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I think at one time or another in our lives, we think we know what is best for us even more than God does. I know I have been there myself plenty a time! It is easy for us to fall outside the anointing of God when we work in the deeds of the flesh and take matters into our own hands.
We either demand our own way in a faith-based hissy fit, or we just flat out ignore what God is telling us and do it our own way in spite of ourselves (and in spite of the Lord).
We are far from the first to operate in the deeds of the flesh and outside the anointing of God…quite literally. Let’s look at the prime examples of Saul and David and learn the difference between working under the anointing of man versus the anointing of God.
The Deeds of the Flesh – Making Demands of God
The judge and prophet Samuel was growing old and had appointed his two sons as judges over Israel. But Israel did not trust these two. They demanded a King be set over them. They had just come through war with the Philistines where they both lost and re-gained the Ark and they, once again, were coming from a cycle of Sin-Judgment-Repentance-Deliverance and were experiencing a desire to once again follow the Lord and live lives of obedience to Torah.
Or so it would appear at least. Israel still had her idols and still were not walking with the Lord. They wanted to follow the Lord THEIR way. Holding onto these idols was like some sort of spiritual “back up plan”, as though the God who led them out of the land of Egypt was not enough.
Samuel implored the people to turn away from their idolatry and the deeds of the flesh that made them demand gods in addition to the one true God, and they listened and finally rid themselves of their idols. The people then learned of an impending attack from the Philistines and asked Samuel to pray for them. Samuel offered up a sacrifice to the Lord and when the Philistines attacked, confusion came over them and they were routed by Israel and their lands reconquered and taken back by Israel.
The Philistines did not attack Israel again during Samuel’s lifetime. But now Samuel was old and Israel was faced with his two sons who were crooked and shady characters.
Israel demanded a king be set over them. They saw other nations being governed as such and wanted a king to do the same for the nation of Israel.
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We still do that today! We see what others have and think that is what WE need instead of seeking what God has planned for us. As people of God, we are not to seek the things the world has and that is what Israel was doing.
So Samuel prayed and asked for HaShem’s guidance. The Lord told Samuel to give the people what they asked and essentially told him that, just as they had forsaken the Lord and turned to idolatry time and again, they were now doing the same to Samuel by rejecting him and his words. The Lord told Samuel to tell the people all that this king would do to them. He was giving them a dire warning about what having this king they coveted would mean for them. But, as was often the case, they failed to heed the prophet’s words.
So we then meet Saul who was to be king over Israel. I am going to skip over the story of Samuel’s meeting with Saul because it isn’t really the point of this post. But I do recommend reading it in 1 Samuel.
Giving in to the Deeds of the Flesh – The Anointing of Saul by the King Maker
Samuel then goes on to anoint Saul.
In 1 Samuel 10:1 we read:
Now, it should be noted that anointing a king was not the same as installing a king. Saul did not assume the role of ruler of Israel for some time after his anointing.
The anointing of someone is the setting apart of them for the Lord. But Saul went back to farming for some time after his anointing until the Ammonites forced his hand and, as 1 Samuel 11:6 tells us:
After leading an attack on the Ammonites, Saul is celebrated by the people and was confirmed King of Israel.
So I want to take a step back here because this is not a post about the kingship of Saul. Rather, I want to go back to the moment of Saul’s anointing and setting apart.
Saul was not God’s choice. Well, more specifically, Saul as King of Israel was not God’s choice. The people demanded a king. This was not what the Lord desired for Israel but they had once again become obstinate.
Let’s go back to Samuel’s anointing of Saul. The verse I quoted above, 1 Samuel 10:1 tells us that Samuel took a vial or flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head.
The Hebrew word is “pak”.
We will come back to that in a moment so for now, let’s jump forward to another king.
The Anointing of God on David
Saul was a man with more issues than Better Homes and Gardens!
He was disobedient, haughty, self-absorbed, narcissistic and yet also suffered from a severe case of paranoia and what seems to be depression.
He became a little big for his britches as my mother used to say. He wouldn’t listen to Samuel, again going back to the Lord’s telling Samuel basically “now you know how I feel!”.
In a moment of impatience while at war with the Philistines and feeling like Samuel was taking far too long to arrive, Saul took it upon himself to offer the sacrifices, thus assuming a priestly role which was not his to assume. As this happened, Samuel arrives on the scene. Samuel then informs Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to a man after God’s own heart.
After a series of mistakes and disobedient acts, Samuel finally departs from Saul and refused to ever speak to him again.
Samuel then embarks on a quest to find the new King of Israel and finds himself at the home of Jesse. After a series of events and going through all of Jesse’s sons in a Cinderella-type fashion to see if any of them “fit”, he eventually meets young David.
Ok, so all of this VERY quick Reader’s Digest type backdrop is to get to this point.
Samuel anoints David as king of Israel, even though it would be several years yet before David assumes the actual role of king.
But here is what I want to present to you.
In 1 Samuel: 16:1, before heading to the home of Jesse, we read:
Fill your horn with oil and go. The Lord said I am sending you to Jesse for I have selected for Myself a king among his sons.
Fill your horn.
The Hebrew word here for horn is “qeren” and this is the same word used in Genesis 22:13:
So here we have a horn of oil versus a flask of oil.
One is man-made and one is created by God.
- The Complete Jewish Study Bible Illuminating the Jewishness of God s Word
Deeds of the Flesh Versus the Anointing of God
Saul was chosen because the people demanded a king but David was chosen by God to be king.
The deeds of the flesh are when we seek our own gain. We want something when we want it. We don’t trust God’s timing so we pull out our flask and anoint a Saul instead of waiting for the Lord to do what He will do in our lives and anoint for us a David.The deeds of the flesh are when we seek our own gain. We don't trust God's timing so we pull out our flask and anoint a Saul instead of waiting for the Lord to anoint for us a David. Click To Tweet
The anointing of God in our lives cannot happen if we keep putting the deeds of the flesh before faith.
God has a distinct purpose and plan for your life. Your purpose is not the same as my purpose or the purpose of your friend, your spouse, your neighbor. When we try to force an anointing onto God, we are anointing a Saul. We are anointing with a flask. The anointing of God is not on us, the anointing of the world is.
We are forcing our demands onto God instead of letting God be God.
But when we let God work His will in our lives, when we are patient and obedient (the two things Saul was NOT), the anointing of God will flow into our lives and we will be right where He wants us, not operating in the deeds of the flesh but under the anointing of the Lord.
Do we always get it right? Of course not! But there is a distinct difference between trying to be obedient and making mistakes and just plain disobedience and pushing our own will forward ahead of God’s.
This is why, in spite of all the mistakes David made in his life (and he made some doozies), he was still called a man after God’s own heart.
Deeds of the Flesh Lead to a Lack of Peace
Saul lived a life where he was disobedient and obstinate and he had no peace.
In fact, David used to have to play the lyre for Saul because his spirit was so afflicted!
He lived a life of looking over his shoulder, being suspicious, living in fear and lacking peace. He was the wrong person, at the wrong time, and lacked the proper anointing.
When we are where we are not supposed to be, we too feel a lack of peace. We know we don’t belong there, or at least will know that eventually.
Even when we are completely in rebellion, the deeds of the flesh will always leave us with that feeling of missing something…that “God-sized hole in the heart”.
The anointing of God will give us a sense of peace and of being at the right place at the right moment in time.
Wait for the horn of oil and the anointing of God rather than the vial of oil and the deeds of the flesh! The Lord has great plans for your life if you will let him anoint you for your special plan and purpose. You may not be a king in the making! But remember, Yeshua took on the status of a servant, not a Saul and there was no greater than He.
He said in Matthew 20:26
Read more about this incredible story of Saul and David in 1 Samuel!
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CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.