King Saul Disobeys God

KEY VERSE: “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.” —I Samuel 13:14


IN THE BIBLE there are many examples of the fact that those once pure in heart, and humble, can become corrupt and proud. The most outstanding of these is Lucifer, who, although created perfect, became ambitious and rebelled against God and his laws of righteousness. Much the same tragedy befell King Saul. When chosen by God for high office, he was humble and obedient to God. Samuel refers to this as the time when Saul was ‘little’ in his own sight.

But Saul did not remain ‘little’. His early successes in battle and the praises of his people made him become arrogant. He forgot that it was only because the Lord blessed his efforts that he was successful. There have been servants of the Lord in all ages who, failing to realize that in their own strength and wisdom they could accomplish nothing, have failed to remain humble. This is a tragedy whenever it occurs, for it means that one who was once sweet, becomes bitter of heart, and proud.

One of the evidences of pride is the tendency to substitute one’s own arrangements for those which have been clearly outlined by the Lord. Saul did this, manifesting the change which was taking place in his heart. No longer was the will of God the law of his life as it had been when he was little in his own sight. He was given specific instruction concerning Israel’s enemies, the Amalekites. He was to destroy them all, including their flocks and herds. But he failed to carry out instructions. Instead, he explained, the ‘people’ took the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord.” (I Sam. 15:21) The people would not have been able to do this contrary to Saul’s wishes. Samuel knew this well, and held the king fully responsible for failure to carry out the will of God.

Obedience to the will of God must always be our first consideration. However, in the case of the Lord’s people during the Gospel Age, it is not a matter of deciding between obedience and sacrifice, for obedience demands sacrifice, as it did also in the Jewish Age. It is important to keep this fact clearly before us, for the mind of the flesh, prompted by the Adversary, the Devil, might turn us aside from the way of sacrifice by a misuse of this text. It is God’s will that we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, and these were steps of sacrifice. We are to be planted together in the likeness of his sacrificial death. We cannot be obedient to the will of God without presenting our bodies “a living sacrifice.”—Rom. 12:1,2

One of the evidences of pride is to be jealous of the success of others. Jealousy of another blinds one to the principles of right and wrong in dealing with him. In a very astonishing manner, David had slain the Philistine giant, Goliath. This struck fear into the hearts of the Philistine army, which fled before the attacking Israelites. Naturally, David was given the credit for this signal victory over Israel’s enemies.

Returning from the rout and slaughter of the Philistines, David was hailed by the women as a great hero, and acclaimed to be even a greater warrior than Saul. “Saul hath slain his thousands,” they sang, “and David his ten thousands.” This came to the ears of Saul, and while previously he gave evidence of appreciating what this “stripling” youth had accomplished, now became embittered toward him—“very wroth.”—Sam. 17:57; 18:6-9

“Saul eyed David from that day and forward.” First it was pride; then disobedience; and now to these was added the sin of jealousy. Saul was yielding more and more to sin, and thus drifting further and further away from God. He had already lost God’s favor, and David had been anointed by Samuel to take his place; but the Lord allowed him to continue his reign, perhaps to test David, and in order that the people might have an opportunity to discern for themselves the great changes which had taken place in the king’s heart.

Saul finally committed suicide after losing his son, Jonathan, in their final battle. His life of wasted opportunity was, no doubt, recorded in the Scriptures as a lesson depicting the sad results of disobedience to the Lord.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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