The story of the rise and fall of Saul is a sad one. The people of Israel had been governed for many years by God-appointed judges or leaders, but they cried out for a ‘proper’ king like the surrounding nations had. In reality the Israelites did not want to be governed by God and in His way. In effect they were not prepared to continue to have the Lord and Creator of the universe as their leader. So God gave them what they wanted and Saul was appointed and anointed to lead Israel in their ongoing battle against their various enemies.
Unfortunately it seems as if this unexpected promotion went to his head and pride quickly entered the scene (v12). God still had His prophet Samuel in place to keep things in check, but He repeatedly had to speak directly into Saul’s life. At the beginning of the chapter we see that God commanded Saul ‘to attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them’. He didn’t follow God’s instructions because he thought he knew a better way. This proud attitude quickly led on to lying (v13) and in the end he was rejected by God and later replaced with the young shepherd boy David, ‘a man after God’s own heart’.
Recently I was being driven along a frighteningly busy road in the city of Visakhapatnam in South India. As I glanced out of the window our car was being passed on the inside by one of the many thousands of small yellow and black cabs. These are basically a motor-cycle with a roof, semi-enclosed with a bench seat in the back. The Indians call them an auto or ‘tuk-tuk’. Together with the seemingly endless motor-cycles, these vehicles fill the streets and form a chaotic landscape where every driver is focused on their own destination, incessantly sounding their horns to declare their intentions. This particular auto had a slogan written on the rear of the vehicle, which seemed to sum up the whole scene for me. It said ‘REBEL – I live by my rules’.
In a sense Saul had begun his reign in sadness because God knew what would happen when Israel was led by a human, fallible king. It also ended in sadness as it became clear that he was not following the ways of the LORD. Rebellion was Saul’s problem . . . and it is ours too. You may know the LORD as your saviour but is He truly your LORD? As followers of Christ the King of Kings we will be constantly faced with choices which will show who is really ruling in our hearts – Jesus or ourselves. Our daily decisions involving time, money, attitudes and relationships will be the evidence. Take some time right now to think about one or more of these areas. Let the Holy Spirit reveal who is really calling the shots in your life.
Is it the LORD or is it still you?
This is a daily devotional written by Rob Carter, and is taken from his book 'Closer'. The book is available from Amazon and is also available as a Kindle Version. Alternatively, you can contact Rob directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for a paperback copy of the book.