Saul’s Big Mistake
1 Samuel 13:8-14 Themes : God knows best. God uses those who obey him.
What’s a leader to do? What’s a king to do?
King Saul paced up and down, his eyes darting left then right. He just couldn’t wait any longer. The Philistine enemy soldiers were now in the nearby hills. Saul’s Israelite army was ready to quit and run. Fear surrounded the hill top camp like a damp heavy mist. No doubt he had to act or all would be lost.
But where was Samuel? He said he’d come! Saul wrestled with his next move. The old priest must be delayed. Perhaps he’s been captured or even killed. Time was up! His dwindling army must be rallied to fight the Philistines.
Yes, King Saul knew that God was in control and that God was with him after all he had been appointed king by Samuel God’s special prophet and priest. Saul also knew that the priest was the only one who could offer the animal sacrifice before a battle. That had always been made clear.
But now, he’s not coming, thought Saul. Samuel is not here. Saul shouted sharp orders to his closest troops. “Prepare the sacrifice! We must get on with it or we’re lost. We can’t fight without the sacrifice to God to ask him for protection and victory.”
As the fire on the stone altar crackled to life the orange flames leapt high lighting the whole hilltop. Distant shouts could be heard as soldiers readied for battle. The meat was already roasting in the fire when a voice bellowed up the hill. King Saul turned suddenly to see the aging Samuel approaching, his eyes ablaze and a sturdy stick waved above his head.
“What have you done?” Samuel shouted at the king. “What have you done?” he repeated as he reached Saul and fixed his piercing eyes on him. Big beads of sweat ran down the old priest’s forehead and onto his long matted white beard.
“I thought you were lost or even killed!” Saul bawled with his hands held aloft. “I had to act; I forced myself to offer a sacrifice on the altar.”
“Big mistake Saul! That was reckless and stupid! Samuel fumed. “You know what God has said about the sacrifices offered. Why couldn’t you just obey the Lord? And now look what’s happened. If you had obeyed God, someone from your family would have always been king of Israel but sadly not now. In fact, the Lord has already chosen a new king”!
With that pronouncement, Samuel turned and called his assistant to steady him as he slowly shuffled down the hill.
God was watching. God was waiting. His big plan was being put into action. King Saul went on to fight many battles against the powerful Philistines but none bigger than the giant showdown where the Philistine champion warrior Goliath faced off with a scrawny young Israelite teen named David. From another hilltop that day King Saul watched the surprising knockout of Goliath. The victorious young David later rose to wear the crown of Israel and was known as a “man after God’s own heart”. He learned what a leader should do and what a king should do.
Don’t make Saul’s big mistake. Put God first. He always knows best.
©Don Stott Eliab.com 2018
1 Samuel 13:8-14