It is common to hear someone claim in self-justification, “God sees my heart; my heart is clean.” Nobody sees anyone’s heart, but everyone can see someone’s hands. If anybody therefore bids you look away from their hands because they claim that their heart is right, tell them to tell that to God while we focus on what we can see: the hands. It is impossible to have a clean heart with hands unclean. The hands we see speak volumes about the heart we cannot see, and according to Psalm 24:4, clean hands are not secondary to a clean heart. One “heart,” many “hands.”
While Saul’s feet may have danced admirably to the music of the anointed psalmist, his hands secretly plotted to kill, even in the house of God. In other words, there was a conflict or contradiction between his ‘prophetic’ professions and his bloody deeds; between where we find him – the place of worship – and what he does with murderous javelins. The fine words from his royal lips did not often rhyme with the hidden plots in his wicked heart that often became visible in his volatile javelins. Who would believe that a man of the noble standing of Saul, in that palatial worship centre, where anointed David was minister, could be harbouring an evil spirit, a very malicious and murderous but very pretentious and religious evil spirit! Appearances could be deceptive. All that glitters, they say, is not gold.
There are spirits – we cannot deny; some are good, others are evil. An evil spirit does evil things. Evil means wickedness, destruction, sickness, poverty, sin, everything evil. A spirit unseen can be responsible for those evils. Mind those who prophesy eloquently with their lips while their murderous spear never leaves their hand, even in the church; those whose fine ‘prophecies’ often result in death, confusion, disputes between church members, between families, between friends, etc. (James 3:10, 13-18). By the fruits of their prophecies – whether it be strife or friendship, division or unity, war or peace – we can tell the kind of spirit that moves them.
You might not be able to do much about some of these prophesiers, but at least, mark them; that’s what Paul the apostle advises: “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). You might never be able to fight them, given their status and weapons in some cases, but at least you can do the two things: “Mark them… and avoid them.”
There are Sauls that carry about a javelin as if it were part of their kingly profile; eminent personalities who carry their instruments of war and destruction into the sanctuaries of worship. Mark them, no matter how much they prophesy. Do not be fooled by the palatial settings into which they invite you with your simple harp because it mends their lunatic curse. Do not be so fooled by how rhythmically they respond to your sincere songs that you are blinded to the weapon in their hands. Do not judge their hidden heart by the melodies of your lucid soul. Do not judge and excuse what is in their hands by what is in your own hands. Everyone is not as you are (Psalm 78:36-37; Isaiah 29:13; Ezekiel 33:31). What you carry is not what they carry.
Keep up with your melody, never distracted from your harp by the malicious spears that never leave their hand. The day you lose your harp, your relevance begins to die, and you, too, very soon. Focus on what you carry, undistracted by what they carry. There was an “evil spirit… upon Saul,” nevertheless, “David [still] played with his hand, as at other times” (1 Samuel 18:10).
To be continued…
From The Preacher’s diary,
January 14, 2018 (on the third day of a secluded fast).