When Samuel grew up, under God's direction, he ruled over Israel, but the Israelites didn’t want God.
They wanted a king. They wanted God to give them a human king to rule over them instead of looking to the King of Kings.
Eventually God granted them their wish, sending Samuel to anoint Saul to be their king. And the Israelites were pleased.
But remember what God told Samuel to tell Saul later in his reign?
“Even though you consider yourself of no importance, you are the leader of the tribes of Israel. The Lord anointed you king of Israel, and he sent you out with orders to destroy those wicked people of Amalek. He told you to fight until you had killed them all. Why, then, did you not obey him? Why did you rush to grab the loot, and so do what displeases the Lord” (I Samuel 15:17_19).
Even though you consider yourself of no importance. Sounds like Saul's image of himself differed from God's image of him.
But how did his image of himself, his struggles with his self_esteem, get him into trouble?
At first, Saul justified his behavior by saying, “But my men did not kill the best sheep and cattle that they captured; instead, they brought them here to Gilgal to offer as a sacrifice to the Lord your God” (1 Samuel 15:21).
He was basically saying, “I thought that God was wrong. I thought once He saw my sacrifices, He would be pleased.”
When Saul realized the consequences of his actions, that because of his disobedience, God had rejected him as king, he finally admitted, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of my men and did what they wanted” (1 Samuel 15:24).
Why did Saul disobey God? Because he was afraid of his men and did what they wanted. He listened to his men instead of God.
How many times have we done that same thing? How many times have you listened to your spouse, your children, your pastor instead of going to God?
How many times have you gone along with the crowd even when you knew God wouldn't be pleased?
Just like Saul, we too, can fall victim to the crowd mentality. Like Saul, we can be insecure within ourselves, struggling to replace how we see ourselves with how God sees us.
So, an opportunity arises where we must choose whether to stick with what God has said–both through His Word and to us personally–or go with the crowd.
Our friends are urging us to do something we feel uncomfortable doing, but they are supposed to be Christians too. So we think to ourselves, “Well, maybe they know something I don’t know. After all, how can this many people be wrong?”
Then the devil chimes in, “Yeah, some of these people have been in church a lot longer than you. Look at how worn_out their Bibles are. They must have done a lot of studying. If they found something wrong with this, they wouldn’t be doing it, right? Did God really tell you not to do it?”
Birds fly in flocks. Eagles fly alone. If you want to be a victorious Christian, you have to understand one thing: the crowd is not always right. Even Christian ones.
You need to find out for yourself what God is telling you. And the best way to do that is by reading the Word. You cannot recognize God’s voice until you have spent time in the Word getting to know Him, His ways and His instructions.
And the place to start is by finding out how God sees you. Once you realize that God has good plans in store for you, that God is on your side, that He wants to see you prosper and succeed, you can avoid the pitfalls of falling victim to the crowd mentality.
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