CHAPTER 2

BY GOD - WE'LL BE LIKE THE NATIONS

In 1983 after pastoring a small denominational charismatic church for several years, I was becoming more and more
disturbed about the type of ministry that I had encountered in both the Charismatic and Evangelical Movements.

Christian music was populated to a large extent by men and women who were more interested in entertaining people
than causing God’s people to enter into His presence.

Christian television was often embarrassing; I did not really want unsaved friends and acquaintances to watch the
programs. I felt very uncomfortable that people in the world who perhaps casually came upon these Christian
programs, would go away believing that the people on television represented the ideas of the Bible and behavior that
pleased God. Their looks, style and message often were self-serving. They solicited for donations in a way that
seemed to be transparently manipulative.

At the denominational pastoral conferences I attended, it was rare that doctrine was ever discussed or taught.
Typically we were told to pray a lot, recognize the value of unity in the Body of Christ and be sure that we did not
beat the sheep. For example, when discussing the touchy issue of divorce in the Church, there seemed to be a
crusade to make sure everyone knew that divorce was not the unforgivable sin; however Scriptures concerning
divorce were rarely mentioned. We NEVER heard the words of Jesus uttered in Matt 5:32, “but I say to you that
everyone who divorces his wife except for the reason of unchastely, makes her commit adultery; and whoever
marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” They never quoted Mark 10:11-12, where Jesus spoke these words,
“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her
husband and marries another man she is committing adultery.” Or in Luke 16:18 where Jesus says, “…he who
marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” These Scriptures were never referenced nor
discussed. Scriptures that were quoted and referenced were basically ones that illustrated His love and forgiveness.
Perhaps the most alarming development was the pulpit popularity of so-called Christian psychology. Even at the Bible
College I attended, one teacher taught us that if Paul the Apostle knew as much about the science of psychology as
we did, his ministry would have been much more successful.

After observing all of this and watching the ministries that propounded all of these ideas, I began to pray very
vigorously for the Lord to show me if these ministries were real, if any of them were anointed and what I should do
regarding their presence in the Body of Christ.

He answered by taking me through I Samuel and showing me two men, Saul and David, and one people, His people
the Israelites. He revealed much to me about the essential character of this people in I Samuel 8. The Israelites were
at a critical time in their history. Samuel was getting old and his sons were not really fit to assume his ministry of
judging the twelve tribes. The dreaded enemies of God, particularly the Philistines, were an ever-present threat to
God’s people. The leaders felt strongly that new and drastic measures must be taken to insure their safety and to
ultimately conquer their enemies. Their solution was simple but imitative in a way that God’s people had never been
imitative before. They wanted to have a king rule over them so that they might be like all the nations (the heathens).
Samuel understood that this was not pleasing to God. He knew His people were to be influenced, guided, and ruled
by the ways of God rather than the ways of the heathen nations. I Samuel 8:6-8 says, (NASB) ““But the thing was
displeasing (evil) in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.
And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you for they have not
rejected you but they have rejected Me from being King over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the
day that I brought them out even to this day - in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods - so they are
doing to you also.”” God here equates or compares the sin of rejecting His ways and Himself with the sin of idolatry.
The Lord essentially told Samuel that this rejection of God Himself motivated their request for a king. Then the Lord
warned the people through Samuel about the many problems that they would suffer under such rulership. But, as I
Samuel 8:19-20 says, ““Nevertheless the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel but they said, “No, but there
shall be a king over us that we also may BE LIKE ALL THE NATIONS, that our king may judge us and go out before
us and fight our battles.”” In these Scriptures, we see the people clearly rebelling against God’s method and will.
They are rejecting Him and His plan because they desire to BE LIKE ALL THE NATIONS. What follows is a most
amazing section of Scripture. Instead of judging His rebellious people immediately with appropriate punishments,
verse 22 of chapter 8 says, ““And the Lord said to Samuel: “LISTEN TO THEIR VOICE AND APPOINT THEM A
KING.”” We see here God granting a request, answering a prayer, apparently against His will. God, knowing that
they are asking for a king in part so they could become like the heathen people from whom they are supposed to be
separated, still gives them the desires of their heart. Not only does God appoint them a king after their desire but also
He ANOINTS this king for them. I Samuel 10:1 says, ““Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his (Saul’s)
head, kissed him, and said, “HAS NOT THE LORD ANOINTED YOU a ruler over His inheritance?”” These
Scriptures are not unlike Psalm 106:14-15, “but (the Israelites) craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God
in the desert. So He gave them their request, but sent a wasting disease among them.” The King James Version
says, (they) “lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. And He gave them their request
but sent leanness into their soul.”

We see in these verses a sobering principle established in God’s Word. God will actually give His people who are
called by His name the desires of their heart, even when they are motivated by a rejection of God Himself and a
desire to be like the world (idolatrous concepts to be sure); even when their desire is to fight against the enemies of
God using the way and weaponry of the world. We see that God not only grants this desire but He ANOINTS men to
lead the people in fulfilling these desires.

Sometime in the twentieth century, probably in the 1920’s or 30’s or possibly earlier, a cry began to arise from the
visible Body of Christ. The cry was, “We are tired of being stodgy, old fashioned and generally unacceptable to the
great masses of unsaved people in the world. We desire to be more acceptable to them and even to be more like
them. Give us leaders who will speak their language and be like them. Give us leaders who will fulfill our heart’s
desire. In order to win them for Christ we feel it is necessary that our leaders be like their leaders. Now appoint a king
(leaders) for us...like all the nations (people who are not God’s people). We want men and women who are polished,
educated, great communicators, in touch with the latest philosophies and modern thinking, athletic men and women,
entertaining men and women, attractive people who will attract men and women to Jesus. And then O Lord, PLEASE
have them encourage us to be just like they are.” The cry of the people ascended to the throne of God and, in His
infinite wisdom and because of the hardness of their hearts, He answered this prayer and sent them leaders like the
heathen. He sent us leaders like the world.

Even as Saul of Benjamin was the answer to the Israelites’ prayer to have a king like the nations, we have prayed for
and received our Sauls too. Thus in the twentieth century, the Church of Saul emerged. BY GOD, we have indeed
become like the nations.
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