by Phil Beach
For some time now the Lord has been stirring my heart over the issue of how important it is to hold forth the finality of His verdict upon the old creation. The present warfare is surely over the whole issue of who or what will get a place in the Lord's work, in the Lord's church, in our own lives, or in anything that pertains to the Lord's purpose. Satan's whole intention in this hour is to somehow get something of the "devoted to destruction" (1 Samuel 15: 21) and get us to offer it to the Lord, even though it may be "the best of the sheep and of the oxen."
"Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."
"But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly."
"And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord." (1 Samuel 15: 3, 9, 33)
The story of Saul and his unwillingness to completely destroy the Amalekites and Agag their king has great spiritual significance to us. We read Samuel's very clear and strict instructions regarding the city of Amalek. The Israelites were to utterly destroy everything in it, leaving nothing! That was the will of God, and nothing else could satisfy God's heart. Saul, as we know, did not fully obey the Lord, but spared Agag as well as the best of the sheep and the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel was furious. Saul had committed a grievous sin of rebellion, equal to one of witchcraft. Why was Samuel so angry , and why was the Lord so specific about utterly destroying the Amalekites? Because this story speaks of the meaning of the cross and its power to bring a complete end to all that we are by nature. We see here in shadow and parable that everything that comes from other than the Man in glory is destined to destruction and cannot be acceptable or "offered" to the Lord in any shape or form.
After Samuel rebuked Saul, he called for Agag, who came cheerfully, saying to himself, "Surely the bitterness of death is past." Ah beloved, here is what happens when a place is given in the house of God to that which is "devoted to destruction," those things that spring out of man and do not come out of the blessed Son of Man in glory . The fear of death passes and the flesh begins to get strong, not fearing the sentence of death which has been passed upon it. Whenever the word of the cross begins to lose its power amidst God's people and the message is dimmed, the same false assurance comes to them as did to Agag : Ah, the fear of death is past. We come into a false position, experience false joy, false freedom and liberty, and sooner or later strange fire and incense begin to arise before the Lord. The spirit of Agag begins to live instead of die. The fierce, devastating and all-inclusive sentence of death loses its restraining power among such a people who then give place to the thoughts, reasoning and words of men which will only minister death.
But let Samuel come on the scene and look out! Samuel is a picture of those who are standing in the good of the cross, living on the basis of Christ with no confidence in the flesh, hating the garments spotted by the flesh, and having no mercy on the words or persons of the Amalekites (that which is of the old, cursed nature). Samuel called for Agag, and even though Agag thought the sting of death was past, Samuel was swift to execute the Lord's sentence. And the Word says, "And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces". This is what is needed today, beloved! A vessel, whether single or corporate, whatever the Lord can get, that will react to the presence of Agag in the church as violently and mercilessly as Samuel did!
Next we read, "And Samuel did not see Saul again until his death". Samuel had nothing more to say to Saul. He did not continue to pursue a friendship with him any longer. If Saul was not going to stand on the Lord's side in this matter, Samuel had nothing more to say. Even so, beloved, the Lord has nothing more to say than that which He has already said at Calvary. The Word has gone forth and God has pronounced the sentence of death on all that does not come directly out of the Man in glory, and will not accept anything else, as it relates to His purposes for His church and His Son! If we fail to hear Him in this matter, He has nothing more to say to us and we will go on and live our lives and die, and fail to enter the Lord's purpose for this present age and this present time.
The Lord is very serious over this issue and will not change His mind. As Samuel let Saul go, even so will the Lord let us go our own way. He cannot continue to reveal more of His heart to us unless we submit to the word and work of the cross, daily taking up our crosses to follow Him! Like Demas, we may flee to a "Thessalonica, [loving] this present world" and not really desiring to fully die to its lusts. There is no other message in the Lord's heart. Many seek new and more modern truth or messages but they will only get the devil's lies. God's heart is settled and He has declared, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him." Christ all and in all is the only thing that God will honor and accept, and the cross is the only way to get the reality of this truth in us deeply.
Let us hold fast to our profession, standing firm in the grace we have and not being turned aside by winds of doctrine our faces set as a flint toward Calvary where Christ is our life and we are dead to all except Him! All the Lord's purposes regarding His appearing and the age to come directly relate to a people coming to the full good of all the meaning of the cross in their lives! This is why Satan fights so dreadfully to get saints turned aside. Maybe not so much as forsaking the profession of the cross life, but just so long as it is only a profession and not something really being deeply worked in the life. That is Satan's strategy. May the Lord give us all much grace to endure to the end, even to the saving of our souls, and the coming into life and immortality, a promise as sure as God Himself.
Don't be alarmed or surprised, if, after you settle in your heart that you will go all the way with the Lord and utterly slay all the things" devoted to destruction" that all hell breaks out against you. It's because something for the Lord is being held on to, and the devil will fight that with all his power. He will try to get the thing so bogged down with pressure, death and darkness as to get us to fall from the profession. Yet by God's power we can overcome! Let us stand strong in His might!
Remember the sword of Samuel, beloved. It hacks Agag in pieces as a lasting reminder to all that God will not have any of the old life as part of the new creation. May the Lord raise up a company of Samuels wielding the sword that executes Agag and brings pleasure to His heart. God will find pleasure in no other way.