Entitlement & Instant Gratification

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I Samuel 15:7-23

When we were younger, people used to speak of "spoiled brats". What did you think of when you heard that term? (Usually a rich kid that got whatever he or she wanted). Today we would say that the kid has an entitlement mentality that expects instant gratification.

When we are first introduced to Saul, we discover that he is very impressive, good looking, tall and strong. And we discover that his father is quite wealthy with many servants. You might say, Saul was a rich kid. Saul's father is disturbed because he is missing his donkeys, apparently all of them! Donkeys were the primary mode of transportation and the number owned was a measure of a person's wealth. Kish called Saul and told him to take one of the servants and search for the missing donkeys. It is quite possible that Kish believed Saul had been negligent in caring for the donkeys. We learn a little more about Saul in this incident. When Saul was ready to quit looking, the servant spoke up, "Let's go ask the man of God in this place." Saul had brought no money along, but the servant had money. When Samuel later wanted to present Saul as king, he hid himself.

How does God's definition of greatness compare to man's?
Man: Outward appearance, ability to impress (family roots, wealth, fame, achievements, education), a recognized leader and commanding voice.
God: Heart attitude, recognition of weakness or shortcomings, search for and acceptance of truth. Willing to submit and serve. Humility and wisdom ("David behaved himself wisely").

What would you say to someone who admits to a sin and then says, "but…" (15:14-16)? What about someone who lies and then gives a pious excuse for his or her disobedience? (15:13, see also 13:8-14) What does it say about a leader when his subordinates desert him in the heat of battle? Compare Jonathan and Saul's leadership abilities (14:7). Apparently he sacrificed on the seventh day, the day Samuel promised to come. Samuel arrived right after this, so he apparently came at the last minute. Saul was fearful because the enemy was gathering huge forces and his men were deserting. He was impatient and impulsive, "entitlement attitude and expecting instant gratification." What might Saul have done to allay the fears of his men in chapter 13? (He should have explained the situation and called a prayer meeting!)

It is always better to confess an error than to deny, excuse, blame, accuse (divert) or belittle it. How can we recognize true confession? "I'm sorry if I offended you" is not a confession at all.

In 1986, I ordered 70 mattresses for the Bible Institute which we founded two years earlier. Ordinarily, there would have been no problem with such a move. Everyone knew that mattresses were very much needed, that as Business Manager of the school, this was in my competence. Furthermore, the money for mattresses was being provided through our mission for which I was Field Director. The School Director openly criticized me publicly because I had acted contrary to the written minutes from a staff meeting. I could recall discussing the purchase, but had not read the minutes carefully. According to these, it had been decided that the Director's wife should give her okay to the purchase before it was finalized.

After several decades as a missionary, I had learned a few lessons about how a believer should handle such difficult situations. First of all, I admitted that I had not read the minutes carefully and apologized. Secondly, I said that I was prepared to take the mattresses back. Should the business refuse them, I was prepared to buy the mattresses and sell them for whatever I could get. The school would not suffer any loss.

What sins did Samuel accuse Saul of? (disobedience) With what did he compare his disobedience? (v.23 Rebellion and stubbornness = witchcraft and idolatry). "The people…" "I felt compelled to…"

When our nation was gearing up for an election in 2012, Herman Cain may well have become President. He had the most impressive resume of anyone who has run for the presidency in the last half century. A NAVY rocket scientist. Transformed 400 nearly bankrupt Burger Kings and Godfather’s Pizza into profitable businesses; served as Chairman of the National Restaurant Association and the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. Then Cain was exposed as a womanizer. He first denied, then belittled and finally attempted to excuse his behavior. Had he not made so much noise about his personal faith, Americans might have forgiven him.

Deut. 17:17; I Kings 10-11; Matt. 4:1-10; I John 2:16
1) Fleshly lusts: gluttony, sexual lust, drug and alcohol abuse etc.
2) Mental sin: envy, pride, idolatry (worship of things), religious hypocrisy, intellectualism (knowledge over wisdom) etc.
3) Striving for Power: Suppression of others, seeking recognition, control obsessed etc.

God commanded the first pair to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, but in Genesis 6 we read about certain "sons of God" who apparently deserted heaven and God. We only know what is recorded here, that they came down to earth and had offspring by humans. The giants mentioned here were perhaps a result of that rebellious union. Verses 5-13 tell us that the earth was totally corrupted and filled with violence. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually...

Angels are mentioned about 300 times in scripture and some of these passages give us vivid descriptions, none of which fit popular notions.  Angels were created by God to serve him and the rest of his creation. The Bible tells us a little about angels, even the fallen angels, but most of us must admit that we have never seen one and those who claim to have seen angels give differing descriptions of the encounters.

So God destroyed the world that he created except for Noah and his family and the animals that were taken into the ark. After the flood, God sent a rainbow of promise that he would never again destroy mankind by a flood. As with Adam and Eve, God commanded Noah's family to multiply and spread out over the whole earth (Genesis 9). In chapter 10 and 11, however, we see that the descendants of Noah decided to build cities. In Babel, they began construction of a special "high place" or tower that was supposed to reach into heaven. The goal of the people was to stay and build instead of go and multiply (Genesis 11:1-9). The people knew that they were disobeying God's command and must have feared that God would send another flood. Their tower seemed to be designed to provide a safe place in event of a flood. That is likely the reason they used asphalt instead of mortar.

II Peter 3:7-12 says that this world will be destroyed by fire. What happens to asphalt in a fire? The descendants of Noah found that out when God later destroyed Sodom and Gemorrah with fire and brimstone! For now, however, God held back his wrath and just confused the people's language. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. (Genesis 11:8)

Ralph V Harvey