Saul was a difficult king. He was, as the people asked, very much like the kings of the surrounding nations (1 Samuel 8:5). On the one hand Saul wanted God’s blessing and favor, especially in times of war with other nations, but he was rash, impatient, and acted foolishly. Something I am very familiar with…
In 2 Samuel 13-14 Saul panics because he and his army were lining up to face the Philistine army and the people started to panic and leave. Samuel had told Saul to wait for him and he (Samuel) would arrive in seven days to seek Gods’ favor and offer the sacrifice. But Saul panicked when Samuel did not show up when Saul was expecting and he took matters into his own hands and offered the sacrifice himself to try and rally the people and get God’s approval. Samuel, of course, shows up immediately after Saul offers the sacrifice and condemns Saul for not being faithful to keep the Lord’s Command.
Moments of Panic
This reminds me of a rather personally embarrassing experience when I was a young teenager playing in a local city golf tournament. I had hit my ball into the rough by a lake and could not find the ball no matter what I did and I panicked – I tried to drop another ball at that spot (against the rules) and pretend that I had found my ball and was going to hit it from that spot instead of going back to the place where I originally hit the ball; the place where I should be hitting my next shot because of a lost ball. I was young and was very insecure and felt finishing high on the leader board reflected badly on my sense of worth and value. It was not like I was in line to win the tournament but either way it does not matter – I panicked because I did not want to look bad. Instead I made a choice that made me look even more foolish than just finishing poorly …
Fortunately, and I do mean fortunately, one of the other golfers spotted this and came over before I hit the ball and pointed out to me that he saw me drop a second ball and if I hit it he could have me disqualified from the tournament. So, being properly mortified and embarrassed because I was caught attempting to cheat he was nice enough to help me do the right thing and not embarrass me in front of everyone. I staggered back down the fairway in my shame and embarrassment to where I originally hit the ball, hit again and finished out the hole with a terrible score; but even worse, I had compromised my integrity and acted like a fool.
Foolishness and Faithfulness
Saul really struggled with really believing that God would be with him. He was very insecure and took matters into his own hands and really embarrassed himself. In fact, Samuel announced that while God was preparing to established his kingdom forever he would now take the kingdom away from him and give it to “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).
Unfortunately, I often wonder how many times I have taken things into my own hands because I was panicking instead of simply trusting God and obeying him. It might be a dangerous and discouraging thing to consider “what could have been” if I had learned to trust God instead of acting foolishly.
My encouragement to you: make sure you have truly anchored your confidence and faith in the Lord BEFORE crisis happens; sometimes it is hard to recover once we have acted foolishly.
In His grace,