Taught in Ambassador's Class of Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California

April 1979 through December 1979


Robert H. Roe, Pastor

1 Samuel 28, Lesson #19, August 19, 1979

Before we proceed today I would like to speak a little on the subject of the sin unto death mentioned in I John 5:16.

There is both an interaction and a paradox, if you will, of the human will and the sovereignty of God. My human will is directly involved in God working out his salvation, and yet God's sovereignty says it is going to be worked out exactly the way God wants it to be. He will take his sovereignty and make my will respond to him. If it doesn't, then God reserves the right to take me home.

As a Christian, I am an ambassador of the living God. When we send an ambassador to another country, he is a representative of the United State Government. He is to do what the United States Government says, and he is to say what the United States Government says for him to say. If he does not obey the United States of America, particularly the President, he is recalled, but he is recalled home. He is not sent to Siberia. So there's this strange paradox of my responsibility and God's sovereignty. God has a provision made for taking me home when I rebel. Yet in the over all providence of God it has been programmed in my life from all eternity, that I will end up doing exactly what God wants me to do. I do not thwart the program of God. God will do anything possible to bring me to himself. If it doesn't work, he will use me as an example to those around me. We forget that a death situation doesn't just involve the person, it involves all of those around him. I John 5:16 is a very difficult passage and the commentators are spread all over the ball park on it, but I believe the sin unto death spoken of in that passage does indeed involve physical death. Every single case I have looked up, and that is by no means an exhaustive study, has always involved an impact on the total congregation.

Example #1: In Joshua 7 when Achan took the wedge of gold at Jericho, it caused the Jewish congregation to be defeated in battle at Ai and some Jews to be killed. God destroyed Achan.

Example #2: In Numbers 20:8-12 Moses did not honor God before the whole assembly and struck the rock, Whack! Whack!, when he had been told to "speak" to it. God graciously gave the Jews water because they were thirsty, but he told Moses he would not enter the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 3 Moses pleads with God. God says, "No. It is settled. Don't speak of it. I'll take you up on the mountain Pisgah and I'll let you see the land, but you will not enter it. You dishonored me in front of all Israel."

Example #3 In Numbers 15:32-36, the law had just been given. There was a man who gathered wood on the Sabbath. They had just gotten the law. It said you were to kill a man who defiled the Sabbath, but they had never killed a man for defiling the Sabbath before. They didn't know what to do. So they got the whole congregation together and sought the mind of God. God said, "Kill him. He openly defied me in front of the whole congregation." You see, it affected the whole congregation. In the New Testament,

Example #4, In Acts 5:1-10, Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit. They lied directly in front of the congregation and they were struck down.

Example #5, in I Corinthians 5, a man involved in incestuous conduct. His body was to be delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh. The root word for destruction here comes from the verb "slay." I firmly believe the man repented and came back to the Lord, but he did lose his life. Why? Because he was living with his father's wife which in Leviticus 20:11 is punishable by death. It could affect the whole congregation.

So these types of things are what I am talking about. It appears the sin unto death seems to be involved with people. God has to make a public example in a situation having an impact upon the people. I reiterate, I am not making a dogmatic statement because this passage is very difficult, but all through Scripture God has reserved the right to take people home because of their affect on the congregation. I mention it here because in our lesson today I think we will see an example of this.

We have been looking at the lives of two kings, one, David, is about to become a king and one, Saul, is about to lose his kingdom. It is my belief that both of them are believers.

David is a man after God's own heart. He has tremendous falls, but his heart is set upon Jehovah, and when Jehovah puts the finger on him, he does not rationalize his sin. He agrees with God, confesses his sin and accepts whatever God wants to do with him.

Saul, on the other hand, is a man of the flesh. When the finger is put upon him, he rationalizes away every accountability, responsibility, and goes down the tube, for the flesh, as we saw, cannot please God. I emphasize cannot.

Today we are going to look at chapter 28. This is a graphic picture of the flesh in action, both the "bad" part of the flesh and the "good" part of the flesh. I use quotes for those words because the flesh is all bad. We think of the flesh as those evil things, those wicked thoughts that come into our minds, that totally depraved nature that crops up with thoughts and deeds we never dreamed we would think about, and which we are ashamed to tell people about. That is part of the flesh. Actuality, though, the flesh is simply life without Jesus Christ. From the human perspective it can be morally good. ethically great and very compassionate as well as depraved, wicked and vile. We are going to see the flesh both in its evilness and in its goodness but from a human perspective. The operative word here is human. It is always human perspective. It is always human resource. And even in its goodness, it never, ever hits the core of the problem: the person's need of the Spirit of God, the need for the life of Jesus Christ lived out through humanity that it might free me from me. The flesh never frees me from me. The flesh concentrates on me. It focuses on me. It says, "I can do it if I just strive a little harder. In me is this spark of divinity that just needs to be fanned a little to develop full-blown into beautiful Christianity." Of course, it always ends up a stink weed. In Chapter 28 we will see that in the life of Saul, there is both deliberate rebellion on Saul's part and compassion on the part of the witch, or medium, which diverts Saul completely from the core of his problem and sends him right down the tube. Both evilness and compassion, in the flesh, will drive you away from Jesus Christ.

Let's start now with verse 3 of I Samuel 28. (We looked at verses 1 and 2 in Lesson #17, 2 weeks ago)

The Philistines have gone up the seacoast of Palestine and have gathered their forces at Aphek. From there they marched up to the base of the Sea of Galilee where the forces of Israel are gathered by the spring in Jezreel. Saul apparently allowed the defences of his borders to so deteriorate that the Philistines can march boldly up the seacoast and are now going to cross below Galilee and control Israel by splitting it in half. They have pretty well taken over the lower area and are now planning to take over the upper area. They have the forces to do it too. The Israelite armies are demoralized and have had no leadership since Saul has been too busy trying to kill his rival. He is becoming more and more paranoid, has chosen to disobey God and has tried to kill God's anointed. David, meanwhile, has been freed from his sin again Saul. Chastened and obeying God. he has gone after the Amalekites. Saul, on the other hand, is now trapped with his own problems. He sees this great gathering of Philistines with their iron weaponry and their high morale, since they have been making it big, sweeping up from Aphek to Shunem (near the Hill of Moreh), and he is terrified. He brings his forces up to Mt. Gilboa where, with a valley between them, they will be facing each other. So we will pick up right there. I Samuel 28:3. Verse 3 gives us a little setting. The writer points out two things that are critical in this whole issue.

I Samuel, 28:3:

Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah his own city. And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists.

First, Samuel, Saul's last pipeline to Yahweh, who will not answer Saul, is dead. Secondly, apparently to cultivate Samuel, he destroyed all mediums and all wizards in Israel. Any person in Israel who either practiced occulthood, or even went to someone who did, was to be slain. Both the Deuteronomy and Levitical teachings were very definite. God did not want any of them in the land. They were both defiling and detestable to Jehovah. And so Saul obeys God, apparently in order to curry favor with Samuel. He does remove from the land the mediums, the wizards, the witchcraft and the necromancers, those that raise the dead. So now here he is without Samuel as the pipeline to God and without an occult system to find out about the future.

I Samuel, 28:4:

So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa.

If God cannot reach you with the love of God, he will try to reach you by the wrath of God. As we go through this chapter, I want you to look at it as God's last attempt to reach Saul. Look at it not for the wrath of God, but for the wrath of God used as an instrument of the grace of God. God really wants Saul to change his mind. He does something here he has never done in Scripture before. He brings back a man from the dead. In Luke 16, Christ tells of a rich man living a lavish life while Lazarus, a poor beggar, lies in front of his gate wishing for even the crumbs from his table. The beggar is a believer The rich man is not. They both die. The rich man is in Hades in torment. Lazarus is in Abraham's bosom, a picture of Paradise. The rich man begs to have Lazarus come over, dip his fingers in water and put it to his lips for he is in torment. But Abraham says, "I'm sorry he can't do that. 'Remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things, but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed.' We cannot cross over to you if we would, and you cannot cross over to us if you would." So the rich man said, "Then I beg you send Lazarus back from the dead to warn my five brothers so they don't come here." Abraham said, "They have Moses and the Prophets," (The same law of God that Saul had). The rich man says, "No, if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent." Abraham says, "No, they won't. If they will not repent because of Moses and the Prophets, they will not repent even if a man comes back from the dead." It is my personal belief that in this story Jesus is referring to the incident with Saul which we are about to study. I am not saying that the Word of God teaches this, just that it is my personal belief.

Let us look at this passage now as the grace of God. First God wipes out Saul's resources, so he will have to look up instead of in.

I Samuel 28:5

When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. [He is no longer the general in command. He is Chicken Little.] When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets.

David has Abiathar the priest and the ephod down at Ziklag so apparently Saul has established a second priesthood. Even though there is a whole school of prophets up where Saul is, God will not respond to Saul because he is in disobedience. He has maintained himself on the throne of Israel for maybe 15 years, even though he knows God's anointed king is now David. In chapter 15 God tore the kingdom from Saul because of his disobedience. He refused to totally slay the Amalekites, a picture of the flesh. He stayed on the throne of Israel in direct defiance of Jehovah. In Old Testament Scripture there is no sin offering for the sin of the high hand, the sin of defiance. The idea is your hand thrust against God.

So, now with Samuel removed, Saul have to resort to something he knows is "detestable" to Jehovah, something he knows to be wrong. He turns to the occult.

I Samuel 28:7:

Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor."

En-dor is just a few miles north of the Israelite camp, very close to Nazareth. Saul knows that mediums, wizards and spiritists are wrong. He himself purged Israel of them. So when he can't find out the future from God, he rationalizes, "I've got to know the future," and he makes evil good. That it one of the marks of the flesh. It will take something which deep in your heart you know to be evil and rationalize it until, having convinced yourself it is good, you practice it. As the commanding general of Israel who is outnumbered, Saul really needs to know the future. He needs to know, "Shall I pursue the Philistines? Shall I fight them? God, will you deliver them into my hands?" But God is silent. So Saul very nicely rationalizes away a wrong because he has a need. It is a necessity. Look at verse 8.

I Samuel, 28:8:

Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, "Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you."

He disguises himself so the woman will not recognize him as Saul the killer of mediums. He also goes by night so the Israelites will not recognize where he is going. Had he been disguising himself just for the woman's sake, he could have gone during the day. However, deep inside him there is guilt. There is still a witness of the Spirit that says this is wrong. So he covers both problems. He is still rationalizing.

I Samuel, 28:9:

But the woman said to him, "Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?" And Saul vowed to her by the Lord, [by Yahweh himself], saying. "As Yahweh lives, there shall no punishment come upon you for this thing."

Kind of interesting isn't it? He just did away with a mass of spiritists and mediums. Now notice God takes an ungodly woman who is probably possessed by a medium, or demonized I should say; the word in the Greek is actually "demonized," and has her warn Saul that what he is doing is punishable by death. He knows what the law is. He knows it is punishable by death to heed a medium or even to seek a medium. So what does he do? He does what he's done all along. He plays God. The flesh loves to play God. (Remember, "Hath God said you shall not eat of the fruit of any of the trees in the Garden of Eden?" Genesis 3:16) "As Yahweh lives," Saul says, "no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." He deliberately goes against God's known will, and says, "I won't kill you. You're free."

I Samuel, 28:11:

Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul."

She goes into her routine for the little demon she works with. She is used to conjuring up trickery and deceit, but all of a sudden she gets herself something real, and she sees Samuel. She is no longer in control, nor is the demon in control. She is terrified, and so is the demon by the way. He tips her off to who this disguised man is standing in front of her. She says, "You are Saul." Now what is God again trying to do for Saul? He is giving him another chance for repentance. He's trying to warn him, "This is no normal seance." The demon isn't in control of this situation either, God is. But Saul is committed.

I Samuel 28:13:

And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid; but what do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a divine being [or a heavenly being] coming up out of the earth." And he said to her, "What is his form?" [He is afraid of being tricked] And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe (or a prophet's mantle). [There is to be no mistake. God is seeking to make Samuel very recognizable] And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage.

Saul is down on his knees before Samuel with his hands and his face to the ground. Another intriguing thing here. Who will Saul pay homage to? Samuel a dead man. Who won't he pay homage to? The living God. See what the flesh does. It diverts your worship from a living God, to the worship of a dead man or a dead something that has no life in it. That is what Romans, 1:18-32 and II Thessalonians 2:10-11 says. Those that knew the truth but refused it God gave over to delusion that they might believe the lie.

I Samuel, 28:15:

Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and answers me no more, either through prophets or by dreams, therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do."

What a contradiction. God has departed from Saul and won't answer him so he's going to call up a prophet of God and expect him to answer. What does the word prophet mean, "an outspeaker from God." God won't speak yet Saul expects the prophet of God to speak anyway. He doesn't have any concept of what he is really doing. So Samuel straightens him out.

I Samuel, 28:16:

And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary?"

This is why, I think, this is the key to the sin unto death. When you are in such a state of high-handedness against God, not stumbling into it, not being angry with God and flipping your wig or something like that, but you have reached a settled state of rebellion; you have become an adversary to God, so he has become an adversary to you. Therefore you have to be called home.

So now God has become an adversary to Saul. Saul has had 15 years to change his mind, and he hasn't done it yet.

I Samuel, 28:17:

"And the Lord has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day."

Remember Saul lost the "line" of the kingdom when he sacrificed instead of waiting for Samuel. He didn't lose the kingdom at that time. He lost it when he refused to slay all the Amalekites, all their possessions, everything even touching them, their goods, their animals, whatever. If you recall in chapter 15 he slaughtered all the Amalekites except the king. He kept all the "good" animals and all the "good" things, the good in quotes, and destroyed all the detestable things, the cheap stuff. Samuel demanded that Agag, king of the Amalekites, be brought to him, and Agag came and said "'Surely the bitterness of death is past.' You have killed off all the Amalekites except for me, you're not going to kill a king." Agag is the chief one left to kill. Why didn't Saul kill him, the king of the Amalekites? He killed all the others. He only kept the cattle, the sheep, the oxen and the goods that were "good." Why did he not kill Agag? Prestige! The oriental pagan despots always brought back kings as their prize trophy. What is a "prize trophy" significant of in the state in which Saul was walking? The flesh. He keeps the king of the flesh. He thinks he is ruling over Agag. Agag is really ruling over him. Why is it that we always keep the king? Why must the king be destroyed in a fleshly situation? Because he is the king. Either he rules or we rule. And Saul doesn't even see that. Because Saul failed to destroy the Amalekites, Samuel did. He hacked Agag to pieces totally removing the Amalekites in that situation. But here we see one of the problems in the sin of a leader.

I Samuel, 28:19:

"Moreover the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!"

How many people are going to be affected, are going to be hurt, by Saul's rebellion? His precious sons, Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchi-shua, those that stayed by him all the way, are going to die. More than that the armies of Israel will be affected. They have made some bad choices themselves. Saul has retained his kingship, and even though they know by now that David is God's anointed, they still have stayed with Saul. In fact they still remain with Saul for another seven years after his death. When Abner takes over and makes Ishbosheth, Saul's son, king of Israel, they (the northern tribes) stay with them. They do not go down to Judah. For seven years David is king only of Judah. So God is going to give over the armies of Israel who made the choice to follow Saul instead of David. He is also going to give over Saul's three sons, his most prized, beloved possessions, one of which is the godly Jonathan. This just crushes Saul, but it is exactly where God can move in.

I Samuel, 28:20:

Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground [remember he is on his knees with his face down, now he just slides down, and is flat spread out on the ground] and was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; also there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day and all night.

Saul has two basic problems. One is a deep terror of the future and the second is a deep physical weakness. Now, here is the compassionate flesh in action. The flesh has an amazing ability to come in just at the right moment with just the wrong answer and just the wrong focus. Saul is totally wiped out. It is his one chance to cry out to God in terror, in anguish, in weakness and hopelessness and throw himself on the mercy of God. God would have responded just like that . But in comes the flesh.

I Samuel, 28:21:

And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was terrified, and said to him, "Behold, your maidservant has obeyed you, and I have taken my life in my hand, and have listened to your words which you spoke to me. So now also, please listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you that you may eat and have strength when you go on your way."

What does the flesh always try to appear like when it comes to rescue you? Yes, a friend, a helper, a loving companion, someone whose arm goes around you. It's you. It's good ole Bob the Slob back again, and we've been together for years.

Don't ever kid yourself that the flesh comes to you with "Evil" stamped across its forehead. Satan never does anything like that. Satan masquerades as an angel of light in the service of a ministry of righteousness and appears right at the wrong time, at the crucial moment, looking good, but always focusing on the wrong thing. Saul has a spiritual need and a physical need and what does the "maidservant" focus on? His physical need., and she offers her credentials. What are her credentials? Well, look at them, they are good. "Your maidservant has obeyed you," and secondly, "I have taken my life in my hand for you," and "'I have listened to your words which you spoke to me.' I have credentials that show you I can help you. I've been on your side all along Now, because I'm on your side, please listen to me. I'm with you. Let's get something to feed your body so you can get up and go out of here and go to your destiny," which, of course, is down the tube. But we'll do it with strength and vigor! If you are going to walk in the flesh, at least walk well. We giggle, but that is the terrible tragedy. We feed the flesh and make it strong and healthy so it can destroy us. If we would crucify it, cut off its source, it would wither, but no, we feed it.

I Samuel, 28 23:

But he refused and said, "I will not eat." However, his servants [His dear friends two came with him, the two he can trust to go on this trip] together with the woman urged him, and he listened to them. So he arose from the ground and sat on the bed.

What has happened to Saul's position of humility, of being totally wiped out? What do you suppose happened to Saul's attitude the moment he got up and sat on the bed with his spear in his hand? He became a king in Israel again, didn't he? He is no longer flat out on the ground in a totally humiliated position. He's up on the bed, and being catered to. He begins to feel a little better, more like a king. This is step number 1.

Now Step number 2. Beautiful compassion calls for action on the part of the flesh.

I Samuel, 28:24:

And the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly slaughtered it; and she took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it. And she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night.

See to what lengths the flesh will go to keep you? This is not exactly a wealthy woman apparently. Endor is a miserable place, today at least. I don't know what it was like in those days. But it must have been an out-of-the-way place for her to be able to practice her spiritism and not get trapped. But what does she do for Saul? How far does she go for Saul? She slaughters a fatted calf. What does the fatted calf symbolize in Israel? What happened to the prodigal son, for example? It's the best. It is a celebration. It is a victory celebration. Who's won the victory? Yes, the flesh. Saul is up. He's sitting on the bed feeling like a king again. He's being catered to. Out comes the fatted calf which makes Saul feel good, feel regal, feel in charge, feel like he isn't quite as bad as he was, and it really cost that woman something. So they ate. They arose and they went on their way. What a testimony. They went back out into the night. By the way, they had to skirt the camp of the Philistines to do this.

What does it say about the flesh? What are some of the things you see about the flesh in this passage? Yes, it will go to any length to satisfy itself no matter what the cost. What else do you see about it?

Comment from class: Isn't it interesting that the evil that Saul sought he sought even though he knew it was going to destroy him? Yes, he sought it out, but in this case it didn't look evil at the time, did it? It looked necessary. Ever notice that in your fleshly reactions? You will do something you know to be wrong but you are convinced is necessary. So you rationalize based on necessity. You cheat on your income tax, for example. Why? Because the house payment is coming due, or something like that, and you don't have the money, so it is necessary. That is what the flesh will always try to do. It will take the immediacy of the situation, your present circumstances not the long range goal, and make that the big thing to the detriment of the other.

Remember we looked at how Satan works versus how the Scripture works, God comes to you with facts, Scripture, period, and appeals to the mind. He says, "Now, I'm God, I have spoken the Word of God. I am the truth. I want you to take the facts of Scripture, and because I am God and I have said them, I want you to believe them. I want you to act like they are true." It goes to my mind and my will. When I act like they are true, I get the "feeling" that they are. My emotions are the proof of my mind acting according to my will in faith on the Word of God, and my feelings are the actual proof of that. Satan is exactly the reverse. He comes in, "Yeah, hath God said?" He immediately jabs you with a little sharp barb of doubt, works on the emotions. He starts out with emotions and gets slowly in control through the flesh, or the world. Then he goes from the emotions to rationalize the mind, to pervert the mind. Then the emotions and the mind gang up on the will, and pretty soon you have done something you never dreamed you would do, but you have emotionalized yourself into something you should do, and you have rationalized to the point where it is no longer even bad.

One thing I want to leave you with is, how much does God want this willful, high-handed king to repent? What has he done in this chapter. He has done everything he can, hasn't he? He literally overruled a demonic situation. He brought a man back from the dead. There is nothing like it in Scripture, and he does it just for Saul's sake, and Saul blows it.

You say to me, "God almost has him, though."

Yes, he does almost have Saul. That's right. The trouble is when anyone starts living in the flesh, it tends to become normal and natural, and you just continue on in the flesh. Unfortunately the flesh doesn't always look bad. It may even look very good. But God does not want you walking in the flesh, and he does everything he can to stop you.

Question from the class: Now you just mentioned a couple times about God taking Saul back home, taking him home where?

With Samuel. Samuel says, "Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me." Samuel is a godly man. Jonathan is a godly man.

Class: Where is this?

This is heaven, paradise, at home with God. Saul's performance is not an issue. Saul's performance for 15 years is not an issue about where he is going. God did anoint Saul. God did change his life. He said so back in I Samuel 10:6-9. God did fill him with the Spirit.

Saul, was a man chosen of God, anointed of God, filled with the Spirit of God for the mission that God gave him. The key is not performance. It is our choice, our destiny by God, so Saul goes to be with Samuel along with Jonathan who is obviously a godly man, who was willing to give up his throne for David's sake because David was anointed of God. Saul ended up exactly as God wanted him to end up. Saul did step out of light, but God didn't remove him as king because of his rebellion. So, here is that strange paradox of the sovereignty of God and the moral responsibility of man.

Next time chapter 31 and chapter 1 of II Samuel, and we'll see the wages of sin.

Father, we thank you for your Word, and we just ask now that we might be mindful of the warning that the flesh is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, that it may come to us in the form of compassion, that it may come to us in the form of a person on our side. It will look like it is good. It will do anything possible to lure us down the primrose path, walking in the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit. Father, teach us that the flesh fights dirty. It is not nice. It is never acceptable. It is just plain rotten, and it cannot please you. Father, help us not to rationalize. Help us to face up to it and call it what it is, Sin, S-I-N, and to put it away in repentance and confession and thanksgiving that we do not have to be enslaved by Agag, the Amalekite. We have been enslaved by Jesus Christ the Lord God Almighty, the Holy One of God. Thank you, Father for this option, in Jesus' name. Amen

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