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.


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. Katalina says:

    Thank you Kim for those motivational words that reminded me today how special God is and how He stays true to the promises He makes. Needed these words today ❤️

  2. Kristi says:

    “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.”

    Wow. This devotional is so relevant to my life right now. A few months ago, a thought popped into my head to do something that I never in a million years would have done on my own – to preach a sermon at my church. I even knew what topic it would be on. Despite that clarity, I felt sure that it couldn’t be from God, that I must have heard wrong or that I had been the one to put that crazy idea in my head, not Him. After all, God knew I struggled with stage fright. He knew that in spite of that, I’d been testifying more often at my church about what He’s been doing in my life since I renewed my commitment to Him last year. And hey, wasn’t that enough for now?

    The amazing thing about God though is that, as we read at the beginning of this study, He doesn’t just call to us once. He calls over and over again. In the months that followed, He sent confirmation after confirmation to me in so many amazing ways until I was sure that this challenge was from Him and knew I had no choice but to say yes to Him.

    So this Sunday, I will be preaching a sermon at my church for the first time in my life. I’ve been praying for over a year for loved ones to return to the Lord and I can’t help but wonder if this is part of God’s plan for that. I have begun inviting people to the service and am anticipating that most of them will come. The thought of preaching in front of a large crowd scares me to death, but I know that with God, I can do all things.

    If you are reading this today, please say a prayer for me as I continue to prepare for this Sunday. And please pray also for those who will be in attendance, that they will have ears to hear what God is saying to them and a heart to respond.

    1. Regine says:

      Praying for you! That’s so amazing :-) God will definitely touch people through what you’ll be saying!

      1. Kristi says:

        Thank you so much, Regine! I truly appreciate your prayers!

    2. RondaGale says:

      Prayers for you as God speaks thru you and for those who hear may their hearts be softened and may they respond to His Call.

      1. Kristi says:

        Thank you! I appreciate those prayers so much!

    3. CJ says:

      Kristi – you are going to rock it! All you have to do is be still. Don’t fret, let His words come out of your mouth. I will be praying for you. <3

      1. Kristi says:

        Thank you so much for your encouraging words and prayers! They mean more than you know.

    4. churchmouse says:

      Your obedience to God’s calling, even if with shaking knees, will be rewarded. I always write out Psalm 19;14 at the top of my first page when I have to speak. It gives me confidence that He is the one doing the work – I’m just His willing mouthpiece.

      1. Kristi says:

        Thank you for sharing that! I love that idea!

    5. Lana says:

      Remember God is always by your side and holding your hand!

      1. Kristi says:

        Thank you for the reminder, Lana! You are absolutely right. When anxiety and creep into my mind, I need to remember that God is with me and will give me the words to say.

    6. Missy says:

      Kristi, as encouragement and focus I always come back and root myself in Isaiah 55:11 when I get the privilege to speak… his Word won’t come back empty. Plant your feet firmly on it as you prepare.

      1. Kristi says:

        Thank you, Missy! I actually just discovered that verse last year and its promise has brought me peace over and over again. It is such a powerful reminder of God’s power and sovereignty! I will definitely be meditating on it as I prepare for this Sunday.

  3. Cathylynn says:

    My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. I’m sure you all know it. It sounds like a promise to me! If I am trusting Him, leaning not on myself, and acknowledging Him in all my ways, then I have to believe He is directing my steps. Sometimes I find myself taking a tentative step forward and praying what my husband calls “the 2×4 prayer”, which is basically asking Him to hit me over the head with a 2×4 if I’m not aligned with His will. I wish I could say I have learned this lesson well in my old age, and do it all the time, but I don’t — I have to relearn it often. You ladies inspire me though! I love your tender hearts!

    1. RondaGale says:

      “2×4 prayer ” … so funny and I love it!
      Proverbs 3:5-6 does help give confidence in our walk in obedience to His Will.

  4. Mari says:

    I so wanted to get up really early to do this devotional. But because of my circumstances I was so tired and weary and slept instead. So glad I read this today as I need to courage to do yet another hard thing today. I’m nervous but needs to get done. Your prayers are appreciated.

  5. Noelle Ivie says:

    Love this, “embrace the challenges to which we re called”

    Lord, give me the courage to have bold faith like Jonathan..

  6. Alexis says:

    I am so convicted by this. Thank you so much for your devotional Kate. I am dealing with a situation where I may have to return to what I deem “unsafe”. I love playing it safe too. God doesn’t mean for me to hide or to protect myself. I must trust Him, and know that he is my safety, strength and refuge.

  7. Tochi Heredia says:

    “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.” Oh boy, that’s me.

    Father, remove the obstacles that stop me from trusting in You completely. Give me courage to put myself in a place where I can see You fighting for me. Please, help me to stop seeing the sidelines so attractive and be moved to go to the battlefront. Deepen my faith and my trust in You.

  8. CC says:

    I envy Jonathan’s confidence in chapter 14. He goes forth so boldly and so filled with a firm belief that God is with them and has led them to this opportunity. I, on the other hand, struggle to make decisions every day! As some of you have mentioned in your comments above, I find myself constantly questioning whether He’s calling me to something or whether those are just my own desires. How do I learn discern to confidently move forward in decisions and not doubt (like Jonathan faithfully did) or to wait on the Lord for more direction (like Saul should have done)?

    1. Veronica says:

      I don’t have an answer because I am in the same boat! Finding the line between what we feel ‘called’ to do and our own desires is so trying- I have been in prayer every day looking for discernment and wisdom, but still no answer. I suppose sometimes all we can do is wait. I am praying for His will to be done, for doors to open that He wants, and to tightly close the doors that are not a part of his path.

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