Monday, October 12, 2015

Evil in the Midst, Part Four... Oh What a Dust I Raise!

How could it be that God appeared to be using him so marvelously and yet he was so thoroughly evil so long?
…Because this leader, applying Scriptural principle, grows his pride to the place where he thinks he is accomplishing something for God in spite of his sin.

What thoughts pass through the mind of men who lead a ministry growing by leaps and bounds in spite of their hidden sin? Perhaps some of the faulty thinking that equates Scriptural success to accomplishment blinds the eyes of the wicked leader in question to the gravity of his own spiritual condition. He has applied and taught some Scriptural principle and people have flocked to hear him as a result. The excitement engendered by such a crowd draws even more. The whole time he has been coming increasingly under the thrall of some particular perversion or another, yet his ministry continues to expand. Perhaps his pride and self-justification lead him to think thus: “Look, what I am doing in secret cannot be all that bad for God is still blessing.”

The story is told of a fly who sat upon the top of a coach and four traveling at a fast rate of speed in a dry region of the country. As he looked behind him he noticed the vast dust cloud left behind in the wake of the coach. Impressed with the size of the plume he sagely muttered, “Oh, what a dust I raise.” The truth is he had nothing whatever to do with the size of the reaction. He had done none of the actual work. It had all been done by the horses. But because he sat on the top and saw the extent of the accomplishment he soon considered himself to be the author of it.

Stagecoach_on_road_on_Catalina_Island,_ca.1903-1905_(CHS-1697)Many a preacher, at the top of a growing church, acquiring a national reputation by leaps and bounds, has thought himself responsible for the accomplishment. The truth is he had little or nothing whatever to do with the size of the accomplishment. The Holy Spirit had done all of the actual work. But because he sat on the top and saw the extent of the accomplishment he soon considered himself to be the author of it. This dangerous pride, when combined with a life of secret sin, may soon render the preacher invulnerable in his own thinking to any accounting for his wickedness. It is tremendously easy to justify one’s own sinful actions as not all that bad when we think we are raising quite a dust.

The very first king of Israel, Saul, seemed to be accomplishing great things initially. He forged the scattered people together as one and punished the Ammonites and the Philistines, throwing their yoke from the neck of the people of Israel. Yet upon closer examination of the story in I Samuel we read such phrases as “And the Spirit of God came upon Saul” and “the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent” (I Samuel 11:6, 7). So we see that it was God who was doing the actual work involved in the excellent beginning that Saul made of his reign.

Later, after his reign had degenerated into a bitter travesty of justice filled with attempts on the life of David, and marked by his own pride and rebellion in dealing with Samuel and Samuel’s God, Scripture records “And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?” (I Samuel 15:17). Saul’s pride, which stemmed from his “success”, led him to sin in jealousy, rebellion, wrath, and disobedience. He lost the proper humility of his early years, and proudly secure in his position of power and authority, he allowed the cancer of sin to eat away at his insides.

Many a man of God starts off with the best of motives and intentions. He applies Scriptural principle and begins to see some “success.” He wrongly begins to think that accomplishment is success and pride enters his heart. This pride leads him to overlook his own growing sin problem because God is still apparently blessing. He begins to feel a certain invulnerability to judgment as he views how important and successful his service for the Lord is. His followers, meanwhile, remain completely ignorant of his growing sin problem, content to proclaim him used of God based upon all they see happening around him.

There is something to be said about the massive folly of a man who believes his own publicity reports…”Oh, what a dust I raise.”

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