers. And what do they do? They procrastinate in getting busy and producing a product. They’re there to get certain things done and they just don’t do it, they just drag their feet, again, just working for a paycheck.

We also find that humans fail and the reason they fail to jump in and get a job done is because they have all these different excuses – I don’t like that, that’s dull, I just don’t care for that kind of thing. Or it’s unpleasant, it’s too big, it’s too complex, I’m afraid of failing.

So what is procrastination? Whether we realize it or not, why it’s an underestimated enemy is because this thing of procrastination that can affect us all, and be part of one of Satan’s devices to put a hook into us and bring us down if we’re not careful, to put off and delay things that we know we should do, we know we should fast, but we say, well, I’ll do that tomorrow because I don’t feel good today, so we put off the fasting. We put off prayer or put off the study of the scriptures. These are things we’re all guilty of, not every day, thank God, but maybe too many days. Maybe too many days that we need to tell God, I’m sorry for dropping the ball Father and letting You down, because You’ve shown us what to do but we’re guilty because we haven’t done it.

And notice how it goes on, because procrastination can be summed up in this word: it’s a subtle form of rebellion when it comes to the things of God. It’s a subtle form of rebellion when it comes to the things of God and that’s what you and I cannot afford to do, to be in rebellion against God. I’d like you to turn with me to 1 Samuel 15. Remember in Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
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it says:

Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×
Everything that is written in scripture …especially the Old Testament where all these stories and these different ideas are conveyed to us, there’s a reason why Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×
is written and I Corinthians 10 also emphasizes this, that it is… written for our learning upon whom the ends of the age are come.

The question we have to ask ourselves, are we learning? Or are we letting precious time slip through our fingers, like sand in the hourglass, it just keeps going and suddenly one day it is empty and there is no more time to do these things. There is a lot to consider here. 1 Samuel 15:1 1 Samuel 15:1Samuel also said to Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint you to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore listen you to the voice of the words of the LORD.
American King James Version×
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1 Samuel 15:1 1 Samuel 15:1Samuel also said to Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint you to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore listen you to the voice of the words of the LORD.
American King James Version×
Samuel also said unto Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over His people, over Israel.”

Now listen to how this is written, he’s talking to Saul but have you ever read the scripture from the standpoint to put your own name in there? Because you know, you’ve been anointed too with the spirit of God. When you were baptized and you had hands laid upon you, you were anointed to receive the spirit of God, to become, according to the book of Revelation a king and a priest of the Most High God, that you would serve to reflect Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God and that in this life, though you live in this world, you are not of it and you are not to do anything that would bring disrespect to the name of God. Remember David and the terrible tragedy committed in his life? And what did God say through Nathan the prophet? You, by your conduct and your actions, you have…in other words, shamed the name of God in the eyes of the Gentile nations around us. Here you’re supposed to be My king, you’re supposed to be My example and what have you done David? Your sin is forgiven but your life is not going to be what it could have been because of what you’ve done. And you know the rest of the story about the life of David, it was not a perfect example of a family that was working together. If anything was dysfunctional from that time on, it was David’s family.

Well God hasn’t called us to be a dysfunctional family in the Church of God, He’s called us to work together, to have our past sins blotted out and in the scriptures, Saul is told:

1 Samuel 15:1 1 Samuel 15:1Samuel also said to Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint you to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore listen you to the voice of the words of the LORD.
American King James Version×
- ” The Lord sent me, Samuel said, “The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over His people Israel. Now therefore harken unto you the voice of the words of the Lord .”

How important is that? Jesus put it this way – “ You shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God .” So here is Saul, he’s a representative of God, he is told he must execute the will of God.

1 Samuel 15:2 1 Samuel 15:2Thus said the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
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Thus said the Lord of hosts: “I remember…

Notice God remembers things, what does He remember about us? Do we even ask those kind of questions to ourselves? Do we make the Bible alive and meaningful in our relationship with God? Does God forget about who we are and what we are, where we go, what we do, how we perform, our example before everyone? Because in this world, we as the people of God and the body of Christ, we are living in a glass house and every eye is upon us and especially the god of this world. He’s got the rest of the world deceived, but the people who have been called out of this world, they understand the game that is being played, that we’re in war. This is a life and death battle, just like those men that hit D-Day, Normandy Beaches, seventy years ago, they knew this was a life and death battle, they knew some of them would be casualties, they would never come back home in this physical life. But they did it for the sake of their loved ones and their family. Is this what Paul means when he says, “Whether we live or whether we die, we are in Christ?” He knows everything about us and where to use us to the max, to the glory of God.

Saul was given this opportunity and he was told:

1 Samuel 15:1 1 Samuel 15:1Samuel also said to Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint you to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore listen you to the voice of the words of the LORD.
American King James Version×
Now harken to the words of the voice of the Lord …now where are the words of the Lord to be found? Right there on your lap or in your computer if you’ve got one here, it is the Bible, the sacred words of God. And in this story, notice what we see:

1 Samuel 15:2 1 Samuel 15:2Thus said the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
American King James Version×
That the Lord remembered that which Amalek …that’s Amalek, meaning the leader of the Amalekites, a war like people, what they did to Israel and how he laid wait for them in the way when he came up from Egypt, when the house of Israel came out of Egypt. Now notice what he instructs Saul to do:

1 Samuel 15:3 1 Samuel 15:3Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
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Now go and smite Amalek… what? Does God have the right to say, go and kill that enemy? Oh yes, He is the giver of life and notice what he says… go and smite …who…Amalek, cut the head of the snake off, get this head guy first… and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not. Now listen carefully, this is how people react contrary to the Word of God, they don’t understand God’s overview and objectivity. But slay both man and woman, infant …infant you say… suckling …in other words, a breast-feeding child… ox, sheep, camel and ass .

Kill them all? Why would God do that? What about these innocent little children – what kind of a harsh God would kill those innocent little children? Not from God’s perspective are they innocent. How do we know that? Because He knows how children grow up and when they are fed a diet of hate from parents who hate the Israelites or hate Jews and just constantly feed this to young minds, children emulate and imitate their parents. We see that today, we see that when a young boy being interviewed on the evening news and they ask him a question, he’s a fourteen year old Palestinian, he has an AK47 on the front of his chest – “what do you want to be when you grow up?” “I want to kill Christians and Jews.” That is the voice of an infant grown up in a realm of hate and that’s what we have today. That’s why God tells us, we have to learn what the world has never learned – how to love one another as I, God have loved you. Follow My example, that’s what we’re learning and hopefully we’re learning it well with God’s blessing. And notice, Saul goes out to meet the enemy. Verse 8:

1 Samuel 15:8 1 Samuel 15:8And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
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He takes Agag, kind of the Amalekites …did he do what God said? Not according to scriptures, he took him alive, but the Word of God was to kill him. And so here it says… he utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword but Saul and the people spared Agag, the best of the sheep, the oxen and the fatlings and the lambs and all that was good and that would not be utterly destroyed. But everything else that was vile or refuge, that was destroyed utterly.

That’s the carnal mind, that’s how the carnal mind thinks – let’s take all the good spoils and let’s get rid of the junk, things we don’t need. Now, here comes the Word of the Lord again to Samuel to tell Saul what that action and conduct represented. And he tells Samuel:

1 Samuel 15:11 1 Samuel 15:11It repents me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried to the LORD all night.
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–“ It repented Me that I have made Saul to be king, for he is turned back from following Me …warning, a person can turn away from God. The admonition is, don’t do it, there’s an example of one who did, started out great and then torpedoed his own ship by his lack of following God’s command. “ And he has not performed My commandments .” Oh, then it means what we’ve got to be doing, if we’re going to be the doers and not procrastinators, we have to be – what? Doing God’s commandments. Interesting, the book of Revelation concludes in the final chapter, it says: “ Blessed are they that do His commandments ” – not just read them and think about them and say, they’re sure nice. But they do them, they apply them in their life. And he goes on to say: “ He has not performed My commandments ,” and it grieved Samuel that he cried unto the Lord all night. It was so emotionally heart driven, he cried all night.

1 Samuel 15:17 1 Samuel 15:17And Samuel said, When you were little in your own sight, were you not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed you king over Israel?
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- Samuel told then Saul, he said, you know “Saul, when you were little in your own sight, you were made head of the tribes of Israel and the Lord anointed you king over Israel and the Lord sent you on a journey.” You and I have been sent on a journey dear brethren, it’s a journey to the kingdom of God . Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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. And he said, “ Go and utterly destroy …notice… the sinners .”

Now what would define these people that God said destroy, what would make them sinners? Sin is the transgression of God’s law; these people were not living by the laws of God or the commandments of God. The commandments of God deal with moral decisions that have to be made concerning life’s activities. But many times people confuse, when they read the Old Testament, they hear the word “law” and they wrap it all together. There are laws which we could better place or use the term “regulations” – there are regulations that must be done in order to have a solid society. When it comes to moral issues, God’s Ten Commandments stand tall and strong, that’s the difference and those moral decisions based on the Ten Commandments, they don’t fade away. Regulations can change, regulations dealing with the Levites of the Old Testament change when the New Testament came on line because Christ didn’t come of the tribe of Levi, He came from the tribe of Judah. There had to be a change in the regulation then because He was now a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek which was a precursor to Levi and then later reestablished under Jesus Christ, after the Levitical priesthood ceased to exist.

So we have this marvelous step-by-step explanation – you were told to go and destroy the sinners, the Amalekites and fight against them until they were consumed.

1 Samuel 15:19 1 Samuel 15:19Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but did fly on the spoil, and did evil in the sight of the LORD?
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– “ Wherefore did you not obey the voice of the Lord? And lie about the spoil?” And Saul said unto Samuel …now listen carefully because we have to be careful how we respond to God when God brings things to our attention. In his mind he says:

1 Samuel 15:20 1 Samuel 15:20And Saul said to Samuel, Yes, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
American King James Version×
–“ But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord and have gone the way which the Lord sent me and I have brought Agag the king of the Amalekites and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people… now he passes the buck, like a good politician, it was Bush’s fault, this is what we hear today, rather than face the reality, we have to look to somebody to blame so we pass it on to a different administration. In this case he passed it on to the people. I mean I was the king and what kind of king would I be if I didn’t listen to my people? But you were charged to listen to the voice of the Lord, not the voice of the people. And so he goes on to say, They took all these items, all the bleating and everything that they heard, Samuel heard all this stuff and he said:

1 Samuel 15:22 1 Samuel 15:22And Samuel said, Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
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– “ Has the Lord great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord …notice that emphasized, we have to train ourselves not to be procrastinators when it comes to obeying the voice of the Lord. When God speaks you need to rapidly respond because He’s waiting for that response, not a delay…” Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to harken than to the fat of rams. ” Why is this so important, why is it an underestimated enemy? Notice: “ For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being king.”

Do any of us want to be rejected by our God? To serve as a king and priest in His marvelous government that the Bible addresses and reveals to us? I don’t think so, but if we are lax and we procrastinate and fall for Satan’s bait, one of his devices, that God will understand. Oh yeah, He understands very well and that’s the thing I think all of us need to really grasp and wake up in our own personal life, because Satan would like to put us to sleep, he would like us to think that God is so full of love, He overlooks these things. I don’t see any example of how God overlooks these things. When He says it, He means it and if He were to overlook things contrary to what He said, then we make a mockery of the God we say we serve. So be not deceived, God is not mocked. God doesn’t play games, we do and that’s why that song years ago by Joe South, The Games People Play Now , we’re all guilty of playing games, there’s too much game playing going on in the lives of too many people, they think they’re so spiritual, so righteous and so understanding and God says, all I see is a bunch of hypocritical division, self-centeredness in the lives of too many people and I’m afraid that it has even invaded the churches of God. That’s why we have had the problems we have had in the churches of God. If everything was right on target, these things would never have happened, God would never have allowed it, He allowed it to teach us a lesson. We are to walk humbly with our God and be careful that we obey the voice of the Lord and where we fall short, to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God and ask for the mercy and the power of His holy spirit to light us up and let that light shine to the glory of God. Because if it doesn’t shine to the glory of God, then I’m afraid dear brethren that we are walking in darkness, thinking it’s light and that’s not going to deliver the goods. May God have mercy on some of that because we certainly don’t want to be guilty of these things.

Then Saul of course got the message but a little bit too late.

1 Samuel 15:24 1 Samuel 15:24And Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and your words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
American King James Version×
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice .”

Man alive, how this all dovetails together. Go back to the Garden of Eden and what do we see, the problem that erupted there. Who told you you were naked? What voice have you been listening to? That is so important for us. I pray all the time God have mercy on all of us as His people, give us eyes to see what we can’t see, ears to hear what we cannot hear because we’ve got this carnality, this old nature in us that fights the spirit of God. If you don’t have a fight going on within you, you better ask yourself what’s wrong? Because it’s a fight. Some days you win, some days you lose but the important thing is to keep moving in the direction God has outlined.

We have to have a “do it now” attitude and not this attitude that I don’t have time, it’s too hard. We have to develop a plan of action, we’ve got to move on accordingly, we have to understand our priorities, be realistic. Don’t say, well I’m going to pray for five hours a day. Well I’m being facetious, you’re not going to do that, it’s hard to even pray thirty minutes a day in this day and age, but you know, you could do this – you could do like David, morning noon and night I pray, fifteen minutes here, fifteen minutes there, fifteen minutes, oh look at that, what have we got, forty five minutes of prayer. God doesn’t put a restriction, He just says, talk to Me and give Me your heart, let Me hear what’s really coming from you.

Remember God’s admonition in Ephesians 5, let’s take a look at a final scripture here as we wrap this up. In the book of Ephesians 5, a lot of powerful information here. One of my personal favorite books, outlines quite a bit of information to us. Ephesians 5 , let’s begin in verse 14, notice the admonition:

Ephesians 5:14 Ephesians 5:14Why he said, Awake you that sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
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Wherefore He said: “Awake …in other words, this is the time to be awake, not asleep… awake you that sleep, arise from the dead …in other words, don’t walk around like a zombie with your life wasting precious time, make the most of it… arise from the dead and Christ shall give you light . He will light up through His spirit, give us the light we need to understand.

Ephesians 5:15 Ephesians 5:15See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
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See then that you …do what… you walk circumspectly …you know what’s going on around you, you’re not blindsided to these things happening in the world… not as fools …what makes a person a fool according to the Bible? Psalms said, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Now a person could say, I believe in God, but if we don’t obey the voice of God as He outlines, then we are doing what – it’s almost like we are dismissing God, which is very foolish to go out without God’s guidance, help and protection this day, we need Him every day of our lives… but be as wise …what defines wisdom in the scripture? Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so if we fear God and we take these things into consideration, what next Lord? Redeeming the time because the days are evil .

Greek word is poneros , meaning hurtful in its effect upon us. Every one of us are being affected, day in and day out and Satan is trying to overthrow our conversion, he’d like to do it just by saying, Why don’t you wait until tomorrow? And dear brethren, none of us ever know when tomorrow may never come. We can’t afford tomorrow, today is all we’ve got. We learn from the past, we have the hope and future, but we’ve got to make the most of it now because this is what God gave us. His grace is sufficient and He says:

Ephesians 5:17 Ephesians 5:17Why be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
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Don’t be unwise but understanding what the will of the Lord is …where is the will of the Lord found? In the pages of the Holy Scriptures.

May God help us each and every one to count the cost each and every day and to remember we have an obligation to abstain from all appearance of evil because we’re not of this world. We live in it, but we’re not of it. May God help us in this journey and help us to understand we are not alone, He is the one guiding our every footstep and He will be the one to deliver us to His glory. May God help us all and I’ll see you on Pentecost.

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