Friday, June 24, 2011

1 Samuel 13:1-15

1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty- two years.

2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest he sent back to their homes.

3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4 So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

Questions to consider:

  • How old was Saul when he stopped being the king of Israel? (oh no, math!)
  • Who was supposed to come, but was late?
  • What did Saul do incorrectly? Why did he do it?
  • How do you feel about the result of this mistake?
  • What happened to the number of soldiers who were ready to fight the Philistines?

Possibilities for prayer:

I must admit that it seems a little bit strange that Saul's decision to seek God's favor before going into battle left God displeased with him so much that he chose to take away the kingship from him. Previously we saw the people of Israel fail to appeal to God for help, and the results of that decision were pretty bad.

It seems, however, that the lesson we can learn here is the importance of following God's direction and instruction. Fortunately for us, we have Christ to intervene on our behalf when we fail to follow directions correctly, but that doesn't mean that we should not do our best to follow the path that God sets before us. Let's ask that God would give us the grace and the wisdom to follow him in all that we do.