The people wanted an earthly king. God was their King! But they complained and demanded a king. God said, "Fine. You can have your king." God told Samuel to anoint one for them. That first king of Israel was named Saul.
Saul was thirty years old. He was handsome. He was a head taller than other men. He was that guy. You know the one. Guys dreamed of being him. Girls dreamed of being with him. That guy.
He was not known as a spiritual man. He was known for his strength, presence, courage, and might. But God changed His heart. People began to look at him as a spiritual man too.
Not long after Saul was crowned, the enemy Philistines were ready to attack. Samuel had instructed Saul to wait until he could arrive and offer sacrifices. The people of God never went into battle without the Lord's blessing and favor. Saul grew weary of waiting for Samuel to arrive. Some soldiers began to fear as they waited like sitting ducks. Saul took matters into his own hands. After all, he had seen Samuel offer sacrifices. He knew what to do. It wasn't ideal but it was time to act. Saul skipped the priest and offered the sacrifices himself. When Samuel finally arrived and realized what Saul had done, he was shocked.
Not a good moment for Saul.
Later, prior to battling the Amalekites, Samuel told Saul that God’s plan was to wipe them out completely. Instead, Saul spared the king and the best of the livestock.
Also, not a good moment for Saul.
Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night. 1 Samuel 15:10-11
Until this point in the Story of God series, we have primarily at the heroes of history. Not today. But my intention is not to pile on Saul and focus on his mistakes. Rather it is to understand that Saul was a man who seemed to have it all. But something went wrong. Understanding what went wrong will help us when we find ourselves in a position of influence.
Be cautious of the life that only requires your gifts
On the outside, Saul had it all. God did not lead him to do anything that was beyond him. He only had to obey.
I am all for strength based living. In other words, do what you are gifted to do. It is why you are gifted. Don't spend all of you time trying to improve your weaknesses to the neglect of you strengths.
But there are times when I have to realize my limitations. It is okay, and even helpful, to wait on help from God and from others.
Saul was confident, strong, and had power. But there had to be more to his life than just muscling his way through every situation.
Be cautious of the life that never brings your to your knees
Being broken and afraid (prior to fighting the Philistines) and willfully walking away from the plunder and riches (after fighting the Amalekites) was just too much for Saul. Saul was not in love with the idea of being vulnerable or lacking resources.
We too usually run from difficult situations. We try to fix things our own way. But parts of life are supposed to be spent on our knees…waiting on God to bless us…trusting God to provide for us.
Just because you are broken right now does not mean something is wrong.
The life that is easy and always affirming is a dangerous life.
Be cautious of the life that no longer needs God’s help
Just about everything in our life is in stages and phases. We graduate and move on. From training wheels, from elementary school, from childhood, from riding the bus, from dating, etc...
It makes sense that spiritually we would outgrow the basics. Not so fast my friend.
It was as if Saul had outgrown his need for God to guide him. It was as if Saul had outgrown his need to depend on God. But it is the simple reliance on God that is most important.
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
No one is too strong, too blessed, or too mature to outgrow his dependence on God