The Rise and Fall of King Saul – Forfeited Destiny
We first hear about king Saul in 1 Samuel 8:4-5, when the elders of Israel came to prophet Samuel and demanded a king. The bible describes Saul as a Benjamite, the son of Kish, a choice and handsome man, taller than all men in Israel. Saul was hand-picked by God, to be the first king over Israel. Through a series of events, God led Saul to Samuel, who later anointed him to be king.
At the time of his appointment, Saul was busy taking care of his father Kish’s business. The sudden change of events overwhelmed him and he allowed fear to overcome him. On the day of his inauguration, Saul was found hiding among the equipment (1 Samuel 10:21-22). He was thrown into a position that he was not prepared for, however, he had prophet Samuel to guide him in the ways of the LORD. At first, Saul aligned with prophet Samuel and followed every instruction the prophet gave him. During this season, he experienced great victory in every battle that he fought.
1 Samuel 13:3-4 gives us a preview of Saul’s short comings. Saw was seated under a tree overwhelmed by fear, when his son Jonathan went and attacked the garrison of the philistines at Geba. However, Israel was told that it was Saul that had attacked them. Jonathan dragged his father into a war that he was not yet ready to fight. The Philistines outnumbered the Israelites and intimidated them. They were a thorn-in-the-flesh to Israel. 1 Samuel 13:6-7, “When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger, then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead, and all the people followed him trembling.” This was the state of the army that king Saul was counting on. 1 Samuel 13: 8 tells us that Saul was instructed to wait for prophet Samuel at Gilgal, to make peace offerings to the LORD, and to receive a strategy for warfare. But the prophet did not show up for seven days, and the people Saul was counting on to fight the philistines scattered from him. Saul panicked, moved ahead of God, and offered the burnt and peace offerings. According to Hebrew culture and religion, only the ordained consecrated priests from the tribe of Levi, were allowed to offer these offerings. 1 Samuel 13:13, “And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you. For now, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what He commanded you.”
God is a merciful God. He is a God of a second chance. In 1 Samuel 15, Saul’s ability to fully obey the commands of the LORD was tested again. The Lord sent Samuel to Saul with specific instructions on how to carry out His punishment on the Amalekites. The Amalekites had ambushed Israel on their way from Egypt to Canaan. He asked Saul to go attack them and utterly destroy all that they had, and not to spare them. He instructed Saul to kill all men and women, infants and nursing children, oxen and sheep, camel and donkeys. Saul attacked Amalek and destroyed everything, but he spared king Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the lambs and all that appeared to be good. This displeased the LORD gravely. 1 Samuel 15:10-11, “Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as King, for he has turned back from following Me, and he has not performed My commandments.’ And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night.” When Saul met with Samuel the next day, the first thing he said to him was that he had obeyed all the instructions the LORD had given him. But Samuel asked him, ‘What then is the bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’ (verse 14). Again, Saul shifted blame on the people that he was called to lead, and continued to insist that he had obeyed the full instructions of the LORD (verse 20-21). That was the beginning of his down fall, partial obedience and self- deception! That day, Saul lost his kingdom and was cut off from the LORD forever. 1 Samuel 15: 35, ‘And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death… and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.’
What lessons do we learn from the demise of King Saul? First, he esteemed men above God. He was a people-pleaser, i.e., he revered the approval of people more than God’s approval. Because he was people-driven, he always sought ways to please the people, which led him into error. Second, he didn’t trust God. He always tried to find solutions in his own strength, in his timing. He ended up moving ahead of God by offering the burnt and peace offerings, which was against the commandment of the LORD. Only a consecrated priest was allowed to offer these offerings. When surrounded by the philistine garrisons, Saul tried to find a solution in his own wisdom and strength. He did not wait on God for a strategy for war. Lastly, he was given to self-deception and partial obedience. Even with the evidence of bleating sheep and lowing oxen, he insisted that he had fully obeyed the LORD’s instructions. As a result, Saul lost his kingdom, at the time God would have established him as king over Israel forever!
As we step into the new year, it is crucial that we spend time in the presence of God before we make major decisions. It is important that we trust the LORD, even when the circumstances don’t seem to line up. Not being able to wait on God for seven days, costed Saul his kingdom. It is not worth going ahead of God. It is not wise trying to help God either. Total surrender and timely obedience to the instructions of the LORD, will determine how we finish 2021. One of the key words am hearing in every prophetic word is that of intimacy with the LORD. The LORD is calling us as individuals and as a church to seek His face and wait on Him to guide us through 2021. As we move into 2021, we need to trust the Lord, and keep our eyes on Jesus. He is more than able to complete, through us, the work that He has called us to do. And it is important that we fear God and not man! The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is protected (Proverbs 29:25).
Please leave me a note to let me know how this post has impacted your life. HAPPY 2021!!