April 22, 2016
I Samuel 15:2, 3
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Again we look at God’s instructions to King Saul in I Samuel 15:2 and 3 concerning the pagan tribe of the Amalekites:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I will punish Amalek for what he did
to Israel, how he laid wait for him on the way, when he came up from
Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have,
and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nurs-
ing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”
Why did God so harshly command Saul to wipe out the Amalekites, killing “…both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey…”? Some people have real trouble believing in a God who would do such a thing – especially because it seems so distant from what the New Testament says in I John 4:9, “…God is love….” Why? Because God is Protecting The Seed of “…the woman…” (Genesis 3:15) – Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Savior of mankind and all creation! (See Romans 8:19-23).
Satan, “The god who rules this world…” (II Corinthians 4:4 – Contemporary English Version), had tried to nullify that prophecy of God’s Son ever since it was first made! We have briefly examined 14 instances throughout the history of Israel that show us different ways in which the devil has opposed God and tried to block the coming of the promised Seed, Jesus Christ! But Jesus arrived at just the right time (see Galatians 4:4) and ministered upon this earth in spite of Satan’s attempts to stop Him! Now let’s look at some of the ways Satan fought against the Lord’s earthly ministry:
• Luke 4:1-13 – The tempter had won the battle with “…the first man Adam…” (I Corinthians 15:45), and by that victory had gained Adam’s dominion over all the earth (see Genesis 2:27-29). He hoped to do the same thing as he tempted “The last Adam…” Jesus! (I Corinthians 15:45). If the Lord had given in to Satan’s demand, “…if You worship before me…all the kingdoms of the world…and their glory…will be Yours…” (Luke 4:7, 5, 6), then the devil would have stopped cold God’s redemptive work through His Son! But it is written in I Peter 2:22, He “…committed no sin….” Jesus constantly won the temptation battle!
• Luke 4:16-30 – In Nazareth, Jesus proclaimed the purpose and direction of His ministry by reading from Isaiah 61:1 and 2:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach
the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach
deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty
those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
But He – knowing the hard-heartedness of the Nazarites – challenged their lack of faith! It says in verses 28 and 29, “…they…were filled with wrath…and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down….” I have been to Nazareth. The cliff upon which the city is established is so high, the fall would have killed Jesus for sure! But it simply says in verse 30, “Then, passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” Again, the plans of the devil were frustrated!
• The Jewish leaders were so opposed to Jesus and His challenging ministry, that they sought ways to kill Him! In a quick concordance search, I counted 26 times in the gospels that mentions their evil plans! But the Lord was the One in control, not the Jewish leaders, not the Roman government, not Satan! As Jesus said in John 7:6, “My time is not yet come….” And when the time for Him to die did come, He boldly stated in John 10:17 and 18:
I lay down My life, that I may take it again. No man takes it from Me,
but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power
to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.
Satan experienced defeat after defeat in trying to get rid of the Promised One!
• Finally, the devil and his demonic hoard thought they had achieved their long-sought-after purpose – Jesus was nailed to the cross and died a slow and horrible death! But in I Corinthians 2:6 through 8 Paul writes that the evil “…rulers of this age…[did not know] the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory…for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” The hidden wisdom? God vindicated that Jesus died for the sins of the world thereby redeeming all creation (see Romans 8:19-23). For the Lord rose again from death three days later! Satan was ultimately defeated, and his fate was sealed! He would be consigned to “…the lake of fire and brimstone….This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:10, 14).
We will tie all this together in Monday’s blog – how by God’s command to wipe out the Amalekites, including “…man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey…,” He was Protecting The Seed!