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13“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” [Read 1 Sam 13:5-14]
The scripture verse above is the final part of a story in the Bible that portrays Saul’s refusal to heed the Lord’s command. The story tells how Saul became so afraid because of the large army of the Philistines he saw coming against him. Fear of his opponents made him sacrifice to God rather than wait for Samuel the Prophet who was ordained to offer sacrifices.
And because of this – Saul lost the coveted opportunity to have a dynasty and for his kingdom to endure for all time. If not for the fear he gave in to, today we would have had the star of Saul rather than the star of David; the city of Saul rather than the city of David. Just imagine the loss? Saul’s disobedience to God’s command was because he feared people more than he feared God.
It has been interesting watching how Nations and Governments and Leaders and people everywhere are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. I do not wish to play down the seriousness of this pandemic and the havoc that it is causing in our world today. Everything is changing as a result of COVID-19; these are no ordinary times.
Saul was equally faced with a daunting situation as he saw the Philistines approach him – he knew that if nothing was done, they [the Israelites] would be killed and their remnant would at best become slaves. This was a real threat and something needed to be done [immediately]. Samuel the prophet was to come and offer a sacrifice prior to they going to face their opponents; but as Samuel fixed his gaze on the Philistine army, fear gripped him and he went on to offer the sacrifice rather than continue to wait for the Prophet Samuel. Perhaps the fear of Israel being ravaged by the Philistines was more real than whatever God would do to him for not obeying his commands.
What am l driving at? And again not to downplay anything that our government and leaders are doing – l wonder if we may be making the same mistakes of Saul? Have we taken more seriously the devastation that COVID-19 could do to us and neglected the consequences of disobeying the Almighty God?
I see on the news how our governments, pastors, leaders and ordinary people are using sanitizers, washing hands, wearing masks and applying social distancing (which we are all advised to do) – we have gone to so much extent including change in our lifestyles (partial lockdown) to protect ourselves from this virus [which is very commendable to stopping the spread]. But to what extent are we going to stop the virus of sin that God commands us to flee from?
Mr. Politician, have you sanitized your hands from corruption in the same way you are sanitizing your hands from COVID-19? Man/Woman of God, have you washed your hands from pride and covetousness like you are doing with the virus? Mr. Judge/Lawyer – have you masked your face from lies so you are able to speak the truth to authority without fear/favour or is your ruling for the highest bidder? My fellow citizens – have you socially distanced yourself from fornication/adultery; stealing, hatred and jealousy and selfishness and all the things that God speaks against? You reading right now – how have you locked-down yourself to escape from the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of man?
One time when several thousands had gathered; Jesus shared these words with them:
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. [Luke 12:4-5]
I believe we are at a time when several thousand if not millions are worried and in fear of what the world is going through. Many have died and unfortunately, many more will die, we are all at risk and that goes to show how fleeting life on earth really is if we do not understand our true purpose. Knowing this, what sort of lives do we have to live?
Jesus has an answer – “Live your life as though you were more afraid of him than you are afraid of COVID-19 or of any other thing/person that can only kill this body of clay”.
I pray that you will hear what His Spirit may be saying to you.