Read I 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). Greatly outnumbered, 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 his only hope was in God. He tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samual had appointed: 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 (see 15:22-23; also 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 firmly 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. However, the consequences of Saul's presumption demonstrate the importance of always obeying all of 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 animals; 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 (see Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)
Pray for BP Staff: Diana Hash · Government Officials (Listed on their Birthdays): Rep. Katherine Harris (FL), Rep. Melissa Hart (PA), Rep. Darlene Hooley (OR), and Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) · Country: Solomon Islands (455,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: 120 indigenous languages · Religious freedom · 66% Protestant; 17% Roman Catholic; 4% spirit worship, ancestor worship, and sorcery · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Optional Reading: Acts 5
Memory Verse for the Week: I Thessalonians 5:15