Summary: Lent Mid-week 2: Message based on (but not adapted from) Concordia Publishing House mid-week lenten series. Saul was chosen to be the Leader of God’s people. By choosing to disobey God, he lost God’s blessing and his position as king. Our King of kings
Saul was the poster perfect king, but he chose to disobey God. He set aside the clear commands that God had given to him and instead trusted in his own judgment. God had given Saul explicit orders about how he was to conduct his battle with the Amalakites. Saul chose to deviate from what God had commanded him – not a good idea for Saul nor for us in today’s day and age! You know, maybe the power and position got to him. Maybe the applause from the people made him think that he needed to give account to no one else. Maybe the victories that God granted to him gave Saul a big head. In the same chapter as our sermon text, it says that Saul erected a monument to himself after the battle. The boy had a bit of an ego!
At the end of the day, Saul failed to follow God’s commands. Saul’s sin was not obeying God. His sin was trusting in his own judgment more than God’s clear Word and direction. So God sent a message to Saul through the prophet Samuel: “Because you rejected the Lord, the Lord rejects you as king.” And after God removed his hand of blessing – Saul became more and more despondent and self absorbed.
How do we know? - We can see it in how Saul began to go off track more and more. Time and again we see Saul fearful when he went into battles. He failed to confront Goliath and instead left that job to a little shepherd boy. He was afraid of the Philistine army. Saul’s leadership began to be characterized by jealousy and ineptitude. Saul slowly began to lose the support of his people. Finally, in his last days, Saul resorted to the most brazen form of idolatry - instead of trusting God for help and direction, Saul went to get advice from a witch – the witch of Endor. His end was tragic – Saul committed suicide. Saul lost the important position that he had been given. Saul became the king who fell from grace.
There are a number of important lessons for us in the story of Saul. Let’s begin with the clear understanding that we are not to be fooled by the external appearances. Saul was tall, handsome and ruddy. It was easy for people to look up to him. Seemingly Saul had it all. And yet, by Saul’s failure to trust in God, we see how appearances can be so very deceptive. And yet we see that Saul was lacking in some very important fundamentals.
Contrast this with a couple of other personages spoken about in Scripture. For example, few would give a plugged nickel for the little shepherd boy, David. When God sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse in search of Saul’s replacement, dad did not even bring David before Samuel as a candidate. Eventually, it was David who replaced Saul.
The same kind of thing was written about the coming Messiah – Jesus. The prophet Isaiah writes in chapter 53:
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (vv. 2-3)