Playing the Fool!

1 Samuel 26: 21

Have you ever done something dumb -- something really stupid?
We don't like to say that we do foolish things, but we do.

In chapter 26 of 1 Samuel, King Saul of Israel and the 3000 of his troops had pursued David
into the wilderness, not far from Jerusalem.
In the ";search and kill" maneuvers, Saul had grown tired.
He and his men lay down and went to sleep.

David found the king asleep with the King's sword stuck in the ground and a bottle of water nearby.
David took the sword and water and withdrew several yards.
David called the king, who awakened and realized that David could have killed him.
Then Saul said, " I have played the fool."
That was the pattern of his life

You and I may play the fool.
Any of us are capable of sinning and doing wrong.

We play the fool when we do not use our abilities for God's glory.

King Saul had many God-given abilities.
In chapter nine, we read that he was handsome, strong and tall.
He had a gifted mind, and he and his father made a living raising donkeys which probably
was not an easy job.
At the outset of his life, Saul was very humble.
He could have used his talents for God's glory, but he didn't.

You know anyone like that?

A pastor said, " I have wept at the grave of a friend who died as an alcoholic before
he reached the age of 50. He was talented. He could play several musical instruments.
He had a gifted voice.
He was extremely intelligent.
He could have accomplished so much, but he threw it all away, and died an early death.
How foolish
."

God's gifts are many.
Many are endowed with the ability to speak and sing and testify.
But many use their abilities in shameless ways.
Many have gifted minds.
And with all their genius, many pollute their minds with filth of all types.
Some have strong, healthy bodies which should be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
But the wonderful bodies in many cases are misused.
The epitaph on the tombstones of such people could well be, " I have played the fool."

We play the fool when we allow evil to continue in our life.

In chapter 15 of 1 Samuel, we read that God told Saul to get rid of the Amalekites.
They had " hacked away" at His people during the wilderness wandering time.
Those wild, wicked Amalekites continued to be " thorns" in the side of God's people.

They seemed to pollute everybody all around them.
But when Saul and his army battled the Amalekites, Saul kept King Agag of the Amalekites
and the best of the cattle and sheep.
He did not do as he was told by God to "utterly destroy them."
Agag stood for all that was evil.
And Saul allowed the evil to go on in life.

The evil of rebellion is left to run its course in the lives of some people.
Saul heard Samuel say in verse 22, chapter 15 that " rebellion is as witchcraft."
Saul rebelled against God's Word.
Evil brings God's judgment upon it.
And Saul saw judgment come to his own life.
It's foolish to rebel against God's clear Word.

The evil of blaming others continues in life.
When Samuel faced Saul, and asked about the sheep and the cattle, the King said,
" I feared the people and obeyed their voice."
The King afraid of his people? No way -- never!
He just blamed them for his own lack of moral courage and rebellion.

A little boy and named Johnny " tasted" a cake his mother had made
while the family had gone to town.
He had been told not to eat any of the cake, but he disobeyed.
Again, he tasted it. And again!
Now the shape of the cake was ruined.

The little boy then took the family's cat and put the cat's paws on the cake
and the cat in the kitchen.
The cat received the blame for destroying the cake and paid the penalty.

Often, we blame others for our failures.
A husband blames the wife -- the wife blames the husband --- the parent blames the child
---the child blames…
We blame one another.
We act just like King Saul.

Saul wanted to be exalted.
Saul said to Samuel, " Honor me now before the elders of my people." (1 Samuel 15: 30)
He should have repented, but he didn't.
Even in his sin, Saul still wanted to be exalted.

Saul also pretended commitment to God.
Saul pretended that he would "worship the Lord" in the midst of his disobedience to God.
(1 Samuel 15:30)
What a mockery!
He was a hypocrite.

We must put aside all pretense, and get honest with God.

We play the fool When we become jealous of others.

Saul had it all.
He lacked nothing.
He was king.
All the resources of the land were at his disposal.
But he wanted all the glory, or he could not bear it.

Time moved on.
The Philistines came to attack the people of God.
The Philistines had a giant named Goliath.

A stalemate came about between God's army and the Philistines.
David appeared on the scene.
We know the story.
David defeated Goliath.

The ladies sang, " Saul has slain his thousands, David his ten thousands."
Saul couldn't endure the success of another.
From that time forward, the king tried to kill David.
He hurled his javelin at the young shepherd boy.
He even killed 85 priests and their family is of the town of Nob because they were friendly to David.
He burned them and their possessions.
He " played the fool" because of jealousy.

Do you have a problem with jealousy?
Perhaps you are jealous because of someone who is more popular than you
or has a better grade average or a better job or…
Be careful!
Jealousy can lead to bad deeds.
Song of Solomon 8: 6 declares, " Jealousy is cruel as the grave."

People play the fool when they look for the answers to life in false religions.

We're read the awful story of Saul and the witch of Endor in chapter 28 of 1 Samuel.
The Lord previously didn't answer Saul because of his continual sin.
Then Saul sought out a witch, even though the nation had vanished witches from its territory.
And Saul consulted with that wicked religious woman instead of humbling himself before God.

What about the horoscopes of today?
What about the crystal balls and palm readers?
What about psychics, channeling and seances?
What about cults and witches?

God condemns all of them, for all of them try to play god.
We play the fool when we use these foolish resources for spiritual help and guidance,
instead of the Living God.

People play the fool when they come to the end of life without God and without hope.

We need to recall the events surrounding Saul's death.
The Philistines attacked Saul and his army at Gilboa, practically annihilating the army.
As the enemy pressed hard, Saul was wounded by an arrow.
Saul took his own sword and killed himself.
The enemy killed his sons.
Saul was beheaded, stripped of his armor, and his body nailed to their pagan temple.
The " glory departed" from Israel, even as Saul's life ended
in desperation and shame.

A king once had a servant he thought was the most foolish man he had ever seen.
One day the king gave his servant his own scepter and told him to go find a man
more foolish than himself.
And when he found him he was to give the scepter to that man.
The " more foolish" man could not be found.
After years of wandering, the servant finally returned to his master's court.

He was sad to learn that the king was very sick.
The king told his servant that he was about to take a long journey.
The servant asked the king how long he had known about the trip.
The king said he had known all his life that he would take this trip out of this world.

The servant asked what preparations he had made for the journey.
The king answered, " None."

The servant said, " Here, you take the scepter for you are the most foolish man
I have ever met
."
" You have known all of your life that you will take a long journey out of this world,
and you have not prepared for the journey
."

We must not " play the fool" in life.
We don't have to be foolish.
We can be wise.
We can prepare ourselves for that journey which will come to all of us either to heaven or hell.
You can receive God's life in Christ and live for God's glory, and be prepared for that day
when death comes -- and it will come!

So, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour this very moment.

Sermon adapted by Dr. Harold L White