I Samuel 13 and 14
The major thing missing in the reasoning of Adam and Saul is repentance. They were remorseful but not repentant. There is the key. In the life of David we will see rotten actions, but David is a repentant man.When the finger is put on him, he confesses and repents [changes his mind about what he has done] and fully acknowledges his sin. The flesh can never ever acknowledge it is wrong. It only rationalizes and blames someone or something else. The incurably self-centered flesh believes to the depths of its soul that there is something still there, no matter how badly it has behaved, that can still please God. There may be only be a little spark, but it is totally and irrevocably committed to the idea that that little spark somehow can be fanned it into a flame that will glorify God. The flesh can never repent. It has only remorse. That is all Saul has.
Thus the tragedy is that Samuel has to say to Saul, verse 13;
“You have acted 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.”
If he had obeyed this one test, and it was a scary one [Philistines with a vast army and iron weapons], the Lord would “have established his kingdom over Israel forever.”
Samuel continues, verse 14:
“But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after his own heart.because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
The time is not yet right for David to ascend the throne for Saul has not yet been disqualified, but God has rejected Saul’s line because of his actions and the actions of the people who wanted a human king in place of God.
In Chapter 14, Jonathan, the son of Saul, a magnificent and a man of faith. Just he and his armor-bearer sneak up and attack one of the outposts of the Philistine garrison and destroy it. His statement is, “God can save by little or by many. Let’s go.” The armor-bearer says, “I’m right with you.” Those two alone go up the hill, take on the Philistines and slaughter them. Then God answers that act of faith and fear comes over the Philistine host. They get all confused, begin butchering each other, and scatter.
Saul hears what is going on, looks around to see who is missing from his army and discovers it is just Jonathan and his armor-bearer. He calls for the Ark of God in order to inquire of God. The only problem is that, as he looks out, he sees the Philistines fleeing and takes off after them as he says to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” He does not complete his inquiry of God. In the flesh, he pursues the obvious which is to slaughter Philistines. He also makes a rash oath and says Chapter 14, verse 24;
“Cursed be the man who eats food before evening, and until I have avenged myself on my enemies.”
Me, myself and I, the unholy trinity of the flesh. He puts God aside and flees after the enemy. With no food, all the men run out of energy. They don’t kill half of the people they should have killed. By evening they are so hungry that, when they come across part of the spoil of the Philistines, they tear into the meat and eat the flesh with the blood, thus sinning against the Lord.
Meanwhile Jonathan has not heard anything about this oath of his father’s since he was fighting, so when he finds some honey, he dips the end of his staff in the honeycomb and puts his hand to his mouth.
Saul wants to go on attacking the Philistines and taking spoil all night and “not leave a man of them.” The priest suggests they “draw near to God.” So Saul asks God, “Shall I go after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?”But the Lord does not answer him. Saul, therefore, figures there must be some great sin amongst the Israelites. So he says, “Let’s cast lots and find out who the sinner is. Even if it is my own son I will kill him.” When they cast the lots, they find out it is indeed Saul’s son, Jonathan, the hero, who had brought about this great deliverance in Israel. Saul says, “You shall surely die, Jonathan.” Do you see the flesh here? Saul is willing to kill his son to save face. True he did made an oath to the Lord, and even though he should not have made it, an oath to the Lord is binding. So, since Jonathan did break it, the lot fell on him. God was rebuking Saul to his face because he had not inquired of God and had instead made an impetuous oath. Fortunately, the people would not let Saul kill Jonathan.
To sum up, let me say again that the flesh will do anything to maintain its ego. It has only one standard, i.e., self. Whether I like it or not and whether I will admit it or not, my flesh comes before my Lord, before my wife, before my children, before anything in my life. It loves Me, first, last and always, and it will never change. If I do not believe that, look at Saul who would have killed his beloved son, his innocent son, heir to his throne, to maintain “face” in front of his people, and Saul knew he was wrong. The flesh is dirty, filthy, wicked, and we must not allow it to live at any time in our lives.
The last part of Chapter 14 gives a description of the tremendous things Saul does in freeing Israel.
Up to now Saul has only forfeited the right of his line to rule Israel. In Lesson 2 we will see the climax of his life and the loss of his kingship.
- Differentiate between remorseful and repentance?
- Carefully highlight major flaws in Saul’s life?
- What were Saul’s Opportunities and Treats to his kingship?
Ilorin House Fellowship