When Ministry Comes to an End   2 comments

end

By Lori Rodeheaver

Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel. ~1 Samuel 15:34-35

Here, we find that the prophet Samuel is finished dealing with Saul – at least on a human level.  They part ways and never again does Samuel go to advise or restore  him to the truth.  Never.  Why?

It seems kind of harsh, doesn’t it?  I mean, clearly, from the wise old prophet’s standpoint, Saul was still in desperate need of his help.  But Samuel offered no more help.  He offered no more advise.  He gave no more instructions to this man – ever.  Yet, he still grieved over Saul.  He still mourned over Saul’s condition.  Doubtless, Samuel still longed for reconciliation and salvation to come to Saul and continued to pray for him.

The reason we find no more interaction between the prophet and Saul is not because Samuel is angry over Saul’s rebellion and stupidity.  It’s not because he is grudge-holding or sinner-snubbing.  It’s because Saul himself had made it overwhelmingly clear that he neither valued nor heeded any of Samuel’s wise advice previously.

Mercy upon mercy had been given to Saul by Samuel.  Directive upon directive had been carefully laid out like a young child’s schoolteacher would offer them – precept upon precept.  Kindness upon kindness.  Prayer upon prayer.  Instruction upon instruction.  But Saul wholly rejected all of it.  He treated every grace given to him as garbage.  None of it mattered to Saul’s proud and selfish heart.  He did his own thing his own way every single day of his life – with or without Samuel’s lectures sounding in his ears.  That wasn’t about to change now. So really, who rejected who?

How does this account square with Christ’s example of reaching out to those in need of spiritual help?  His example to be a friend of sinners?  Especially self-righteous, religious sinners who think they’ve no spiritual lack to need help with?

The truth is that we must always reach out to people in love, as the Lord gives opportunity.  However, the continuation of our extension of God’s wisdom and mercy toward them is really dependent upon their reception of it.  Either they will repeatedly receive the wise counsel of His Word and grow, or they will repeatedly reject it and grow cold.  Clearly, though, there does come a point when we must shake the dust and move on from those who repeatedly reject the truth and insist upon doing their own thing their own way every day.  As much as it grieves us to depart from those hardened in their sinful state (and it should grieve us), there are times when we must ask ourselves whether we are best using the time God gave us on this earth.  Honestly, how many times can we have the same conversation with someone before we begin to infringe upon their human dignity and right to make their own bad decisions in life?

Just because we part ways with an unrepentant friend, it doesn’t mean we have stopped loving them.  It doesn’t mean we don’t mourn over them.  It just means that we’ve accepted their repeated rejection of truth.  It means we respect them enough as a person to stop preaching a gospel they damn themselves by trampling.

As Matthew Henry said, “We must mourn for the rejection of sinners, though we withdraw from them and dare not converse familiarly with them, and, though they do not mourn for themselves.”

Samuel wasn’t harsh.  He was broken.  He knew nothing he could do or say would change the hardened mind of this unbeliever.  He knew because he had already done and said everything he possibly could have that should have produced change.  He chalked this one up to the sovereignty of God and left it at that.

Sometimes its wise to preach the gospel.  Sometimes it’s just as wise not to.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator

_____

A couple of comments of mine:

This is excellent. We aren’t here to beat a dead horse.

Back in 1990, I gave a testimony to the Assembly of God in Ames, Iowa. This was the SECOND time that I gave this testimony in six months. I said something like, “I would like to thank the Lord for casting hundreds of demons out of my body.” That testimony was rejected by Pastor Gary Pilcher and probably half the congregation. Immediately, the Lord told me to take off my shoes and shake the dust from my shoes in the sight of that congregation. I didn’t do it because I felt sorry for Pastor Pilcher.

Later, as I walked out of that church, Pastor Pilcher told me that my testimony glorified Satan. When Pastor Pilcher said that, he blasphemed the Holy Ghost. Pastor Pilcher will never get saved–he reminds me of King Saul. Pastor Pilcher is now the assistant superintendent for the Assemblies of God in central Iowa (Des Moines). Birds of a feather flock together.

I went to that church for two more Sundays and then never went back. The last Sunday I was in that church I was literally shaking in my boots because I thought the Lord was going to kill me–because it was SIN for me to be in that church.

If church people want to reject the power of the Holy Ghost, they are free to do so–but I won’t be there with them.

“Come out from among them and be ye separate.”

_____

Lori: Here is a Scripture that confirms what you said in your post about Samuel never returning to Saul to give him Godly counsel:

“If you return, then I will bring you back; you shall stand before Me; if you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you must not return to them” –Jeremiah 15: 19

“Thus Saith the Lord? by John Bevere”
http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/2011/02/thus-saith-lord.html

Advertisements

2 responses to “When Ministry Comes to an End

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I wish I could have been there to see you shake the dust off your shoes in front of them! So often one is denounced behind one’s back, and never given the chance to ‘shake the dust off one’s shoes’ before them. This must have been a powerful testimony to the congregation, for those among them still open to receiving God!

  2. Dunamis: The Lord told me to shake the dust off of my shoes, but I didn’t do it. It is better to obey the Lord than to feel sorry for an unsaved pastor and lukewarm Christians.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: