King Saul’s Downfall

When you look at Israel’s first King, though he did some great things, there was one “Big Failing” that is one he never ever overcame, and this was his eventual “Downfall.”  King Saul always took the “Easy Path” and folded at the least sign of almost anything, as if almost scared of his own shadow, but at other times he was fearless, well that is until Goliath turned up and challenged him, instead of standing at the front of the Troops, or asking God what he should do, he was found way in the back, stuck in his tent, on “Very Important Business” actually hiding once more.  At his Coronation, he was found hiding in the baggage, with Goliath, he was hiding in his tent, in battles, he hid behind his Troops, often sending David and his Battalion off into the thickest of the Battle, to soften things up so that he could probably ride in, wave the flag of Victory, to the adoring cheers of the people, well that is until this happened.

1 Samuel 18:6-9 “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.  And the women answered [one another] as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.  And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, they have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed [but] thousands: and [what] can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.” Oh what frail Pride and Ego, he so felt that he was the one and only “Greatest in the Land.”

If you read the Record of his Life, it is rare that he actually fully carried out even the simplest of tasks allotted to him, when asked to wait for the Prophet Samuel to offer the Sacrifice, his failure arose and he stepped in and presumed to carry out the Prophet/Priest function, and offered the Burnt Offering. The Verdict is found in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 “And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.”  Keith Green wrote and performed a fantastic song on this very thought, well worth a listening to it, “To Obey is better than Sacrifice.”

How about this one from 1 Samuel 5:1-3 “Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee [to be] king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember [that] which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid [wait] for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.  Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”  Simple task, go take out the “Dirty Laundry” and clean up great toxic pollution, so how did King Saul go?  1 Samuel 5:13-15 “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed [be] thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.  And Samuel said, What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?  And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”   “The Proof is in the Pudding,” and here is the evidence “And Samuel said, What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”  The request was simple; it is all deeply contaminated, so spare nothing, his response, well keep the very best, Oh, by the way this is for Our God as a gift, Yeah Right!    

There are lots of these failings, and our “Righteous Indignation” arises, we condemn him, rightly so, but how about this, Matthew 7:12 MSG “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” Matthew 7:1-5 MSG “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit enough to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”  Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Are you so much better than King Saul, Oh Really?  Maybe we should heed the old Parable, “Don’t Judge a man until you have walked a mile in his Moccasins.”  If you had to live his life, you would probably make a bigger mess of doing so that he/she has done.  How about some Christianity, uplift them in and though, deed and prayer, Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”  This is actually to place your shoulder under their load, and walk with them until the destination is reached.  How big a “Prayer Warrior” are you?  Are you bearing their burdens, or are you and I a “King Saul” and fall well short of the Glory of God?