So, I'm officially back in the saddle. Sorry for the long absence. I don't have an actual good reason (unless you consider being a lazy slacker a good reason).
I was sitting in a church service and the text that used was from 1 Samuel 30. In it, David and his men are plundered by the Amelekites. What really jumped out at me was who did the plundering. If you go back to 1 Samuel 15, Saul was given the job of wiping out the Amelekites. Long story short, he doesn't do it. So all of David's trouble in this situation comes about because somebody else dropped the ball. The thing that really troubled me was this - how many people have suffered because I didn't see my task through. Now I feel pretty confident that there hasn't been a city burned to the ground because of my being spiritually lax, but the principle applies. I was really convicted by the weight of my decisions. Not that I'm important or crucial and people are watching to see what I do, but like it or not the life I live and the choices I make carry consequences outside of my own personal space. There is no concept of "this is my business, if only affects me" That was one of the reasons I started doing this in the first place...not to make sure people heard me but to make me accountable for what I do. I became lazy. Thank you to those of you who kept after me to post again. If I'm not posting, it's because I'm not studying like I should or I'm not disciplining myself to reflect on what I'm studying and how to apply it.
That was the thing about the Amelekites. Saul wasn't willing to see it through to the end and other people pay the price. If you read 1 Sam. 15, Samuel comes on the scene too. He's a different sort of guy altogether. When he discovers what Saul has done, he doesn't rebuke him and go about his business. He finds Agag, the Amelekite king, and kills him. He is completely willing to do what is necessary to see God's assignment done. I know for me, sometimes a spiritual victory is short-lived because my commitment to it was short-lived. When David faces Goliath, he could have felt pretty good about the outcome. Goliath is on the ground with a rock in his head. Rather than celebrate this victory, he's not finished. For David, the battle is not over until Goliath's head is separated from his body. There will be no round 2, no rematch. Just victory and a corpse. The same goes for Joshua. After God makes the sun stand still during a battle with the Amorites, Joshua finds the five kings leading the enemy hiding in a cave. Now these guys lost the battle, ran away and their army is destroyed. They are no longer a concern, right? Not in Joshua's book. He takes them out, has his commanders put their feet on the kings' necks and kills them. It's not a coincidence that David, Joshua and Samuel were such effective leaders and Saul was such a disappointment. The unwillingness to accept anything other than total victory over the enemy set them apart. I'm not saying Christians never face setbacks, but I am saying I create a lot of my own by not being committed to making sure the job is finished. How many Agags do I keep around for convenience of because of a lack of commitment. How many kings are hiding in caves because I didn't root them out. How many stunned giants get back up because I didn't finish the job when God provided my deliverance. And how many people are affected by what I've left undone.