Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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You hear a lot about plea bargaining in court cases these days, but plea bargaining...that's not a new idea. Every child learns the art of negotiating his way out of his disobedience. You might call it the art of "yeah, but." For example, "You don't have your homework" says the teacher. "Oh, yeah, but the dog ate it." Or, "My grandma died." For the sixth time? See, that art is first developed at home. "You didn't call" says Dad. "Yeah, but there was no phone." "Yeah, but my watch blew up. I didn't know what time it was." See, Children are experts at knowing what they should do and then finding ways to excuse not doing it. Well, Father isn't impressed.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The First Church of 'Yeah, But.'"
King Saul, the first king of Israel, has been given a major assignment by the Lord who made him king. His job is spiritual cancer surgery. The cancer is called the Amalekites. They are a nation that bitterly opposed everything God has wanted. They are a pagan nation, and the instructions of Saul are that he is to go in as God's instrument and basically destroy what he finds there to eliminate this spiritual cancer that has poisoned so much for so long.
Okay, instructions from our word for today from the Word of God - 1 Samuel 15:9-15 - are that he is to totally destroy what he finds. But it says, "Saul and the army spared the king and the best of the sheep and the cattle, and fat calves and the lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely. But everything that was despised and weak, that they totally destroyed." Well, Samuel, God's representative, comes to him, and when he does Saul says to Samuel, "'The Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord's instructions.' Samuel said, 'What is this bleating of sheep in my ears?' Saul answered, 'The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and the cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God. But we totally destroyed the rest.'"
See, Saul belonged to the First Church of "Yeah, But." God said to destroy everything. "Yeah, but they made me do it! We'll do everything that we can that's religious with it; we'll do spiritual things with it. I did some of what God said." God doesn't buy it. He doesn't accept rationalizations, excuses, and negotiation. Later in the chapter he says, "To obey is better than sacrifice. Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you've rejected the Lord's Word, He's rejected you as being king."
See, God wants obedience, not activity. He calls "yeah, but" obedience rebellion and arrogance. God's Word on an issue is final word; no negotiating. Oh, the excuse might sound convincing to you, but God is not impressed. For example, "Do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever." "Oh, yeah, but he's a nice guy and I'll reach him for the Lord someday." God has spoken. He says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth." "Yeah, but we need security." God has spoken. "Love your enemies." "Yeah, but they're..." God has spoken. "Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure." "Yeah, but we're in love." God has spoken.
The point is that God's Word on any subject is the final word. You'll know that eventually, after your "yeah, but" leads to heartache, disappointment, and shame. Face the truth now. Don't deceive yourself by twisting God's Word to fit what you want. Change your situation to fit God's Word. You don't pull the island of God's Word to the boat of your ideas. You pull the boat to the island.
Everyone in the First Church of "Yeah, But" is wrong.