The early reign of King Saul was a critical time in Israel as they were neck-to-neck in battle with their all-time enemies. Samuel gave specific instructions to King Saul prior to one of their battles against the Philistines saying: “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you. … You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you. Then he (Saul) waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me’ ”(1 Samuel 10:6–9).
Although King Saul was initially filled with the Spirit, he was not in the ordained position of being one to offer sacrifices. He did not follow the instructions to the letter.
The day had not fully ended, so Saul hadn’t waited out the full time period before he took it upon himself to offer the sacrifices. Samuel showed up immediately after this act and told the king: “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now 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, thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee” (1 Sam. 13:13, 14).
King Saul had another opportunity to obey God and prove himself worthy, but he again disobeyed God and proved that he was unrepentant. In 1 Samuel chapter 15, Saul again disobeyed explicit directions from God and refused to take ownership of his disobedience. He denied the fact that he disobeyed, and then proceeded to blame the people when called out on his disobedience. It was at that point that Samuel told him, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23).
Saul repeatedly proved himself to be unworthy of the blessings and privilege of leading God’s people. The Lord was merciful and gracious to him, but Saul’s continuous disobedience led the Lord to eventually reject his lineage from continuing leadership, and that is when David was chosen and later on anointed as king of Israel.
In His service,
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