February 24, 2016


1 Sam 15:22-23 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

This is a well-known passage, and justly so, because it is enormously important. It totally destroys the hypocrisy of doing religious things and then living the rest of the time however you like. We tend to do that all the time, looking all pious in church but then being indistinguishable from non-believers the rest of the week. That is no way to enjoy the blessings and receive the promises of God! When we can’t make time to meet with God regularly morning by morning, why do we expect Him to meet us in our moments of panic and need? He is very gracious, and indeed gives us far better than we deserve, but when it comes down to the wire, this passage is operative. To me, it is clear evidence that many Christians in America are running afoul of this passage that so many “evangelical” voters are supporting a presidential candidate who has lived a reprobate lifestyle and openly says he hasn’t repented before God, when there are two other candidates who are clearly trying to live out their faith in Jesus Christ. As this passage says, rejecting the Word of the Lord brings rejection in turn. America as a nation is at a place of extreme danger, and only a genuine return to the Lord, far beyond the political scene, can pull it back from the brink.

I certainly didn’t expect this to turn political when I started! Politics is just a very small fraction of our lives, but God wants all of us. It is telling to me that where the English traditionally says “witchcraft” here, the Japanese says “fortune telling.” How many “Christians” read their horoscope every day? So-called “cultural Christianity” just doesn’t cut it. Since I minister in Japan that isn’t much of an issue here, but I still deal constantly with people who can’t seem to grasp that God wants their whole lives, not just a few hours on Sunday. It bothers me a great deal that people seem to dismiss my lifestyle because I’m a “professional Christian,” as though their lack of an organizational title excuses them from full commitment to Christ. I am not to look down on them, but neither am I to leave them where they are. I’ve got to keep speaking the truth in love, praying that the Holy Spirit would reveal the Word to their hearts so that they may be set free from the traps they have become so comfortable in. A comfortable trap is still a trap! I need to watch my own heart and life and be quick to repent when I slip up, and I need to remember that God is still God, despite all our human failings. I need to both proclaim and live out the kingdom of God, so that the kingdom of darkness may be shaken and the captives set free, for their salvation and God’s glory.

Father, I have written of great things which I obviously can’t do in my own strength. I ask You to work Your perfect will in and through me, so that Your Name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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