The events in 1 Samuel 13 are challenging to me. Here we have the new king Saul in a desperate situation and he struggles with what to do. He was feeling immense pressure to act. The Philistines were assembling to attack, but he was told by the prophet Samuel to wait until he arrived so that he could offer the sacrifices to God before battle.
In addition, his troops were deserting and it was the seventh day and Samuel still was not there to offer the sacrifices. What should he do? What would I do? What would you do?
On one hand, it seems very logical for Saul to take control of the situation because he was the king of Israel right? He understood God’s desire, but the situation required action and he decided to disobey God because he thought there was a better way.
The problem is that this event reveals a character flaw in Saul. As Saul painfully discovered, “No line of reasoning, however compelling, could ever justify disobedience to the Lord” (Bergen). Saul had assumed more authority than he had. He was simply to be faithful and trust God even though the circumstances SCREAMED immediate action. Saul was supposed to obey God by waiting for his timing and deliverance.
The flaw in Saul’s character led to the statement in verse 14, “The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart” and it was clear that Saul was not that man. The term “after his own heart” means that God was looking for a man to rule the nation of Israel that was “like minded” with his will. Saul did not understand that he was not really the king, God was still King and he reigned through his prophets. His role was to obey.
In relation to personal application today, there is the timeless truth that God is the only one who reigns over the world and should be the only one to reign over my life. Second, this story reminds us that it is never okay to disobey God’s known will regardless of what I think in relation to my circumstances.
Father, help me to remember where I fit in the chain of command. You are God and I am not. I need to follow you in obedience regardless of my evaluation of my present circumstances. Thank you for caring enough about me and my life that you are always in control even when I do not feel like it.
Following Jesus with you,