Saul stayed at Gilgal we were told in our last reading. He was apparently waiting for Samuel to come and perform a sacrifice. Samuel was late, and Saul was watching the morale of his men decline. This army was a volunteer army, not one that had been commissioned to Saul.
At first read, it seemed like Samuel’s condemnation of Saul was harsh and perhaps even overkill. Granted, Saul was not a priest, didn’t he know that sacrifices were for priests only? His actions of performing his own sacrifice due to Samuel’s absence, was not part of Saul’s “job description.”
Saul does a good job of trying to defend himself, and yet he is still a little surprised by Samuel’s words. Saul was only trying to bring God into the situation, and Samuel wasn’t there to do it. Would Saul have done the same thing if he had known the consequences?
Samuel tells Saul that because he overstepped the bounds, he was foolish. “The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.” What do you think Saul was thinking now? Did he feel blindsided?
God has chosen another to be the Israelite leader. Just like that. This seems just a bit curious to me. Was Saul’s sacrifice that horrible in God’s eyes, or was it simply Samuel’s manipulation of the situation to give an explanation for something God was already planning? Interesting thought to ponder.
Do you think that Saul was innocent of any wrongdoing? Do you think that Samuel was late intentionally to set up Saul for this? We don’t have any indication in the text of the latter. However, to me, Samuel’s demeanor seemed a little out of character.
Aren’t you glad that when we blow it and do something that is not pleasing to God we have a redeemer? That isn’t giving us free reign to act in foolish ways. But when we recognize the error of our ways we can ask forgiveness with assurance God is listening and Jesus is defending us. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather act in ways that are pleasing to God. We can put our trust in Jesus to give us strength and vision rather than having to clean up our messes all the time.
My only fear is that I’ll be clueless like Saul appears to have been. He did what he thought was right, but it was wrong. Have I done that? Probably. Will I do it again? Probably.
Take some time today to think through how you can do a better job at furthering the kingdom rather than tearing it down.
Let’s pray …
Lord, forgive me for those times that I have made bad choices and behaved in ways that were contrary to your will. I pray you can see my heart and know I was not trying to be malicious in any way. I know I sin and fall short. Give me eyes to see the right path for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.