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Summary: Discusses how poor choices can influence events in our lives and the lives of others around us and even our children. Importance of seeking God's will before we act. Applies to churches as well as parishioners.

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* A young boy lived in the country. His family had to use an outhouse, which the young boy hated. It was hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and always smelly. The outhouse was located near the creek so the boy decided that he would push it into the water. After a spring rain, the creek swelled so the boy pushed the outhouse in the creek.

Later that night his dad told him that he and the boy needed to make a trip to the woodshed. The boy knew this meant punishment. He asked his father why to which his dad replied, "Because someone pushed the outhouse into the creek and I think that someone was you. Was it?"

The boy responded that it was. Then he added, "Remember when George Washington's father asked him if he had chopped down the cherry tree? He didn't get into trouble because he told the truth."

"That is correct," the dad said, "but his father was not in the cherry tree when he cut it down."

Rarely do we actually get away with sin without some sort of consequence. Often, we are not the only ones that are hurt by our actions. Consequences can also be far reaching, even reaching into the next generation.

There is a song by the group Casting Crowns called Slow Fade. It describes how our spiritual lives can be gradually eroded by the choices that we make. In many cases, we have had to deal with, or are still dealing with, the consequences of poor choices. Sometimes, those choices don’t seem like much when we’re making them, but they may be of monumental importance in our lives, even though we may be unaware of their impact at the time.

This morning, we are going to look at the life of Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul was certainly a man that made poor choices that eventually led him into madness. I want us to look at those choices that he made.

Before we look at Saul, I want to set the stage for you. Samuel was the prophet that had been leading the people of Israel, however, he was getting old and his sons, who were also priests, were not godly men. They took bribes and did not judge with impunity, so they were not respected by God or by the people of Israel. Finally, after losing a battle, the Israelites informed Samuel that they wanted a king like the other peoples around them. This made Samuel angry and it made God even more angry. God told Samuel to do as they asked and not to take it personally. God told him that it was not Samuel that they were rejecting, but God’s leadership as their king. Remember that God wanted His people to be set apart from the other peoples of the earth. And one of the ways in which they were supposed to be set apart was in their governmental system. While the governmental systems around them were primarily ‘kingdoms’ or dictatorships, the Israelites were supposed to be under a ‘theocracy,’ led by God. God had intended, at that time, to have only prophets between Him and His people, but now they were asking to be like the other peoples around them. Though God had intended them to eventually have a king rule over them, but they were asking for one before God’s intended time for that, and were in essence, rejecting God as their leader.

Having His people be different from other races wasn’t the only reason that God didn’t want them to have a king yet. God also understood quite well the inherent problems that come with putting one man in charge of the people. As John Dalberg said, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Also, when you place someone over the people, what is one of the first things that follow? Taxation. As soon as a true governmental system is put in place, taxes must follow in order for the king to have money to feed his family and his armies.

Samuel warns the people about some of these inherent problems and tells them that they have done a great evil in the sight of the Lord by having asked for a king, but he also tells them that God is going to give them one and they are going to be sorry.

So, God has Samuel ordain Saul as the king. Now Saul was a big man. He was head and shoulders taller and stronger in statue than the other Israelites. And he was very good looking. He absolutely looked like a guy that a warring nomadic people would want as a king.

Saul’s call was to protect the people of Israel, especially from the hands of the Philistines. Saul started off well by defeating the Ammonites and rescuing a village from their hands. However, Saul’s first real test of his character would come soon afterward.

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