Day 9

Saul’s Kingship

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan


1 Samuel 13:1-22, 1 Samuel 14:1-52, Numbers 18:7, Acts 13:21-23

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 13:1-22, 1 Samuel 14:1-52, Numbers 18:7, Acts 13:21-23

If I had my druthers, I would stick to what’s safe and comfortable.

When God put it on my heart to homeschool, I gave a thousand reasons why it wouldn’t work. Mostly I doubted my ability to do the job well—and our kids were only in first grade and pre-K. But despite my initial doubts, those early years turned out to be fruitful in numerous ways, not only for them, but for our family as a whole.

Still, imagine my angst when high school neared. Yes, God had been faithful, but this was the big leagues now. The stakes were higher, and my own inadequacies might hamper their options for the future. Yet, as I write, our youngest has graduated from our homeschool and will be joining her brother at a wonderful university. Once again, God showed Himself faithful throughout the high school journey.

My propensity to stick with safety and comfort has reached well beyond homeschooling. Whenever I’ve sensed God’s call to embrace a new challenge, I’m never short on reasons why it won’t work. Or why I can’t do it. Or why I might be hearing God wrong altogether. In truth, I can identify with the King Saul we see in 1 Samuel 13 and 14.

Though Saul had been given the Spirit of God, and had once called men valiantly to battle, his courage was diminished. The Philistines were an ever-present threat, occupying territory in Israel, and Saul seemed content to lay low. Perhaps if the Israelites didn’t kick up any dust and cause trouble, the Philistines would leave them be. Despite the power God had made available to him, Saul took to playing it safe.

In stark contrast, his son Jonathan embraced the challenge. Though the Philistines were superior in number and in weaponry, Jonathan went after them with just one other man. He said, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6).

Who puts themselves in a position to see God fight for them? Whose trust is that deep? God rewarded Jonathan’s faith, causing several Philistine men to fall and sending an earthquake that caused trembling in the camp.

What stops us from trusting like that? As believers in Christ, we are indwelled by the Spirit of God, His infinite power and might. We are armed with the promises of God, among them being His promise to be with us, His promise to establish His purposes in our lives, and His promise to be faithful, always. We are assured that we have nothing to fear—and indeed, no matter what we may endure, it can’t compare to the “eternal weight of glory” to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Biblical accounts such as Jonathan’s serve to stir up our faith and courage in Christ. Like Jonathan, we can believe God. We can embrace the challenges to which we are called. And we can witness God’s powerful hand at work.

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Kim Cash Tate is the author of several books, including Though I Stumble (2016) and Cling: Choosing a Lifestyle of Intimacy with God (2017). A former practicing attorney, she has a passion for studying and teaching the Word of God. Kim lives in St. Louis with her husband and their two young adult children.

Post Comments (65)

65 thoughts on "Saul’s Kingship"

  1. Stacy Becker says:

    Really loved this. Saul had an uncomfortable kingship but that’s offset by his son. I appreciated the point about Jonathan moving full steam ahead to challenge…who else moves that confidently to see God fight for them? I can strive to!

  2. Alyson says:

    It’s amazing how fear can feel comfortable! Learning how not to stay stuck in fear but to move forward in faith. 

  3. HomeschoolMomof2 says:

    As I began to read this, I was just taken into my own thoughts. You explained so well what so many think and feel in their journey. Thank you!

  4. Gina says:

    This really hit home today. As a fellow homeschooler I know all about playing it safe as well. Getting out of my comfort zone is not easy for me…and I come yp with several excuses why I am not adequate for such a task. Even for volunteer duties at church…I wish I was a take the bull by the horns kind of girl…sometimes:)
    Very good devotional…and also its always very encouraging to hear when homeschoolers graduate! Mine are not at high school level yet…to think about it makes my head swim!!!

  5. Cyndi says:

    I see God persistently working through the OT narrative to accomplish his will and save people. To bring them to just the right moment of acceptance of a savior. What a huge process for this warring, militaristic, nationalistic, merciless people. To accept the crucified Christ as savior, to see the way of reconciliation with God and his people is either so supremely God or completely ludicrious, in light of the heart of these people and their continued rebellion. This narrative taken as a whole shows a picture of to me of people choosing a king and what happens. God can work through whatever circumstances life takes a person on, what a miracle it is that He can, does and people surrender to him.
    I also entirely believe in the picture presented of Christ dying for mankind , healing the soldier’s ear, imploring us to pray for our enemies, love the unlovable, commanding us -Thou shall not kill. It is the length God had to bring his people, to bring the cross to us. People want the power over others, not the power within that Christ gave us.
    Acceptance of Christ’s compassion is the acceptance of God’s heart for humanity and the OT narrative is the length he had to come and also quite probably the length we can walk with others.

  6. Lana says:

    I read the scripture as Saul jumping the gun and acting too soon. Sometimes I make decisions really quickly, even if I’m not comfortable with them. In that sense, I totally recognize myself in Saul and I felt for him in, particularly in chapter 13. But I’m grateful for the example he set for me thousands of years ago: do everything with the right heart. Don’t act out of fear or ego. Act with a spirit of peace and faith. KNOW you are doing the right thing. Don’t do it until you FEEL that peaceful knowing.

    I think that’s why the author had Jonathan’s armor-bearer respond in that way: “do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.” In a way it’s as if God is speaking to Jonathan (and the reader) through the armor-bearer.

    Seriously, what a great text!

    1. Lana says:

      In other words when it comes to Saul’s case: don’t act until you feel that peaceful knowing. Don’t allow people or circumstances pressure you into acting prematurely. Settle the matter with your heart and use all the time it takes. God just revealed why he had me walk through a certain situation. Amen! So grateful for SRT.

  7. Lady GauGau says:

    Saul’s sacrifice really stood out to me. He gave a burnt offering almost as an afterthought hoping God would bless him. How many times have I prayed to God as an afterthought instead of making that my first thing? This verse really convicted me today

  8. Ashley BB says:

    “We are armed with the promises of God, among them being His promise to be with us, His promise to establish His purposes in our lives, and His promise to be faithful, always. We are assured that we have nothing to fear—and indeed, no matter what we may endure, it can’t compare to the “eternal weight of glory” to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).”

    Can we imagine what our lives and relationships would look like if we truly lived this? Trusting instead of feeding fear, hoping instead of despairing. May I look at my struggles, fears, and circumstances through an eternal lens.

    Thank you God for your promises which we can always rely on because You cannot lie.

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