Thought to Guide Your ReadingAfter a promising start, Saul's pride does him in.
Summary in 100 Words or LessSaul kept an army ready to fight at all times. Jonathan, his son, led the charge at Geba.
Samuel arrived late so Saul, to prevent desertion, presented a sacrifice to God. Samuel replied that God was looking for Saul's replacement—someone who would seek out God's heart.
Jonathan and his armor bearer sent the Philistines into a mad confusion. Israel took chase.
Saul foolishly forbade his men from eating until the battle's end. Jonathan ignorantly violated the law. Famished, others ate animals with their blood. God departed from the camp. When Jonathan was found guilty the soldiers prevented his execution.
How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right
Saul does exactly what God said a king would do (and shouldn't do).Saul keeps a standing army to make himself strong. God directly forbade doing this. The reason is simple—when a king has a strong army around him he begins to trust his own strength and not God's. This is why he can't wait for Samuel. His power is going away. When we make ourselves out to be strong separate of God, we fall into temptations.
Saul's sin is not waiting on God.As mentioned in the previous thought, Saul fears a loss of power if his people leave. So he offers a sacrifice. Samuel arrives immediately and gives him his fate—God has taken his authority away because he would not wait on God's prophet. We must work on God's timeline, not our own.
Saul's curse ultimately makes Israel's army sin against God.This curse is completely unnecessary. His victory is all but certain. There is nothing to indicate the army would desert him before finishing the job. Ironically, the men are too famished to continue fighting and begin eating meat without letting the blood run out first. This is a great sin against God. It happened because Saul wanted revenge instead of God's will. Leaders must not lead their people to sin through unnecessary, arbitrary rules. However, we must also see that even unnecessary, arbitrary rules set by God's leaders are binding. God leaves the camp because of Jonathan's sin.
Jonathan's salvation shows Saul's lack of conviction and God's unraveling of Saul's reign.Saul has cursed any man who ate before evening. Jonathan has been tried and found guilty. Because the army defends Jonathan, Saul does not execute his son. If his authority were intact the army would defend him instead of his son.
Saul's ultimate downfall was pride.Pride lead to both of his sins: impatience and revenge. He will have his victory over the Philistines no matter what. So he does not wait for God to bring Samuel. He does not allow his men to eat and curses his own son. Beware—pride brings the end of great people!
How has pride kept you from waiting for God?
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