Some people manage to build huge fortunes in their lives, others become powerful politicians rule nations of millions. They often talk of their drive, ambition and self belief as the reason they have reached such dominant heights. Saul was plucked from obscurity and given instant dominion over Israel. It strikes me that Saul’s great flaw was that he never really recognised that his position was given to him by God. It seems that Saul never realised that his strength as king and leader of his armies, was given and taken away, by God. He seemed to look to Samuel for reassurance. When Samuel didn’t come when he had said he would, Saul had no real concept of faith in the Lord. So he went ahead with an empty ritual of sacrifice, not fully understanding it’s significance. Sacrifice without faith is pointless.
1 Samuel 13:5-14 NLT
The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore! They camped at Micmash east of Beth-aven. The men of Israel saw what a tight spot they were in; and because they were hard pressed by the enemy, they tried to hide in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and cisterns. Some of them crossed the Jordan River and escaped into the land of Gad and Gilead. Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
I find myself in a tight spot right now. I find that I am beginning to feel a bit of a dampening down of the fire of the spirit in my soul. When Saul realised his troops were slipping away, he rushed to make a show of sacrifice and offerings to the Lord, hoping it would encourage his remaining troops. My Goal is to try not to make the same mistake. My goal is to keep the faith I have come to know and the command the Lord my God has given me. I will place my trust in God alone, and keep it there, come what may. Amen.
1 Samuel 12:1-13:23, John 7:1-30, Psalms 108:1-13, Proverbs 15:4