Our decisions matter. That’s where we left off last week. We were looking at the story of king Saul. He was hand-picked by God as king over Israel. Meaning, God saw in him the potential to be a great king. God didn’t pick Saul as an example of a bad king. God picked Saul because He knew that if Saul chose God in every decision he made, he would have become a great king. What makes us great is not where we start. What makes us great is what we do with what God gives us. Are we going to honour God or not? Are we going to obey God or not? Is our obedience towards God complete or partial? It all matters.
I mentioned last week that Saul’s heart was changed but his soul was not transformed. We can be saved, born again but unless we purposefully choose to align our lives with God’s word, we will go astray. We will lose the plot like Saul did. His story is in the bible for a reason. It serves as a warning to us of what to avoid. David’s story is an encouragement of what can be and Jesus’ story is the ultimate story of a life lived to serve God and God alone. That’s what we aim for.
So where did Saul go wrong? He didn’t start bad. God picked him for a reason, what happened?
God trusted Saul with the people of Israel. However, Saul did not trust God to help him lead His people. Saul’s actions showed a distrust of God. An example of this is in 1 Samuel 10:8 where the prophet Samuel says, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” The story continues in 1 Samuel 13:8-9 which says, “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.” In my church this the part where we all go, “Ooooooh”.
Saul grew impatient in waiting for the man of God, so he decided to sacrifice the burnt offering himself. A job which was reserved for the priests. That is pride. He thought him doing it was just as good as Samuel doing it. We can be like that sometimes with our pastors thinking we can do what they can do but we have to learn to stay in our lane. God sets boundaries for a reason, they are there to protect us.
Saul’s actions also showed self-reliance and impatience. He wanted to take control of the situation but instead lost the whole kingdom as a consequence. If you read the story in 1 Samuel 13, you will see that Saul acted out of fear. He was about to go to war. The Philistine army was drawing close. Saul’s troops were quaking with fear and began to scatter (1 Samuel 13:7-8). Saul wanted to take control of the situation and instead of trusting God to come through just as the prophet Samuel had said, Saul decided to make the offering.
My pastor Esther has this thing where she says, “You can be sincere but sincerely wrong.” Well, I think that’s what she says haha! Saul was in a tight spot. His actions were sincere and out of desperation but he was sincerely wrong in that he had been given a word and he disobeyed it. All he had to do was wait. It was the seventh day. He was so close!
1 Samuel 13:10 says, “Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.” So close. 5 more minutes and Saul could have avoided all this drama.
When confronted about his actions by the prophet Samuel, Saul said, “The Philistines are ready to march out 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.” Remember these words of wisdom from my pastors, “the devil drives, God leads.” If you are feeling “compelled” to do something. Like its now or never, do it, do it, do it! Sometimes its best to take a step back and wait for the peace of God to settle in.
1 Samuel 13:13 says, “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.” We can see that God had a plan to establish Saul’s kingdom. He just needed Saul to learn to trust and obey Him. But Saul consistently chose not to.
We can see in verse 13 that the word Samuel gave Saul was considered a command from the Lord. We have to be careful when God speaks to us through our pastors that we obey what God is saying to us, lest it be counted against us as disobedience. It matters what church you go to.
In 2023 let’s prepare our hearts to be obedient towards God. Even when everything in us is telling us to run, let us stay put and wait on God for His word surely will come to pass. God will always do what He says He will do. Always. Just do your part. Trust and obey.
Love and blessings,