Today’s reading begins with Samuel’s farewell address to the people of Israel and concludes with noting that Saul fought against Israel’s enemies throughout his reign.
The reading for today encompasses a great deal of the acts of Saul, the first king of Israel. He fought against Israel’s enemies all the days of his life and brought a great deal of safety to the people of the land. Unfortunately, in addition to being a valiant warrior-king, Saul was an impatient man and one who honored God at his convenience and whim. The reading for today details a few of those incidents as well.
It was not long into Saul’s reign over Israel when he made the tragic mistake that would cost him and his descendants the claim to the throne of Israel. When Israel was about to go into battle against the Philistines, Samuel sent word to Saul that he was coming to be with the warriors and that he would offer up a sacrifice the LORD on behalf of the warriors in order that the blessing of the LORD would be upon the men as they fought. Samuel was delayed in coming to the men as they prepared to go into battle, and instead of waiting until Samuel arrived, Saul took it upon himself to offer up a sacrifice to the LORD. When Samuel arrived, he was extremely angry with Saul for his presumptuous act and he spoke to Saul telling him because of his lack of obedience to the commands of the LORD had cost him the kingdom and that his reign would be coming to an end.
The Bible is filled with examples of men who chose not to treat the LORD as Holy and presume upon His commands and do as they wished in contradiction to Word of the LORD. It’s easy to play arm-chair quarterback and say that Saul acted foolishly when Samuel was delayed from joining the men and offering a sacrifice to the LORD for His blessing on the fighting. Would I have continued to wait if I were the leader of an army and the one person, an elderly man at that, who said he would come before we went into battle was delayed. I don’t know, but I certainly believe it’s more than likely that I would have done as Saul and offered up a sacrifice to the LORD and asked for His blessing.