What does it say?

Saul’s kingdom started out so well, but when war breaks out with the Philistines, he is quickly going to seal his doom (1Sam 13). Samuel was to offer sacrifices to God as the troops prepare to go to war, but is delayed in his arrival. Impatiently, Saul fails to wait out the seventh day and takes upon himself the role of the prophet. This will cost him the kingdom.

Saul’s son Jonathan and his armor bearer courageously defeat a Philistine garrison (1Sam 14). In contrast, the description of a fearful Saul begins to highlight more and more of his character flaws that will ultimately result in total mental disorder. Here, Saul makes a rash vow (remember Jephthah?) and later discovers that his son Jonathan has come under his curse. Unlike Jephthah, Saul fears the people and does not follow through on his vow.

What does it mean?

Saul begins well and ends disastrously. We grow forward, or we grow backward. There is no neutral position in God’s mission. Saul’s unaddressed character flaws begin to take over his life. To the contrary, his son Jonathan grows in character and spiritual commitment.

In each of these two chapters we see Saul assume the role of priest in offering sacrifices to God, something expressly forbidden under the Law given to Moses. The saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely plays out in Saul’s life; and one can see a growing sense of entitlement in him that motivates him to take responsibilities upon himself that do not correspond to him.

How will I respond?

Am I growing forward or backward? Can I identify 3 areas of growth in my personal development over the past year? If I see no growth forward, what specific steps can I take to grow?

What do I feel that I deserve? Do I suffer from a sense of entitlement? Have I forgotten the roots of my salvation, being saved from my sin? Have I forgotten that God owes me nothing and I owe him everything? Will I pray right now and confess to him my total dependence upon him and my desire to be led and controlled by him in every phase of my life?