Read I & II Samuel 12 -- 14:23
In Today's Reading:
The people have their king; other battles with the Philistines; office of the priesthood usurped by Saul
Saul, the first king of Israel, was a man of 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's. 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 (I Samuel 13:5). The Israelites appeared to be doomed to defeat.
Realizing the military might of the Philistines, the majority of 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 burned offering. . . . And . . . as soon as he had made an end of offering the burned offering . . . Samuel came (13:8-10). Saul's decision to assume the role of a priest 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 to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to (prayed to, asked the favor of) the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burned offering (13:11-12).
The burned 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; see Numbers 16:1-40; Proverbs 21:27). What seemed to Saul to be a tardiness in Samuel's arrival was, in reality, a test by God of Saul's obedience to Him. Samuel spoke bluntly to Saul, You have done foolishly: you have not kept the Commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you (I Samuel 13:13-14).
Though some may consider Saul's disobedience of little consequence, the Lord said that what Saul did was a sin. How easily we can deceive ourselves into believing that God will be pleased with our accomplishments for Him even though we obey only what pleases us.
We may be tempted at times to disregard what the Bible states is sin and assume that circumstances justify our actions. Saul's presumption demonstrates the importance of always obeying God's Word. For the LORD gives wisdom: out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).
12:4 ought = anything; 12:11 Jerubbaal = Gideon; 13:17 spoilers = raiders; 13:20 share, coulter and mattock = agricultural tools, possibly a plow blade, spade, hoe, sickle, or pickax; 13:21 goads = pointed rods used to prod an animal; 14:8 discover = let ourselves be seen; 14:16 melted away = scattered in all directions.
By Samuel the intercessor (I Samuel 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 makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
Government Officials: Rep. Katherine Harris (FL), Rep. Melissa Hart (PA), Rep. Darlene Hooley (OR), and Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) · Country: Trinidad and Tobago (1 million) two islands seven miles off the coast of Venezuela · Major languages: English and Hindi · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 29% Roman Catholic; 25% Hindu; 7% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Give praise to God that His Word will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).
Optional Reading: Acts 5
Memory Verse for the Week: John 5:24