Apr 11 (Daily reading: 1 Samuel 13-14) Saul began well. We read yesterday that he was “accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched” (10:26). But Saul had a character trait that was ultimately his downfall. Samuel told him: “But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (13:14). Saul possessed a spirit of independence, of doing things his own way instead of doing them God’s way. His excuse for not waiting on Samuel to offer the burnt offering was: “I saw that the people were scattering…I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me…So I worked up the courage and offered the burnt offering” (13:11-12). Notice Saul’s repeated use of the personal pronoun “I” (“I saw, I thought, I offered”).
Saul made an impulsive and selfish oath. Any man who ate “before I have avenged myself on my enemies” (14:24) would be cursed – we again see his use of “I” and “my.” It would have cost him his son Jonathan had not his men spoken up: “Must Jonathan die, he who has brought about this great victory in Israel? Far from it!” (14:45).
Saul was chosen by God, but he could not get over himself. Pride has caused the downfall of many who put their own thoughts and decisions ahead of God’s. James wrote: “But (God) gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’ Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you.” (Ja. 4:6-8, from Prov. 3:34).
– Al Gary