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. Virginia says:

    In agreement with you Laura in Jesus name!

  2. Laura says:

    14:43-45 reminds me of Jesus standing before Pilate. Jonathan is in the wrong and deserves to die, but the people interject and save him, because he delivered Israel. Jesus, on the other hand, has done nothing wrong and is Israel’s true deliverance. Yet the people want Him crucified. Thankful that Jesus’ story is the reason I am rescued from Jonathan’s position over and over and over again!

    1. Kristen says:

      Absolutely

    2. Emily B. says:

      Great comparison! I thought something similar to this when the Israelites beg God for a king and get Saul, and then years later reject their one true King, Jesus. So thankful that we still get to choose Jesus!

  3. sheila says:

    I am never confident enough that I accurately heard or understood God about what I am to do . Therefore, going forward on what may or may not be what I am suppose to do, is what stops me from feeling that God is with me and I have His power and might to accomplish something.

    1. Hilary says:

      I am in complete understanding of how you feel. I always question, “is this God telling me to do this?”, “is this His way of saying no?”. I need to learn to be confident and discerning of HIS calling.

    2. Cecelia Enns Schulz says:

      I can relate. But, for me, my inaction is often because of fear. What if I’m wrong? What if I do something completely out of Gods plan? What if it ISN’T God and I just look stupid? That is what I used to think. But isn’t God bigger? Doesn’t he know my heart? Wouldn’t I change my path if I discovered it wasn’t what he wanted? The answer to all of those is YES! I now act on what I THINK is God and expect that he’ll correct anything that needs to be corrected. I’d rather follow what I think is God and be wrong and get corrected than do nothing waiting to KNOW. I know God knows my heart is to be like him and to follow him and I believe his hand is on me to guide and correct and bless. If I wait til I KNOW, where is my faith?

      1. Veronica says:

        Such a good reminder, Cecelia! I needed this today.

    3. Alexis says:

      I so understand how you feel. I struggle with this too, not knowing if I am hearing God correctly or at all. So I hesitate a lot and stall. God is so good though; he will bring confirmation after confirmation (today’s devotional is another confirmation for me) just so I will fully get that I hear him properly. He is so patient and kind to us. I don’t know what I would do without his grace.

    4. Lana says:

      I struggle with this too. What I’ve been learning is to wait for that inner peace. I ask what I should do and then I wait. And I try really hard not to move on my own. Like Saul in the scripture today, everything should be done with the right heart. So if it’s taking you some time to get your heart together, ask God for help and ask him for answers. And have compassion for yourself! Faith is a walk not a race! If it’s truly his plan, he’ll bring along a spirit of peace about it, as well as confirmations like Alexis mentioned. At least that’s how I’ve been looking at it lately.

  4. JessMC says:

    “Who puts themselves in a position to see God fight for them? Whose trust is that deep?”

    This brings to mind Exodus 14:14, “the Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” This verse hung in our daughter’s NICU bed as a terrible infection wrecked havoc in her tiny little body. For the first two weeks of her life we watched our precious baby girl lay in a hospital bed while the Lord fought for her.

    When I feel like the Lord is silent, I often recall Eden laying still in that hospital bed. It reminds me to be still before the Lord and wait for His voice and His direction. In a world full of voices and temporary things for us to place our trust in, He is calling to us through the noise asking us to be still before Him and trust that the creator God is fighting for our every need and fighting through every battle with and for us. Just like he did for Jonathan.

    1. Hilary says:

      Amen! Thank you for sharing your story. I needed to read this.

  5. churchmouse says:

    In the devotion today, Kim asks “Who puts themselves in a position to see God fight for them?” My answer is, simply – the one who falls to their knees and prays.

    1. PursuedByHim says:

      Amen! How wonderful! What a great example of how deeply we can trust our Lord and Savior! He always has a plan. We just need to completely trust His will.

  6. Ebun says:

    Reading today’s passage, I’m struck by many things:
    1) Saul tried to help but was punished for this. He said he “forced” himself to do the sacrifice. So I don’t think it was out of pride like I’d always thought. But it does bring home the scripture that says “to him who knows to do right but doesn’t do it, it is sin” (roughly paraphrased and I’m not good at remembering where things are). He knew not to perform the sacrifice and cos he did it anyway, even though his intentions were good, it was still sin. I really felt for Saul then.
    2) As soon as Samuel came up and saw what Saul had done, the judgement that he’d be replaced was given. In my head I’m thinking God had already given Samuel this message well before Saul even committed the sin. It highlights how sometimes even though some people try real hard to do right, if they are not in “the number”, they are not in the number. We have to keep praying that our names are numbered in God’s book of life as salvation is not by works or by wanting it dearly. It’s all grace.
    3) God said through Samuel that if he hadn’t gone ahead and carried out the sacrifice himself, he’d have established his kingdom forever. We need to ask God for the grace to not hinder His move and work in our lives. Yes we are in the era of grace, unlike in Saul’s day but like the bible says, “should we continue in sin so that grace may abound?” It’ll be very easy to frustrate the grace of God in our lives and thus He might withdraw blessings and breakthroughs He had planned for us.
    4) Jonathan! The faith he had!! Faith truly can move mountains. I wonder, if Saul had shown that same faith and not performed the sacrifice for Samuel out of fear, the story would be different. But even with the faith he had, Jonathan was still subject to law. Saul had decreed that no one should eat anything and he did. Furthermore, even though he may have been right in saying that had Saul let the men eat, their eyes would have been bright, he did not respect the authority of his father. Respect for authority is essential even if you don’t agree, we aren’t called to be disrespectful towards those in authority over us. There’ll be consequences. Maybe not like Jonathan but there will be consequence.

    There’s loads more I saw clearly today and I’m so grateful for this study. Thanks a bunch to you all here on SRT.

    Grace and Peace to you all xxx

  7. aprilinsydney says:

    I’m ever so sorry to hear about your mum, Tina. Take heart; the Lord hears your prayers. X

  8. Tina says:

    My mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia probably three years ago now… something we were not prepared for as a family, but we’re assured that it was early stages and that it would be a while before we saw a real change…
    This weekend everything changed…
    We tucked into her bed, on Friday night arms around each other and fell asleep. She woke at four, got up and started pacing… I tried to coax her back to bed, but to no avail. So I got up and put the kettle on to make us the British answer to all problems, tea. Mum helped make it by getting the milk and adding the sugar… all was well … the distance from her kitchen to her lounge is what, at best twelve steps… in those twelve steps, life changed forever..
    She put her tea down so she could sit, and as she was in a posture of sitting, she looked up at me and just lunged at me with such a look of anger… hands out ready to attack me… this basically was the theme for the rest of the day. I called my brother who came as soon as and we took her to the hospital. On the way there she tried to strangle me twice with my seatbelt.! Every time she saw me, she would go for me., and with such anger and venom…
    It got to the stage believed I was not helping especially as she had had three lots of sedative and still she was acting this way.. I am the eldest of seven and the only one she was picking on… can you imagine what that felt like, happy to see her other children but rage when she saw me…
    Through it all I prayed. I prayed calm for mum. I prayed peace. I prayed the Lord’s prayer. I prayed. Banished to the hallway and out of sight of mum, I prayed. Silently in my heart, out loud when mum was at her worst… I prayed.
    Wishing now I had had the courage of young Jonathan, and believed and trusted in Gods faithfulness more.., though as I write I realize I had no ill feeling towards mum, no anger, no malice towards this woman, who if she could get her hands on me would hurt me.. I did have an inner peace. Thank you Lord God..
    I had to leave to come home, 120 miles away earlier than planned, and with this picture of my mum wanting to attack me.. But God, he knows, He has mum in his sights, and is working to bring a calmer mum back to us through the medication and wisdom of the professionals… I will trust in YOU Lord God, I will trust in YOU..my shelter, my strong tower, my friend, my HOPE,
    Thank you Lord God, for our faithfulness to me, to us. Thank you.

    Praying our Lord God turn His face to shine on you my sister’s in Christ… be Blessed abundantly today… xxx

    1. Farah says:

      Praying for you, your mum hand the rest of your family!

    2. Tina, I’m so sorry. Prayers for what I know is difficult. If I may share an experience & perhaps the Lord use it. I had a strenuous relationship with my grandmother most of my life. In her later years & when she was suffering from dementia, I was the closest by location of my family to her, so I made sure to visit regularly. In what I see now as God’s grace, she didn’t know who I was & came to believe I was her childhood friend, Lucy. She even called me that. In this way, God allowed me to receive affection from someone I had never otherwise gotten it from. May God restore the affection your mom has for you in however He chooses to do so.

    3. SB says:

      Praying for you and your family Tina! Keep trusting in the Lord.

    4. Kathy says:

      Praying for you, Tina! Praying for your mum and the rest of your family. Caring for aging parents is so, so difficult. My husband and I are in the midst of it. We aren’t dealing with what you’re dealing with. I pray God brings calm and peace to your mom and brings her back home to you.

    5. churchmouse says:

      Grateful, Tina, that in the midst of this very hard event you were able to press your default button of prayer. Instead of panic and despair, you went to the One who has the power. I join you in prayer for healing for your mum and I pray that this singular moment remains just that, a single moment. I pray for her mind to clear and her emotions to be tender towards you. Hang in there, friend.

    6. At Peace says:

      Praying for you and your family, Tina. May God hold you tightly in the palm of His hand

    7. Emily says:

      Tina, as I read your post, tears streamed down my face. I can’t even begin to imagine how that whole experience with your mom made you feel! 2 of my grandparents have dementia right now and are in the throes of the disease. I have seen them both do things and act in ways that are completely out of character and sometimes even offensive. It’s easy to forget that this disease leaves you with a person you know longer know and leaves them without the ability to recognize even their closest loved ones. Praying for peace and comfort and a greater understanding of God’s infinite love and grace as you walk this difficult road with your family❤️

    8. GramsieSue says:

      Oh Tina, it’s heartbreaking what dementia does to our loved ones. Praying that God would comfort you with His love and give her a gentle spirit toward you. Keep your focus on Him during this difficult journey of life. Praying for strength and peace for you, sister.

    9. CC says:

      Tina, I’m grieving with you and praying for you. I watched my grandmother go through a very similar thing, yet seeing your mom go through it is something entirely different I think. So thankful that the Lord gave you peace and understanding toward your mom in the midst of everything. I will continue to pray for both of you

      1. Kristen says:

        Tina, I have read many of your comments and you are a courageous, kind, inspiring woman of God! Keep being a light and a warrior for Him! He loves you and sees what you do. Remember all His promises Thanks

    10. Alexis says:

      So sorry Tina. I am praying peace for you and your mum through this difficult time. God is with you and won’t leave you .

    11. Lana says:

      Praying for you, Tina. Sending you a big hug.

    12. Tina says:

      Dear Sisters thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement… I am blessed to know you are covering my family and myself in prayer… it difficult… it’s tough…
      But God…
      He is my way… He is my truth… and He will forever be my light, through this and my lifes journey… I look to Him.
      Thank you again Sisters…
      Every Blessing…with love and gratitude to you all….xxxx

      1. Shelley says:

        I’m so sorry for this pain. You’re mum would never act like this in her right mind – hold fast to that dear one. I just want to tell you that I see a courageous heart within you from the words you have shared and the faith you have poured out in your posts. Keep clinging to the hem if his garment – He loves you – He understands x

    13. Tricia C says:

      Your mum and family are in my prayers sweet sister. Peace be with you.

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