Archive for the ‘Lori Rodeheaver’ Tag

Machetes and the Messiah   6 comments

cross

By Lori Rodeheaver

The self-righteous king, Saul, has finally made an honest confession.  The prophet, Samuel, in turn, showed mercy and prayed for him.  The very next thing Samuel does is quite shocking.  It’s brave, it’s bloody, and it’s barely believable.

Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 And Samuel said,“As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. ~1 Samuel 15:33-34

Samuel calls for King Agag.  King Agag was the leader of the enemies which Saul was commanded, but failed to, destroy completely.

Notice how the enemy responds to Samuel’s invitation.  Agag came “cheerfully.”  So sure and confident that he is going to be fully accepted and met with a good ‘ol boy friendship by those who had spared his life for self-interests.

Agag ain’t scared of these easily deceived followers of God.  He knows if they’re anything like King Saul, they’ll let him slither away unscathed.  Apparently, King Agag doesn’t know the prophet Samuel.  That, or he doubts an old man of peace (Samuel) will harm him any more than a young man of war (Saul) did.

Agag was wrong.  Dead wrong, in fact.  As soon as he arrives, Samuel reminds him of his guilt and then busts out his machete.

What is with this guy?!  Always telling people they’re guilty and dealing God’s wrath!  I guess we all have our gifts…

Anyway, he “hacked Agag to pieces.”  Sounds like somebody’s got anger management and revenge issues, huh?

Not quite.  Here, in this bloody affair, we find Our Savior.

Who prays for we reprobates when we finally come to the end of our excuse making self-justification and offer an honest confession?  Who turns back in mercy after us when we actually admit our wretched guilt?  Who interceded for we scoundrels before bravely calling the king of our enemies to the carpet?   Who hacked that enemy to pieces in a bloody affair by his own two hands?  Who succeeded in killing what we so often disobey God to keep alive?

And the answer is:  JESUS!  Jesus did these things!  He offered mercy when we didn’t deserve it.  He interceded for us and called the enemy out.  He showed up and destroyed what we were unable and unwilling to destroy alone – sin.  He won the bloody war single-handedly but is known as the Prince of Peace.  We use peace-keeping as an excuse not to fight the Enemy but are  so obviously men of  self-preserving war.

Samuel’s wasn’t a hatemonger.  His machete foreshadowed the cross…where Christ was willing to be hacked to pieces for the sake of fulfilling God’s righteous commands…because he knew we weren’t willing and that we wouldn’t fulfill them.

What a Savior.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator

 

Posted December 14, 2012 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Rejects   4 comments

Lori and her dad in Tiananmen Square, 1991

Here is a post by Lori Rodeheaver from the blog Everyday Encounters with the Creator:

In grade school, if you had looked up the term, “reject” in the dictionary, you’d likely have found my picture.  My dad was kind of hippie-like and my mom, well, my mom was just different I guess.  So, I was kind of a loner.  And I was quite happy being me until about the fifth grade…when the other kids starting taking notice of my funny clothes and lack of friends at recess.  Up until then, being me didn’t really bother me.  I liked being alone in Loriland, reading books and navigating monkey-bars by myself.  I liked my funny clothes.  Come to think of it, I still do.

Anyway, I’m glad I had a chance to grow into who I was instead of who my peers told me to be.  Because when you don’t have any friends, it’s much easier not to put too much stake in their ideas.  The flip-side is that you kind of learn not to put too much stake in anyone else’s ideas.  Our strengths are our weaknesses I guess.

Well, as I read 1 Samuel 14, I found a couple rejects of my own.  Only these guys weren’t rejected by their peers.  They were rejected by their God.  Ironically, when we strive to not be rejected by man, we often put ourselves in a place where we will both reject, and, be rejected by, God.  Let’s investigate this passage…

One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah in the pomegranate cave at Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men, including Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba. ~1 Samuel 14:1-5

In just the short time since becoming king, Saul had already made some pretty severe mistakes.  So severe, in fact, that God had already rejected him as king.

He had sent home troops he needed for battle out of pride and self-sufficiency.  After he attacked his fiercest enemy, he stood around trumpet-blowing and trying to gather them back.  He lacked courage and leadership when the army he did have became fearful and started deserting.  He usurped both God and the prophet Samuel’s authority by being impatient and offering sacrifices he wasn’t fit to offer.  Saul was chock-full of pride and self-reliance.

For this reason, God had already rejected Saul as his king.  It seems that others had done the same.  Now, of the 3,000 soldiers he had chosen, only 600 remained.  Worse yet, even his own son, Jonathan, exhibits great distrust and lack of confidence in his leadership.  1 Samuel 14 gives us some insight as to when it is appropriate to stop following a foolish leader.

One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. ~1 Samuel 14:1

Why would Jonathan embark upon a risky and dangerous military expedition without informing his father…who just so happened to be his commander-in-chief?  Was he being prideful and self-reliant like his father?  Was this another case of usurping of proper authority?  Or was it something else?

Likely, it was because God was Jonathan’s commander-in-chief.  Jonathan had seen and experienced first-hand quite enough of his father’s foolishness.  Jonathan was brave and he trusted in God’s promises, calling the enemies “uncircumcised.” (v6)  He knew his advantage was in God, not man.  Therefore, he thought it wise not to consult his man-fearing father before the battle.  And he was right.

Go figure.  Daddy is foolish for usurping authority and little Jonny is wise when he does the same thing…because it isn’t the same thing.  The circumstances are vastly different.  It’s the difference between homicidal killing and soldier combat killing.  This kind of contrast proves how extremely important discernment is when following God.

Meanwhile, we find his father, King Saul, spoken of as having Ahijah among him, who was wearing an ephod.

Ahijah was a descendant of Eli.  Eli’s house had been rejected by God because of sin and disobedience, remember?  Yet Saul has one of Eli’s descendants, who is dressed in priestly garments, hanging around to help him determine the Lord’s will.  That’s what ephod’s were used for, after all.

All this, after he had disregarded the instructions of both God and his true prophet, Samuel.  Not to mention the fact that the true prophet had also been wholly rejected by the people following him.

Oh!  How the ungodly love to gather false prophets and smooth talkers around their tables and trust in external shows of religion!  They reject the hard, plain words of the true ministers of God and listen only to those who tickle their ears with and easy and cost-less message!

So it’s no surprise to find Saul and Ahijah hanging out together, is it?  The rejected king and the rejected priest have so deceived themselves in pride and self-sufficiency that they continue to honor one another instead of God and His Word.

Jonathan did the right thing by trusting in God rather than his man-fearing father…even though his man-fearing father was his earthly authority.  When the rubber meets the road and we have to make a decision between obeying our earthly authorities vs. obeying Our Heavenly Authority, we had better make certain we choose the latter.  True blessing and victory cannot come from the former if they are in opposition to the Lord’s will.

Next, we’ll see how God blesses Jonathan for his courage and wisdom.  For now, let’s consider how we might honor God by rejecting leaders who have rejected him and His Word.  If God has rejected someone as a leader, let’s recognize that we would do well to stop following them.  Let’s cease to worry about being rejected by men and focus only upon pleasing God.

It’s really not bad here in Loriland, anyway.  Sometimes lonely, but always an adventure.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator

Posted November 22, 2012 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Don’t Be An Ass   Leave a comment

Here is a post by Lori Rodeheaver from the blog Everyday Encounters with the Creator:

Read 1 Samuel 9.

The people of God have demanded a king.  They have rejected both God and his true prophet.  Now, God gives them over to their own lusts.  He is about to deliver just the kind of guy they were asking for.

Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses. ~1 Samuel 9:1-3

We are introduced to Saul by his external qualities alone.  He is tall, handsome, wealthy, and of good estate.  This guy is an absolute feast for the superficial eyes of the rebellious Israelites.  If they had one, this would be their poster child.

But what of wisdom?  Faith?  Inner strength?

Because the people did not concern themselves with such things, neither would God when selecting a king fitted to their lusts.

Funny, Saul comes looking for a bunch of asses.  Look no further, Saul, Samuel’s got a whole tabernacle full for ya.

And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way. ~1 Samuel 9:5-8

Although it is commendable that Saul has concern for his father, as well as his father’s donkeys, it is shameful that he had no concern for the things of God.  He didn’t even know that there was a very well-known man of God in the city where he was.  Neither did he know that true prophets did not take money in exchange for their true words.  While he had a genuine concern for his own family, he seemed to have no concern for the family of God.

Tomorrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is. ~1 Samuel 9:15-18

Samuel already knew Saul was coming.  So sensitive to God’s Word, Samuel had heard the Lord speak the day before Saul arrived and, again, just as Saul approached.

Notice how Samuel did not have to arrange the details of this meeting.  He didn’t have to go out looking for a king or schedule any duels among the fittest men.  He needed only to pray.  God alone providentially ordained this meeting and this man.

And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me today, and tomorrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house?21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? ~1 Samuel 9:19-21

The first thing Samuel does is reassure Saul about his father’s lost donkeys.  He gives Saul a spoiler about what is about to take place.  Humbled, Saul begins to question what the meaning of this could possibly be.

This had to be quite a trip for Saul.  One minute he’s out looking for donkeys, the next he’s eating a choice meal and a prophet is reading his thoughts!

And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on), but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God. ~1 Samuel 9:27

Samuel tells Saul to stop.  He bids him wait.  There is much more to tell.  The Word of God must be revealed to him thoroughly.

Don’t be an ass.  Seek leaders based on internal qualities, not external.  Be sensitive to God’s voice and leading in the process.  Remember that He ordains all men who rise to leadership – good or bad.  Urge those within your sphere of influence to stop and wait.  Reveal God’s Word thoroughly and make Him known among the nations.

Everyday Encounters with the Creator