1 Sam 13: 1-23
The first year reign of Saul started with a victory over the Philistines, as his son, Jonathan, smote one thousand of their army. This however precipitated a bigger war as the Philistines gathered in their numbers – thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and multitude of people as the sand of the sea.Even the strongest king would look at the strength of his won army before proceeding with what the Philistines came up to face Saul and the Israelites with.
When the men of Israel saw they were in a strait, they started deserting Saul. Some of them hid in caves, thickets, rocks, high places and pits. Saul was to go to Gilgal and wait to meet Samuel so that they could offer sacrifice to God before going to war. Even the people that followed him there were trembling. After waiting for the seven days Samuel appointed, Saul’s patience departed him as the people scattered from him, and he took it upon himself to offer the burnt offerings.
As soon as Saul finished the offering, Samuel arrived. Samuel queried his action as being foolish, and Saul gave his reasons: the people were scattered, Samuel did not come, the Philistines were gathered. As good as these excuses look, it was never Saul’s responsibility to offer the sacrifices and it was a disobedience to God’s commandment, not just Samuel’s. Samuel made him know that his kingdom would have been established, but God would now take it away from him and give it to a man after HIs own heart.
Before we are quick judge Saul, we must watch our own lives to and how we respond or react under pressure or in times of troubles. The later verses helped us to understand the situation better. By the time Samuel left, Saul had only six hundred men left with him (compare that to the Philistine army), and also only himself and Jonathan had swords and spears for the Philistines had stopped all blacksmith activity in Israel. Now, under such pressures, how would you react?
Could we trust God enough even in the face of the toughest adversities? Can we tarry until his appointed time, until our change has come? Even if enemies encamp around us, and we are totally outnumbered, can we see His invisible army? It all takes faith, and I pray God will strengthen us in faith so that we see the invisible and not be moved by the visible.
Some verses to remember
Vs 13-14: And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.