Does Saul Get a Bumb Rap?

One day Saul was the anointed king of Israel.  The first person to hold the title of a monarch. He appeared to be the one to lead Israel but soon lost favor with Samuel (the prophet).  And the reason he lost favor seemed utterly insignificant when compared to other things.

Samuel advised Saul that he would return in seven days and then together, they would raise up a burnt offering to God.  Saul waited the seven days, but Samuel did not arrive.  In haste, because the Hebrew nation faced an immediate battle, King Saul offered God a sacrifice by himself.  He did not want to go into armed conflict without God’s protection.  Immediately after Saul finished, Samuel came to the place that he sacrificed an animal.  Samuel burned in anger and told King Saul that he no longer was the anointed one of God.  His hardness of heart, by refusing to obey the rules, cost him any favor with God.  King Saul ruled Israel, in name only, until his death.

Without getting too far ahead, I think of the next king that rules Israel, David.  He directed a murder (Uriah the Hittite) and had an affair with Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) before marrying her.  Why didn’t he suffer the same fate as Saul?  Actually, when looking at both men, David acted in a manner way worse than Saul.  This judgment does not seem fair.

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the passage, “But as it is, your kingship will not be established.  God has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and God has appointed him to be prince over his people because you did not observe what God ordered you to do” (1 Sam. 13:14 CJSB).  Saul’s failure to obey instructions resulted from a heart problem.  He could not surrender leadership to God.  His heart could not allow it.  God required full submission from everybody, even the king.

Many times in life it appears that people get away with everything.  We cry, “foul!”  Where is the justice that should occur in the life of the accused?  Through the veil of deceit, we live as the victim of our circumstances.  God invites us to get up and show the world of that which we are made.  Remain (unlike Saul) in prayer until the time that God calls you to action.

On this day, let us remember to give thanks for the deliverer who restores us to right relationship with the Holy One.  We are redeemed, and our sins do not separate us from God’s love.  We hold fast to the promise of new life and hope.  Praise be to our God, who continues to shield us from the deadly arrows aimed at our hearts.

About joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of Hamlin Memorial United Methodist Church in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.
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