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“When You Were Small In Your Own Eyes”

What the prophet Samuel said about 3,000 years ago, to one whom God had chosen, still has monumental relevance to today’s preachers and believers.

The warning in Matthew 18:3 is not regarded as a warning by most Christians. It is overlooked and forgotten. The longer you have ‘been around’, the more you may tend to forget it – that is, if you are not actively living by the Spirit each day.

Perhaps you have forgotten what Jesus said:

Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Elevated church leaders, and ‘high and mighty’ evangelists, performing on stage, have mostly forgotten. In their bid to impress others to reach them with ‘the truth’, little by little they have lost it.

They think they are converted, because they have seen God work in their lives, have seen others come to Christ through their efforts, have seen God’s power and miraculous testimony accompany them.  But as God works in the lives of the crushed to whom He takes them, converting the poor and destitute, they – the elevated preachers – are being ‘deconverted’.

“Deconverted??!! What do you mean?”

Paul wrote:

I discipline my body [and mind] and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified (1 Cor 9:27).

You can disqualify yourself by being lifted up. Many do. Many will say to Jesus on the Final Day:

Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? (Matt 7:22).

And, it’s true, they will have done many works with God’s power in His name, BUT, Jesus will say:

I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (Matt 7:23).

Lawlessness, disobedience, begins with pride. Many evangelists are shutting Jesus outside the door of their lives through their choices. They choose to be lifted up. They choose elevation. They choose power. They choose numbers instead of truth. They accept the power of God to bring people into the kingdom, because it also gives them acclaim, elevation, and the position they want for themselves. This is idolatry.

Like king Saul, they become ‘deconverted’.

They are no longer like little children, meek, teachable, willing to learn new truth – unless it elevates them and backs up what they have already done or established. They are not willing to dismantle the monuments they have created.

Ministry, too often, has become monument- building! Look at EVERY big church and you see this. The monuments that these edifices have become, are ostensibly to glorify Jesus, which they do up to a point, but not as much as they should. More than glorifying Jesus, they glorify also the men who have presided over their construction.

Success & Fame Can Be Destructive

All this spiritual abomination is portrayed by what God did with king Saul, Israel’s first king.

God allowed Israel to have Saul – a ruler who was impressive as a leader, but spiritually shallow. He was a fake, spiritually speaking. He was shown up through what God let happen. The story is narrated in 1 Samuel 9 to 31.

After Saul had been king for a number of years God commanded him to take an uncompromising and ruthless stand against evil. He was told to wipe out all the Amalekites and their king Agag (1 Sam 15:3). There were important spiritual reasons for it.

Total annihilation of those defeated in warfare was a common occurrence in this period of history. The practice was known as herem (Heb), meaning “devoted to destruction”. Inanimate objects were either destroyed or reserved for the use of the Lord, e.g., in the temple treasuries. Critics often claim that God never issued a command to annihilate even women and children, a command obviously at variance with the character of God. The willingness of such critics to sit in judgment upon the Bible is inappropriate in light of our ignorance of the total circumstances surrounding this judgment, and in light of Rom 9:15-23. Circumstances which may well have precipitated the totality of this judgment include the extent of evil and idolatry among the Amalekites, the contamination of surrounding peoples, especially Israel, and the threat of painful loss, if not extermination, at the hand of the Amalekites. (NKJV Believer’s Study Bible, p 397.)

Saul did not do what God commanded! Instead he did what seemed right humanly. He saved the best of the livestock and spared Agag’s life (1 Sam 15:9). When Samuel (the prophet) confronted Saul on his moral failure, Saul blamed it on others (15:21), justifying his lassitude with good-sounding reasons.

Evangelists do the same today when you tell them where they are not doing what is right. They come up with expedient humanistic reasons why what they do is OK even though they should be able to see that they are not in the ideal will of God.

To the carnal mind, the ends justify the means.

Saul’s motivation was self.

Saul went to Carmel and... set up a monument for himself... (1 Sam 15:12).

There are many Sauls today standing on their evangelistic platforms, promoting themselves equally humanistically. They are not about to get down off the stage to fulfil Jesus’ command in Matthew 18:3.

The basis of all this is pride. They justify their actions and decisions by the feeble excuse that they must save souls now before it is too late. What they don’t see is that Jesus doesn’t need their help! Jesus isn’t trying to save the world now. He’ll do that in the Millennium and by resurrecting the long dead for the Great White Throne Judgement period (Rev 20:11).

In the end, many personable but self-willed preachers will be lost. They can’t see that their selfish pride blocks the progress of Elijah’s work today, just as Saul obstructed God’s plan then, and Samuel His prophet.

Saul had prophesied (1 Sam 10:6-12). Saul had been moved by God (11:6). Saul had become pre-eminent as king. All this went to his head. He became important, and his heart was lifted up.

“Success and fame are often more difficult to endure than obscurity.” (NKJV Believer’s Study Bible, p 397.)

So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel?... Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?” (1 Sam 15:17,19).

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (15:22).

Man does not see as God sees. Man looks at what is humanly impressive. God looks at things much differently (1 Sam 16:7; Is 55:8,9).

Becoming Small Again

It never seems to cross the minds of evangelists who have reached millions that God might want them to scale down their operations, or to cease the way they do things. But John the Baptist thought so and said so (Jn 3:30). He was not big-minded.

The premise on which mega-evangelists base their efforts is the fallacy that God is trying to save all the world now. He is not. It is not the only day of salvation. It is A day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 has been mistranslated. It should read:

For He is saying, “In A season acceptable I reply to you, and in A day of salvation I help you. Lo! Now is A most acceptable era! Lo! Now is A day of salvation! (2 Cor 6:2, Concordant Literal New Testament).

Young’s Literal Translation also accurately captures the meaning likewise.

It is too humbling for most mega-preachers to admit that their theology is seriously flawed. They would lose face. So their pride protects the error, and they continue down the same well-worn path, resisting the required changes.

But God is not mocked. That is why, tragically, the Great Tribulation is coming. It will destroy the whole structure that has been built on the erroneous sands of man’s mistaken theologies, not on the Rock of God’s absolute Truth (Matt 7:24-27).

When preachers don’t listen to God’s prophets, destruction follows (Prov 1:23-32; 2 Chron 20:20). The same holds true for all believers. Compromise brings death and destruction (Rev 2:22,23). But obedience brings life.

The principle is outlined in the prophets:

The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low. The Lord alone will be exalted in that day (Is 2:17).

God won’t share His glory with any usurpers – even the ones who do not mean to lift themselves up – no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

Every idolatrous edifice will be torn down; men and preachers too! (Is 2:18.) God is no respecter of persons.

The prophets declare His intentions. John the Baptist set the tone of their NT ministry, in an uncompromising blitz against hypocrisy and evil, just as Jeremiah had done 600 years earlier. Increase is to the humble. Decrease is to the lofty. Destruction is to the rebellious. The prophet prophesies: “to root out and pull down, to destroy and throw down” (Jer 1:10). What is not built upon the Rock will suffer that fate. And the prophets shall not be prevented from declaring that destruction. Only the humble will receive the second part of the prophet’s commission: “to build and to plant” (Jer 1:10).

The choice is yours. If you do not listen to and heed the words of the prophets God has appointed you will suffer Saul’s fate:

The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him (1 Sam 16:14).

You have a duty to become small again:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.... (1 Pet 5:6). Yes, ALL of you be submissive to one another [ministers should also submit to their flocks in the Holy Spirit!, but you never see that happen today!], and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Pet 5:5).

God will bring down everything that is lofty:

....that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor 1:29).

Malcolm B Heap

Further Reading: The Missing Dimension In Christian Living
Articles of Faith, Vol 1, article What is True Conversion?
God’s Church – Whose Authority? An exposé of ministerial rule
GOD TV Is NOT God’s TV! God Digital and the False Revival
God Is Not Pleased With Tele-Evangelism

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK