Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Intervention of God's Holiness
Psa. 59:1 ¶ Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Psa. 59:2 Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from bloodthirsty men.
Psa. 59:3 ¶ See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
Psa. 59:4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!
Psa. 59:5 O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.
1Sam. 19:23 ¶ So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.
1Sam. 19:24 He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
Saul became terribly jealous of David, his son-in-law. David had to sneak out of his home and run to safety in the cover of darkness. He found Samuel the great prophet and the two of them went to Naioth at Ramah. Saul was furious and chased after David, hearing that he had ended up in Naioth. One can only imagine that David and Samuel were deeply engaged in a prayer meeting with God and as Saul drew closer he was overcome by the Spirit of the Lord. God's presence, his holiness was thick there in the area and he was completely overcome. Whether he stripped off his outer garments because he felt that the was in the presence of a holy God, or whether he stripped them off so that he could worship God more easily we do not know but we do know that instantly he was changed by the presence of God. He couldn't go after David, but he was overwhelmed, laying down in the presence of God, worshiping and prophesying. In the meantime David slipped away.
In this moment we have a glimpse of the holy power of God. David and Samuel were dearly beloved by God. These were two men who had an intimate relationship with God, walking and talking with him on a daily basis. They had fallen in love with God and were willing to serve him in all obedience and faithfulness and as a result, God was caring for them.
There are authors who refer to this moment as a foreshadowing of the experience of sanctification which is to come in the New Testament. Saul is sanctified for a day by the holiness of God. God uses his holiness to intercede for David and Saul is simply overcome because the holiness of God is more powerful than anything he has ever experienced in his life. For this one day Saul is made clean and turns aside from his obsession with the destruction of David and falls down flat on his face and worships God. He is even given the ability to prophesy on that day -- but we know it is not Saul personally, but it is God speaking through him. This is the power of God at work.
If this is a foreshadowing of the sanctifying work of God in the life of an individual, what does that mean for us today as believers? It helps us to understand that the power of sanctification, the act of being made holy, is all about God and his power and holiness. Saul did nothing to be a holy man of God -- he was simply a man who encountered the holiness of God and that power was so great that it transformed Saul for the day. There is another Saul whom we meet later in the New Testament. This Saul encounters the same power on the road to Damascus but this time the result is different. Saul is transformed into Paul and it's not just for a day, but through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is for a lifetime.
God's holiness was used to save the very life of David and the power of the Spirit was revealed in Saul's behaviors. Today, the holiness of God is available to save us! It is by living a life in the Spirit that we are transformed into the holy people of God, not just for today, but for a lifetime and it is this transformation which will save us from the world around us. We must simply be willing to step into God's holy presence and allow him to do his work in us and we too can experience the intervention of God's holiness.
Lord, I want to experience the power of your holiness every single day. May I walk in obedience before you, and in your Spirit. Amen.