Saul (first king of Israel)

His story is told in 1 Samuel 9-31. He is also mentioned in Acts 13:21.

 

Motivation was right but method was wrong.

(1 Sam 13:8-14) He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul's men began to scatter. {9} So he said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. " And Saul offered up the burnt offering. {10} Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. {11} "What have you done?" asked Samuel. Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, {12} I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering." {13} "You acted foolishly," 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. {14} But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command."

We can make the same mistake that Saul made by doing the right thing the wrong way. Our method is as important as our motivation. For example, we may want to win the favor of our loved ones so that we can win them to Christ. But do we win their favor by following them when they engage in unwholesome activities? Or we may want to convince a person that he needs to receive Jesus but are we diluting the gospel story?

Is there any area in your life wherein you have the right motivation but the wrong methods? Ask God to show you the proper way to do things.

 

Impulsive.

(1 Sam 14:24) Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, "Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!" So none of the troops tasted food.

Saul made a vow without thinking of the consequences. As a result, his men were too tired to fight. They were so hungry that they ate raw meat that still contained blood (which was against God's laws) and he almost killed his own son (14:42-44) when his son unknowingly disobeyed his order.

We sometimes do things without carefully considering all aspects of the decision. And such decisions can proceed out of good intentions too. We would make much less mistakes if we consider what could go wrong if we make a particular decision. Saul would not have made that foolish vow if he had considered the implications.

 

 

Jealous of God's anointed

(1 Sam 18:6-8) When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. {7} As they danced, they sang: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." {8} Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?"

We sometimes feel jealous of others when they are doing well in God's ministry when we should actually be rejoicing. God gives each of us different gifts and have different expectations for us. A person may accomplish more in God's work because God has given him a greater measure of His gifts. We should not be jealous but endeavor to do our best with what God has given.

Being jealous when others do well in God's work also bears light on our wrong motives. We may be serving God to get glory and recognition for ourselves. If that is the motive, we will get jealous if someone else does better and gets greater recognition than we do. If we are serving God for the sole purpose of pleasing Him and advancing His kingdom, we should instead rejoice when someone else is doing well.


 

 

Learnt that God wants obedience and not religious sacrifice

(1 Sam 13:8-14) He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul's men began to scatter. {9} So he said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. " And Saul offered up the burnt offering. {10} Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. {11} "What have you done?" asked Samuel. Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, {12} I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering." {13} "You acted foolishly," 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. {14} But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command."

If you are not obeying God in your life, going to church, saying your prayers, giving tithe, etc will not make God pleased with you. God is more interested in our obedience to Him than in our performance of these sacrificial duties.




Learnt that partial obedience is not obedience.

(1 Sam 15:18-20) And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' {19} Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?" {20} "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.

 

 

Saul thinks that God will be pleased with him if he obeys God in most things. But God is a holy God and wants our total obedience. God is not going to be pleased when we willfully disobey Him.

Is there a particular area of your life which you know is not pleasing to God? Did you think God will overlook that area simply because you have been obedient in other areas?

 

 

Succumbed to the pressure of his men

(1 Sam 15:18-21) And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' {19} Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?" {20} "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. {21} The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."

Saul did this because he values highly what his men thinks.

(1 Sam 15:30) Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God."

 

 

We are also susceptible to this weakness. We prefer to please men rather than God because the displeasure of men is so much more visible. Yet we should be obeying God rather than men because God's ways are always right. If we honor God at the risk of offending people, I believe that God will honor us in return.

In the workplace there may be times when our boss asks us to do something that we think is wrong. Do we do it or do we take a stand? It is a difficult decision but we know what is the right thing to do.