Saul became a disappointment in God’s eyes. I wonder how much is too much, before I become a disappointment in God’s eyes too? Surely Saul did some good things along the way. But God, even though He is patient and forgiving, reaches a place where what I do, as a whole, matters, and deserves some consequences. Saul had reached that point! Even though God may take something away from me, it is still not hopeless. It is just an opportunity to reset and restart. Saul is at a place in his life that he must decide what he is going to do next. Please God or self?
In 1 Samuel 15:17, Samuel told Saul- that when you started out, you were small even in your own eyes. But as you grew in power, your head grew even bigger.
Wherever he turned, he came up with a victory. He became invincible! He smashed Amalek freeing Israel from the savagery and looting. (1 Samuel 14:47b-48 The Message)
All through Saul’s life there was war, bitter and relentless, with the Philistines. (1 Samuel 14:52A The Message)
We know from past scripture what this meant. It seems to me that God’s issues with the other towns were worst that His issues with Saul. Therefore, God gave Saul victory. But, God said if you are under my blessing, you will have rest from all your enemies. Saul had far from rest. He bounced from one conflict to the next.
His next battle was with Amalek and their people. Saul was told that Amalek was under a holy ban. No survivors– not men ,women, children, infants or animals, no exceptions.
One good thing Saul did was to warn the Kenites to evacuate, or they would get caught up in his battle. I think that is admirable and shows that you reap what you sow. The Kenites were kind to the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt, now God is extending the kindness back in their direction through Saul.
When the battle was over Saul had King Agag and the choice cattle and sheep. Then He went to Carmel to set up a victory monument in his own honor. When Samuel caught up with Saul, Saul said to Samuel that he ‘accomplished God’s plan to the letter”! Did he believe this himself? Later he admitted to Samuel that he saved the choice sheep and cattle to make sacrifices to God and had King Agag alive.
I believe David said, that if your gift to God costs you nothing, it is not a sacrifice. I think that sacrificing animals that should have been slaughtered falls into this category. God’s desire for me is to listen to what He asks of me, and then do it! He doesn’t want me to be showy or religious in name only, doing activities that make me look good to others. These things to God are worthless. God is not complicated. He sees my heart, my motives, and my intentions and if it is not solely to please Him, it is not a sacrifice to Him!
Because of his actions, Saul lost the kingdom. Samuel had to carry out God’s instructions, not Saul, and killed King Agag himself. He begged Samuel to ask God to change His mind. Was it because he didn’t want to lose God, or because he didn’t want to lose his fame and power? God knows motives, God saw Saul’s heart!
Maybe God knew that Saul would not be an ideal leader. Maybe he was the most capable in the land, at that time. But he did not do the job as God asked him to do it. Sure, he won some battles, but he didn’t do it with God as his main focus. God was not his priority. Saul was only somewhat surrendered to God, only when it benefited him. So, God had Samuel go to anoint a new king. It makes me wonder, ‘Has God ever had to use someone else to do “my” job?’ Is there some time or place where I let God down? I am sure there is, and it makes me sad. I know there are times where I did a poor job of following God down to the last detail. Just because I am not the leader of a nation, doesn’t mean I am not the leader of some body! It all matters in God’s economy. The small parts make up the whole and every part is vital to what God wants to accomplish. I can not take anything lightly, and think that it doesn’t really make a difference if I veer off to the left or right. How I get there is just as important as the end results are. I may think that it doesn’t matter, but it matters to God! God needs me to rise above the world’s way to His Way!
And so, Samuel went to find another king. Samuel looked at several of Jesse’s son and thought that surely this must be the one. But each time God said no!
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 The Message)
God selected the runt. Isn’t it just like God to do it this way! I just think that runt means the youngest, but still! I am a runt in my family. God knows my capabilities. My strengths and weaknesses. But because I know what I can do on my own, it becomes very obvious to me, when God shows off and I am able to go way beyond all I could possibly imagine for myself. God is so mysterious as he chooses the most insignificant to do the most significant things.
God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.” Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind. God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.
Samuel left and went home to Ramah.
At that very moment the Spirit of God left Saul, and in its place a black mood sent by God settled on him. He was terrified. (1 Samuel 16:12b-14)
Why does it take me until I lose something to really appreciate what I had? Saul was troubled. I wonder what it was like to feel God’s presence leave. I have heard when something goes, you fill it with something else. To have the presence of God replaced with a black mood had to be unbearable. I have not suffered with depression much, but when I did, it was debilitating. No motive, no energy or desire to do anything but mope. It had to be so hard for Saul to live his new life. What if I knew that without God all would be dark and desolate? But hasn’t He already told me?
“God has just now torn the kingdom from you, and handed it over to your neighbor, a better man than you are. Israel’s God-of Glory doesn’t deceive and He doesn’t dither. He says what he means and means what He says.” (1 Samuel 15: 28b-29)
Father God, you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Your word stands! You require obedience from me always. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me to know how precious you are so that I will never have to be without your presence. Thank you and Amen!!