Justin Tucker, LHBC Worship Pastor

1 Samuel 15:22-23
Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.

When I was a kid, our church would put on a major Christmas production. There was a huge choir, an orchestra, drama, everything. It was a Friday, Saturday, Sunday production and people came from all over town to see it. Well, one year our pastor asked (seven year old) me if I would sing  The Little Drummer Boy in the pre-production music that night. I agreed to do it and began working on it that afternoon once we got home from church. I pulled out my dad’s old Henry Simeone Chorale album and started to give it a listen. What I soon found out while listening to the song was that it had about 40 verses, not really but to a seven year old it was long, really long. I worked on it all day, I ran through it in rehearsal that afternoon, now it was show time. I was extremely nervous but my dad gave me some advice, he said “Justin, if you get lost in the song somewhere, fake it til you make it.” Needless to say, this was in an age before confidence monitors with the song lyrics on the back walls. I got through the first few verses without a hitch but for the last 35, I “rum-pum-pum-pummed” and that was about it. I faked it but I sure didn’t make it. After what felt like an eternity on the stage I ran off  and hid in an upstairs bathroom under a sink…in the fetal position…in tears. I’ll never forget when my dad found me though. He got on his hands and knees, scooped me up, and just held me and all was made right in the world again. 

Have you ever had something like that happen to you? Have you ever tried to “fake it til you make it” and failed miserably? King Saul tried to “fake it til he made it” in 1 Samuel 15, let’s take a look at that. Saul was charged by God to wipe out an entire people group called the Amalekites. God wanted Saul to remove them from the face of the planet because of how they had treated the Israelites when they left Egypt. He wanted everything gone. People, animals, homes. Well, Saul’s army ended up capturing the Amalekite king and then keeping the finest of the livestock that they found. He even built a statue to commemorate his victory! When Samuel heard of this he confronted Saul about it. Saul lied about carrying out God’s orders and then he tried to justify his disobedience. Saul then goes on to say that he really disobeyed because he was afraid of his own people. Can you imagine that? Being more afraid of men than Almighty God? Due to Saul’s disobedience,Samuel informed Saul in verse 28, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. Verse 30 gives us Saul’s response to losing his kingdom: Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may bow before the Lord your God.” What do you see in the language that Saul uses? It is a false repentance that is still self-serving but the biggest thing that stuck out to me in the entire passage is in the last 3 words of the verse. In this chapter itself, Saul refers to God as “the Lord your God” 3 different times. At no point does Saul ever take responsibility for his relationship with God. He even goes as far as to offer up false worship to save face in front of his people. Saul tried to “fake it til he made it” instead he lost everything. 

Friends, we can’t “fake it til we make it” with God. As we see in chapter 16 verse 7, “Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” Let me encourage you today, if there is an area in your spiritual life that you are “faking it” in. Stop. Living off the crumbs of Sunday morning church through the week will never be enough to sustain you. Get into His Word, spend time with Him daily, seek His face and His will for your life. Give Him your hopes, your dreams, your struggles. Most of all give Him your heart. Bow it to His authority and Lordship over your life. I heard Dr. Tony Evans say last week that “In terms of authority, Jesus Christ is not with all Christians equally.” Today, submit to Him. Worship Him and don’t fake it.  Saul’s worship was hollow and self-serving. He never submitted his heart to God’s authority and Lordship. The words most used for worship in both the New and Old Testaments literally mean to bow. If we aren’t bowing our hearts in submission to His authority and Lordship, our worship is just as empty as Saul’s. 

Father, oh how we never want to lose your Presence. Hold us in it. Reveal to us the places that we are faking it in our walk with You. Convict us with Your Spirit and teach us to bow our hearts to Your Will. Lord, burden our hearts to take ownership and responsibility in our relationship with You. Forgive us where we fail You. Thank you for your grace, mercy and love that was given to us through the precious blood of Jesus. It is in His name that we pray, amen.

Psalm 136:23
It is he who remembered us in our low estate,  for his steadfast love endures forever;