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Bible Pathways - April 4, 2006

April 4, 2006

Read 1 Samuel 12

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. 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 burnt offering. . . . as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt 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 unto (prayed to, asked the favor of) the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and 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; compare Numbers 16:1-40; Proverbs 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 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 assuming that circumstances justify our actions. Saul's presumption demonstrates the importance of always obeying God's Word. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

Word Studies:

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.

Christ Portrayed:

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 maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by a family that loves Jesus · Staff: Barbara Bivens · Government Officials: Rep. Melissa Hart (PA), Rep. Darlene Hooley (OR), and Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) · Country: Pakistan (138 million) in southern Asia · Major languages: Urdu and English · There is no freedom to convert Muslims to Christ. Pakistan is an Islamic republic · 97% Muslim; 2% Christian; 1% Hindu · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to make you willing to go wherever He wants to send you (Isaiah 6:8).

Optional Reading: Acts 5

Memory Verse for the Week: I Samuel 15:22

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