Saul

Open Your Bible

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

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.

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25 thoughts on "Saul"

  1. Gretchen Odonnell says:

    Such great insights into Saul. Thank you.

  2. Andrea Martin says:

    This devotional was spot on for me right now. The Lord speaks!! I will listen!

  3. 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.

  4. Monica Davis says:

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Mary King says:

    Excellent study.

  10. Pam White says:

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

  11. Tonia says:

    Praise God for this awesome community. Today’s reading is really enlightening. it’s good to know that no matter what mistakes we made in the past God will never leave us or forsake us. I have so much similarities with Saul – fear and needing the approval of others, but Jesus has restored and saved me completely, I am becoming a better woman everyday in Jesus name Amen.

  12. NanaK says:

    Claire, this is so on point for me right now too! Full of insecurities(check), seeking the approval of others when GOD has called me(check)…Half-obedience–relying on man instead of GOD(check)…

    But GOD….
    Has chosen me! He will never desert me!
    Thank you Lord for choosing me–May I hold these precious truths in my heart as I seek to serve you this (and every) day.

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:

      Amen!!

  13. Molly Bronson says:

    WOW! Talk about a hard hitting read first thing on a Monday morning. The honesty in this devotional forced me to honestly compare myself to Saul and like the author, I found too many similarities. Thank you for this and the opportunity to lay my fear down at the Savior’s feet.

  14. ERB says:

    I absolutely LOVED this reading!!! It called me out on so many things!! Thank you Claire for being faithful in writing it!! May none of us ever hide or doubt the strength, mightiness and faithfulness of God again!! Let us follow after Hi with our WHOLE heart!!!

  15. Churchmouse says:

    I’ve got some sympathy for Saul. He did not seek the spotlight. He didn’t seek to be king. There had never been one before and Saul knew the job would foment jealousy and criticism. Yet Saul was chosen and anointed. Samuel was specific on what he was to do next, where Saul was to go, who he would encounter. The details Samuel provides are astounding and as they each came to pass, surely Saul was encouraged that God was behind the choosing of him as king. Why, he was even able to prophesy! The day of the public anointing comes and Saul doesn’t rush out to meet Samuel. He holds back. Whether he was deliberately hiding or he was simply out of their immediate view (hidden amongst the supplies/baggage and not readily seen), Saul didn’t make himself known. Yet Samuel draws him out, anoints him, and sure enough, the criticism begins (1 Samuel 10:27). Later Saul and his son Jonathan decide to take on the Philistines. The Philistines are a formidable foe. Samuel as high priest tells Saul that he will come and offer a sacrifice before the battle begins. Saul waited the seven days but it is a hard wait as his troops are dwindling from desertion. This man who didn’t ask to be king is now about to go into battle against a fierce enemy with fewer and fewer men and Samuel is no where to be found. Saul takes matters into his own hands. He has forgotten his role. He is king. He is not the high priest. Samuel comes around the bend and he is not happy. Saul’s action and exaggeration about it (“I forced myself”) sets the stage for the beginning of the end of his reign. A man after God’s own heart will be the next king.

    What does this tell me?

    God calls who He will. Even me.

    My calling may well bring feelings of inadequacy. And criticism.

    I would be wise to make note of the sure signs of God’s leading. They will be a source of encouragement to me.

    I best wait on God’s timing, hard as that may be.

    I need to pray that I know the boundaries of my calling, the limitations. I have a role to fill and I’m to respect the roles of others.
    God has placed them in my path for His good reason.

    In all things I’m to be obedient to the Lord. When I fail, confess.

    My calling may be for a season. May it be a season of faithful service that glorifies the One Who called.

    1. Melissa Graves says:

      Thank you Claire, for sharing your insights. As i told my children when they were young, incomplete obedience is disobedience. Ouch. Once again, I’m hit right between the eyes, not only with the truth of the scripture and your summary of it, but with my very own words! And Churchmouse, thank you for your insights as well. All reminders to stay close to Jesus, not getting ahead or lagging behind, so as to be aware of where He is leading me. Have a blessed day, ladies

    2. Cindi H says:

      Churchmouse I always look for your reply first! You are blessed with wisdom and insight and always present in a compelling and winsome way. Thank you for taking the time to reply each day. You are a blessing to me.

    3. Natasha R says:

      Hi Churchmouse, I was reflecting on what today’s devotional means to me before heading to the comments, and I struggled a bit. Thank God for your insights, which totally hit the spot!

    4. Emily W says:

      So good, Churchmouse! I read the last few sentences to myself several times because they are full of wisdom and truth and exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you for being so in tune with the Holy Spirit and fully embracing your role on this platform❤️

    5. Anne Messer says:

      ❤️

    6. Kacey Lake says:

      Every day I eagerly open up the SRT app to read God’s word. Then I swipe over to absorb the reflections of the amazing SRT writers. And then I swipe over one more time to see what wisdom and application Churchmouse shares about the passage. Thank you for your consistency and your role in this body of women. What you wrote here helps point out to me the continual pointing back to being “just” mom for me and seeking Him as the purpose of my day. My eyes wander elsewhere, my mind jumps from thing to thing and the world around me continues to encourage me to be more- but He is whispering and He is good. And I get to daily realign and be faithful and patient. Thank you for affirming that call.

  16. Kate Wells says:

    Holy smokes Claire, that is the most raw and honest thing I have heard in a real long time! And I can relate in so many ways. Saul shrouded his lack of confidence in half obedience to the Lord. Yeah, gut punch. I don’t know about anyone else but I just got called out by the Holy Spirit. Thank God for his mercy and grace because as much as I want my heart to be right with God i just can’t seem to get out of my own way. Praise Jesus for his sacrifice for me and the rest of us, as we are, knowing what he’s gotten himself into and taking us under his wing and into his presence anyway. Praise be to God!

  17. Kristen says:

    I just wanted to say that I really like this study! I usually don’t read the Grace Day Posts or the Weekly Truths all the time, but I just went back and read some comments too. It’s worth going back for’

  18. Kristen says:

    Thank You, God for choosing us. Thank You, Jesus for Your love and sacrifice to save a wretch like me. I’m reminded in this teaching and in so many other teachings that You are always with me. In the book, None Like Him, I’m reminded of one of Your characteristics. You are omnipresent! You never leave or forsake us. You are near, and I can call on You for help! Amazing! Please help us that need to really grasp this truth, get it and find peace and comfort in that knowledge. Amen