Kings and Beasts
In previous chapters we have looked at God’s command to the man and woman to subdue and rule over the beasts. This command is given in the very first chapter of the Bible. We have also read in the very last book of the Bible that there will be a group of overcomers who will know victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name. From start to finish the Bible is focused upon the plan of God for man to rule over the beast nature, and we see this message in types and shadows throughout the pages of Scripture. We should not be surprised then to find this same symbolism in the center of the Bible, in the book of Psalms.
What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
David repeats in this Psalm the same three classifications of animals that are mentioned as being formed on the fifth and sixth days of creation. He speaks of the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish and creatures of the sea. David testifies that God made man to rule over these beasts.
God’s report of David is that he was “a man after My own heart.” People have taken this expression to mean various things. Some have understood it to mean that David pursued God and His will and pleasure, while others have taken it to mean that David’s heart was like unto God’s own. I believe there is truth in both understandings, and that David both sought after God and His will, and he became conformed to God’s image and likeness in many ways.
The very first command that God gave to mankind was to subdue and rule over the beasts, and one of the first things we learn of David is that he walked this out in a very literal manner.
I Samuel 17:34-36
But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear….”
Even while a youth David had begun to subdue and rule over the beasts, both within and without. What David performed in killing the lion and the bear was a symbol of his inward victory over the beast nature. I believe the lion represents pride. We call a group of lions a pride. Satan is depicted as a roaring lion and we know that pride was his downfall. Paul, in writing to Timothy, speaks of Satan’s error. In speaking of the qualifications of one who is fit to lead the church of Christ, he writes:
I Timothy 3:4-6
He must be one who manages his own household well…, and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
Pride and conceit were the downfall of the man God chose David to replace. King Saul was little in his eyes before he was made king, but then pride took hold of his life and led to arrogance and disobedience before God. The prophet Samuel spoke to Saul of the change that occurred in him.
I Samuel 15:17
Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And Yahweh anointed you king over Israel…”
Saul was once little in his own eyes, even hiding himself among the baggage when the men of Israel were seeking him to make him their first king. Yet Saul did not remain little in his own eyes. He became conceited, and in his pride he became stubborn and willful. He was no longer careful to do those things that God commanded him. He chose to do things his own way, rather than God’s way.
We never read of Saul that he slew the lion or the bear, or ruled over the creatures. In fact, in the Bible’s first mention of Saul we see him being led along by animals that are noted for their stubbornness. It would seem that this failure to rule over this stubborn animal was a prophetic testimony of what was to come in Saul’s life.
I Samuel 9:3-4
Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys.” He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.
Repeatedly we read how these dumb animals, these stubborn donkeys, eluded Saul. Everywhere he looked he could not find them so that he could rein them in, subdue them and take them back to his father firmly in his control. This speaks of his inability to rule in the pride and stubbornness of his own flesh and present this area to God the Father as under his subjection. Saul never did find the donkeys, or rule over them.
I Samuel 9:19-20
Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer… As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found.”
Samuel reported to Saul that the donkeys had been found. What Saul failed to do, someone else accomplished. Even so, in the church there are many who are failing to find and rule over the beast nature within them, but God will have a remnant who will do so. There will be those like David who are victorious over the beasts. Both Saul’s and David’s lives are parables which reveal that God calls many men and women to share the honor of ruling and reigning with His Son Yahshua, but only those who rule over the beast nature will be chosen to continue in positions of honor in the kingdom. The kingdom of God will be taken away from those who fail to subdue and rule over the beasts and given to those who do so.
I Samuel 15:28
So Samuel said to [Saul], “Yahweh has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.”
As we look at the event that precipitated these words of Samuel to Saul, this matter of his failure to rule over the beast nature can be seen even more plainly. God had charged Saul with destroying the Amalekites, and God gave Saul explicit instructions in this matter.
I Samuel 15:3
Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.
It is interesting to once more note the mention of donkeys in this list. The animal that Saul had failed to subdue and rule over earlier, he is commanded to slay and to not spare. Saul was also commanded to destroy the other beasts of the Amalekites as well, their ox and sheep and camels. Yet Saul found an excuse to let the more attractive of the beasts live.
I Samuel 15:7-9
So Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, which is east of Egypt. He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
What tragedy is in these words, “but they were not willing to destroy them utterly.” How many saints shrink back from the cross when God would command them to crucify the flesh entirely? Perhaps they hold onto some area of covetousness, or some secret sin, some lust, or pride. They say, “God, I will destroy that which is unattractive to me, but I will hold onto that which I value and cannot bear to put to death.”
Saints, this is why those who are called of God must count the cost of discipleship. God is not satisfied with those who shrink back from allowing Him to do a thorough work of transformation in their lives. He is not willing that man should leave any area of the beast nature un-crucified. The saints are called to present themselves a living sacrifice that all their flesh might be consumed on the altar.
Observe now Saul’s deceit, for it is found everywhere in the church today.
I Samuel 15:13-15
Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of Yahweh! I have carried out the command of Yahweh.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to Yahweh your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
Many are the saints who pretend to have carried out the will of Yahweh. Yet these saints have chosen to forget much of God’s will. They come to God and declare, “I have kept the faith by maintaining my confession of Christ,” yet they have ignored God’s many admonitions for the saints to be holy, even as He is holy. They have somehow forgotten that Christ said that all who would follow Him must take up the cross daily, and deny the flesh, and live for God’s pleasure rather than their own.
What was Saul’s justification for disobeying the command of Yahweh? He declared that he and the people spared the attractive beasts so that they could be presented to Yahweh as a sacrifice. This act of disobedience was supposedly done for God. With such deceit does the church justify her continuance of riding upon the beast today.
The church says, “It is good to love money, for if I have much money I can give more to God.” The church says, “It is good for me to have a glorious appearance, to promote myself and tell of my great education and many honors and awards, for then people will think me wise and listen to me when I tell them of Christ.” The church says, “It is good that I am satiated with the goods of this world, for then the world will not find me so repulsive, but rather they will be attracted to my embrace and be brought to Christ.” The church says, “I must give myself to much entertainment and pleasure, for these things will draw in the lost.” The church says, “I must have the same type of music as the world, and the same clothing styles, and I must have as much of the flavor of the world as possible, for in this way I can draw in more people and bring them to God.”
Yet God sees through the deceit. The church’s decision to spare the beast nature was not arrived at for the sake of God, but for the sake of self. The church has not failed to embrace the cross and leave off her pursuit of the world and its pleasures out of concern for God, or the lost, but because she loves the world and the things of the world. It is a carnal church that would follow God with half measures, and it is such a church who will have the kingdom taken from her and given to one who is better than she.
Here now is a great distinction between the overcomers and those who will be rejected as members of a harlot church. The harlot, like Saul, makes excuses when confronted with their failure to do the will of God. Those who are overcomers will stumble at times, perhaps even badly as David did in his sin with the wife of Uriah. Yet when confronted with their transgressions, the overcomers will respond with quick repentance. When the prophet Samuel confronted King Saul he was met with excuses and justifications. In stark contrast, when the prophet Nathan confronted David we read:
II Sam 12:13
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against Yahweh.”
David not only confessed his sin, but he never transgressed in the same way again. Saul, however, became more willful and stubborn throughout the rest of his reign. His failure to repent sincerely and completely led to his being given over to greater error. Saul killed an entire city of priests out of jealousy, and he consulted a medium shortly before his death.
Today there is a group of saints who are embracing the cross and subduing and ruling over the beast nature, crucifying their flesh and buffeting their bodies. They are becoming more and more set apart unto God as the Spirit brings before them new enemies to conquer. When the Spirit shines the light upon their life and points out some area of sin, they respond with agreement, and they turn away from the sin and seek diligently to pursue a course of righteousness.
There is another group, a much larger group, that are avoiding the cross. The Spirit also shines the light on their life, but they make excuses and present justifications for their continued carnality and subservience to the flesh. These do not realize that the darkness in them is growing darker. They do not see the light being extinguished in their lives, and they are unaware of their peril of being excluded from the kingdom of God, of having their place in the kingdom given to another.
Saul and David are pictures of two types of Christians. God is calling all saints to subdue and rule over the beasts and to spare nothing. It is no wonder that Christ is called the Son of David, for what David began to do in ruling over the beasts, Christ completed. Yahshua subdued and ruled over all. May many sons and daughters come forth in His image.
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