Sam I Am : Gone Gabriel
September 15, 2019 | Ed Young
Good morning, everyone! We just rolled in from ‘Frisco. Let me put my jacket on. How are y’all doing? This is Josh Stewart. Josh Stewart, one of our pastors. Josh, come here. This guy here is a legend. He’s such an amazing guy, and we always call him Josh New-pants Stewart, because he’s always buying these new pants. And one day we caught him walking in the parking lot, kind of looking down at his pants, so that’s the nickname. Is that funny? Let’s give it up for New-pants Stewart, Josh Stewart. I appreciate that, very much. We’re receiving our offering right now, too. That’s great.
I can’t believe you guys are here. The Cowboys kick off at noon. You guys are phenomenal, man. That’s unbelievable, unbelievable. I want to welcome all of our different locations while we’re receiving the offering. Our online location, Dallas/Fort Worth, Keller/Southlake, ‘Frisco, Allaso Ranch, Northport, that’s near Sarasota, Florida, and also beautiful Miami, Florida. And also, I want to say hi to our television audience. You know, I do want to give you guys a quick announcement. We have until Friday to sign up for our Israel trip. Lisa and I are going to Israel and we took a great group last time. We have a great group already signed up, so why not? Why not go to Israel? Well, I’m kind of scared over there. I mean, what if something happens? I feel more danger in Dallas/Fort Worth walking the streets than I do in Jerusalem. And if something does happen, is there a better place to die? I mean, what a great place. Oh, they’ve got. How great is our team? They’re showing video while I’m saying these things. I didn’t even know that. That’s unbelievable. That’s it, that’s it.
You know, when you wear a double-breasted you don’t know whether to button it. Let me just button this thing. OK. Well, you know, someone gave me this suit, and I really love this suit. I do. I’ve always liked fashion, my whole life I’ve loved fashion. Ever since I’ve been – wow. When I was 2 years old back in the day, people would wear like stripes down their pants. I would go to football games. And my mother, rest her soul, she sewed stripes down my pants as a 2-year-old be I just demanded stripes. She did that. You couldn’t buy them back in the day. Now you can buy pants with stripes and numbers and all sorts of stuff.
Today we are continuing, well, really, we’re concluding our series called Sam-I-am. And I’m gonna talk about a subject that is very convicting to me. I mean, this subject gets up in my grill, and I want to begin talking about this by sharing a story that I shared in 2011. Our son, who is now 27. He’s married, has his own apartment and everything. When he was living with us growing up, about once a year we would always take a trip, kind of an adventure somewhere. And we would go to places that most people wouldn’t go. Most tourists wouldn’t tread where we would go. Well, one year we went to a tiny island off the coast of Honduras. Kind of a dangerous place, pirates, drug runners in the area. And this island was trashed. A hurricane had blown through several years earlier. All the mangrove trees were fried because of the saltwater. Rats were everywhere. Crabs were everywhere. No air conditioning. It was truly camping out. We stayed in these shacks that were built over the surf line. When the surf would break, the whole shack would shake. The guy that ran this island was named Charlie. The guy that worked for him was named Gabriel. There were just a few people on this island. There were dogs, wild dogs, and crazy stuff, iguanas, horrible. Horrible. In fact, we even left early, it was so bad. But while we were there, Gabriel, the guy that worked for Charlie, who managed the island, Charlie and Gabriel got into some sort of fight. It almost came to blows. Gabriel, who worked for Charlie, stole his bottle of rum, drank the entire bottle one morning. He was intoxicated, inebriated. Then he was so upset, he took one of Charlie’s kayaks, an old kayak, jumped in it, fell out, crawled back up several times, paddled his way from this little island in the middle of the Caribbean, and also part of the Pacific if you know your geography. He paddled 30 miles back to land. Now, we never knew what happened to Gabriel. The last words that Charlie yelled at him, between numerous F-bombs, were, “I’m gonna kill you!” And in that part of the world hopefully Charlie didn’t kill Gabriel but, you never know. That’s one of the reasons we left.
So, I’ve often thought about Gabriel over the years, paddling, totally wasted in the high seas. Sharks, pirates, drug runners, I hope he made it. It was crazy. I mean, it was a dangerous situation. We laughed at it while we were there on the island, especially when we returned home. Whenever something wacky would happen, something crazy would happen, we would go, “Have you gone Gabriel?” I thought about that because I’ve gone Gabriel before, and so have you. I’ve done the push-back, jumped in the kayak, and paddled away from where I’m supposed to be. Gabriel should have stayed in the protected place, no matter what happened, the right place. He should have submitted to Charlie’s authority, but for some reason he got upset. For some reason he got angry. He did the pushback, jumped in the kayak and paddled away, putting himself in harm’s way and in danger.
All of us deal with authority issues, all of us do. We don’t like to talk about it. Authority issues are everywhere. They’re on an island in Honduras, they’re in your marriage and mine, they’re in your family, your family of origin, they’re at your job, they’re on the team. Authority issues. God is a God of authority. He always works with authority. There is a chain of command. God, being God, whether you believe it or not, is sovereign. He’s omnipotent. He places people in our lives, authority figures in our lives, to mold us and to shape us into the kind of people that he desires, even on an island. Yet, what do I do? What do you do? Oh, I’m gonna do the pushback, I’m gonna jump in the kayak, and I’m gonna paddle the way I want to paddle. And so often in our lives we paddle away from the purpose that God has for our lives, which is for us to submit to authority. Authority issues.
The coach is not giving your kid enough playing time. What do you do? Do you do the pushback, jump in the kayak, and go Gabriel? Do you rebel? Do you talk the coach down, thereby teaching your child that? Or, do you say, I’m going to submit to this authority structure. For some reason, God has this in our lives to mold us and to shape us into the kind of people that he desires.
Maybe this manager, you just don’t like this person. They’re unfair, they’re mean-spirited. God has this manager in your life for a reason. Do you do the pushback, jump in the kayak, and go Gabriel? Oh, I’ve got my rights! What does that mean? I mean, I understand but how about God? How about pleasing God? We have a culture of people with authority issues, do we not? Authority issues, they’re everywhere.
Drive on the freeway, authority issues. I got pulled over and man, that cop was rude! And? God has that cop in our lives for a reason. We either submit or not. When we don’t, we’re signing up for some scary, scary stuff. When we go Gabriel, suddenly now we’re in the high seas, pirates, sharks, and mayhem. It’s very convicting, isn’t it? It convicted me.
Lisa and I go to a restaurant. Maybe the hostess seats us and I’m like, “No, I don’t like this table. I want to sit at that table by the windows, with my wife. This is romantic.” “Sir, I’m sorry, thank you but that’s been reserved.” Whoa-ho-ho, now! Wait a minute! Authority issues. I’ve gone Gabriel.
“Yeah, Dad, now why did you tell me that? If you give me an explanation, then I would do what you…” You’ve got authority issues.
Authority issues in marriage. As a spouse, you’re not to compete, you’re to complete one another. Authority issues. There are authority issues in marriage. Men and women, they’re not the same, although our culture, for decades, has tried to tell us, oh! Men and women are alike! Are you kidding me? We have different roles. We’re equal before God, totally equal! Equal in form, unique in function. There are many times in our marriage I submit to Lisa’s thoughts, I submit to her desires and directives. Many times, she submits to mine. But, as the husband, I’ve been given the leadership role in the marriage. It doesn’t mean I’m superior, because I’m definitely not, but that’s the role. Well, I don’t like it! You don’t have to.
How about the Trinity? God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit? There is submission and authority in the Trinity. Coequal, coexistent, but the Son, when he was on planet Earth, was submitted to the Father, the will of the Father, and the Holy Spirit was submitted to the Son. Equal in form, unique in function. God always works through authority. So, if you find, and when you find, God’s chain of command, get under his chain of command.
Well, I’m not gonna submit to this person until I respect this person! Well, you’ll never and I’ll never, ever, ever understand authority issues. I don’t have to respect the person to submit to their authority. Whether it be a president, a mayor, a person that manages an island, a teacher, a pastor, a coach. I mean, if I had to wait until I liked someone, I’d only submit to maybe 2-3 people. Ever… ever. Authority issues.
I’ve been in a series called Sam-I-am. We’ve been talking about Samuel. Samuel was a guy that understood authority. He was under the authority of God. He wasn’t perfect, and that’s what I love about the Bible. The Bible talks about the assets and the liabilities of people, and that’s something that we can all connect with. But Samuel understood authority, and many times he carried out things that weren’t always easy to carry out. Today we’re gonna see that he had a situation with Saul. Now, when you hear me tell these two quick stories about the exchange between Samuel and Saul, you might think, OK. Wow, this is a classic battle between Samuel and Saul. On a visceral level, it is. But that’s not really what’s going on. As you read about Samuel and Saul, it’s Samuel versus Samuel, and Saul versus Saul. It’s you versus you. It’s me versus me. I think the text will explain it.
Saul was the king of Israel. God wanted to be the king. It was his desire, his perfect will, for him to be in charge, yet God’s people, the Israelites, were like, “We want a king! We want a king like the neighboring nations!” So, God, in his permissive will, allowed it. Saul was the earthly king. In no uncertain terms Saul knew he couldn’t go into battle, this is very, very important, until he waited 7 days because the man of God, Samuel, had to make sacrifices, and then Saul could fight. So, Saul was under the authority of Samuel, and Samuel was under the authority of God. Well, they were at a place called Michmash. Have you ever felt like the Michmash has hit the fan? Have you ever felt like you’re drowning in Michmash? That’s where Saul was. He was in Michmash and the Philistines, the archenemies of God’s people, they were so close to God’s people that Saul could small their cologne. I just threw that in. The Bible doesn’t say that, but they were that close. And God’s people were like, “Oh, wow! The Philistines are close!” and they were bolting. They were out. So, Saul looked at his Rolex sundial watch and was like, you mean, I’ve got to wait 7 days? Seven days until Samuel, old man Samuel, walks up and does the sacrificial system thing? So, he waited and waited and waited and waited. He’s at Michmash. He waited and waited, and on the 7th day, time is melting off the clock, Saul goes, “I’ll just go ahead and do it myself.” He did the pushback, jump in the kayak, and he goes, I’m just gonna do what I’m gonna do. I’m king, and at least I’ve done some sacrifices. I mean, Samuel’s not here. But Saul, you’ve still got time! Seven days haven’t melted off the clock yet! After Saul and his authority issues, after Saul had made the fire, when the fires were still smoldering after the sacrifice guess who showed up? You guessed it. Samuel.
And I love 1 Samuel 13 11-12 (NIV-84), because I’m gonna get you to repeat some stuff with me.
“What have you done?” That’s what Samuel said to Saul. He’s like, what? Have you ever said that before? What? As a parent – what? As a spouse – yeah, what? As a boss – what? Yeah. What have you done?
“Saul replied, ‘Oh, when I saw (say that with me – I saw)…’” Wow, I’ve made that excuse before. Walk by faith, not by sight. “ ‘When I saw that the men were scattering and that you didn’t come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash (oh wow, excuses), I thought…” Say that with me – I thought. You know, I’m just an analytical guy. I just want to use my own intelligence. I thought. So, I saw, I thought.
“‘… now the Philistines will come down again against me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord’s favor. So, I felt…’” Say that with me. Saul was like, man, I’m having all the feels. Now, if those, did you hear what I said? Saul was having all the feels. You know what I’m saying, you young people. That was just for the millennials and younger. People like me. The old people, people in their 40’s and 50’s, they missed what I just said. They don’t even know what I said. How many old people have heard that before? No, no one. #Imhavingallthefeels. That’s what Saul said. So, I saw, I thought, I felt. He did the pushback, jump in the kayak, and check out his strokes with the paddle. I saw, I thought, I felt. Say it with me. I saw, I thought, I felt. Once again. I saw, I thought, I felt. Visually, mentally, emotionally, and what do we do, most of us?
Everything is about feelings. We used to make decisions based on feelings. I don’t feel like I love him anymore. Really? I just don’t feel in love. That happens all the time in marriage. You’re not gonna feel it. I don’t feel like training today. I don’t feel like going to work today. I don’t feel like studying today. I really don’t feel like preaching right now. I really don’t. Feelings. Feelings, feelings. I saw, I thought, I felt. And because of this Saul began to fall. I mean, he had the Michmash whiplash. This is just a little thing we’ve seen in his life that moved into a big thing.
So, now let’s jump to another story. Last story we’re gonna talk about. This is a story about the Amalekites. I call it the bite of the Amalekite. Saul is gonna have a battle again. I mean, God gave him so many opportunities. He was so patient with him. Saul started out right but as you read about him, unlike Samuel, Samuel was all about pleasing God. Not perfectly, but obeying God. Saul was like, well, I want to please people more than God, you know? As long as I’m trending, you know? As long as people are singing about me and applauding, I’m cool, but God, yeah, I want to do the God thing, too.
It was like, say it with me. Bless me. This is a bless-me sticker. I have learning disabilities, OK? I get things backwards. I mispronounce words, names, this is part of it. And those of you who are ADD are like, I’m tracking with you. I like that, Ed. Upside-down, that’s OK. So, I’m gonna be like Saul. Just bless me. Yeah, I’ll do the pushback and jump in the kayak, and I saw, I thought, I felt. I’ll just, you know, God I’m gonna do what I want to do, my way. I’ll think how I want to think. I’ll see what I want to see. And I’ll feel what I want to feel. And God, bless me, too. No obedience, now I don’t like that. I don’t like really listening to you, doing what you say in your word, but I’m just gonna go by my thoughts and my sight and my feelings. And you better bless me. Well, it doesn’t work that way, does it? A lot of people think it does, but it doesn’t. God wants our obedience. And when we’re obedient, yeah. The blessings come.
Oh Saul, man. What are you doing? Another battle, another chance to get it right. God said, well, do you mind if I play a drum solo real quick? OK, if you recognize this drum solo, it means you’re over 50. Because here’s what God said to Saul… <drum solo> OK, what drum solo was that? <Audience: Wipeout!> The millennials have no clue. One of the greatest drum solos ever. OK, here’s some trivia. Another ADD moment. What band, what band, I’ll give you 5 seconds, played the song Wipeout. No Googling. No one knows. The Safari’s, The Safari’s. I was 6 years old when I first heard this. I had a little 45, and The Safari’s Wipeout. What was on the other side of that record? Surfer Joe. I love Surfer Joe. Do you mind if I sing it? It goes, OK, OK. It’s like a surfing song. <singing> “Surfer Joe-ho-ho. Now look at him go-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho. Surfer, surfer, surfer Joe-ho-ho. Come and go-ho-ho. Woe-ho-ho-ho, Surfer Joe. OK, let’s go.” I’m telling you. It’s a great song, Surfer Joe. And for some reason, I hear music and I can remember music really well.
So, I don’t know why I said that, but… Saul did not wipe out the Amalekites. Oh, that sounds harsh, Ed! Well, the Old Testament is R-rated. It’s like most of the Netflix shows. Why would God want to wipe out a people group? #1 – They were terrorists. #2 – They harassed God’s people constantly. #3 – They tempted and got God’s people into idol worship. They were sadistic, evil freaks. So, God said, “Wipe them out.” Now, what do you think Saul did? No, he didn’t wipe them all out. He kept some for himself. Because I’ve discovered 95% obedience is 5% short. Oh, that seems pretty strict. Well, what if Lisa told me, “Honey, I’m 95% faithful to you.” So, hey, Saul, just wipe out the Amalekites. Just wipe them out. He didn’t. He kept King Agag and he kept some livestock.
“Early in the morning,” 1 Samuel 15:12-15, “Samuel got up and went to meet Saul.” I’m getting ready to sneeze. I usually sneeze like 3 times. Bless you. Well, it’s messed up now. “Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul but he was told, ‘Saul has gone to Carmel (this is hilarious!), he set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone down to Gilgal.’” That’s hilarious. It’s sad, but it’s hilarious. I’m going to Carmel to set up my own monument. How about your Facebook? Is that a monument to yourself? How about my Instagram feed? How about, there’s all sorts. How about the humble brag? How about… it’s … wow. You show me someone, though, who has authority issues and I’ll show you someone who has a pride issue. Sin is prideful and pride is sinful. Pride.
Saul has gone to Carmel, and we’re going to be on Mount Carmel when we take the Israel trip. Please sign up. Don’t say, OK, next year. Two years from now. Go now! It’s awesome. All right. Saul has gone to Carmel, there to set up a monument to himself. You know, whatever, whatever. Now, verse 13, Saul’s losing it. “When Samuel reached him Saul said, ‘The Lord bless you.’” Bless me. See? Isn’t this funny? “ ‘I have carried out the Lord’s instructions…” now, now, now, Saul, you’re lying there, brother. “But Samuel said, ‘What, then, is the bleating of sheep in my ears?’” That’s one of the classic texts in the Old Testament. Is that brilliant? “What is the lowing of cattle that I hear? Saul answered ‘The soldiers…’” Oh, I’ve made that excuse before. Oh, I didn’t do it. I don’t have rebellion in my heart, God. I’m not going Gabriel. It’s their fault. Or it’s Lisa’s fault. Or it’s the church’s fault, or my friend’s fault. Not me! Not me. “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites. They spared the best (oh Saul, get this weak stuff out of there) of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice…” He’s playing the God card now. “… to the Lord your God. But we totally (he’s lying again) destroyed the rest.” He was saving king Agag, saving some of the cattle and the bling.
Here’s what happens. When I don’t – and I’ve done this before – when I don’t really play, when I don’t really wipe out sin, when I keep king Agag and other things, those other things have a way of rebooting, reproducing, and eating my lunch. Sin, dealt with radically, is sin dealt with effectively. You’ve got to love Samuel. Samuel understood authority issues. You’ve got to love Samuel. He would say the hard stuff. He would take the hard yards. On the other hand, Saul, he mailed it in. If you read the rest of his life, he went psycho, sadly. And his family was messed up because of it. He never achieved the purpose that God wanted for his life because he went Gabriel. I pray that we understand the beauty and the power of authority. I pray that we see the benefit of how God wants to shape and mold and use all of us through, oftentimes, and arduous process.
Hey, thanks for attending this series. We’ve got another cool one coming up, but I’ve learned so much. Haven’t you, in this series? Unbelievable! The Bible, the Word of God, is so, so powerful. And make sure that you log onto our APP because we have Devotionals written around the messages we do each and every day. I use it all the time, and I pray that you do as well.
Right now, I want to have a word of prayer, and I want to pray for those of us, because I’m a struggler as well, in this whole thing of rebellion and going Gabriel. Then, after that, I want to give you an opportunity to, if you would like it’s between you and God, to give your life to the Lord. Would you pray with me?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]