Saul Rebels Against God

I have always liked the story told about the great preacher Charles Spurgeon. Charles was raised on a farm. When he was a young teen, he was behind the family barn on day sneaking a cigarette. His dad surprised him, by coming suddenly upon him. Charles attempted to diffuse the si … More

Disobedience

The real nature of Saul begins to show in this chapter. As we get a good view of him we begin to see that he is a phony. After reigning two years over Israel He organized and commanded an army of two thousand, stationed in Micmash to the north of Jerusalem (vv. 1-3). His son, Jonathan, was in charge of one thousand troops in Gibeah. Jonathan attacked and destroyed the Philistine garrison in his area but Saul took all the credit for it (v. 4). He called all of Israel together and gave a phony report. This was just the beginning of a growing pride for Saul that grew into an ugly obsession and eventually destroyed him. The Israelites became terrified as they saw the mighty Philistine army. They forgot that God was on their side and He couldn’t be defeated.

After a preliminary encounter at Geba, halfway between Micmash and Gibeah, the Philistines apparently recovered from there loses, and with 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers and innumerable foot soldiers, pushed the Israelite troops eastward all the way to Gilgal (vv. 5-7). Saul waited seven days for Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice but, when he did not arrive, he took it upon himself to offer the sacrifice (vv. 8-9). This was against God’s laws (Deut. 12:5-14) and Samuel’s instructions to Saul. Under pressure from the approaching Philistines, he took matters into his own hands and disobeyed God.

When Samuel confronted him, Saul had plenty of excuses but he had disobeyed God and this was sin (vv. 10-12).  He was not willing to wait for Samuel. He was impatient and presumptuous. He thought he had three good reasons for not waiting for Samuel to appear: (1) The people were scattered; (2) the Philistines were coming against him; and (3) Samuel was a little late in arriving. Saul was told in the beginning that if he obeyed God, he would be blessed, but if he disobeyed, there would be judgment (vv. 13-14). Samuel tells him that because of this he will lose his kingship. Saul has disobeyed, so God has another man to be King. He is going to bring him on the scene a little later. Even Samuel, at this time, does not know who he is.

Application

Like Saul, my true spiritual character is revealed under pressure. He was doing a good thing in offering a sacrifice, but he was doing it in a wrong way. The methods I use to accomplish goals are just as important as the attainment of those goals. 

I Samuel 13:1-14 (English Standard Version)

Saul was... years old when he began to reign, and he reigned... and two years over Israel. Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent. Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear." And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal. And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, "Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, "What have you done?" And Saul said, "When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.' So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering." And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."

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