Whoa! Samuel gives the king and the nation serious warnings (I Sam. 12:14-15,24-25). We should all take heed (12:23). Saul reveals his failure when he usurps the office of the priesthood. For this disobedience, he loses the kingdom (13:8-14). Saul's son Jonathan trusts God and leads a bold thrust into enemy territory; and Israel is victorious (14:1-23).
Verse for Today:
Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart (I Sam. 12:24).
Saul, the first king of Israel, was a popular man with great ability, but he had a fatal flaw. Perhaps three years after Saul became king, his first great failure occurred when he trusted his own judgment and not the Lord. The Philistines gathered . . . to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude (13:5).
Fearing the military might of the Philistines, many in Saul's army hid themselves in caves (13:6). Saul realized that their only hope was in God. He tarried seven days . . . but Samuel came not. . . . And Saul. . . . offered the Burnt Offering. . . . as soon as he had made an end of offering the Burnt Offering . . . Samuel came (13:8-10). When Saul assumed the role of a priest, he violated the Word of God. Saul first made an excuse: Because I saw that the people were scattered from me . . . Therefore, said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me . . . and I . . . offered a Burnt offering (13:11-12).
The Burnt Offering symbolized surrender to God; but, when Saul assumed the God-ordained position of a priest, the sacrifice became an abomination to the Lord (15:22-23; comp. Num. 16:1-40; Prov. 21:27).What seemed to Saul a tardiness in Samuel's arrival was, in reality, a test by God of Saul's obedience to Him. Samuel spoke bluntly to Saul: Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the Commandment of the Lord thy God, which He commanded thee (I Sam. 13:13).
Saul was not as concerned about God having authority over him as he did with God making him successful. By violating one spiritual principle, waiting on God, regardless of circumstances, and disobeying another, offering sacrifices to God, he assumed he could bring victory to Israel.
Some may consider Saul's disobedience of little consequence, but disobeying the Word of God is always a serious sin.
We may be tempted at times to disregard what the Bible states is sin assuming that circumstances justify disobedience. Presumption is never a substitute for obeying the Word of God.
Thought for Today:
For the Lord giveth wisdom . . . knowledge and understanding (Prov. 2:6).
By Samuel the intercessor (I Sam. 12:23). Right now Jesus is interceding for believers. It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).
12:4 taken ought =received a bribe; ought =anything; 12:21 vain =worthless; 13:10 salute =welcome, greet; 13:17 spoilers =raiders; 13:20 share . . . coulter . . . mattock =agricultural tools; 13:21 goads =iron points used to prod animals; 14:8 discover ourselves =let ourselves be seen; 14:16 melted away =scattered in all directions; 14:20 discomfiture =confusion.
Pray for Government Official: Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) • Country: Czech Republic (10 million) in central Europe • Major languages: Czech and Slovak • Religious freedom • 63% Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray through the Name of Jesus Christ for it is by Him that we have access to God in prayer (Eph. 2:18).
Optional Reading: Acts 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:9-10