I Samuel 13.
In Chapter 10, verse 8 we saw that Samuel promised to meet Saul in Gilgal seven days hence at which time he would offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. But in Chapter 13 we see the Jews beginning to desert, because the Philistines are approaching with iron swords, spears and chariots, and all they have are mattocks, scythes (a cutlass like weapon with a curved blade), and axes. Only Saul and his son Jonathan have a sword and a spear.
Chapter 13, Verse 8:
“Now he [Saul] waited seven days according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him.”
So Saul says,
“‘Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.’ And he offered the burnt offering. And it came about as soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him.”
It takes over, “If God won’t do it, I’ll do it for God.” We have an incurable desire, or demand, that God adhere to our time schedule. He has told Saul, “I will be with you forever. Just fear and obey me.” Samuel has promised, “I will be there in seven days.”
Apparently, Saul waits seven days, instead of fearing and obeying his God, because the people are not fearing and obeying their God, he takes things into his own hands. Worse yet he offers an offering that only the priests are allowed to offer. [Samuel was a priest, as well as a prophet, as well as a judge. He was from the tribe of Ephraim, but he was also a Levite.]
Interesting enough Saul offers a “sweet odor” offering, the “burnt offering,” the holocaust, the one that was totally consumed on the altar. The non-sweet odor offerings were the sin offering and the guilt offering. The “sin” offering was the death of Christ for the penalty of sin, and the “guilt” offering was the death of Christ for the injury of sin. They were “non-sweet odor” offerings because they involved the death of God’s beloved Son. But “sweet odor” offerings, the peace offering, the cereal offering and the burnt offering, pictured the perfections of Christ. The cereal offering pictured Christ’s suffering through temptation yet without sin. The peace offering was sacrificed, and then eaten with our friends and the priest. It was a picture of peace with God and the peace of God. It was ours in Jesus Christ. But the key offering was the burnt offering. It pictured Christ totally consumed to do the Father’s will. So, here Saul sacrifices the burnt offering in direct violation of the known will of God. He knows he is not allowed to do this, but he does it anyway, thus making a travesty of it. The flesh always, even when it tries to please God, makes a travesty out of the situation. Even in its best moments, it is impossible for the flesh to please the Lord.
The very moment Saul finishes offering the burnt offering here is Samuel right on God’s schedule. He says, verse 11,
“What have you done?”
Listen closely to the flesh when it is pinned down.
Saul says first, verse 11:
“Because I saw that the people were scattering from me,”
“…and that you did not come within the appointed days”
“They are at fault, and so are you, Samuel.”
“…and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash,”
[Michmash was only 8 miles NE of Jerusalem; not very far] “It was the circumstances. I couldn’t help myself, you see.”
Fourth rationalization, verse 12:
“Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.”
“…so I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.”
“The people, Samuel, the circumstances and you, God, twisted my arm, and I just could not help myself.” Most times we rationalize sins and issues and thus we forfeit to ourselves the opportunity of repentance.
This is the flesh in action, always trying to blame others for its failures, Gen. 3: 10 – 13.
Life Application, Discussion/Interaction.
- What does the flesh always do when God does not appear on schedule?
- In Saul leadership failed because of the people. How can we as leaders handle the demand of the people/congregation?
- Who is at fault? The people. Saul is in essence rationalizing thus, “If they fear and obey God, then I will fear and obey God. If they had done it, I would have done it So they are to blame.”
- Who is number 4 on Saul’s fault list? God himself. “He apparently is not going to help me, so I had better buy him off.”
- Discuss rationalization in our day to day activities, between spouses, colleagues, etc
Ilorin House Fellowship