A selection from the sermon by Pastor Brian Phillips (on July 2nd, 2017)
It was upon a beautiful, sunlit morning that I kissed my wife and kids, got in my trusty Honda Civic, and set out down the country roads of Stanly County, heading to my office – later than I had intended. Some five minutes from the office, traffic slowed to adjust to the city speed limits, going from 55 mph to 35 mph.
Yet, the very large, red Ford work van behind me didn’t get the memo and proceeded to plow into the back of me, skidding me off the road into the gravel, and sending my bumper and various car parts scattering along Highway 73. The van hit me so hard that it took him a good hundred yards or so to stop, back up, and return to the scene.
The firemen and paramedics got there first, and all told me to stay still in my car until they could get me on the ambulance for a physical. While I was on the ambulance, the police arrived and the patrolman walked to the ambulance to talk with me first. At that very moment, when the policeman stepped to the ambulance, that the driver of the red van turned battering ram, made a break for it. He drove away from the scene, with his front end busted, bumper half off and occasionally scraping the road.
I will not repeat the stunned policeman’s words from the pulpit, but he was not happy. He called for back up, jumped in his cruiser, and peeled away, with promises to return.
While on the ambulance, I commented to the paramedics that, had it not been 10-o’clock in the morning, I would have thought the man who hit me was drunk! He had been driving erratically all the way down the road. The paramedics looked at one another with knowing glances and one replied, “Oh, it doesn’t matter what time it is.”
Well, they were right. The policeman returned, still quite frustrated, to report that they caught the man and that he was three sheets to the wind, as they say, and that he and his dog decided to go on a drunken joy ride that ended at my back bumper. That would be one of the early ones in a series of bad decisions that included drinking too much in the first place, using a smashed up van as a getaway car, and choosing a getaway route that put you directly in front of the Sheriff’s department.
Bad decisions have a way of spiraling – one leads to another. You tell a lie, then have to tell another lie to cover for that one, and on and on. You sin in some way, and you think you get away with it, so it becomes easier to do it again. Over the course of 1st Samuel (which we were in before the Feasts of Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost), King Saul makes one bad decision after another. And he commits one more sin after another to cover it up.
Saul's life is a cautionary tale on many levels. From his seemingly endless plunge into greater wickedness, let us learn to keep short accounts with God, praying that God would subdue our sins and deliver us from evil.