Saul, from champion to bad example

What do you know about Saul? Yes, Saul the king, the one before David. What do you think about him? What comes to your mind when you hear his name?

Maybe like me, you think of those following verses: “And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORDhe has also rejected you from being king.” (1Samuel 15:22-23 ESV).

We remember Saul as the king who chose to please people rather than God, who disobeyed and refused to surrender until the end. We know him as the one who pursued David, trying to kill him again and again. But that is only who he became after taking pleasure in being king, after tasting power and fame, after forgetting who chose him, blessed him and used him. Before that, he was quite amazing, even admirable. He was strong, humble, gentle, courageous and didn’t care much about what people could think and say. Just read:

1 Samuel 10: 26-27 “Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched.But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

1 Samuel 11: 5-7 “Now, behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen. And Saul said, “What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?” So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh. And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of the messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the LORD fell upon the people, and they came out as one man.

1 Samuel 11: 12-15 “Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has worked salvation in Israel.” Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom.” So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they sacrificed peace offerings before the LORD, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

He was chosen and anointed and walked away from that. Before judging him and looking down at him, let check our hearts and see where we stand. Every time we avenge ourselves, take a decision without consulting the Lord, refuse to cut the hand that makes us sin, don’t share our faith or sin to please people or not to be rejected, we are just like Saul.

In 1 Corinthians 10:12,  God tells us: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” We are all in danger of becoming like Saul, of having our heart so hardened that we don’t see God anymore. Let take heed lest from champions for Christ, we become examples not to follow.

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Abigail

When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 1 Samuel 25:23-24

She fell on her face, at his feet and bowed to the ground. She decided that she was guilty and needed his grace. But let’s be honest. David was the guilty one. True, Nabal had not be nice, but he owed David nothing. He never asked for his help (1 Samuel 25: 1-22). Abigail had all the rights to be angry. David was being unrighteous. He was ready to kill innocents out of anger. She could have accused him, challenged him, rebuked him, but she chose to be meek, to become the lowliest. she forgot about her social statute. She forgot about everything. She chose to remember that David was God’s chosen king. Because of the hand of God on him, she humbled herself before him (1 Samuel 25:23-24).

When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. 1 Samuel 25:40-41

It was not a game. She was not talking just to calm David down. She really did not have a high opinion of herself . She  knew the true meaning of “count others more significant than yourselves”. (Ephesians 2:3) She is a heroine, a woman who understood the heart of God (1 Peter 3:4). Oh, how I want to be like her.

Just a small act of disobedience

… And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”  And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”  And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” Numbers 20:7-12

Nothing very serious. God asked Moses to talk to the rock and Moses, because he was having a bad day, because the Israelites were doing that again, struck the rock. Surely God could have understood. Moses had been so patient and so  obedient(Numbers 12). Was it not normal that for once he lost his temper? He surely didn’t want to disobey, he was just tired and emotionally exhausted.

But for God, what Moses did was serious. He was not a question of being tired, hurt or angry. It was a question of believing God and of honoring Him as holy in the eyes of the Israelites. Moses had  stopped believing for a moment that God would vindicate him. He had stopped believing that being meek with his enemies was worth it. For a moment he stopped looking at the reward and look at the circumstances. For a moment he forgot who he was serving. Because he stopped believing in God, he stopped honoring Him as holy.

It happened to Moses once and he missed the promised land. How many times do we forget to  honor Christ as holy in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15)? What circumstances make us stopped believing in God and disobey a bit? To know what steal our faith and our obedience is a big step towards victory and obedience.

I know for myself that when I feel betrayed, when I have trusted someone and I am hurt in return, I forget to honor Christ as holy in my heart. When I face injustice, I want to deal with it now. I don’t want to wait for the Lord. I stop believing that He will vindicate me, that he will bring forth justice. I strike and strike again with my words and my thoughts. I stop honoring Christ as Lord. I become my own Lord.

That’s what Moses did. He became his own God and deny the holy one of Israel. Every time we choose to take things in our hands we deny Him. And yes, we don’t commit sexual immorality or steal or kill. We are just angry and hurt. God will surely understand. I am sure He understands our hurts and anger. But I am also sure that He doesn’t understand our unbelief and our contempt for His holiness.

Let’s cleanse our hearts, renounce our unbelief and revere Christ as Lord in our mind, thoughts, hearts and feelings. Let’s give Him the glory He deserves.