But Do You Know God?

By on January 24, 2015

“But Do You Know God??”
1Samuel 4, Part II

August 19, 2007
by C.W. Powell

Last week I considered the events of 1Samuel 4 and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines. This was the beginning of God’s judgment upon the house of Eli and the nation of Israel because of their corruption of the worship of God.

Superstition had replaced the knowledge of God. They brought the Ark before them, thinking “it shall deliver us from the hands of our enemies.’ There is no reference to prayer to God in all of 1 Samuel 4. They did not call upon the Lord. They did not repent. They did not beseech Him for mercy. In fact, we don’t find Eli, or Hophni, or Phinehas, or anyone else talking to God in all of this history.

This shows a profound ignorance of the nature of God and an incredible woodenness and insensitivity before the Lord. Israel and her leaders were in incredible spiritual danger. I thought it would be well this morning to consider Psalm 50 in the light of the events of 1Samuel 4, for this Psalm deals with exactly the same subject.

I. God is not Silent. He speaks to the whole earth.

Psalm 50:1-3 The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.

A. God’s word comes with power and authority.
B. He speaks from heaven, out of the perfection of beauty.
C. God is light and it is His nature to shine forth. In Him is no darkness at all.
D. Because God’s word comes with authority, it is devastating in its result. Vs. 3

II. God’s Controversy with His People.

Psalm 50:4-15 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. Hear O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. 50:11 I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? 50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

A. Those who name the name of Christ are in a covenant of sacrifice. The judgment of the church is by God alone. All creation testifies to the righteous judgment of God.

B. God’s controversy does not have anything to do with ceremonies or objects, as though God cared about such things.

a. God is concerned about the heart: true worship is in spirit and in truth.
b. Ceremonies are valuable only as they point us true the true worship.
c. Ceremonies are blamable only as they reveal our carelessness about the true worship.
d. God’s quarrel with His people did not have to do with their sacrifices. They did those right.
e. The flesh is good and diligent to perform ceremonies.
f. God had ordained the ceremonies, so why does he use such harsh language?
g. God reproves them for the reason they did the sacrifices; not for the fact of the sacrifices. God is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth; it is the reason and the mind set that makes the sacrifice useful. Without the mind, the sacrifice is not acceptable.

C. God does not need anything that we offer to Him. Vs.9-13.

a. He has enormous riches.
b. He has no desires that the earth can satisfy. All the world is His.

D. What we are called to offer:

a. Thanksgiving: a spiritual sacrifice.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 2:5 AV)
““By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Heb 13:15-16 AV)
It is what is in the heart that makes the service to God acceptable.

b. Pay your vows. Keep your responsibilities. A vow was a voluntary obligation, but if we are to keep our voluntary obligations, how much more are we to keep those obligations that God has laid upon us.

i. To your family
ii. To your Christian brothers: church and training
iii. To your neighbor.

c. Call upon Him in the day of trouble. We are to talk to Him.

i. Confession of sins

ii. Praise and thanksgiving

iii. Prayers in time of need. “Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.” (Ho 14:2 AV)

iv. God’s house is to be a house of prayer. We have been called to fellowship.

v. The condition of the temple was just representative of the hearts of the people: Their hearts were dens of iniquity and sins. The heart cannot be cleansed with ceremonies, as Jesus said. It is not that which goes into the mouth, but that which comes out of the mouth. For the mouth speaks from the heart, and people say nasty destructive things, because we are nasty destructive people.

vi. Circumcision or baptism cannot cleanse the heart from sin, but that which is represented by these ceremonies DOES cleanse the heart: the putting of of sins by the offering of the body of Christ; and the washing of water by the word and spirit of Christ. The heart in the bible is the spiritual center of the man, and it cannot be accessed by material things; it is only accessed by the Spirit of God.

III. Though judgment begins in the house of God, yet God will judge the world, as He says in the latter part of the passage:

Psalm 50:16-22 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.50:18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

A. The wicked have no right even to take the holy words of God upon their lips. Why should they speak of covenant when their hearts are far from the Lord.

a. They did not listen to God, so why should they slobber about his word? Vs. 17
b. They abused their neighbors, consenting to robbery and adultery. Vs. 18
c. Their mouths were full of deceit and evil vs. 19
d. They had no natural affection: vs. 20

B. They had no knowledge of God. Vs.21.

They were silent in the face of iniquity and they thought God would be silent, also. “God will set them in order.” If you do not set your life in order, God will set it in order before Himself, according to His liking.

IV Conclusion:

Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God”

A. This old word, conversation, means a way of life based upon a rule of life. It is a life lived by the principles of the word of God.

B. Two things here: the offering of praise to glorify God; and the ordering of the life. Your life is to be brought into the order of Scripture. Not your own whims and fancies, but the very structure of the Word of God itself. This is the way you and I are to go in the fear of God.

May God bless you.

Amen and Amen

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