Saul began well, but ended so badly. I want to finish my life well. How about you? I do not want to come to my end grieving the Lord, his presence removed from me, and having nothing. What happened to Saul? Can an individual be chosen of God, anointed, have the Spirit of God, and do great things for God, yet God’s Spirit leave him/her, and end up being tormented by an evil spirit and lose everything, even his/her children and future generations? Oh yes!
DON’T BE LIKE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Don’t Be Like Saul
Don’t Be Like Saul
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 9:2, 1 Samuel 14:47-48, 1 Samuel 13:13-14, 1 Samuel 15:10-11, 1 Samuel 16:14, 1 Samuel 28:16-19, 1 Samuel 10:6-7, 1 Samuel 13:9-11, 1 Samuel 13:13-14, 1 Samuel 10:8, Exodus 17:16, 1 Samuel 15:9, 1 Samuel 15:22-23, 1 Samuel 15:35, 1 Samuel 28:18-19, 1 Samuel 31:4
Who was Saul? The Bible tells of two people named Saul. One changed his name and became the apostle Paul. The other was the first king of Israel. We do not want to be like Saul, the first king of Israel.
I want to read some “snippets” from the life of Saul to get us started. Notice the decent of his life.
1 Samuel 9:2 He had a son named Saul, an IMPRESSIVE YOUNG MAN WITHOUT EQUAL among the Israelites – a head taller than any of the others. (Saul was charismatic, well mannered, meek, humble, and a good person.)
1 Samuel 14:47-48 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them. (Saul was chosen of God, powerful, and did great things.)
1 Samuel 13:13-14 “YOU ACTED FOOLISHLY,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel FOR ALL TIME. BUT NOW your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’S command.” (Saul began to disobey the Lord and to do FOOLISH things.)
1 Samuel 15:10-11 …”I AM GRIEVED that I have made Saul king, because HE HAS TURNED AWAY FROM ME AND HASNOT CARRIED OUT MY INSTRUCTIONS.” (Saul’s life now grieved the Lord.)
1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit FROM THE LORD TORMENTED HIM. (Oh my! Does it really say/mean that?)
Saul, close to the end of his life, found himself at the home of a witch conjuring up the ghost of dead Samuel from the grave.
1 Samuel 28:16-19 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that THE LORD HAS TURNED AWAY FROM YOU ANDBECOME YOUR ENEMY? The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has TORN THE KINGDOM OUT OF YOUR HANDS and given it to one of your neighbors – to David. BECAUSE YOU DID NOT OBEY THE LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and TOMORROW YOU AND YOUR SONS WILL BE WITH ME.”
Saul began well, but ended so badly. I want to finish my life well. How about you? I do not want to come to my end grieving the Lord, his presence removed from me, and having nothing. What happened to Saul? Can an individual be chosen of God, anointed, have the Spirit of God, and do great things for God, yet God’s Spirit leave him/her, and end up being tormented by an evil spirit and lose everything, even his/her children and future generations? Oh yes! There may be some things you need to deal with today in these areas. Let’s see what the Bible says. DON’T BE LIKE SAUL!
1 Samuel 10:6-7 The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you IN POWER, and you will prophesy with them; and YOU WILL BE CHANGED INTO A DIFFERENT PERSON. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for GOD IS WITH YOU.
Saul experienced a wonderful transformation and the presence of God in his life. The Spirit of God came upon Saul with power (1Sa 11:6) and Saul did great things. He experienced great victories. Things looked good for Saul, his household, and the people. Then something happened.
Have you ever been going through life and things were going great. Life looked so promising. Then “something happened.” Life went bad. What happened? Very likely, the same thing happened to Saul. Saul was doing what God created him to do. Then in a particular battle, the Philistines outnumbered his army. Frightened, Saul’s army began to run (1Sa 13:5). Saul wanted Samuel to offer sacrifices and entreat the Lord for the battle, but Samuel delayed arriving. Has that ever happen to you? You find yourself in a conflict, but it does not seem like God is going to show up. What you usually do in those times is exactly what Saul did. You get impatient and take things into your own hands.
1 Samuel 13:9-11 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time…
“What have you done?” Saul did something very wrong. What was it? Whatever it was it changed Saul’s life forever. Samuel said…
1 Samuel 13:13-14 “YOU ACTED FOOLISHLY,” Samuel said. “YOU HAVE NOT KEPT THE COMMAND THE LORD your God GAVE YOU; IF YOU HAD, HE WOULD HAVE established your kingdom over Israel FOR ALL TIME. BUT NOW your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people,BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT KEPT THE LORD’S COMMAND.”
Don’t you wish you knew what God would do for us if we would just do what he asks us to do? Well, the answer is, God will do everything for us if we will just do what he asks. This is a serious issue and one we must understand. What we do with our lives affects our future generations. As we will see, Saul had several issues, not only one. In our other lessons, basically, one major problem captured our DON’T BE LIKES. Absalom had a root of bitterness. Jezebel urged Ahab to do evil through Baal and Asherah. However, Saul had many problems. Perhaps you did not relate to Absalom or Jezebel, but there are things in Saul that will speak to all of us. In Saul’s life, a progression and accumulation of problems, not dealt with, took him down.
(1) You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. I have heard it taught that the problem was that Saul offered sacrifices, but was not a priest or a prophet. That cannot be accurate. David and Solomon offered sacrifices. Neither were priests and their sacrifices pleased the Lord. The command was that Samuel specifically told Saul to wait until he (Samuel) arrived.
1 Samuel 10:8 “…but YOU MUST WAIT seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”
SAUL’S DEMISE BEGAN WITH IMPATIENCE. SAUL’S ENTIRE LIFE CHANGED BECAUSE OF HIS IMPATIENCE. SAUL’S IMPATIENCE CHANGED HIS CHILDREN’S LIVES, NEGATIVELY, FOREVER.
Impatience can cost everything. I am a very impatient person. My impatience has caused me to do some dumb things. What has impatience cost you or caused you to do? How many of us have allowed impatience to cost a speeding fine, or maybe a car crash? Impatience has cost people marriages, fortunes, occupation advancements, healings, etc. Sometimes impatience costs incidental things. Sometimes impatience will cost you everything, but it always cost. Saul’s downward spiral began with impatience. Saul lost his kingdom and heritage over a few hours of impatience. Think about that. DON’T BE LIKE SAUL!
(2) “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and…” Impatient people become blamers and finger pointers. We do something dumb and then blame others for our stupidity. Saul quickly blamed others and circumstances to justify his stupidity. (We all have stories.) Blaming others and situations are simply the revealing of an unrepentant heart. As long as I blame others, I never fix my own faults. Saul never fixed his own heart and lost everything. DON’T BE LIKE SAUL!
(3) Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. Impatient people become blamers and independent people. Independence is not bad unless independence says “I will do it my way and not God’s way.” By Saul offering the sacrifices himself, he said he did not need Samuel. I watch this happen frequently. I watch people conclude they do not need God’s order of doing things. They do not need church. They do not need the body of Christ. “What can that preacher tell me anyway? I can pray for myself. I don’t need people. I know God’s way is to give tithes, but I do not want to. I can go to church when I feel like it.” I watch people with that independent attitude lose jobs, marriages, children, finances, health, be tormented, etc just like Saul. Do it God’s way. DON’T BE LIKE SAUL!
Samuel said, “You acted foolishly!” Impatience, blaming others, and independence from God’s order will make us fools. “I was in a hurry and I couldn’t wait.” You acted foolishly!“It was his/her fault, not my fault.” You acted foolishly! “Well, you know pastor, that person upset me and I just don’t feel like praising God.” You acted foolishly! “We just didn’t feel like coming to church. We had a bad week, and it was raining, and….” You acted foolishly!“I know I should tithe, but I wanted to go out.” You acted foolishly! “I know I should pray and read my Bible, but…” You acted foolishly!” You have become independent of God’s ways. DON’T BE LIKE SAUL!
The Lord instructed Saul to do one of the most severe things in the Bible.
1 Samuel 15:3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'”
What had the Amalekites done? Do you remember the story where Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses and as long as they did, their army won? That was the Amalekites. There is a most interesting scripture in Exodus.
Exodus 17:16 He said, “FOR HANDS WERE LIFTED UP TO THE THRONE OF THE LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
When we lift our hands, it is to the throne of the Lord. Every generation battles the Amalekites. In the natural, they are today’s terrorists. They attack from behind. They are sneaky cowards (Deu 25:18). On a personal level, we each battle the Amalekites (things God wants utterly destroyed) in us. The problem is, we never utterly destroy them, so our generations after us have to battle them too.
Impatience, blaming others, and independence from God’s order, moves to blatant disobedience.
1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good. These they were UNWILLING to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
How often have we spared Agag (the “king of things” in us God wants utterly destroyed), kept what we wanted for ourselves (independent from God’s order), and then wonder why God does not bless us?
Saul told Samuel he kept some of the livestock and plunder to sacrifice to “the Lord your God.” He did not say “the Lord my God.”
1 Samuel 15:22-23 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as inOBEYING the voice of the LORD? To OBEY is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. ForREBELLION is like the sin of divination [KJV – witchcraft], and ARROGANCE like the evil of idolatry. Because you haveREJECTED THE WORD OF THE LORD, HE HAS REJECTED YOU AS KING.”
God wanted obedience from Saul. God wants obedience from us. If we give God obedience, we will give the sacrifice. Saul’s disobedience was rebellion, which is witchcraft/divination. Saul was also arrogant, which is the evil of idolatry. Let’s see if we get this. Impatience begins a downward spiral. Impatience leads to blaming others, and to independence from God’s order. Disobedience follows. Then comes rebellion/witchcraft and the arrogance/evil of idolatry.
1 Samuel 15:35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.
The meaning here is that the Lord never spoke to Saul again. Saul was never in God’s presence again. The Lord took all his blessing from Saul. Saul’s issues accumulated and Saul never dealt with any of them. If we do not deal with our issues, the Lord will stop blessing, remove the blessings he gave, and stop speaking. DON’T BE LIKE SAUL!
I need to close our lesson, but I want to rehearse quickly some of the remaining events of Saul’s life. He lived it tormented by the evil spirit, which really was sent by God. Delbert! How can you say that? I can say it because I know what tormented Saul. It is obvious. The thought of God sending David to replace Saul tormented Saul. I did not say that David was evil, but the hatred that Saul felt toward David was evil. I see people tormented with hatred today and so do you. Saul spent the rest of his life trying to kill David. Saul allowed his daughter Michal to marry David as a snare to kill David (1Sa 18:20-29). Saul tried to kill his own son Jonathan (1Sa 20:33) because Jonathan was David’s friend (1Sa 20:33). Saul had eighty-five priest killed because they gave David food (1Sa 22:18). Saul was so consumed with David that he was unaware of the Philistines building an army that would kill Saul and his sons (1Sa 28:1). Saul was tormented for the rest of his life.
When Saul saw the Philistine army, the Bible says “terror filled his heart” (1Sa 28:5 – NIV). He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord would not answer. Saul found a necromancer (witch, medium) to communicate with Samuel who recently died (1Sa 28:7-12). To the witch’s surprise, Samuel’s ghost came forth.
1 Samuel 28:18-19 Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, THE LORDHAS DONE THIS TO YOU TODAY. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and TOMORROW YOUAND YOUR SONS WILL BE WITH ME…”
The Philistines attacked. They killed all of Saul’s sons (1Sa 31:2) and critically wounded Saul.
1 Samuel 31:4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.
He began so well, but ended so badly. He should have had it all. You and I should have it all. Why do we not? There is one constant theme in Saul’s life. He did not obey the word of the Lord. He allowed his impatience, blaming others, and independent attitude against the order of God to take him to blatant disobedience. Some of you are blatantly disobedient to the Lord right now. You wonder why you cannot hear from God. Some of you wonder why you can’t get blessed and why the blessings you had were taken. Some of you are rebellious, and arrogant. You just bowed up when I said that. I am trying to help you. That is what Samuel tried to do for Saul. The problem was Saul never addressed his issues. Will you?DON’T BE LIKE SAUL! Let’s pray.
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