Day 36

Saul



1 Samuel 10:1-27, 1 Samuel 13:1-14, Numbers 18:7

BY Claire Gibson

For me, reading through 1 Samuel is like learning Israel’s history for the very first time. I’ve been so fascinated by this story because Saul seems so well-intentioned, at least based on outward appearance. But when I look a little closer, I realize that Saul was a man of great fear, one who was constantly seeking the approval of other people. What’s more, Saul shrouded his insecurity in half-obedience to the Lord.

Ugh. Knife in the gut.

I could so easily replace Saul’s name with my own in both of the sentences above. I am a woman of great fear. I hide all of my insecurity by pretending I’m following the Lord, when really, I’m looking for other people’s approval.

In today’s reading, Saul’s habit of half-obedience is on full display—twice. In Chapter 10, the prophet Samuel is surrounded by crowds, and the people are looking around, trying to find Saul to put a crown on his head and officially make him their king. Saul already knows he’s been chosen, but he’s so very fearful of the job that he literally goes and hides himself in a big pile of baggage (1 Samuel 10:22).

The metaphor is too good to pass up. Hiding in baggage? Yep, I totally do that too. And I think I do it for two paradoxical reasons. First, I hide because I’m afraid; I’d much rather be hiding in the shadows than be up front where if I fall or make a mistake, people will see. The baggage—my past mistakes, what other people have said about me, the lies I believe about myself—allows me to keep a safe distance from any kind of leadership.

I also hide because I want to be important enough to be found. Scripture tells us that after Saul hid himself, the people ran and brought him out, shouting, “Long live the king!” (v.24). That must have felt nice. He was so important, that even though he was hiding, the people wouldn’t let him hide for long. They came and found him and put him in the spotlight. Maybe that’s what Saul really wanted: to feel chosen by the people. Perhaps being anointed by God wasn’t enough, because he wanted the seal of approval from the people more.

In Chapter 13, Saul commits a sin fatal to his kingship when he offers burnt offerings on the altar only entrusted to Samuel (vv.1–14). His action is one of half-obedience. He was told to wait, and he did wait—but only for so long. He knew that there would be sacrifices, and so he took those sacrifices into his own hands. He wanted to prove to the men around him that he was doing something. He was afraid of being deserted, not by God, but by his soldiers. Once again, his obedience to God was only a farce to hide his reliance upon others. Saul feared man—not God.

But here’s the thing: God had already chosen Saul, and God has already chosen us (1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 1:4). We do not need to hide. And we do not need to be found, because we will never be deserted by Him. Even if everyone else falls away, even when we fail, God will never desert us.

Post Comments (23)

23 thoughts on "Saul"

  1. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would focus on the Lord’s approval, and not other peoples’. I also want my view point of myself to be driven by how God sees me, not how others see me. I want to step out in the courage and confidence because God has called me.

  2. Monica Davis says:

    Man of the day: Saul! Don’t hide in the stuff. God already chose you for an assignment

  3. Janice says:

    Wow! what a fantastic devotional. Claire describes me exactly. I feel such a fraud in my faith and worry about what others think of me. That little voice that tells me, “these people are better than you, they’re real believers”. I know it’s the voice of Satan constantly taunting me, trying to get me to give up and walk away, but His Spirit in me is stronger and keeps me coming back. Praise you Lord and thank you SRT team for your wonderful teachings.

  4. Natasha R says:

    I had a little giggle reading about how it was God who pointed out where Saul was hiding! I would have been SO embarrassed. But yeah, I do the same sometimes. I avoid my responsibilities and try to run away from my calling, because God’s plan can be so daunting. But He calls me out and makes me step up. And when I’m going about his calling and not getting the results I expect, I get impatient and try to force or rush things and take matters into my own hands. My biggest takeaway from this devotional is to TRUST and OBEY God. That’s pretty much my only job in life, nothing more, nothing less.

  5. Angie says:

    Baggage can come in all shapes and sizes. I remember years ago one of the chapters in a book by Max Lucado. In the analogy we all carry a bag over our shoulder. Through the years things happen, placing small pebbles in the bag, but still we are able to carry them. Throughout our lives the stones range in size from large to small. We continue to carry the burden and weight of them upon our shoulders, building through the years and wearing on us daily. Some of the stones we place in the bag, others we allow other people to place inside. The stones are different for different people, but they are burdens just the same. The thing is, we were never meant to carry the stones. Jesus tells us to come to him if we are burdened and have heavy weights upon us, to take His yoke upon us and our burden will be light. Jesus takes the rocks, pebbles, and boulders out of our bag and crushes them beneath the weight of His love. The burden is no longer ours to carry. But, we have to be willing to take them out of the bag. Saul hid among the baggage, carrying the weight of his own stones of fear, insecurity, and need for approval. It seems like he felt like he had to carry the weight of at least some of the stones in his bag. I don’t think we are supposed to pick and choose, I think we may lay our all on the altar. No weight is too big for our God.

  6. Mari V says:

    OUCH!!! That’s all I can say right now. But so grateful how Claire ended this devotion: Even if everyone else falls the way. Even when we fail. God will never desert us.

  7. Mary King says:

    Excellent study.

  8. Pam White says:

    Great way to start the week! We do not need to hide. God chose us!

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