I like to think of sin as a weed growing in the midst of a beautiful green lawn. It springs up seemingly overnight and spreads quickly. Sometimes we try to pull it out, but it grows right back unless we dig down and pull it out at the root. So what is the root of sin?
I think sin is rooted in two things, selfish ambition and deception.
All sin stems from selfish ambition. Sin started wth selfish ambition when Lucifer decided he should be God and got thrown out of heaven. It grew in the garden of Eden with deception as the serpent deceived Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit.
I want to look at the very first King of Israel, King Saul and see how selfish ambition and deception played its part in losing his kingdom to David.
One early misstep of Saul is found in 1 Samuel 13:8-14. His armies are preparing for battle and they were instructed to wait for Samuel to perform the sacrifice, but Samuel didn’t show up and Saul took matters into his own hands.
There will be times in life when we will feel like God hasn’t shown up, it is in those times we must remember to wait on the Lord. Do not rush into action! Be patient.
Saul sacrificed the offering himself and as fate would have it, right as he was finishing Samuel comes into the camp and sees what has taken place. He confronts the king, “What have you done?!”
Saul is quick to defend himself, “You didn’t arrive when you said and I didn’t want to lead the men into battle without first asking for the Lord’s help, so I did what I thought was right.” Verse 13-4 tells us Samuel’s response,
1 Samuel 13:13-14 (NLT) “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end…”
Saul’s reasoning was sound, I read Saul’s thought process and I’m like, “Yea, that sounds good.” But Good is often the enemy of God. Human reasoning leads to deception when we should just trust in the Word of God.
Saul is again deceived in 1 Samuel 15. God had given Saul specific instructions and he again disobeyed the Lord, but again when he was confronted Saul defended himself and his actions as right and pleasing to the Lord.
1 Samuel 15:13-15 When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!”
14 “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded.
15 “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.”
God wasn’t interested in Saul’s sacrifices, he was interested in His obedience, but Saul was deceived and it cost him his kingdom. What if Saul had acted in humility and repented before the Lord? Instead he doubled down on his wrongful action and guarded it as right.
All throughout Saul’s story he is deeply deceived. Even though God told him that he would lose the Kingdom and another would be made King, Saul still found himself controlled by a strong and selfish desire to hold onto power and make his son the next king.
1 Samuel 18:13-14 David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him. When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him.
At this point Saul’s heart has become completely ruled by deception and selfish ambition. He no longer desires to see God’s will succeed. He is afraid of David because God is with him. Immediately after this Saul attempts to have David killed in battle.
The deception keeps getting worse. In 1 Samuel 20
Saul confronts his son Jonathan, who was fiercely loyal to David. “Jonathan, my son! As long as David lives you will never be king!” Jonathan questioned why David had to die and because of Saul’s deep deception he attempted to kill his own son.
When we hold onto selfish ambition rather than letting go in surrender and submission, we become more and more deceived.
(NLT) Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!
We must lay down our own desires and submit to Jesus as Lord. When we obey we grow in wisdom, but when we choose not to obey we decrease in wisdom and deception creeps in.
I want to encourage you today to examine the motives of your heart. Are you fully driven by a desire to please the Lord in all things or do you sometimes find that you’re still attempting to do things your own way rather than relying upon His divine direction?
It is never too late to become a person fully submitted to the Lord. Let us daily decide to lay down our lives for the sake of His truth. God’s way leads to peace, joy and hope. Our way ultimately leads to dismay, deception and death.