1 Samuel 12:1ff, A king over you. The establishment of Saul as king in Israel was a constitutional or limited monarchy, unlike the kings of other Eastern nations of the time where the king had total, unlimited and absolute power. Their kings ruled by whim and fancy, while Israel’s would be subservient to the Torah; their kings placed their self-aggrandizement above the national interest, while Israel’s king was charged with upholding and safeguarding the nation’s righteousness, and with guiding Israel as the bearer of [Elohim’s]—not the king’s—majesty (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1187). “The Jewish king was bound to respect the liberty, honour, and the property of his subjects, and his powers were strictly limited by the fundamental laws of the Torah (Deut 17:14–20). Prophets, psalmists, and sages all conceived of the king as a shepherd of his people, whose scepter should be a scepter of peace, pity, and righteousness” (The Soncino Pentateuch, p. 649). This is the basis of a republican form of government, which, in theory, is the basis for American government. As you become more familiar with YHVH’s laws it will become evident that certain aspects of the American legal code derive from the Torah. This truth underscores the fact that our society has deep Judeo-Christian roots.
1 Samuel 12:3, Whose ass have I taken? The moral integrity of spiritual leadership is essential.
Most leaders in Christian or Messianic circles would strongly assert their probity (honesty and decency), and at the same time would deny that they are building their ministry kingdoms for personal benefit, but what is the real truth?
- How do they treat their children and wives behind the scenes?
- What is their response toward their detractors? How do they treat other “competing” ministries?
- Do they live off of YHVH’s sheep, or do they use tithes and offerings for the care and feeding of YHVH’s sheep?
- If they do receive income from their flocks, how dependent are they on that income?
- To what degree do they make decisions affecting the congregation in order to solicit a response that will ensure the security of their position as chief leader and beneficiary of the congregation’s largesse?
- To what degree do they angle their teaching and preaching to curry the favor of their constituents thus keeping the funds flowing toward them?
These are questions that spiritual leaders all need to ask of themselves from time to time.
1 Samuel 3:1, The word of YHVH was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation [open, prophetic vision]. Into this environment of spiritual laxity in Israel, YHVH introduced Samuel, a man who was single-handedly responsible for the spiritual revival of that nation.
The regime of Eli and his wayward sons can be likened to the state of the church in these last days in America. Eli was a weak, ineffectual, compromised, lukewarm, fat and blind leader spiritual leader. The modern church is filled with leaders who like Eli have little or no backbone to stand up to evil, to denounce sin, to refuse to toy with spiritual compromise, to stand up to false leaders who are in the ministry simply for their own personal gain and physical gratification.
On the surface, Eli looked good. He sported the title of High Priest, along with all the trappings and regalia that came with that exalted office including a glorious church building, ceremonial accoutrements and robes. He even had “throne.” Yet at the same time, he was blind and grossly fat. This is the spiritual state of many leaders in the church today. For their own benefit, they have plundered the people they lead becoming financially well off in the process. YHVH denounces these phony and carnal shepherds in Ezekiel 34 who feed themselves at the sheep’s expense caring little or nothing for them. This was the sin of Eli’s sons who not only forcefully plundered the people for their own gain (1 Sam 2:2–17), but Continue reading
1 Samuel 24:16–21 (also 26:25), Here King Saul prophesies that David will succeed him as king over Israel, and that he will do great things and prevail. There were other instances of Saul coming under a spirit of prophecy (also 10:10–11; 19:23–24).
Saul was capable of hearing the voice of Elohim, but because of unrestrained carnality, a spirit of rebellion (15:23), and his inability to submit to the will of Elohim, he was spiritually conflicted. Clearly, YHVH was not in his heart (15:15, 21, 30). Within Saul was a constant struggle between doing the will of Elohim and his own will. The latter usually won out, because he had not unconditionally surrendered his will to YHVH (15:23, 26). Saul was swayed more by popular opinion than by the Word of Elohim (15:24, 30). Saul was able to worship Elohim (15:31), but was spiritually weak and not able to obey the Word of Elohim (15:23, 26). Is it possible to love and worship Elohim without obeying his Word?
Yeshua declared that those who love him will obey his commandments or his Word (John 14:15). James wrote that the demons even tremble before Elohim (Jas 2:19), even though they are in rebellion against the Word of Elohim.
Faith, works and obedience must accompany the worship and fear of Elohim (Jas 2:14–26). Though Saul paid lip service to YHVH, his heart was far from him. He obeyed when it was convenient and expedient to him.
Isaiah similarly spoke of the rebellious Israelites who drew near to YHVH with their lips, but in reality, their hearts were far from him (Isa 29:13). Yeshua quoted and applied this verse to the hypocritical and rebellious religious leaders of his day (Matt 15:6–7).
Have you ever thought that Saul may be a spiritual type of the church, which teaches and obeys the Torah-Word of Elohim only in part, but otherwise follows a Torahless (at times, even anti-Torah) belief system?
But let’s not be arrogant against our Christian brothers! How much of the Saul-mentality do we still have in us—even among those who claim to love and to follow the Torah? How do we find the spiritual blind spots in our own hearts?
Below are two examples from the life of King Saul who at times prophesied while under the influence of the Set-Apart Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) of Elohim, and at other times he was under the influence of an evil (demonic) spirit (e.g., when he tried to murder David, when he sought counsel of the witch of Endor).
1 Samuel 18:10, Saul…prophesied. Saul prophesied (Heb. naba). Naba can refer to the prophetic utterances of both true and false prophets. When Saul was under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim he prophesied by the Set-Apart Spirit. When under the influence of an evil spirit, he “raved” (NAS). Is Saul a picture of modern Torahless prophets in the church who sometimes prophesy and sometimes rave?
1 Samuel 19:20–24, Saul and his servants prophesy. Though Saul and his servants were under the influence of an evil spirit, when they came under the influence of the Spirit of Elohim, they would prophesy by the Spirit. Many people in the church claim to be prophets, though they are only walking partially in Torah and partially following the rudiments of this world or pagan and church traditions that violate the Torah-word of Elohim. These are Babylonian prophets who prophesy mixture: sometimes truth and sometimes error.