Saul was desperate, why wouldn’t he be? His son had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, enraging them. And now, a Philistine army was marching on Israel. Saul and his men were at Gilgal. They had been instructed by Samuel to wait for a period of time, about seven days. He would join them to offer sacrifices and give them advice as to what to do. During that time, the fearful soldiers in Saul’s army were deserting in droves.
They waited the specified time, but Samuel had not yet arrived. Rather than waiting for Samuel, Saul took matters into his own hand. He gathered the required elements to make the appropriate offerings, knowing full well that he was going against the clear instructions of Israel’s prophet. Even more significant, and worse, more tragic, Saul took action without the divine guidance Samuel promised to bring.
Was he merely impetuous? Or worse, prideful? Regardless, instead of eagerness for divine counsel as the threat grew, he trusted in his own ability to ascertain what he should do in that time of crisis.
To say it was a bad decision is an understatement. As a result of his decision, his dynasty came to an end. No son from his body will succeed him on the throne. Moving forward, God will have a King, “a man after [God’s] own heart” [1 Samuel 13.14].
Samuel left, leaving Saul without divine counsel. At one point Saul couldn’t wait for God’s word to come, and now, he would have to go on without it. All that remained for him was to number his troops and hope for the best.
There is no excuse for disobedience, even in times of trouble. Our actions must always be compelled by God’s word — especially in times of trouble!
Do you know someone facing a fiery trial right now? Are you facing troubling times? If so, let’s pray for each other, asking God to help us to prove ourselves faithful.
“You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13.13-14