Dealing with Sin-First Samuel 15

I recently read of a young executive that was constantly seen in the office restroom fiddling with his mouth. It turns out that he had a problem with his tooth that kept bothering him. To alleviate the pain, he used a numbing gel regularly to make the pain go away.
Finally, he couldn’t stand the pain any longer and he went in to see his dentist. Once the doctor had examined his tooth, he let the young man know that because of his delay, the gum surrounding the tooth had become severely infected and that in order to stop the damage, he would need to remove several teeth around the infected one and fit the executive with a set of partial dentures. All because he failed to deal with the problem when it was small!
In First Samuel 15 we see that sin is destructive and that if it isn’t dealt with right away, like a rotting tooth, it affects more people and becomes more painful. What is needed is a return to God and a spiritual heart check.
Saul was instructed by the Lord to destroy God’s enemies, the Amalekites, and to leave nothing. Saul instead chose to keep the king alive as a trophy, and to take the livestock as the spoils of war. In doing so, Saul rebelled against the direct orders of God and rejected His authority. When confronted with his sin by Samuel, first he lied, then he excused his behavior, then he passed blame to the people, then finally accepted blame but quickly moved on to save face before the people.
We can see from Saul’s rebelliousness against God that often times the effects and consequences of sin reach far beyond the sinner. It is like the consequence of a restaurant cook that does not wash his hands after using the restroom. The filth on his hands that once was personal effects all those who are around his and the innocent suffer from his sin.
The lesson that we can learn from this is that we need to deal with sin quickly and honestly. Sin is so destructive not only because the damage it does to the one wronged, but because it can spread like gangrene and hurt others as well. We need to be honest about our sins (confession) and repent of them, both before God and man.

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Book Review: God’s Battle Plan for the Mind


Review: God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation, David W. Saxton

Many areas of modern evangelicalism are devoid of deep thinking on biblical matters. It isn’t uncommon to hear Christians speak of the need to set aside doctrinal differences in order to foster a sense of unity. Although I am all for biblical unity, there can be little unity when there is no consensus on biblical truth. And it is this very issue that begins to show our need for a massive return to biblical meditation upon the Word of God and doctrine.

Saxton’s book takes twelve short chapters to uncover the largely lost discipline of biblical meditation in hopes that this much-needed excercise will be brought back as a mainstream practice in the Church.

In chapter 2, entitled “Unbiblical Forms of Meditation,” Saxton wisely warns of the counterfeits that masquerade as the genuine article. Roman Catholic spirituality, mysticism and contemplative prayer are especially important because of the current emphases that have promoted these practices and their accompanying works through the Spiritual Formation movement. Along with these the author briefly examines TM (transcendental meditation), yoga and Far Eastern religious ideas of meditation before moving on in chapter 3 with a short study not the biblical idea of meditation.

Saxton shows that he is very familiar with the Puritan’s wisdom on this subject, and he demonstrates their warm practices and wisdom throughout the book. One of the highlights of reading this book is all of the thoughtful quotes from the Puritans that are included within which serve to allow them to teach us the how and what of biblical meditation.

If I were to mention any negatives about this excellent book it would be just two. First, the chapter which defined what biblical meditation is (ch. 3) was a bit anemic in regards to the amount of biblical evidence and study given to it. I understand that this book was about the Puritan’s practice, but I was hoping for more than a very glossed over treatment of the biblical texts. Second, I found that this book read more like a compendium of Puritan wisdom with the author weaving it all together with a few sentences and phrases. When Saxton does find his voice, it is clear that he has absorbed much of the language and phrasing of the Puritans himself and so writes in an engaging manner that made me wish he had done so throughout. The final concluding chapter was closest to this idea and it was to me the most enjoyable as far as readability and smoothness.

Overall this book is a blessing to the Church and I pray that it will not only be read by many, but that it will become a practical handbook that engages more believers in the regular practice of biblical meditation.

[God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation, David W. Saxton (Reformation Heritage Books, 2015)]