Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Sunday I preached on 1 Samuel 15 and how Saul disobeyed God and refused to put Agag and all the Amalekites do death—as the Lord had commanded. After swiftly progressing through the chapter, we finally arrived at v.33 where it reads: "Samuel hacked Agag to pieces." I think the NIV totally misses it as it says: "Samuel put Agag to death."

וַיְשַׁסֵּ֨ף שְׁמוּאֵ֧ל אֶת־אֲגָ֛ג לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בַּגִּלְגָּֽל׃

Interestingly, the word is used in modern Hebrew to 'separate' and this was the similar idea long ago as it was a butchering term used to divide and chop up in pieces.

Why such extreme measures? Why did Samuel commit this kind of bloody-gruesome-violent deed? Because it was precisely the man Agag who was the trophy of Saul's disobedience. At the conclusion of the chapter I practically gave three ways that every Christian must strive to put sin to death at its root (this portion of the sermon comprised half of my time).

If you only pluck the weeds in your backyard when they become visible and neglect to pull them up from the root it will sprout up again next week, and the next, and the next. But if you pull it up from the root it will ensure that that weed won't pop up again. So it is with your sin.

It's like Caleb in the movie FIREPROOF. Remember how he was accused by his wife of being "addicted to pornography?" Finally, after repenting and believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord he went home and yanked the computer off the desk, rushed outside, took a baseball bat and hacked that thing to pieces because that computer was the source of his stumbling into pornography. (Obviously there are heart issues to deal with as well—cf. Matt 5:27ff). This is a good example of, as Jesus said, "tear out your eye and throw it from you ... cut off your hand and throw it from you." Do you do this with your sins—specifically? Deliberately? Ferociously?

Here were my three ways to kill sin from its root in your life...

a. Find the root of the sin (32)—Apprehend the cause
b. Hack your sin to pieces (33)—Amputate the sin
c. Walk the path of the godly (34-35)—Alter your life

Note how Jonathan Edwards viewed this:
Resolution #24 — Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
John Owen saw it similarly:
“Watch against the first motions of sin, watch against its beginnings, don’t give it any ground whatsoever. The spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and meditation and prayer are crucial because without them there can be no watchfulness against sin, there can be no sensitivity to its deceitfulness, there will be no protection of the mind. The great wisdom and security of the soul in dealing with indwelling sin is to put a violent stop unto its beginnings, its first motions and actings. Venture all on the first attempt."
So I say: "be killing your sin or your sin will be killing you."


Anonymous said...


This was one of the most powerful (& personally convicting sermons) that I have heard in a while. Oh, how I miss sitting under your preaching on a regular basis ... you really 'hit the ball out of the park' on this one!

Thank you so much for faithfully studying, preparing & preaching captivating sermons that unpack the Word of God and feed His flock.

Love Always,

Your Wife

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