Part 3: Transitioning Between Kingdoms by Ern Baxter

Transitioning Between Kingdoms is the third in The King And His Army, the five part series of powerful and relevant prophetic messages delivered by Ern Baxter in 1975 at the Lakes Bible Week in the UK.

My colleague and good friend Arthur Wallis pointed out to me at breakfast this morning, before my eyes were quite open, that I had made two blunders last night – which I think isn’t bad for such a long sermon.  (*laughter*).  I had attributed the statement; “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” to Psalm 110 and it’s actually Psalm 2.  (*laughter*).  I am sure that He is going to do it whether it’s in Psalm 2 or in Psalm 110, but its good to be accurate.  And then I had attributed Samuel’s lineage to Levi and he was an Ephramite.  Now of course I had done both of these deliberately because I wanted to destroy any illusions you may have had to my infallibility.  (*laughter*).  I may tell you if it’s any comfort to you that I have made some dandies in the past, such as the night that I put the ring on the Prodigal Son’s toe.  (*laughter*).  What further added to my discomfort on that occasion was that I couldn’t figure out why everybody was laughing.  (*laughter*).  Thank God for laughter!  When God saved me, He converted my ‘laugher’ and my ‘cry-er’ and hand-clapper and my jumper-up and downer as well as every other part of me.  Thank God that the last two nights are over!  (*laughter*).  I don’t like dealing with dismal aspects of history but they are necessary and we must take the bitter with the sweet.  We have been talking on the last two nights about a man by the name of Saul, son of Kish, who stood head and shoulders above all Israel.  We referred to him as the “Head and Shoulders Man”.

I was teaching on this in a conference in America – and do you have “Head and Shoulders Shampoo” over here?  (*laughter*).  On the last night of my ministry I came up to the pulpit and there was a tube of Head and Shoulders Shampoo on it.  (*laughter*).  I’m thinking of having it framed and put it up in my study.  We are teaching on the assumption, which we feel is valid that as kingship was inaugurated in Israel that God allowed Saul to become the first king and he was the choice of the people.  Furthermore he was a Head and Shoulders Man.  The Head speaks of human wisdom, and the shoulders speak of human strength.  Now I don’t know how well you have heard what I am saying or if you have been able to put it into the context that I hoped you would put it, and that is that Saul was the king of the Israelites, and that he was a king who tried to run Israel by the human mind and human strength.  It is interesting that the Ark was not consulted in the days of Saul.  Saul did not attempt to govern Israel under divine authority, and it would appear that the only times he turned to divine authority was when he needed Samuel to dig him out of a scrape.  As we learned last night, he finished up his life in deception and in demonic delusion and torture and was killed by an Amalakite, whom he should have wiped out when God told him to wipe the Amalakites out – instead an Amalakite wiped him out ultimately.  But we finished up by pointing out that the one who killed Saul was God Himself.  A rather terrible thing to say, and yet, we read on several occasions that God killed men because they were just too bad to live and had outlived their usefulness.  Now we have already discovered that Samuel told Saul that the kingdom was going to be taken from him and given to a neighbour who was better than he was.  So Saul knew that his days were finished and that the kingdom was going to be given to someone else.  Tonight we are going to look at the transition from one king to the other.  And there are some very practical lessons here that I trust we can hear and benefit by, and I pray that God will give us clear thought and articulation so that we can bring them to you.

So I’d like it if we can break in at the end of 1st Samuel 15.  As we look at men like Samuel and other great men in Israel’s history, we are inclined to put an aura of perfection around them and of course none of them merit that.  All men outside of our Lord Jesus Christ had their flaws.  Although Samuel was a great man and was obviously morally pure and could stand before the congregation of Israel and challenge them to charge him with any act of moral impropriety – yet he was still a man, and he had his areas of weakness as we will discover tonight.  But they are weaknesses that I think will be very quickly recognised as weaknesses that we ourselves have.  After Samuel had to tell Saul that the kingdom was being taken from him, he went up to Ramah (v34).

“But Saul went up to his house at Gibeah.  And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death.  For Samuel grieved over Saul and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.” Samuel grieved over Saul. 

Why did Samuel grieve over Saul?  I think that Saul was exactly what the Bible said he was.  A tall, handsome, broad shouldered, attractive man, and Israel’s first king, who had at the beginning showed such promise as he destroyed Nahesh, and was received by all Israel as king.  Then Samuel watched him deteriorate as he disregarded divine order and forced himself to sacrifice at Gilgal – refused to deal with the flesh and wipe out the Amalakites – celebrating his fleshly disobedience by building a monument to himself and going on to rationalise his disobedience and tell Samuel that what he had done with the Amalakites was what he thought was best to do.  That’s where the ‘Head and Shoulders’ thing came in.  God said utterly destroy.  Saul said, “I disagree with God – we should save Agag and we should save the best of the flocks.” And for all of this, he was disallowed the kingship.  However, Samuel grieved over him.

Now we move into (v1).  I think that Samuel grieved over him because he found himself attracted by this man.  I hope that what I’m going to inject here is not foreign or alien to the text.  But I think that all of us tonight are impressionable.  Big things impress us!  I don’t mean any offence if there are Roman Catholic friends here tonight, but I remember reading years ago the biography of Cardinal Newman, and there comes the point in his life when as an Anglican he is thinking about changing over to the Roman church, and he is going to make a trip to Rome, which in those days was arduous and difficult.  The story of his trip to Rome is quite interesting but when he came in sight of St Peters, he was so impressed by what he saw that he said, “This must be the true church.” Now what impressed him was the magnificence and the grandeur of the externality of the Roman church.  He was impressed by it.  He said, “This must be the true church.” I’ll never forget that phrase – it gripped me.  Because I saw this man making his final decision in terms of being impressed by St Peters.  So he came back to England and he went to a parish priest, dropped to his knees and said “Receive me into the true church,” and went on to become one of Rome’s princes.  I think if we’re honest tonight every one of us are impressed by the things we see.  Big things – things impress us.  I am sure Samuel was impressed by Saul, and he grieved over the fact that Saul had failed, because Saul had impressed him.  This great handsome broad shouldered hunk of flesh, “Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?’” Now that’s a rebuke.  He is saying, “Samuel how long are you going to grieve over what I have had to do with Saul?  Are you going to agree with me?  Or are you going to go on weeping in your closet over the fact that this man has failed?  Who are you with Samuel?”

I wonder sometimes if many of our decisions are not made in the realm of sentiment, rather than in the realm of principle.  God had rejected Saul.  It was Samuel’s duty to stand with God.  Let me digress to give you another Biblical illustration of this.  When the Tabernacle was inaugurated, the two sons of Aaron – Nadab and Abihu – took strange fire into the sanctuary and fire from God came out and burned them, killed them on the spot.  God spoke to Moses and said, “Tell your brother Aaron that he must not grieve over what has happened, for the anointing oil is upon him.” Now this seems severe.  It seems to be a harsh demand on the part of God.  That old gentleman had to stand there and watch his nephews carry their cousins, Nadab and Abihu, yet in their linen clothes or coats past him, out to be buried in their coats outside the camp.  And he couldn’t shed a tear because Aaron stood in the temple as the representative of God with the anointing oil upon him.  This was a divine judgement, and even in terms of his own flesh and blood, he must not show emotion – he must not in any way indicate that he disagreed with God’s judgement, and I can imagine that he stood there biting his lips as he saw the inert forms of his two boys go by to be buried.  He would never see them again!  Undoubtedly he conjured up visions of their childhood – when they were little fellows running around their mother’s knee, and now in this great hour, when they were to share with him in one of Israel’s highest moments – the inauguration of the Tabernacle.  His boys had failed, and he couldn’t allow himself a trembling lip.  But he had to stand there stoically, and watch the boys go by him to their premature funeral, and not in any way show emotion because the anointing oil was upon him, and he had to stand with the verdict of God.

It seems severe doesn’t it?  Yet the question tonight is – how much are we motivated by sentiment and traditional attachment and religious nostalgia?  How much are we doing what we’re doing not out of principle, but because we are sentimentally attached to something that God has left?  What is the answer?  God said, “Samuel how long are you going to carry on like this?  Are you going to stand with Me or are you going to lament what I have had to do with Saul?  Where are you Samuel?  I will tell you what I want you to do if you are with Me.  Fill your horn with oil and go!” Now what does that mean?  It means get a new anointing and get with what God is doing!  Stop hanging around the old tombs and getting nostalgic over the revivals of other days and going back to see what God did yesterday – but through disobedience is no longer related to the today of God.  Stop living in the nostalgic past!  Get hold of the new anointing that is moving in the air!  Grab hold of your horn of oil and let’s get going!  The past is done – let’s be done with the past and let’s move on in God.  Get hold of your horn of oil, fill it with oil and let’s go.  Fill your horn with oil and go.  I will send you Jesse the Bethlehemite for I have selected a king for Myself from among his sons.”

Now remember Saul was the people’s choice.  God has now chosen a king for Himself.  “But Samuel said, ‘How can I go?  When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’” That was a very valid fear.  He said, “Now just a minute Lord!  Let’s talk this over.  That’s all very fine for You to send me down with a new anointing all full of the Holy Ghost and talking in tongues with goose bumps and my hair standing on end …” (*laughter*).  “It’s great Lord for you to get me involved in this charismatic thing but Lord – Saul is still alive and if he hears I have gone down there to anoint another king while he’s still living, then I am dead!’” Saul, the fleshly religious authority, was still nominally in charge, and therefore a threat to the new anointing.  How many are hearing anything?

“And the Lord said (you know the Lord is not above a little arranging.  Have you ever noticed that?  The Lord is pretty wise.  He knows how to fix things) “I’m not going to ask you to walk out and stick your head in a noose.” He said, “Let’s do it this way.  Go down and hold some special meetings.  (*laughter*) And while you are down there have a laying on of hands service.” (*laughter*).  He said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I’ve come to sacrifice to the Lord, but be sure that Jesse and his sons attend the sacrifice.’ And you shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do.  You shall anoint the one who I designate you.’”

Now we are coming to the difference between democratically chosen ‘Head and Shoulders’ ecclesiastical authority, and divinely ordained spiritual authority; as we move along, you will understand why un-spiritual people don’t understand spiritual authority.  So Samuel did what the Lord said.  He obeyed.  Samuel had learned, ever since God talked to him as a little boy in the temple, that God could be trusted.  So Samuel said,
“Alright if that’s the way it is – then I will go.” So he went and prepared the people with all the proper purifications for the sacrifice that was to come.  He told them to consecrate themselves. 

Now (v6).  Here we see Samuel’s humanity coming through again, and I think we will all relate to Samuel if we are honest.  For God’s sake let’s be honest in this hour.  If anything will destroy what God is doing in your life or mine, or in our lives in this hour, it is dishonesty.  God is calling for a kind of candour that He has never required from us in the past.  I think in the past, if I may take a Scripture out of context, He winked at the times of our ignorance.  But now He requires us all to repent.  I know that is out of context, but I think God is bringing new pressure on His people for integrity, such as He has never done before.  “Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab.”

Now what happened was that the laying on of hands time came, and he said, “I feel that Brother Jesse should bring his sons forward and we ought to bless them.” So brother Jesse brings his sons forward, and they all line up.  Samuel looks them over, and there they are lined up from the eldest to the youngest.  He looks at the oldest one whose name is Eliab and man – he is a dandy!  Great tall broad shoulders, fine head and Samuel “looked.” And Samuel “thought.” And Samuel “concluded.” And Samuel got it wrong.  (*laughter*).  If you and I do that, then we will be wrong too.  For we walk not by sight but by faith, and many times we have looked, and we have thought, and we have said, “surely the Lord’s anointed is before me?”

“But the Lord said to Samuel.” You see Samuel was ready to take that horn of oil, get it over with and get on home.  He was reaching for the horn of oil when the Lord said, “Samuel?” “Yes, Lord?” “That’s not him.” “But Lord – look at him!” “Samuel I have had it up to here with ‘Head and Shoulders’ men!” “The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t look at his appearance or the height of his stature because I have rejected him.  For God sees not as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” Samuel says, “Okay Lord, but he looks good to me.”

Now this confirms what I said at the beginning, that Samuel was still equating kingship the way all of those oriental people did, with a big strapping fellow.  Anyone who has read a history of those times knows that for a man to become a tribal chief or a king, he usually had to arrive at that position by beating up every contender.  He had to be the heavyweight champion of his tribe.  He arrived there because there wasn’t another man who could stand there in swordplay or in any form of physical combat.  He was the strongest and the mightiest and that’s why he was king.  Samuel was still going by the human criterion and he said, “Lord, I think you’re passing up a good thing when you pass up Eliab.” So the Lord said, “Samuel please let me run My own business.”

We have done that through the centuries – we have said, “this ought to do it – my, look – that ought to do it.” God has given us gentle nudges and little hints, and we have got a whole array of Eliabs and Head and Shoulders men, and God will bring along some illiterate dummy, and fill him with the Holy Spirit, and He blasts the work of God wide open, while all the PhDs are sitting there wondering what is happening to them. 

(v8) “Then Jesse called Abinadab.” He was the next tallest, and made him pass before Samuel, and he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” “Next Jesse made Shamah pass by, but it was not him.” (v10) “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’” He said, “Lord?  We’ve run out of boys!  (*laughter*).  I’m sure you told me to come down here and anoint someone, and You said You would show me who he was, and I have been obedient to you.  Now we have got no more boys.”

The Lord said, “That’s what you think.  Ask the old man if he has got another son.” “Sire, do you have another son?” “Well yes, I’ve got another.  There remains yet the youngest but he’s got peach fuzz on his face and is out tending the sheep.  He sits out there with a harp composing choruses, so I didn’t even bother to bring him in because I was sure you wouldn’t want him.” Samuel said, “Look sire, by now I’ve decided to let God do what He wants.  God wants him, so send for your boy.”

Now notice the urgency of this.  “Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him for we will not sit down until he comes here.’” “We will not sit down until he comes here.  We will not take our ease until God’s order is brought in.  We will not take our rest until Jesus Christ has been declared Lord, no matter how.  The Head and Shoulders thing may be declared dead, and it may be over, but we will not sit still until God’s order is ushered in.  The first order of business – priority number one is for God’s order to be established.  The fact that the old order is on it’s way out is not enough – the positive must take place.  We will not sit down until he comes!”

“So he sent and brought him in.” He was ruddy – a redhead with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance, and the Lord said, “Arise anoint him for this is he.” Can’t you see I never cease to be charmed by the picture of young David.  They sent a messenger after him and he’s out there in the hills you know, probably working on a new one.  (*laughter*).  The messenger said, “David, the prophet is in Bethlehem, and your fathers and your brothers and the people of Bethlehem are all gathered, and your father is sending for you.” David said, “Me?  What’s it all about?” “I’m not sure – I’m just sent to get you.” So he slings his harp over his shoulder and takes his shepherd’s crook and comes in and stands there, and his eyes are as big as saucers, and he has got stardust in his hair, and he bows to his father and bows to the prophet.  God said to the prophet, “Go anoint him.” Now, I am not too sure whether David knew what it was all about.  But the prophet moves over and takes the horn of oil, and he anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David mightily from that day forward.  Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

Now a very important point is this- that while the Head and Shoulders Man was still nominally and officially on the throne, God already had anointed the new order.  Let him that hath an ear, hear.  This has always been the case – there has always been the overlap.  When Jesus Christ was anointed in the Jordan, He was anointed as the Son of God – He walked out of those waters and He wasn’t going to finish His walk until He had made all His enemies His footstool.  He was king from that moment on, but the nominal Head and Shoulders government of Israel still ruled.  David was now God’s king.  But nominally and officially the Head and Shoulders Man was still in charge.  Are you hearing this?  Because from now on, we are going to find out how to act in that time of overlap. 

Look at (v14); “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorised him.” The Spirit of the Lord left him while he was still king.  He wasn’t the king of the Hittites or the Hivvites or the Jebusites, but the king of Israel.  The covenant community!  But in actuality, he no longer had kingly authority. 

David the youth – the lad was the new thing.  Not Jesse’s first son or second, or third, or fourth or fifth but his eighth.  For eight is the number of a new beginning.  And David was Jesse’s eighth son.  One is the number of God.  Two is the number of fellowship.  Three is the number of manifestation.  Four is the number of the earth.  Five is the number of grace.  Six is the number of man.  Seven is the number of completion.  Eight is the number of a new beginning.  What are we seeing?  That David was anointed to be the king of God’s new day! 

This is the day that the Lord hath made!  This is the new day, and David the eighth was anointed for the new day, but he is anointed while the Head and Shoulders Man was still nominally in charge. 

(v15); “Saul’s servants then said to him,’Behold now an evil spirit from God is terrorising you.  Let our Lord command our servants who are before you.  Let them seek a man who is skilled to play the harp and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is upon you and then he shall play the harp with his hand and then you will be well.’ So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.’ Then one of the young men answered, ‘Behold I have seen the son of Jesse the Bethlemite who is a skilful musician and a mighty man of valour – a handsome man and the Lord is with him.’”

Out of all the sons of Israel, isn’t it amazing that the finger of destiny should fall on David?  The law of compound probability would suggest that it was probably a million to one that David was the one who would come in and sing his spiritually inspired choruses to a demon demented and terrorised king.  “So Saul sent messengers to his servant Jesse and said, ‘Send me your son David who is with the flock.’ So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a jug of wine, a young goat and sent them to Saul by David his son.  Then David came to Saul and attended him.”

Note this will you?  “And Saul loved him greatly.” You know I don’t want to read more in here than I see, and I don’t want to impose on you an interpretation that seems to be strained, but oh, I see so much that is contemporary here.  I don’t know if you do.  I wonder if you’re seeing what I’m seeing.  That the Head and Shoulders thing, that has long since lost it’s anointing – the structural, democratic, ecclesiastically maintained thing, devoid so much of life, and when it sees life – it’s first reaction is to love it.  Why?  Because deep in the heart of Saul I’m sure he remembered that day when the anointing oil was upon him, and when he went out and prophesied with the prophets – he felt the Presence of God, and when this young lad came in and played his harp and sang to him, it brought back memories, maybe deep in his subconscious, and something reached out, and he loved David.  It was a love/hate relationship however, and it went on for some time. 

(v23) says; “So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand, and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.” Now what am I saying?  I am saying that David – the new order – ministered in the house of Saul – the old order – and brought it some comfort and brought it some release from it’s inevitable destiny of death.  There was an overlap for a time.  David ministered to Saul even though the Spirit of the Lord left him and he was tormented by demon powers.  God ordained that the new visitation should minister to the old.

The Tragic Account of Jonathan:
Now let’s turn to chapter 18.  We have the beautiful story of David and Jonathan that I don’t have time to go into – other than to say that Jonathan to me personally is one of the most pathetic figures in the Bible.  He loved David and he championed him.  He believed in him, and if you will read the Bible carefully, the covenant was from Jonathan’s side.  The overtures were from Jonathan.  There is no question that David responded – all you have to do is to read the poignant passages of David’s lament when he heard of Saul and Jonathan’s death – to know that David loved Jonathan deeply.  Jonathan saw the anointing – he felt the anointing – he was an anointed boy himself.  He knew what it was to go out single-handedly with his armour bearer and clean up a whole host of Philistines.  He knew what it was to walk in the honey bath of God’s glory until his eyes sparkled with the anointing.  Jonathan was a beautiful character!  But he made one mistake – he didn’t go with David and it was a fatal mistake.  In that battle when Saul and his son Jonathan fell together, the tragedy was that Saul somehow deserved it.  He had spent his days.  He disobeyed.  He had fought with God.  He had fought with a prophet.  He had not consulted the ark.  He had been a Head and Shoulders Man, but that beautiful young fellow beside him – his son – his boy.  He was a man of integrity.  He had the sparkle of heaven’s blessing in his eye.  He had known how to wheld a sword and how to walk in the Spirit.  He had held company with God’s great king David in the days of his embryonic youth to kingship.  He made one fatal mistake however.  He didn’t leave the Head and Shoulders thing when he should have, and he died with it.

I am constantly asked a question that I am sure every minister who is moving in what God is doing is asked at some time or another, and that is, “What shall I do in relation to this situation or that?  Shall I do this or do that?” I can’t tell you what.  Let me tell you that any man of God who tries to tell you what to do, I feel, is moving out of the orb of his responsibility and his right.  If God has given you His blessed Holy Spirit and He has given you a heart to love Him, then God will let you know what to do and when you are to do it, and be sure that your heart is prepared for what you have to do.  Don’t fall into the trap of Samuel and be sentimentally and nostalgically attached to something that God has left.  When the hour comes to move – be ready to move!  Lest you die with Saul. 
I was asked to conduct a seminar in an American city in a great large Presbyterian church.  In the night we had a public service and in the afternoons I spent two or three hours with ministers in the city from all different denominational backgrounds, and at the end of my time of ministry with the ministers on the last afternoon when we had closed, one of them stood up and said, “We have so appreciated this.  I wonder if Dr Baxter would stay another hour and we will sit around informally and chat.” I said, “I’d be glad to.” My wife had come to pick me up and the ministers meetings were held in quite a large chapel.  She was sitting at the back waiting to drive me back to our hotel, and she sat back there while I dialogued with the men.  During that week there had been one man there who had been identified to me as a Roman Catholic priest.  Later I found out that he was a Trappist monk.  I was never able to read his face – I never could quite tell whether he was agreeing with me or disagreeing with me or just where he was.  But after we got comfortably seated in a less formal manner (because I had been teaching from a chalk board), and we were sitting around, the first one to speak was this priest, and I shall never forget it.  He was like a little boy crying in the dark.

He said very quietly, “I buy everything this man has said.  There is nothing he has said that I do not buy – but my church will not buy it.” Then he looked at me and said, “What shall I do?” I can’t tell you how I felt.  There was something in my heart that was very paternal – I had felt it when my children were tiny, and they had hurt themselves, and I ran and picked them up in my arms.  I wanted to carry him into the will of God.  I had an emotional response that I can still feel.  Yet I knew it wasn’t right, and I remember I said to him very simply, “Brother my heart goes out to you, and I love you in Christ, and I want to do at this moment whatever I can do for you.” But I said, “If I were to tell you what to do that wouldn’t be good enough.  It’s not good enough to do something because Baxter said.  You’ve got to go on a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ A ‘Thus saith Baxter’ is not good enough!  I will tell you what I will do.  I will pray for you and I will hold you before God that you will know what to do.” He smiled back and said thank you.  Then we went on.  Three months later I was talking to the Lutheran minister in the city who had organised the seminar.  And I said, “How is my Roman Catholic friend doing?” “Oh” he said, “Great.” I said, “Tell me about him.” He said, “After you left he went to his bishop and asked for a years leave of absence to find the will of God.” I thought as I heard that how many of us would inconvenienced our careers and jeopardise our future to find the will of God?  He found the will of God and incidentally found a delightful wife and a beautiful ministry and today is a very happy shepherd of a group of God’s people.  The last time I found him he was radiant and didn’t blame me at all.  He said, “This is the way the Lord has led me,” and as he said it, I knew that he was walking in the way the Lord had led him.

This is why to me Jonathan is so pathetic.  Remember what he said in one of those tender scenes with David?  He said, “David I know that someday you will be king, and I will be at your side.” The beauty of this man – his character always enchants me.  There is no ambition.  He saw God in David – he saw the anointing in David.  He saw David as God’s king and while it was his by right, yet he knew where the anointing was and he was quite prepared to pass up his right to be king and for David to be king; he would gladly be at his side.  But he missed it.  There is a time in the affairs of men.  Sam Jones – the great American evangelist – used to tell a story and he would apply it to sinners, but I am applying it these days to us in this moment of crisis.  He said there was a little boy who lived down by the seashore and on the sands there was a hulk of a big ship.  The little boy took an interest in that ship and he almost personalised it.  He would watch as the tide came in and as it moved with the tidal waters he would say, “Go out old ship!  Go out!  This is your chance – go out!” The ship would creak and groan and almost look as though it would catch the tide and go, and the little boy would shout and throw his hat in the air, and he would say, “Go out old ship!  Go out!” Every high tide would find this little boy down there rooting for the ship to go out.  One day he went down and the tide seemed higher than ever and stronger and the chances were greater than ever before.  He screamed his voice hoarse and shouted, “Go out old ship!  Go out!  This is your chance!  Go out!” He watched the tide go out, but the ship stayed in, and then something terrible happened.  With a final groan the ship disintegrated on the sand, and the little boy threw himself down on the shore and he sobbed and said, “Now you’ll never go out old ship.  Now you’ll never go out.” There comes a time when the tide is right.  Jonathan missed it and he never went out.  I’m sure that up into David’s old years there was many a time when David would sit quietly and think with great emotion of what it might have been if the man whom he loved with a love that is celebrated as being one of the finest demonstrations of manly love – if only he had lived.  But he died because he made a wrong choice.

Let’s look at chapter 18:6.  David has taken care of the great Philistine; “and it happened as they returned David from killing the Philistine that the women came out of all the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines, with joy and musical instruments.  The women sang as they played and said, ‘Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousand.’ Then Saul became very angry for this saying displeased him.  He said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousand but to me they have ascribed thousands.  Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.”

Now what was it that precipitated the confrontation between the Head and Shoulders Man and the heart man?  For David was a man after God’s heart!  God didn’t choose David because he was Head and Shoulders.  God took him from the sheepfold – from out there tending sheep.  He was just a strapping youth.  You don’t pick out those kind of people to be king.  God saw something in that young man – He saw that young man had a heart.  That was the young man who spoke about his “heart panting after God as the hart pants after the water brook.” He knew here was a man in whom was integrity, not perfection.  He would make his mistakes – there would be the awful Bathsheba thing.  Trust men to make more of that than anything else! 

Isn’t it amazing how a man’s mistake is monumental, but all his acts of service are forgotten.  God certainly had no sense of approval of the Bathsheba thing, but that one blot on David did not deny him the right to be called a man after God’s own heart.  “I love Thy law,” he said.  “I will walk in My integrity – Thou art my God – Thou art my rock and my strong tower!  Thou art my salvation!  When my enemies are against me in Thee will I trust – Thy Name is as a strong tower.” Oh, he loved his God!  How he had a heart for God and God saw it!  He was only a boy tending his father’s sheep. 

I feel that the Spirit of God is saying to me tonight that there are in this tent young people who have that kind of a heart.  I’ve already said it to the leaders of this convention, that I believe that there are young people here who will be apostles and prophets and evangelists and shepherds in the days that are ahead.  There’s openness in some of your countenance.  There’s something that comes to me – I feel Kingdom vibrations coming from some of you young people.  I believe they are material for the Kingdom.  I believe they are material for what God is doing in this hour . 

But I urge you in God’s Name – read the Psalms.  Make them your vocabulary.  Read five of them every morning and one chapter of Proverbs and you will go through the Psalms and the Proverbs once a month and you will learn how to live towards God and live towards man and you will become God’s kind of king.

When was it that Saul got upset with David?  It was when David started to accomplish things that Saul couldn’t accomplish.  As long as David was just the nice son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who came in for special times to sing songs to him he loved him – that was lovely.  After all it was nice to have a revival in the old church.  A little stirring every now and then – that was nice.  It’s good to have a lift every now and then.  But of course we have no intention of changing the whole court.  You see what we have here is a man going down and a man coming up.  The man going down doesn’t know he’s going down.  And he doesn’t know that the other man is going up until there comes the collision with Goliath.  When David proved that he was a man with the anointing to deal with the enemies of the Lord, and all Israel recognises it and sings an anthem of acclamation to him – aha!  Now Saul sees things differently.  As long as you’re inconsequential, as long as you’re not disturbing the status quo too much – get blessed, but don’t rock the boat.  If you want to have a meeting in your house Friday night go ahead, but don’t make a big thing of it and for goodness sake don’t go having a revival.  (*laughter*).  Because that will just upset everything.  If you don’t make much fuss I won’t have to say anything to the superiors.  (*laughter*).

(v9); “And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.” How many know anything about this?  “Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul and he raved in the midst of the house while David was playing his harp as usual, and a spear was in Saul’s hand, and he hurled the spear at David for he thought, ‘I will pin David to the wall’ but David escaped from his presence twice.  Now Saul was afraid of David for the Lord was with him.  But he departed from Saul.”

It’s amazing when people stop flowing in God, and are yet involved in Head and Shoulders religion – they become stupid.  Imagine Saul, knowing that God was with this man, and yet he tried to kill him!  This is the same stupidity that you see in the Pharisees and the Sadducees – the very same thing.  They said, “There’s no question that He is doing miracles and He is attractive to the crowd – there’s no question about that but we’ve got to get rid of Him.” They tried to kill Him!  The very first time He spoke, they tried to kill Him, and after Christ ascended to haven, and sent His Spirit back, and His apostles went out, they tried to do the same thing with them!  That a miracle is done, there’s no question, but don’t let the word get around!  You see when the Spirit of God moves out of religion, men become stupid.  I am going to tell you something tonight – I might as well get my head cut off anyway.  (*laughter*).  God is going to do this thing whether Saul likes it or not.  God is going to have a people in the earth whatever Head and Shoulders government wants to do about it – they can try and kill him if they want – but they will not succeed.  Jesus shall reign where’er the sun doth its successive journeys run. 

This Head and Shoulders thing reminds me of the siege at Samaria.  The Bible says that all they had left to eat was asses’ heads and doves’ dung.  Now that’s not a pretty diet is it?  What does that mean?  Asses’ heads stands for human wisdom.  (*laughter*).  And doves’ dung stands for all that is left of the dove after the dove has gone.  When the Spirit of the Lord leaves religion all that is left is human wisdom and empty form.  Where was the Spirit?  The Spirit was with David.  The Spirit had left Saul.  Now look – don’t fuss with me.  Go fuss with the Book!  I didn’t write it!  (*laughter*). 

Now if you are listening to me you may be able to see the handwriting on the wall.  I’m not saying for whom.  But at that point when David ceased to be a nice little Psalm-singing, happy brother, bringing visitations of blessing into the court, as long as that was it, that was fine.  But when his influence grew and he became a man of war and was doing what Saul should have been doing but couldn’t because the Spirit had left him, the whole thing changed.  When the new anointing gained momentum … now look I may be a million miles off but I don’t think so.  If what I see going on across the earth tonight is what I think I see, I see the Davidic anointing, as it is gaining momentum, and a few years ago we were just a bunch of Psalm singers that were bringing a bit of pleasure into the Head and Shoulders court.  But now bless God, we are killing our tens of thousands, glory to God, and the diabolic world is feeling the reverberations of our voice as it speaks with the authority of the risen Christ, and the army of the Lord is getting ready … (*applause*). 

Brothers and sisters I’m not a young man and I haven’t got the time to make silly sensational statements.  I haven’t got the time to preach to the gallery.  If I have come to England for your applause or to preach you a sermon, then I am not what I think I am .  I believe with all my heart tonight, from what I see across the earth (and for me to travel across the earth is an inconvenience), that if I what I see happening was just someone preaching to a tent full of crazy fanatics who would believe my way if they were the only people in the world, then I would be persuaded that we are cracked, and we are just a bunch of people who are hallucinating.  But I want you to know that in every nation under the sun, some more and some less, there are crowds like this from every denominational background, who are meeting in tents and halls and public buildings and open fields and wherever, and the same thing is being said, and the same volume of praise is going up to God, and the same choruses are being sung and the same hymns are being hymned and the same Psalms are being psalmed and the same shouts are being shouted – it’s all over the earth!  The army of the Lord is forming!  (*applause*).

And so it became inevitable that David had to go.  Without going into chapter 20 (you can read it for yourself), it was obvious that Saul would have killed him.  David had been warned by Jonathan, and he was evicted from Saul’s court.  He was kicked out!  Now he wasn’t kicked out of the Hittites or the Jebusites.  He wasn’t kicked out of the Rotary club.  (*laughter*).  He was kicked out of the Head and Shoulders representation of Jehovah’s community.  He was put out, and you don’t have to agree with my interpretation, but I believe that if we have a valid analogy here, that as this thing starts to grow, there will inevitably be a confrontation, and you can rest assured that the hour will undoubtedly come when we will be persona non grata in places where we are yet invited to bring our hearts.  But when that happens it is on to Ziklag, and then to Hebron, and then to Zion.  Hallelujah!  Now I have imposed on you so badly for two nights that I am going to give you a short one tonight and let you out real early. 

We will finish with this point and it is a very important one.  Saul was still the nominal king, and after he had put David out, David went to the cave of Adullum, and eventually to Ziklag, and had to find a place among the Philistines to live.  Now you can give this any name you like.  It could be that you could say that David was driven underground.  I want you to know that you are not only ordained for goose bumps.  You are ordained for lumps.  We are not only ordained for blessing, but also for suffering.  If you haven’t incorporated that into your Scriptural philosophy, then you had better hurry up and get it in.  Preachers that go around telling you that when you become a Christian and commit yourself to God, you will find yourself on a velvet cushion being whisked through life and brought comfortably into His Presence are not telling it the way it is. 

There is a paradoxical passage in Thessalonians that says that they received the Word of the Lord with much persecution and joy of the Holy Ghost.  When Paul and Silas sat in a jail at midnight in the maximum security section – their backs running bloody from the deep wounds created by the Romans cat-o-nine tails, as they sat there with the rats running beneath their feet at midnight (what more desperate plight?), with no light, no lamp, but darkness, Paul said, “How are you doing there Brother Silas?” “Fine Brother Paul and how is it with you?” “Good.  Feel like a little song?” (*laughter*).  “Well frankly Brother Paul, I don’t feel like a song, but my heart is happy.  What will we sing?” “Well, what about Number 5 in the Redemption?” (*laughter*). 

Now the Bible says that they sang at midnight, and there was an earthquake, and all the prison doors were flung open.  When God’s people can sing in the midnight of their trouble, they will be the community of heaven and the prison doors will be flung open and the world will cry, “What must I do to be saved?” We are destined for suffering!  We are destined for misunderstanding. We are destined to be maligned and lied about.  But if we can hold fast in our heart and know that we are sharing in what we are seeing in the analogy of David and Saul – that there is a period of overlap and a period of transition from the Head and Shoulders thing to the formation of David’s Army – and that we are going on to take Mount Zion – the joy of the whole earth – if we can see that, we will hold steady in the darkness of night, and know that our hour has to come.

Binding the Strongman.
But God is fitting us for a big job, for this might well be the generation that is to go into the land and prove to the world that Christ wasn’t just talking when He said, “I will build a church that will kick the gates of hell in.” That isn’t what He said!  No, but that’s what He meant.  You see it is that strange perversity in Scripture in terms of circumstance instead of revelation.  So all my life I have head it taught this way, “On this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Then I hear people saying, “I’m glad I’m a Christian.  I’m glad I’m in the Church because the devil can’t get at me.  And I’m so glad I’m here and I’m waiting for the Lord to come and get me out of the mess and I hope the bus comes soon!” (*laughter*).  That isn’t what He said!  He said, “I will build a congregation that will get the job done.” That Greek word “ecclesia” means congregation.  Seventy times in the Septuagint version, the word “congregation” is translated “ecclesia” and when He said to His disciples, “I will build My congregation.” He was saying something!  When you come to the book of Hebrews you find out what He was saying.  He said, “Moses as servant over the house was faithful, but Christ is Son over the house.” Moses couldn’t take them into rest.  Joshua couldn’t take them into rest.  Jesus said Moses’ congregation didn’t make it.  But I am going to have a congregation that is going to make it.  They’re going to break the gates of hell in.  It’s not a matter of the devil not getting at me – look out devil here I come!  (*laughter*).  Hallelujah!

You know we have made a big thing out of exorcism.  I believe in exorcism and I practice it.  I believe that I have power to cast out a demon or demons.  But when we come to the last chapter of Ephesians, the apostle Paul is not talking about me casting out a demon or you casting out a demon.  He’s talking about something bigger than that.  I’m going to tell you – I don’t think Satan is too much concerned about us casting out a few demons here and there.  Any great army general knows that there has got to be a few casualties.  So if he loses a few demons here and there, I don’t think he will be too upset.  But listen to what Paul says, “Finally brethren.” Not “finally brother.” “Finally brethren.” And then he grabs hold of a whole fistful of Greek words that are just full of divine dynamite.  “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Strong!  Power!  Might!  Three tremendous Greek words, and when you put them together they spell God unleashed!  Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  “Put on the whole armour of God, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the dark places of this age and spiritual wickedness.” Now here is where we have been on a one to one basis.  Along comes Brother Jones and casts out a few demons.  Everyone says, “Hallelujah isn’t that marvellous?” The devil says, “I sure hope that they keep on thinking that is marvellous.  I hope that they don’t realise that I don’t care that much about that really in the final analysis.” What’s he concerned about?  He is concerned that if you find out that God Almighty through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit has equipped us as a church not only to deal with spiritual wickedness, but that we can deal with the princes, the deputies and the under-rulers. 

Tonight there is a dark, satanic, angelic power hovering over the capitol building of every nation of the earth?  There is a Prince of England, a Prince of Canada, a Prince of the United States; there is a Prince of Russia – to whom Satan has delegated authority to exercise his diabolical influence over that nation.  Then they pick strategic spots in the nation, and they send deputies to those places – for remember that Satan and his powers are not omni-present.

Now I know a little bit about your country because I saw some of it when I was here last time, but there are cities in England and America that are undoubtedly ruled by satanic deputies.  And then there are the rulers of the dark places.  We haven’t begun to dislodge them.  We haven’t begun to touch the gates of hell.  God is going to have a people that will dislodge those powers.  I believe the hour is coming when we will change things at city hall.  I believe the hour is coming when we won’t have to petition against pornography.  We will get together as the People of God and we will unleash God into those situations and blow them to smithereens.  I believe the hour is coming when our Sunday morning prayer will find its answer in the Monday morning paper.  I believe the time will come when we will start to pray with such corporate intelligence that when men put their pen on a ballot to vote in the halls of legislation they will go to vote one way, and something will push their hand over and they will vote another!  That’s the angel I sent.  “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail.”

Now while Saul was still king, David was hitched out and Saul tried to kill him.  On two occasions David could have killed Saul.  Please listen to this carefully.  This is important.  Twice David could have killed Saul.  He had him right in his hand.  His friends said, “Kill him!  He tried to kill you.  Kill him!” David said, “No.  He’s still a nominal authority and it’s not my job to kill him.  I am God’s anointed and God will have to take care of him.” If you can understand tonight that heart people must not try to kill Head and Shoulders people, I am reading things these days that grieve me.  As I read about men who are trying to kill Saul, I don’t have to kill Saul.  Frankly deep in my heart, I would be something like Samuel, if I didn’t stop myself.  I feel sorry for Saul.  I could look at the great monuments to the revivals of the past that are sprinkled across the earth, that tell of great visitations of other days, that tell us of men who like Saul had a change of heart and an anointing of the Spirit.  I don’t want to chop down steeples and deal with the men who want to kill me in revenge.  I don’t have that feeling tonight – I can’t find it in me to want to do that, and if you find it in you, that’s not a heart man.

You don’t have to kill him.  Nor do you have to get any pleasure out of the fact when I tell you that God is going to kill him.  Because when God killed Saul and the word came to David, you read in the first chapter of 2nd Samuel that David rent his clothes and he wept and wrote one of the most beautiful passages in all literature as he sung and eulogised Saul and Jonathan.  Brothers and sisters the men that may be on your back tonight, the men that may be trying to pin you to the wall, are men of a tradition that can be traced back to some very beautiful things.  And I’m not going to get involved in names tonight but our history is filled with men who started well, but the thing they started became a Head and Shoulders thing, and I tell you something else, if we are not careful, the thing that God is doing now could become a Head and Shoulders thing too.  I was pleased to hear Arthur say what he did about the charismatic movement.  I don’t like the word “charismatic.” I don’t like anything that divides me from anyone else.  I have only one word that I feel is right to use and that is either Christian or believer or disciple.  I have no right to use a term that will divide me from any other man that calls Jesus Lord.

Up in our country in Canada a couple of years ago we were having Brother Derek Prince and a few others come up for a conference, and since I was the senior minister in the area, they asked if they could use our sanctuary to host the meeting, and our sanctuary seated 1200, so we said, “Fine,” we would.  They asked if we would prepare the brochure as we had our own printing establishment in our church complex.  We were going to call it the “Pacific Northwest Charismatic Conference” and a young man in the printing room brought in the first rough draft of the brochure and he sat it down in front of me.  I was going to proof read it for any changes, and as I looked at the front – “Pacific Northwest Charismatic,” and as I got to “Charismatic,” as sure as I am standing here – God said to me, “What’s that word?” I said, “Charismatic.” He said, “That’s divisive.” I said, “You’re right,” and called the young man in and said, “Charismatic has got to go.  There is only one word that we are going to put in there and that is the ‘Pacific Northwest Christian Conference.’” I was so pleased when Arthur made the point that is accurate, and that is that every, and any man who has come into the life of God, has come into the charismatic dimension.  Every real Christian is a charismatic.  Now the extent of charismatic involvement varies in this room tonight, but let us not divide God’s people.  I will declare myself a brother to any man or woman in this arena who calls Jesus Christ Lord.  They may slam the door of rejection in my face, but I will lay my love on them.  I will declare they are my brother and sister in Christ.  I will make this affirmation before devils and demons.  I will not be party to division.  Every man who sincerely declares Christ to be his Lord – he is my brother.  I don’t care whether he is Armenian or Calvinistic, Pre-mill, A-mill, Post-mill or Pan-Mill.  (*laughter*).  You say, “What in the world is a Pan-Mill?” (*laughter*).  Well that just means it will all pan out in the end.  (*laughter*).  Don’t play God.

The road to Zion is not easy but it’s sure.  You don’t have to deal with Saul – God will deal with him.  Don’t go round trying to kill the people that are trying to kill you.  That is not God’s order.  Just build the Kingdom.  Just keep on building.  Just keep on loving.  There is nothing that will make some carnal Christians madder than you being happy.  (*laughter*).  You know that yourself.  Have you ever had a down day? You know when you are kind of out of touch with God, and along comes one of those perpetually happy brothers.  (*laughter*).  You know the kind I mean?  They never have a low moment.  “Praise the Lord brother!  Praise the Lord!” You’d like to give them a one-way trip to the moon.  Don’t try to kill what is already dead.  Feel sorry for it.  Reach out.  If they will still let you – sing to them.  If you can calm their tortured souls, play your harp.  If they drive you into exile, then know one thing – we’re marching to Zion.  Hallelujah!  Tomorrow night we will talk about the Army.  God is forming an army! 

No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.