A Minute in the Word

Biblical Truth


Biblical Truth

1 Samuel

Intro to 1 Samuel - Pt. 1

The Book of First Samuel is more than a history lesson. It is a book that contrasts God’s way with man’s way. It begins with the birth of Samuel, the last judge of Israel and ends with the death of a king. As recorded in the Book of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” The problem
was that what is right in man’s eyes is not right in God’s. The people were enduring the curses of the law, but instead of turning to God, they decided to change their government. They wanted a king like all the nations around them had. The rest of the book focuses on this.

Saul and David represent man’s way and God’s way. Saul was an obvious choice for a king. David wasn’t even considered. One was a failure. One a success even to this day. One was man’s idea of what a king should be. One was God’s. How they conducted themselves further demonstrates that there is man’s way and God’s way, and the two are not the same. Saul sought the destruction of David.

As Christians we want to imagine that the Christian life comes automatically, but that’s not true. The challenge each of us faces in
part involves changing how we look at life, and at suffering. It takes work to understand that what seems right to us is not God’s way.

Question: Where might I be following man’s way instead of God’s?

1 Samuel 1:1-28

Elkanah loves his righteous but childless wife Hannah. His other wife, Penninah, has produced several children and intentionally makes Hannah suffer over her barrenness. Twice we are told that, though no sin is mentioned on Hannah’s part, the Lord has closed her womb. After one intense session of Penninah’s persecution, she runs in tears to the temple and pours out her heart to God, only to have the priest accuse her of drunkenness. Hannah promises God that if He would
give her a son, she would dedicate the boy to Him for as long as he lives. Later Samuel is born, and at the appropriate time, Hannah presents him to Eli the priest, keeping her vow.

This passage calls into question our expectations of how God should work. It seems unfair that the Lord closed Hannah’s womb and allowed her to be bullied to the point of tears. But are we saying that our relationship with God should be based on good works? Are we hoping that if we are good enough, the really bad stuff in life won’t happen to us? Do we really want to rely on our being good enough? God does answer Hannah’s prayer with the birth of Samuel, but we should understand that even this is His grace. None of us can ever be so good as to obligate God to bless us. The marvel is that He chooses to anyway.

Question: Do I marvel at God’s grace, or am I disappointed that He hasn’t done what I think He should do?

1 Samuel 2:12-21

In this passage, the sons of Eli the High Priest ignore God’s way of providing meat for the priests and their families. Instead of accepting the boiled meat that the sacrificing families would have eaten, they demanded the raw meat and the fat that should have been the burnt offering to the LORD. When those bringing the sacrifice objected, the servants were told to take it by force. This dishonored the LORD and the authority of the priesthood.

What did the young men gain by abusing their authority under the law? A “good” meal only lasts a few hours, and then it’s time for more meat. Later we will read that they were also abusing the women who served in the temple. Again, how long does the satisfaction last? Authority in today’s world is about serving ourselves like the sons of Eli did. God’s view of authority is that we would use our position to serve Him by lifting others up.

As parents, we have authority over our children. We can choose to use that authority to make our children do chores because we have worked all day and don’t want to come home and work more. What about communicating to our child that he or she has an important role to play and is equipped by God to contribute and find satisfaction in the contribution? If you were a child, which one would draw you closer to God?

Question: Am I using my authority at home and at work to lift others up, or to serve my own desires?

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Samuel would be the man that God uses to lead His people out of the decline we see in the book of Judges to the heights of David’s kingdom. But our introduction to Samuel hardly would indicate this. Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
As a boy, the Lord called to Samuel, but Samuel thought it was Eli the priest. This great man of God doesn’t even recognize when God is calling him.

What a great reminder that God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. Samuel is an unlikely source of hope for God’s people, but God has a great work for him to do. He is to announce judgment against sin and lead Israel into their golden age. The word of God goes from being rare in those days to being prevalent in Israel.

Question: What good works might God have for you that you feel unqualified for??

1 Samuel 4:12-22

Eli, the judge of Israel for the past forty years, is old, blind and fat. On hearing that the Ark of the Covenant has been taken by the Philistines, he falls backward, breaks his neck and dies, fulfilling God’s judgment on him and his family. His pregnant daughter-in-law cries out, “The Glory has departed from Israel,” goes into labor and dies giving birth to a son she names Ichabod, meaning “the glory has departed”. Yet the greatest days of Israel’s history were still ahead with David’s Kingdom.

A thousand years later on a hill outside of Jerusalem, Jesus was put to death by the very people He came to save. Surely this time the Glory of God departed. The symbol of God’s presence was in the hands of the grave. But death couldn’t handle Him, and three days later, the tomb was empty. This is the hope we have. There are times in life when we are tempted to think that it is over. Death. Heartbreak. Health. Surely now, the glory has departed. What if the best days were
still ahead? God is able.

Question: Is God able to work in your circumstances?

1 Samuel 5:1-12b

The Philistines have placed the captured Ark of the Covenant in the temple of their god, Dagon as proof that Dagon is mightier than the LORD. Their idol falls face down before the LORD, but it is picked up and replaced. The next day the idol is again on its face, but its head and hands have been broken off. The city is plagued by tumors, rats and deadly confusion. Each city the Ark is sent to feels the heavy hand of the LORD.

The Philistines know there is a God in Israel. They fear Him, even crying up to heaven, but they never turn to Him. Later they will try to appease Him with gold, but they will not worship Him. God allowed the Ark of the Covenant to be captured to show His people that their hearts were far from Him. God’s people were more like the Philistines than the people He called them to be.

God’s people may know God and they may fear Him, but they won’t give Him their allegiance. They keep God in their lives, but they look outside of God for what they really want. People often look to politics, wealth, careers, or technology to find security, happiness, orfulfillment. Even when God shows them the futility of their actions, they just pick up their broken-down idols and keep trying.

Question: Where am I clinging to broken idols instead of giving my worship to God?

1 Samuel 7:2-17

Here in Chapter Seven, we see Samuel telling all of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey Him alone; then He will rescue you from the Philistines.” God’s people were following their Canaanite neighbors
in their worship of Baal and Ashtoreth for good crops and livestock. Turning away from those practices involved an emotional and physical cost. Putting away our idols is never comfortable.

Israel removed the idols and served the Lord alone, and Samuel gathered the nation at Mizpah to pray for them. There they fasted and confessed their sin. But the immediate results were hardly positive. The Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered and came to attack them. The Israelites were terrified. Samuel sacrificed a suckling lamb on the altar as a whole burnt sacrifice, called out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered. The Lord thundered very loudly and threw the
Philistines into a panicked rout. The Israelites chased them down and slaughtered them.

Revival will always be about realizing that God is all we have and all we need. If we’re going to have revival, our attitude needs to be, “What more, Lord?” But expect some pushback. Changing the priorities for our time and money is costly. Dying to self always is.

Question: Lord, what do I need to hand over to You?

1 Samuel 9:1 thru 10:16a

In these forty-three verses, we meet Saul who, along with a servant, is out searching for his father’s lost donkeys. After looking everywhere, the donkeys are nowhere to be found. Their provisions have run out, and Saul is ready to go home because his father will start worrying about them. The servant suggests that since they are in the vicinity of Samuel, the man of God, they should go ask him where the donkeys are.
Unknown to Saul, God told Samuel the day before that He was sending a Benjamite at about the time of the sacrifice. As Saul and the servant enter the city, Samuel is coming toward them on his way to sacrifice at a high place. God points Saul out to Samuel as the one to be anointed the first king of Israel. Saul was looking for lost donkeys, but God was at work to bring him to Samuel.

God is at work in the insignificant details and failures of our lives. Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God works all things according to His will. But that doesn’t mean it will be grand or obvious. So, do the laundry, and serve your family, but know that God is at work bringing about His good purposes which you will enjoy at the time of His choosing.

Question: Am I honoring God in what I do?

1 Samuel 11:1-15

In this text, Nahash the Ammonite besieges the town of Jabesh Gilead and in response to the town elders’ request for terms, demands that he be allowed to gouge out everyone’s right eye as a reproach to all. Israel. Messengers are sent out to see if anyone will come to the rescue. The Spirit of the Lord comes mightily on Saul, the newly named king, and he becomes very angry. God, through Saul, immediately brings together an army of 330,000 and Saul sends word to Jabesh Gilead that they are coming. The town elders set up a trap and Saul annihilates the Ammonites. Afterward, Samuel, Saul, and the people rejoice and renew Saul’s kingship.

There should be no doubt that the hero of our text is God. Despite the Isrealites’ rejection of God as their king, God’s Spirit galvanized Saul to save Jabesh Gilead. Sometimes, God may let us suffer our choices, but He never forsakes those who are His, not even when we deserve it. Only in God do we find this kind of love.
God has given them what they asked for, but Saul will not have any more shining moments. Things will not get better for the people. God’s chosen people are choosing to follow their own paths instead of enjoying all the favor He has for them.

Question: Is God pushing me to something better while I’m trying to go my own way?

1 Samuel 13:1-14a

Jonathan, Saul’s son, strikes down the Philistine garrison at Geba, bringing 30,000 Philistine chariots and 6,000 horsemen against Saul. The Israelites are hopelessly outnumbered and begin to flee, hiding wherever they can. Saul was to wait a week until Samuel came to offer the sacrifice to the LORD. When Samuel doesn’t arrive on time, Saul takes it on himself to offer the sacrifices, in spite of the fact that God has told him to wait. Samuel arrives just as Saul has finished.

Samuel asks Saul why he has disobeyed God, and Saul answers that the enemy is overwhelming, his troops are scattering, and Samuel was late. Samuel tells him that had he obeyed the LORD, his kingdom would have been established over Israel for all time, but now he has been rejected as king. Saul looked at the circumstances and
disobeyed God, showing that deep down he really didn’t trust God. Disobedience is an assault on the character of God. Like Saul, we have all rejected God’s word. Because of Christ, we don’t have to live in fear of the cost of our disobedience. Can we begin to see that living like the world and making our decisions based on
circumstances still doesn’t help us? The life we are looking for is found in the commands of God. Everything else is an illusion.

Question: Where am I looking for my answers?

1 Samuel 13:15 thru 14:10

Previously, Saul picked a fight with the Philistines and they have shown up loaded for bear. In these verses, we see the Philistines send destroyers out into Israel to raid in three different directions. Many of Saul’s soldiers are deserting out of fear. Because there are no blacksmiths left in Israel, what troops remain don’t even have weapons. There is no way they can take on the Philistines. So Saul just sits under a pomegranate tree instead of asking God through the priest Ahijah what he should do. Saul focuses on and is motivated only by his present circumstances.

Saul’s son Jonathan, on the other hand, decides to confront a Philistine garrison with the help of his armor bearer. He doesn’t tell his father. Jonathan says, “Perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.” Perhaps God would be willing to use Jonathan as an instrument of his will. He then proposes they approach the Philistines and provide God an opportunity to reveal His will. All of us are like Saul, longing for God to do some great work in our
circumstances. But could it be that God is waiting for us to put ourselves forward in faith in Him despite the circumstances? When we tie our peace, joy, or hope to a certain set of circumstances, we limit God. It’s better to focus on the nature and character of God like Jonathan did.

Question: Am I so focused on my “impossible” circumstances, that I forget God’s goodness and sovereignty?

1 Samuel 14:11-52b

In Chapter 14 we see Saul foolishly trying to use God for his own purposes. He has to be reminded to seek God’s will and then stops the process when it appears he will be successful without it. He imposes a “religious” fast on his fighting men until he is avenged on his enemies, not the LORD. No one is fooled and the foolish fast almost costs him his son. Saul persists in making shallow choices instead of wholeheartedly seeking to know his God, or even learning from his previous costly errors.
Saul looks to God to make things easy for him. Our whole culture is built around the idea that God’s job is to bless us with comfort and ease. Even as Christians, we, like Saul, expect God to remove pain, not use it. But Scripture doesn’t support that idea.

Just because we trust Christ as our Savior, our thinking doesn’t automatically change. We have to grow as Christians. One of the ways we grow is by understanding that God allows suffering because He uses suffering. Being a Christian doesn’t mean a life of little suffering. It doesn’t mean that God will keep the really bad things from happening. It means that God will be with us in the midst of our suffering, using it to loosen our desire for the world so that we might know more of Him.

Question: How might God be at work in my present struggles?

True Repentance Devotional

In 1 Samuel Chapter 15, we see that Saul has been rejected as king of Israel. Saul just couldn’t obey God. He confesses his sin but still remains rejected. The issue with Saul boils down to repentance. True repentance has God at the center. When David repented of his sin with Bathsheba, he wrote in Psalm 51:4, “ Against You only I
have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.” It was first and foremost against the holiness of God. In the parable of The Prodigal Son, the son was concerned about the pain he had caused his father, not where his next meal was coming from.
True repentance brings about change. A heart that is broken over its rebellion against God and how it has affected others will turn away from its sin. When John the Baptist saw the Pharisees coming to be baptized, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping
with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God can raise up children to Abraham.”

Saul says the right words, but he’s more concerned about himself than he is with the LORD. He offers excuses for his failings. Saul regrets his choices because of what it has cost him, not what it has cost God or others. He is remorseful, not repentant.

Question: Am I repentant, or remorseful?

1 Samuel 15:24-35b

In these verses, we again see that Saul’s focus is on himself, and that’s a problem. He obeys God only when it makes sense to him. Saul looks like a king and believes he is a great king, but he can never see beyond himself. Once again we are reminded that we can deceive ourselves. We may appear to be “good Christians”, but if we think Christianity is about being good, we have missed the whole Gospel. Strictly adhering to a list of do’s and don’ts leads to a sense of self-righteousness instead of a growing awareness of our need for a Savior. Instead of seeing Jesus’ strength where we are weak, we boast in our own performance. We rely on our own goodness.
When this happens, Christ often becomes a means to an end or an example to imitate, so that He blesses us with the best in life. We indeed are to be imitators of Christ and He is able to bless us beyond imagination, but when we think of Christ in those terms, He’s only a part of my quest for what I want in life. The focus is still me, myself and I.

Question: Whose strength and wisdom am I relying on?

1 Samuel 16:1-13

In the book of First Samuel, the people of Israel thought Saul was the answer to their prayers for a king. But he failed. Saul would obey God but only as far as God’s plans fit into his. As a result, God rejected Saul. The hope of Israel turned out to be no hope at all. God tells Samuel to fill his horn with oil because He has chosen a new
king for Himself. To protect Samuel from Saul, God has the prophet take a heifer and go to Bethlehem to Jesse’s house to offer a sacrifice. Samuel is told not to judge by outward appearances, and that God looks at the heart. All of Jesse’s oldest sons pass before Samuel and are rejected. Finally, the youngest, David, is brought in from tending the sheep. Here is God’s choice. Samuel anoints him in the midst of his brothers, and David goes back to tending the sheep.

Our passage reminds us that God is our way forward, but it also reminds us that our way forward may not look like what we expect. David wasn’t what Samuel was expecting. Many years later a man came from Nazareth claiming to be the Messiah. He was rejected by the very people He came to save because He didn’t fit what they were looking for.

Question: Is it possible that we are missing God’s plans for us because we are so focused on our own plans?

1 Samuel 17:1-58

Almost everyone knows the story of David and Goliath, and most of us think the point is that David has enough faith to overcome the giant Goliath. While all of that is true, it doesn’t fit the context of First Samuel or the overall thrust of the Old Testament, which is the contrast between the way the world thinks and the way God thinks.
Saul represents the world’s way. He was chosen by the people to be king and fight their battles for them, but for forty days he and his army have listened to Goliath insult God and Israel and call for Israel’s champion. He sees nothing but the Philistines, and he chickens out.

David represents God’s way. Being too young for military service, he has been sent to deliver food to his older brothers in Saul’s army. After hearing Goliath insult God, he volunteers to take the giant on. To David, the giant is no different from the bear or the lion he has slain while protecting his father’s sheep. Saul tries to put his armor on David, but David can’t use it. In his tunic, and with a bag of stones and a sling, he goes out to meet Goliath. Unlike Saul, David runs to the battle line to defend Israel in the name of his God.

Why does David do this? His answer to Goliath in verses 46-47 is “so that all the world will know there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” David is fighting because he will not allow the name
of his God to be mocked. To him, God’s honor is worth dying for.

Question: Is God important enough to me to put my life on the line?

1 Samuel 20:1-42

In this chapter Jonathan makes a covenant with David before the LORD. Jonathan promises loyalty to David and David’s house. Jonathan asks for David’s favor on his life and the lives of his family when David becomes king. They both swore and reaffirmed their oaths before the Lord. A covenant is a legally binding agreement, a relationship you want to keep, even when you don’t enjoy it. This is what David has with his friend Jonathan. Jonathan has made the deepest commitment he can
to David. The problem with this covenant is that there is only so much Jonathan can do. He’s not God.

Through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, God has offered us a perfect covenant. If we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, He is forever committed to us, no matter what. God delights in us. So why is my life so filled with disappointment? His word promises that we have everything pertaining to life and Godliness through a knowledge of Christ, but we have to walk that out. What if we tried to be content instead of sulking on what we don’t have, or tried to be a blessing to others instead of trying to get our own way? What if we decided to trust that whatever happens, good or bad, that God is at work in it to bring about our good?

Question: Where might I be failing to walk in righteousness and therefore forfeit God’s blessings?

1 Samuel 22:1-23

Previously, we have seen David, hungry and weaponless, escape Saul’s murderous intentions, and lie to Ahimelech, the priest at Nob, about being on a special mission for the king in order to gain bread and the sword of Goliath. But Doeg the Edomite witnesses the exchange. David escapes to the caves of Adullam where he is joined by his brothers and all their father’s household. Also, everyone who is distressed, in debt, or discontented joins him and he becomes their captain. There don’t seem to be any consequences to David’s lie.

Saul, running from his own fear, calls all those around him disloyal for not telling him what they didn’t know and offers them fields, vineyards, and army commissions if anyone will tell him where David is. Doeg the Edomite tells him that he saw David at Nob, getting bread and Goliath’s sword for a secret mission. Saul orders his men to kill all the priests at Nob. They refuse, but Doeg takes the job, killing eighty-five priests, their families, and even their livestock. Only Abiathar escapes and runs to David for safety. Others often suffer for our sins. God’s judgment was passed on both Eli the priest who made his sons more important to him than God, and
on David who lied to the priests at Nob. Eli’s sin and David’s cost eighty-five families their lives. Sin’s consequences never stay confined to those who sin.

Question: Who is suffering because of the sins you have committed?

1 Samuel 23:1-29b

In verses one through fourteen we learn that even though David had rescued the people of Keliah from the Philistines, they were going to betray him to Saul. Saul went after David to kill him, but could not find him. Saul’s son Jonathan, however, went to David and encouraged him in God, saying, “Don’t be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also.” David isn’t looking to Jonathan for rescue, so God uses Jonathan to keep David’s focus on Him.

God used a friend to provide for David during a tough time. Do we have a friend who tends to direct our focus to the Lord? Does your friend attend church regularly, strive to live a God-centered life, bring up God in conversation, or offer Scriptural solutions to problems? David looked to God first, and so did Jonathan.

Question: Who are the friends God uses to encourage me?

1 Samuel 24:1-7

Saul has brought his army to the Engedi wilderness to find David and kill him. He goes into a cave to relieve himself, but in the back recesses of the cave are David and his men. David’s men are delighted. One swift sword stroke and their troubles are over. They speak to him about this being the day the Lord is giving his enemy into his hand. But David doesn’t kill Saul. Instead, he cuts a corner off of Saul’s robe.

But David’s conscience is troubled. He tells his men that even that was wrong. He will not raise a hand against “the Lord’s anointed.” David is able to see past Saul to the One Who appointed him. One takeaway would be to humble ourselves before God and those whom God puts in authority, but on a deeper level, are David’s men
letting their view of God be shaped by their desires and the circumstances before them? Surely it was no coincidence that Saul chose the very cave they were in.
David shows us a better way to live. Instead of constantly trying to read the tea leaves of our circumstances to try to interpret God’s dealings, we can choose to act according to God’s nature and character. We can choose to live for what brings God the most glory as David did.

Question: How will we interpret our circumstances? Through the lens of God’s character and glory, or the lens of our own comfort and desires?

1 Samuel 25:1-44

In chapter 25 David has been protecting Nabal’s extensive flocks and sends men down to ask for food for his men. Nabal refuses and insults David, claiming not to know who David is, calling him a runaway servant. The men go away to tell David what was said, but one of Nabal’s servants runs to tell Nabal’s wife Abigail about it. Not being a fool, Abigail gathers food and supplies and sets out to meet the enraged David before he starts killing people. David’s pride has been wounded and, full of wrath, he tells his men to strap on their swords. He fails to remember who he is and Who God is. They are on the way to kill Nabal when they meet Abigail. She falls
on her face before him, takes responsibility for her husband’s failure, and directs David’s heart toward God. She reminds David of God’s commitment to him, that he is the anointed future king.

Question: In our pain and struggles, have we forgotten who we are in Christ and God’s commitment to us? Are we looking at sin as an answer to our problems?

1 Samuel 27:1-12

In these verses, David chose to flee to an enemy king and live a life of lies and murder because he could see no hope in the circumstances before him. Is our hope grounded in circumstances? Viktor Frankel was a psychiatrist who survived the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. One of the ways he saw people cope was with the hope that if they held on and survived, they would get their “old” life back: their health, wealth, and social position. While it got them through the death camp, they fell into deep depression when their expectations of life after the war weren’t met.

What Frankel discovered about hope was that it must be something that can’t be taken away. True hope is available to every person who claims Christ as savior. The key here is not to look to Jesus to engineer circumstances because when we do that our hope is still chained to those circumstances. The key is to live out the belief that no matter what the circumstances, I have hope because God looks at me and declares before all of Hell, “Mine.” This is the kind of hope we must struggle to have because it doesn’t come simply because we asked Jesus into our hearts.

Question: Where is your hope anchored? In Jesus or in circumstances you want Jesus to bring about?

1 Samuel 29:1 thru 30:31

David has allowed the pressure of Saul’s threats to drive him out of the land. He’s living with the Philistines in Ziklag, lying to King Achish about raiding Israelite towns. He’s been raiding Canaanite towns and killing every man, woman and child to keep the secret. He’s so successful at his lying that King Achish wants to make David
his bodyguard in the battle against Israel, but his commanders won’t have it. So David is sent back to Ziklag where he and his men find that the Amalekites have raided their town and taken everything, especially their families. David and his men are devastated. David’s “brilliant” idea has turned to ashes. His men talk of stoning him.
David remembered God’s commitment and sought God’s direction instead of his own. God directs David to go after the Amalekites. By God’s grace, they recover all that was taken and what the Amalekites had besides. God turned a tragedy into a bounty.

Like us, David had been looking to find his strength anywhere else but God. It’s hard to be a Christian and not be swept up by the pressures of life. It’s hard to be a Christian and not give in to the temptation to live among the Philistines. There is no life among the Philistines. Let us see others through the same grace-filled lens as God sees us.

Questions: Where are you looking for life? How are you trying to fit in among the Philistines instead of living for God’s glory? What are you missing?

1 Samuel Conclusion

In the book of First Samuel, we see that character counts–a lot. The world tends to value achievement which can be gained at the cost of character. If we had to make a choice between our children going to youth group or getting their homework done for the next day, homework is going to win. That’s the world’s way. It’s not God’s. In
general we are a culture that values character much farther down the list. Because character counts, sin matters. Eli and his sons. Saul. These were lives that were ruined because they didn’t take sin seriously. Tell me I have cancer, you have my attention. Tell me I have an anger problem and I’ll tell you I’m intense.

Ultimately, First Samuel tells us we have a choice to make. We can choose to pursue the world’s way or God’s way, but there is no in-between. We’re not going to enjoy the world and have a little God. God won’t stand for it. At the same time, Saul’s hatred of David reflects the world’s hostility to those who don’t put the worldfirst. The
world is okay if you worship God, but you have to worship according to the world’s way. First Samuel makes it very clear that such an approach will not work.
With each choice we have to ask ourselves, “Is this God’s way according to Scripture, or according to the world?”

Intro to 1 Samuel - Pt. 2

The Book of First Samuel is a book of contrasts. It contrasts God’s way with man’s way. To set the stage, understand that God’s people are in a mess. 1 Samuel takes place immediately after the book of Judges. Samuel is actually the last judge. But the people of God are not doing well. Instead of heartfelt obedience to the Lord who brought them out of Egypt, the people of Israel are relying on the rituals and sacrifices to count as their service to God. Now, because every man does what is right in his own eyes, and spiritual leadership is corrupt, the people are enduring the curses of the law. What is right in man’s eyes is not right in God’s eyes.

The people are clamoring for a king.. This becomes the focus of most of the book. Saul represents man’s idea of a king, and David represents God’s. One was a failure. One was a success even to this day. How they conducted themselves contrasts the difference between man’s way and God’s. Let us also not miss the fact that Saul
sought David’s destruction.

As Christians, we want to imagine that the Christian life comes to us effortlessly . But that’s not true. Being a Christian means changing how we look at life. It takes work to understand that what seems right to us is not God’s way.

Question: Where do I see my way in conflict with God’s way?

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah’s husband loves her and provides well for her materially and socially, but she was unable to conceive. Ultimately, she prays to the Lord and He blesses her with a son dedicated to Him from conception. In this passage, Hannah is taking the weaned boy Samuel to live and serve in the temple. After giving the boy to Eli the Priest, she prays, thanking and exalting God.

Hannah’s praise is more about who God is rather than what He has given her. Only once does she mention her barrenness. She warns against arrogance because the Lord is a God of knowledge who weighs actions. The mighty, the rich, and the proud rely on themselves and suffer reverses, while the feeble, the poor, and the barren trust in the Lord and are rewarded for it. “He keeps the feet of his godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.” The world sees only might, cunning, and will as the way to success, but the strong do not survive against the Lord. Hannah’s praise stems from the fact that life is what God makes it, not what she makes it. She trusts that God is good, able, and inclined toward those the world sees as losers.

Hannah poured out her heart to the Lord; she made no demands of Him. She asked for Samuel. She chose to trust in God and He came through. Trusting in God is a better way to live because God is truly our source of life, not just physically, but also our enjoyment of it.

Question: Am I trusting God for my life, or demanding that He do what I want?

1 Samuel 2:22-36

The old priest Eli is hearing that his sons, Phineas and Hophni, are abusing their priesthood by demanding the LORD’s share of the meat offerings and sexually abusing the women who serve at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Eli warns his sons, “ If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But Eli failed to hold them accountable and, therefore, honored his sons above the LORD, so all three would end up dying on the same day.

Here we are presented with a God who draws the line. There can be a point in our rebellion where God says, “Done,” and not just in the Old Testament. This side of God is apparent in Romans 1:28, where the Apostle Paul writes, “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things that are not proper…”, There is a point where God gives sinners over to the sin they keep wanting.

God is certainly loving and merciful, but not at the expense of His justice and holiness. God cannot ignore sin. Jesus came because God had to punish sin. God has to draw the line. Eli and his sons kept on sinning and God eventually brought consequences. Because of Christ, we can escape damnation, but if we continue to play with sin let us not be surprised that there are consequences because God draws a line.

Question: Am I honoring someone or something above the Lord? Is “happiness” more important to me than holiness?

1 Samuel 4:1-11

In this text, Samuel calls Israel to battle against the Philistines, but God’s enemies win. The elders ask why Israel has been defeated and decide to bring The Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield. Israel’s second defeat is even worse! The Ark is taken and thirty thousand foot soldiers are dead, along with Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas. Why did the LORD defeat them that day?

The elders thought the Ark was the key to victory. When God sees the Ark, He will bless. But God wasn’t looking for an Ark. He was looking for hearts that worship Him. Today we don’t have the Ark, but we fall for the idea that church attendance, prayer and other good works are what God wants. But where are our hearts? When our hearts are right, we’ll have the right behaviors and circumstances, and God’s glory will be our priority instead of winning and success. We’ll
understand the difference.

Question: Is God’s glory the priority in our lives, or is it just a means to an end? What do our time and money say about what we really want?

1 Samuel 5:1-12a

The Philistines have captured the Ark of the Covenant! To the Israelites and all the nations around them, it looks like the Philistine god Dagon has defeated the LORD. The Ark is put in the temple of Dagon as a trophy, but the idol falls on its face before the LORD. It is put back in its place, but this time the idol is on its face with its hands and head broken off across the threshold. Each city the Ark is sent to is struck with tumors, rats, and deadly confusion. Finally the Philistines send the Ark back with a guilt offering. Our God does not lose.

God handled the Philistines all by Himself. God is able to handle evil in today’s world, too. We live in a culture that glorifies the power of darkness as ultimate, but we in the church seem to have forgotten that in the Book of Job, it’s the devil who submits to God. In the letter of James, the demons shudder at the Name of Jesus. For three days, Satan, hell and death had the Son of God, and they couldn’t handle Him. It’s finished. Satan, hell and death are defeated. Our God does not lose. As Christians, we need to start believing that.

Question: Will we interpret the news through the character and nature of God, or interpret God through the news?

1 Samuel 6:1 thru 7:2

After the Philistines sent back the Ark of God, the Levites received it with great joy but they didn’t treat it as prescribed in the Law of Moses. As a result, many of them died. In response, the Levites cry out, “Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God?” The point is, the Levites don’t decide how to handle the Ark. Only God does that. The Levites are to obey what God has instructed. Today, people want to say that God is all about love. Regardless of what the Bible may say about homosexual marriage or not going to church or any topic, all that God really cares about is that we love. This is the same mistake the Levites made, deciding for themselves instead of obeying what God has said.

Question: Are there areas of scripture that we decide no longer matter because we have a better way?

1 Samuel 8:1-22

I can still remember being in ninth grade and talking about Lando’s betrayal of Han and Leia with my lunchtime buddies. It just floored us. How could he do that? How could he sell out his friends to the evil empire? We would never have done anything like that. We would have stayed true.We would have found a way to dupe Darth Vader. We just couldn’t accept that Lando would side with the bad guys. What was he thinking? In First Samuel Chapter 8:1-22 we see another of those “What are the thinking?” moments. The Israelites are a mess. Their hearts are far from God even though they think they aren’t. The Philistines are raiding, plundering, killing and generally making the Israelites fearful and miserable, but instead of rededicating themselves to the LORD, they demand that Samuel give them a king.

God tells them what they will get with a king– the loss of sons, daughters, land, the produce of the land, forced labor on the king’s projects, and heavy taxes. He reminds them of all He has done for them, all the victories and blessings and freedoms they’ve enjoyed, but all the Israelites can see are the scary Philistines, the enemies around them, that Samuel is old, and his sons are not the servant-leaders they should be. Instead of turning to their Almighty God who had just delivered them from the Philistines yet again, they cry out for a fallible, all too human king. God gave them what they asked for. Never mind that they were called to be a people set apart, God’s own. They took their cues from the pagan nations around them who seemed to have it all together. Sin is all too attractive. God sent His Son, Jesus, because He knew from the beginning that we would make a mess of things, that we were no longer capable of righteous living or sober judgment. Only through Jesus are we made
new creations who can, through the Holy Spirit, learn to live to please God.

Question: Where are we looking for our security, the Lord and his ways, or the world’s ways?

1 Samuel 9:1 thru 10:16b

In this text, God gave His people a king so they could be like the rest of the world. The world looks on the outside for impressive displays. Saul was impressive. We fool ourselves if we think that as Christians we are immune to such displays. We can get caught up in impressive displays of knowledge, service, attendance, or giving. But in truth, God is not our heart’s priority. When we get beneath the surface, it’s not there.

As Christians, it is important that we understand that the difference between the world and God is much deeper than a set of moralistic behaviors. Even though he prophesied among the prophets, Saul’s priorities didn’t change. As we will see, Saul does not have a heart for God. In Matthew 7:21-23, it says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out many demons, and in Your Name perform miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;
DEPART FROM ME YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” What matters is one who does the will of God.

Question: Is God my heart’s priority or is something else?

1 Samuel 12:1-25

In this chapter, the prophet Samuel relinquishes his leadership of Israel. The people bear witness to the integrity of his leadership. He then reminds them of the LORD’s faithfulness and their ancestors’ unfaithfulness. Samuel tells them that by asking for a human king, they now have rejected God as their king. As a sign of their
wickedness and rebellion, he calls to God for thunder and rain which destroys the wheat harvest. The people are afraid of the LORD and Samuel, and acknowledge their wickedness, asking him to pray for them so they don’t die. Samuel tells them not to be afraid, but to serve the LORD with all their hearts and not to turn away. Even in the midst of their rebellion, God is still leading them to where true life is found.

Why is God still leading them? “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” All have sinned and fallen short, but God will not abandon His people. The glory of His nature and character will not allow those who are His to be lost.
What the people of Samuel’s day could only wonder at, you and I know in truth that God the Son would take sin’s penalty and satisfy the demands of perfection with His own righteousness on our behalf. We are secured by Christ’s blood and righteousness.

We tend to make Christianity about our duty to God and how He will respond if we are good enough. What if Christianity were foremost about God’s great commitment to us and the hope we can then walk in even when we fail? “For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name…”

Question: Is my relationship with God focused mostly on my actions or His commitment?

1 Samuel 13:1-14b

In these verses we see Saul making poor choices based on circumstances and his army’s opinion of his leadership. His identity and sense of worth was founded on making sure everyone saw him as the perfect ruler and warrior. This eventually drove him mad. In an address to the students of Wheaton College, Tim Keller points out
that our modern western culture’s idea of identity is to look deep within and express whatever is found there. This “expressive individualism” doesn’t work, and he gives five reasons why it doesn’t.

First, our desires are often conflicting. We want to have our cake and eat it, too. This produces an incoherent identity. Secondly, This incoherence makes us unstable. Thirdly, the idea that we independently choose who we are is an illusion. Our culture (our family and community) has already laid down the rules we subconsciously use to make those choices. We are social beings.We need the love and acceptance of others. Fourth, it’s crushing to have to make all those decisions and live up to them perfectly.

Failure or loss of what makes you feel worthy is devastating. Finally, it excludes others. Our success is based on seeing others as worse than we are.

1 Samuel 14:11-52a

In this passage we see Saul making a series of foolish, spiritually shallow choices. He begins to ask the LORD’s guidance, decides he can win the battle by himself, and then stops the process. Because he mandated an all-day fast before a battle, he nearly lost both his son and the battle. Jonathan, unaware of the imposed fast, ate some wild honey in the woods. One of the men sees him eat and tells him of the imposed fast. Jonathan criticizes his father, but no one says a word to the king. Saul did lose the respect of his army.

The fallout of not seeking God continues. After the fight the famished army starts killing the livestock and eating the meat raw, a sin against the LORD. Saul is told of the army’s actions and demands that his famished soldiers stop and wait for the meat to be properly cooked. Saul is zealous for the LORD when it doesn’t impact him.
Ready to send his army out to continue chasing the Philistines, Saul has to be reminded to seek God’s guidance. Jonathan’s bite of honey comes to light. Saul sentences Jonathan to death, but the army officers defend him, pointing out that Jonathan had worked with God to bring about the victory.

The point here is that if we choose to stay shallow in our relationship with God, we will encounter a great deal of difficulty because we don’t understand how God is working. Saul sought God when he wanted a blessing, but he didn’t obey God. Pick and choose righteousness is shallow thinking.

Question: Where do I see pick and choose righteousness in my life? ?

1 Samuel 15:1-23

God tells King Saul to utterly annihilate the Amalekites, every man, woman, child, infant, and all the livestock, in retribution for the way they treated Moses and the Israelites as they fled from the Egyptians. Saul wages war against the Amalekites and wins and obeys God’s command, except King Agag and the best of the
animals. He does what looks best in his own eyes instead of obeying the LORD.

When Samuel confronts him with his partial obedience, which is disobedience, Saul blames it on the people. Saul ignores the fact that God had expressly ordered the death of Agag. He rationalizes his disobedience by saying that all the spoils would be sacrificed to the LORD anyway, so the LORD should be happy. Right? The LORD gets a sacrifice and the men get a feast for themselves and their families. Saul gets a monument and ego strokes as a “great king.” Everybody wins. But righteousness is not determined by good intentions. Religiosity is no cover for self-centeredness. Saul saw only himself and chose to “obey” God in part, not in the whole.

Question: Where do we fall short of obedience? We’re big on condemning same-sex marriage, but what about a wife’s submission to her husband? What about letting go of anger, resentment, and bitterness? Forgiving as we have been forgiven?

1 Samuel 15:24-35a

In this passage, we read about Saul’s reaction to God’s rejection of his kingship. God rejected Saul’s kingship because Saul disobeyed Him by leaving Israel’s enemy king alive and allowed the Israelite army to take the best of the livestock “for sacrifice to God”. Saul begs Samuel to come back to Gilgal with him to avoid the public disgrace that Samuel’s absence would cause. Samuel refuses, but after telling Saul again that the rejection is final, he follows Saul back to Gilgal to do Saul’s job. Samuel kills Agag and goes home. Saul is remorseful, not repentant. Remorse is about what sin costs me. Repentance is about what my sin costs God and others. Saul saw
his disobedience as delayed obedience, and also a chance to set up a celebration of himself. Even when confronted with his sin, he couldn’t truly repent because he could never get beyond the I, me and myself mentality. God was a part of Saul’s life, but not the most important part. For Saul, fear of public opinion outweighed fear of God. Saul was the center of his world. That is the world’s perspective. As Christians, we are called to walk in the newness of the life we have been given. Part of that newness is looking at life from God’s perspective, not through the lens of me, myself and I. That’s not easy and it takes time, time spent in the word, time in prayer, and time in fellowship.

Question: Are my plans more important than God’s word?

1 Samuel 15:24-35c

After Saul is rejected, Samuel announces that God has given the kingdom to another and in verse twenty-nine Samuel says, “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” The problem here is that the word used for “change His mind” is the same word used in verse
eleven of this chapter where God tells Samuel, “I regret that I have made Saul king.” How can God change His mind in verse eleven, when verse twenty-nine says He won’t change His mind? Critics have a field day with the apparent contradiction. The solution is found in the conditional clause, “for He is not a man
that He should change His mind.” He is not a man. God is outside of time. He knows the outcome of His choice before He makes it. Therefore He never makes a “wrong” choice. God repents only in that He turns from what was previous. The world tends to view God in man’s image. But God is not made in our image. He is not constrained as we are. His thoughts and ways are far above our thoughts and ways. Looking at life from God’s perspective is part of walking in our newness of life as Christians. It takes time and perseverance.

Question: Am I expecting God to behave as we would?

1 Samuel 16:14-23

In our passage, God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul. How can that be? The book of Job shows us that Satan is in submission to God’s will. Though God did not create evil, He will use it to accomplish His purposes. Saul’s servants recognize that the evil spirit is from God, but instead of encouraging him to seek God, they suggest the ancient remedy: music. David is suggested as the best one for the job, and Saul sends for him. David’s playing does bring relief to Saul. Saul has been rejected. Why is he still alive? Why isn’t David king?

We expect that David should be king now, but that doesn’t happen for another fifteen chapters. For much of that time, David is running for his life. Surely that couldn’t be God’s plan. But it is. While it’s true that there are sweet times with Christ as our Savior, have we overlooked that much of Scripture talks about suffering and difficulties? Scripture never tells us why God had David endure such a tough time for so long. Instead, we see God’s people responding with faith and trusting themselves to God. What if that is really what God is up to in our lives, bringing about greater dependence on Him through prayer, reading His word, and obeying it?
God promises us that we have everything for life and godliness through our knowledge of Christ. Scripture assures us that if the Father was unwilling to spare His Own Son for us, how will He not then give us all things?

Question: How might God be leading you to a greater dependence upon Him?

1 Samuel 19:1-24

In this chapter Saul tells Jonathan his son and all his servants to kill David. Jonathan defends his friend to his father and Saul vows in the name of the LORD not to kill David. But David’s continuing successes in battle spark another bout of intense jealousy. David is called on to play the harp to soothe Saul’s emotions, but an evil spirit from the LORD comes on Saul and he tries to pin David to the wall with his spear. Saul is becoming obviously unstable.

God will help us become who we desire to be. But who do we desire to be? When we first met Saul, he was a dutiful son, humbled and awed by the prospect of becoming a king. But years of living to feed his ego and acknowledging God only when it coincided with what Saul wanted has turned him into a madman consumed by jealousy and insecurity. That’s what sin does. Our text isn’t just about Saul. It’s about the desire we all have for both God and sin in our lives. Maybe we are realizing that there is a sin issue that we need to let go. Take it to God. He’ll help you become the person who lets go of sin. This is what Jesus died on the cross for, so sin would have no power over us. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s where faith helps. Keep coming to God: in prayer, reading the Scriptures, hearing God’s word in Sunday morning church services.

We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but not if we fill our eyes and hearts with the things of the world.

Question: Who do we really desire to be?

1 Samuel 21:1-15

David is on the run. Saul is actively and openly using his power as king to kill David. Scripture does not tell us why David went to the temple, why Ahimelech is afraid, or why David lies about being on a secret mission for the king. But he lies. David asks for bread, and takes the consecrated bread and Goliath’s sword. Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd, “detained before the LORD”, was there and witnessed the incident. Fearing for his life, David runs to Gath, Goliath’s hometown, seeking asylum, only to have to act like a madman to escape.

Maybe David gave into fear because his life wasn’t rolling out as he expected. He had killed Goliath with nothing but a stone and a sling. He was anointed by God to be king. Saul was the rejected king. Surely being killed by Saul was not God’s plan. Maybe David couldn’t make sense of what God was doing and that opened the door for doubt who brought his best friend fear. Sooner or later God isn’t going to make sense. He is infinite; we are not. The enormity of God doesn’t always make sense at the moment.

Once again we are faced with the decision, are we going to live by circumstances or by God’s nature and character as revealed in Scripture? Maybe we should not live so much with expectations of how God is going to work in our circumstances, but that God is at work because of his covenant.

Question: What shapes our expectations?? Circumstances or God’s goodness?

1 Samuel 23:1-29a

In our verses today, David, hiding from Saul in the wilderness, asks God if he should go help the village of Keilah against the plundering Philistines. God says, “Yes.” David’s men are afraid and he inquires of the Lord once more. Again, God says, “Yes, go.” They go and they deliver Keilah in a great slaughter, gaining the Philistines’ livestock. But the people of Keilah are as afraid of Saul as they are of the Philistines. David heard that Saul was coming. He asks Abiathar, the lone surviving priest of Saul’s massacre at Nob, to bring the ephod to him so he might inquire of the Lord what to do. God tells David that even though David and his men fought for the people of Keilah and won, the people would hand him over to Saul.

That couldn’t have been comforting to David, but the text doesn’t make a big deal out of the betrayal. Maybe the point here is that anything outside of Christ will always make a poor savior. Perhaps God was trying to teach David what Jesus knew: broken people, even God’s own people, make poor saviors. The Bible promises that because of Christ, we have everything we need for life and godliness, yet many Christians struggle.

Question: Are we putting our hope in other people and circumstances instead of trusting in God? Are we seeking our own comfort and desires instead of God’s glory and others’ good?

1 Samuel 23:1-29c

In this passage we see David asking God about intervening in Keliah and if they would turn him over to Saul. We see Jonathan pointing David to God’s decree through the prophet Samuel. The importance of God’s word in David’s enjoyment of God’s provision cannot be overstressed. It’s common for Christians today to wish that God spoke to them directly as he did David. We need to recognize that David did not have the complete revelation of God’s word that we have today. The pages of Scripture are filled with instruction and guidance so that we might be able to think God’s thoughts after Him and understand God’s perspective. We often get so stuck on what God isn’t telling us that we forget what He told us.

We pray for God’s guidance in a particular struggle and God seems silent. Could it be that He’s already answered to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness? What if the problem is that we don’t want to take the time to read the Bible, or we don’t like what we read?

Question: God is speaking, but am I listening?

1 Samuel 24:8-22

In these verses, we see a stark contrast between David and Saul. Saul had entered the cave where David and his men were hiding. David had the perfect opportunity to kill him, but he only cut a piece of his robe off. He then confronts Saul with his (David’s) innocence and calls for the Lord’s judgment to avenge David, which also means
condemning Saul. Weeping, Saul admits, “You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you. You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord delivered me into your hand, yet you did not kill me.” Saul blesses David and tells him he knows that David will be king and that Israel will be established in his hand. Saul then makes David promise not to destroy his household. Saul went home, but David and his men went back to the stronghold.

Saul is crushed under the weight of his evil and David’s righteousness. He wants to change, but he can’t. He wants God in his life, but only on his terms, not God’s. That’s not worship. That’s using, and it never works. He is trapped in a prison of his own making. We see two men here. One represents the world’s way of living. The
other represents God’s way. The Bible shows us we are often more like Saul than David. Not to beat us down, but to make us desperate for God. A broken and contrite heart the Lord will not despise. The life we are looking for is found when we strip away our pride and become his disciples.

Question: Where am I pushing for my own way instead of obeying God?

1 Samuel 26:1-25

In these verses the Ziphites tell Saul that David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah, so Saul goes after him with 3,000 chosen men of Israel. They arrive and set up camp beside the road. David learns where Saul is camped and decides to go down to the camp by night. Abishai, Joab’s brother, goes with him. Saul and his entire camp are in a deep sleep caused by the Lord. Abishai offers to kill Saul, but David refuses to stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed. He takes Saul’s spear and the water jug beside his head to prove he had been there and could have killed Saul, but didn’t.

David is a man who is humble in that he thinks about himself less because he sees more of the Lord at work in his life. David lives with God’s glory and honor first and foremost. David is a man after God’s own heart. We tend to think that means that David’s heart was like God’s, and that would certainly be true. But maybe we should
understand it as David was a man who sought out and went after God’s own heart. Both are true of David. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Saul. Saul had room for God in his life to the extent that God worked with what Saul wanted. The difference between Saul and David was who came first. With Saul, it was never God. Anyone can believe in God when we want something from him, but the question is, do we still believe when He wants something from us that we don’t want to give?
The proud put themselves first, but the humble think of God and others first.

Question: Who are we?

1 Samuel 28:1-28

In The Wizard of Oz, you have good witches and bad witches. In the Bible, there are no good witches. In Deuteronomy God makes this abundantly clear to his people that spiritists, mediums, witches, sorcerers, and other occultists are not allowed among His people, and will be driven out. Saul has a mess on his hands. The Philistines are gathering at Shunem, Samuel is dead, and the Lord won’t answer him, not by dream, Urim, or prophet. Saul is filled with fear. He removed the mediums from the land, but that was before he needed one. The point is Saul had no problem being religious when it didn’t cost him anything, but now the cost of following God seemed
too high. He finds and visits the witch of En-Dor. She raises Samuel who tells Saul that the Lord is his enemy, he and his sons will die, and the Philistines will win.

The real story here is that Saul will do everything except the one thing that works: repent and submit himself to God. He grieved over his sin multiple times, but he could never bring himself to make God first. Saul’s rebellion ended in tragedy, not simply because he died, but because of what he could have had if he had God first.

Question: Do circumstances dictate our obedience, or does God’s nature and character?

1 Samuel 31:1-13

King Saul never got it. He never came to really enjoy God. For him, God was always a means to an end. Saul would give God his service to a point, but he never fully committed himself to God’s glory. King Saul always trusted King Saul. As a result, his heart grew harder and harder against God. He and his three sons die on Mount Gilboa as a result of his rebellion against the Lord. We all leave a legacy. For the most part, Saul’s legacy was pretty dismal. We remember him for taking the coward’s way out, for valuing himself over his family and his people, and for losing Israel’s cities and fields. Instead of glorifying God, Saul’s body was used as a trophy by
the Philistines to parade around their cities and temples, thus mocking God.

This is what sin does. What should be for God’s glory turns into a mockery against Him. There is no such thing as harmless locker room banter or off-color jokes. There are no “little” sins. It is still sin, and it is costing others who shouldn’t have to pay. That’s what sin does. Here’s where we make a choice. Let us choose to focus on what God was ready to provide. All Saul had to do was to choose to enjoy God and incline his heart toward Him.

Question: What will our legacies be?