Better “NOT” call Saul

Better “NOT” call Saul. When I think of King Saul and the record of his “accomplishments” in 1 Samuel, I can’t help be reminded of the TV comedy series “Coach” which aired from 1989-1997 and the brawny, inept, clueless Assistant Coach called Dauber. You might recall the prophet Samuel anointed Saul king after Israel pleaded with him. Israel was willing to forfeit their distinctiveness as God’s “chosen ones” in order to be led by a man/king like the other nations.

 

Saul’s reign started embarrassingly (fear – he hid behind the baggage when he was to be publicly inaugurated) and ended with him impaled on his own sword, defeated in battle. He must have looked a bit of a stud. Taller than others by a head.  Dark (pretty typical of the region). And likely handsome too (the crowd raved “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” (1 Sam. 10:24). Sadly, things aren’t much different today when personal appearance trumps character and heart. God’s warning still applies “Men look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) Israel having a king, and Saul being the choice, demonstrated how we can mess up when our allegiance is directed to men rather than trusting God, and how no matter how appealing a person looks outwardly, one can never do better than personally living a life in trusting obedience to God and following those that do likewise. The contemporary mantra “character counts”speaks volumes. (BTW, this is not a column promoting donkeys or elephants)

 

Because of God’s love for His people, He protected them and even gave Israel victories under the leadership of Saul. But Saul was a weakinsecure man, a tormented man, a jealous man, proved often by his treatment of David who became God’s anointed during Saul’s reign. Often Saul tried to kill David while in service to him at the palace and carried this anger into military campaigns against him (jealousy). Saul didn’t regard God or consider obedience to God an iron clad lifestyle (irreverence). It’s still hard for me to imagine Saul gambling the plight of Israel’s future by allowing a teenager he barely knew to fight a 9 foot warrior with Israel’s rule at stake. He had not consulted God about this tactic (foolishness/presumption) so we don’t see godly faith at work here.

 

Having a few military victories under his belt, Saul’s pride, coupled with his weakness in bowing to the will of others rather than God (disobedience), led to his being rejected by God as king of Israel. The final straw was Saul’s failure to completely destroy the Amalekites and all that belonged to them and lying about it to Samuel and God (disobedience 1 Sam. 15). Did I fail to mention Saul in his impatience (and impertinence) took it upon himself to make sacrificial offerings at Gilgal that only priests were to officiate? (1 Sam. 13) That he ordered the death of his own son, Jonathan? (stubbornness 1 Sam. 14)  That he consulted a witch rather than God? (1 Sam. 28)

 

Saul was a tragic figure. His life was mostly miserable yet he ruled Israel 42 years. It’s difficult to find anything he did right or did with a motive of truly honoring God. A pitiful legacy. What we don’t see in Saul is a life of joyful submission to God, always looking by faith and with a willingness to obey. Saul did not know God. We can suffer the same fate and make similar mistakes which impact and potentially “impale” (slight pun) our lives and that of others by not knowing our God and following His precepts. Just because God doesn’t answer us audibly doesn’t mean He hasn’t and isn’t speaking today. Check out His written, “alive” word. God “spoke” to trusted men who have given His word to us. Think About It.

 

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