ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
November 1, 2003
"DIES AS A FOOL DIES"
Greetings in the Name of the Limitless One!
Although last month I promised to dedicate this newsletter to those who have written various words concerning the published works, there has arisen a greater need. Over and again, I am saturated with the necessity to review a message preached 53 years ago by Evangelist C.B. Jackson. Even with a marked speech impediment, Dr. Jackson delivered these truths and it pierced the heart of a 15 year old. This sermon stands in marked contrast to the messages one hears today (Profundity juxtaposed against mediocrity would be a better judgment.). Sadly, more than a generation has passed without hearing what a real message from God ensconces. Because this message was neither written nor recorded and its deliverer long since passed into glory, what lies in these paragraphs will not do justice to its original form. However, this skeletal framework will suffice to prove the point intended: that if such a message were delivered today, its hearers would cringe beneath the explosiveness of its impact and dutifully would know that what has been offered in pulpit and convention is but contrived irrelevance.
DIED AS A FOOL DIES.....C.B. Jackson
II Samuel 3:33-34 (Key verses)
The scene is easy to perceive, for the weeping David spells out to the world around him that the great General Abner died when he could have easily lived. Following the bier, a lament pierces the air, bathed in sorrow and remorse of such profundity that everyone who observed the cortège understood the cause. Abner had been sent away in peace, but he returned as a bloody spectacle of revenge--felled as the object of hate by a man of equal status, but not equal turpitude.
As a matter of background, it is necessary to review who Abner was and what occasioned this tragedy. Abner was the commander of the armies of Saul. In the early days of the establishment of the Davidic kingdom, his allegiance after the death of his king was extraordinary. David did not command his death, but rather allowed him to dwell in Hebron, one of the 10 cities of refuge in the land. (A city of refuge was established in order for the "eye for an eye" retribution to be assuaged. If any person slew another without malice, he could run to a city of refuge. There he could plead his cause before the city fathers and if found truthful, be afforded peace and residence. There was but one rule: one must reside continually within its walls in order to assure safety. David lived in Hebron because "Saul has killed his thousands, but David his ten thousands." It was necessary in the early days to remain behind Hebron's protective walls to deter a vindictive hand from some friend, relative or inheritor of one slain in battle. Such was the case also of Abner.)
On the political scene, David's kingdom increased but was harangued by those in distant places who remained loyal to Saul. It became evident that Abner might be the solution to the problem by using him as a liaison between the two factions. Abner's heart led him to volunteer his services in that pursuit. II Samuel 3:8 reveals the rift between the false successor of Saul's throne and his powerful supporter. Abner soon acknowledges that Ishbosheth is not God's choice, when a matter of integrity arises. He pledges to bring the kingdom to David, believing it to be the will of God.
In verse 13, a covenant is made between David and Abner, sealed with Michal's return to her first betrothed. Abner leaves in peace and searches out the hide-a-ways of the loyalists. All this comes to the attention of Joab, the commander of David's forces. Unbeknown to Abner and most others, Joab is not only angry that David has spared Abner's life but that he would covenant with the man who killed Joab's brother in battle. Revenge is in the air.
Waiting until Abner returns from his travels, yet just outside the refuge walls, Joab signals a desire to converse privately with him. Not sensing a security need (after all Joab is the king's commander), Abner is pulled aside from entering the gate of safety. Perhaps not ten steps away from the area where no revenge can find its way, Abner is drawn from his path by a seemingly harmless conversation. This was a fatal mistake. No sooner had they embraced as a gesture of goodwill--he felt the dagger enter his heart under the fifth rib. (A man trained in military tactics like Joab knew his craft.) Joab whispers a different message into the ear of his victim than the one anticipated, a message conveying the reason for revenge. Abner had killed Joab's brother Asahel in battle. Joab vented his jealousy under the guise of retribution.
Upon hearing of this tragic event, David publicly displays his displeasure, grief and sorrow. Wanting the people to know that he had no part in this crime, he immediately places a curse on Joab and his descendants (v. 29). Forcefully, David commands Joab to formally mourn the loss of the man he killed treacherously. In sack cloth and ashes and following the funeral bier, David intones some of the saddest lines recorded in the Bible.
The rhetorical is used in his specially penned lament. David, the psalmist, crafted in tears a work which is more than a eulogy; it is a universal appeal. "(Why) Should Abner die as a fool dies? Your hands were not bound nor your feet put into fetters, as a man falls before wicked men, so you fell." The people wept as they heard the words repeatedly course the King's lips. They knew his indictment was true and that a great man had fallen when he did not have to.
DR. JACKSON'S POWERFUL APPEAL:
Are you like Abner, O Lost sinner? Are you planning to enter the walls of Salvation and Safety, but see the summons of a compatriot, a friend, a confident? Are you drawn away from your goal of entering the kingdom where no thought of your former life can find you and slay your noble heart? Has Satan drawn you aside for one more brief moment and drawn his dagger of ruin while whispering in your ear, "You deserve to die, you are not worthy, your life is worthless."? Run sinner, run this moment...do not hesitate another moment. Pass through the door of His Blood and enter His everlasting protection. Do not let it be said behind your coffin, "He died as a fool dies, His hands were not tied, his feet were not in chains!"
(Is it any wonder that aisles were crowded with weeping, repenting multitudes? How UNLIKE today's commiserations. )
To the Unfaithful and Backslidden: O soul that has once dwelled safely in Him, have you departed to carry out some noble work of your own? Have you even believed your labors have been favored by the King? Do you not now consider your vulnerable status? Outside Hebron's walls you are target to a thousand daggers. The world has hated your stand heretofore, but your compromise has left you without shield or protection. Between you and your fully intended return stands a familiar sin, a harmless relationship, a trivial stop--do not feel confident tonight. Do not let it be said behind your coffin, "He died as a fool dies. His hands were not tied, His feet not in chains." That which has separated you from the place of safety in him must not draw you away tonight...do not delay, hurry back into his arms of protection.
To those Who have been away, seeking to bring the dissidents to the truth. You are doing the work of the King. You have been rounding up those who have been loyal to some work, denomination, cause or organization--but loyal to a cause not the true King. Earnestly you have sought those who themselves believe they are just and true, but somehow what they have heard is error and you have brought them truth which has caused a complete change--do not die a fool yourself--do not listen to the strains of one in man's authority and be drawn aside to death.
To those Who are in safety with the King:
Weep as the King weeps over those who have been drawn aside. This is no time for rejoicing; this is the time for weeping. Hands are not tied; feet are not in chains. See the great tragedies of lives thrown down before the dagger of the devil and the wicked emissaries of error and design. This is a day of unparalleled freedom, but not unparalleled security. Only dwelling beside the King can we cry along with him, "Why should you die as a fool dies?" Nothing hinders you from the King's safety.
Is it any wonder that message penetrated the heart? The appeal made by Dr. Jackson should be sounded in every pulpit in America. It should be repeated in every convocation and established in every convention, but alas--no one--no one preaches such a message today. Modern men pursue such themes as "Bring out the Champion in you," while a world is strewn with the bodies of just men felled as fools. Congregations languish under the ignominious rule of men and women who never had the heart of C.B. Jackson and know nothing of the rumbling convulsions in the inner man that drove that saint to preach with abandon, " Why do you die as a fool dies? Your hands are not tied, nor are you feet in chains."
A few Announcements:
l. Finally, we have the fifth printing of The Sons of Zadok in our possession. Those who have back orders will now be shipped as quickly as possible. We previously exhausted our supply due to so many seeking its truths.
2. By November 15, the new book The Regal Pair will have been printed and in our care. Zadok's Press assures us of its soon delivery. Printed in the U.S., this work on Holiness and Righteousness exceeds any work we have encountered on the subject. It holds a message which every believer must confront and consider. At US $12.95, it would make a wonderful Christmas gift to yourself and others.
Happy Thanksgiving To All who read these works.
Until Next Month,
Dr. C. R. Oliver, PhD.