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Seeds of the Kingdom

Lessons from King Saul

by Bernard Kariuki

7 September 2017

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Then Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.
1 Samuel 15:24, NIV

Could it be Saul’s fear of rejection by men which led to his disobedience towards God? Did he yearn to please men more than God, due to his low esteem? God knew how inferior Saul thought he was, ‘Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The LORD has anointed you king of Israel (1 Samuel 15:17).

After God rejected Saul, Saul really begged Samuel not to abandon him, but to accompany him back to the elders and the people. Maybe he didn’t want to be embarrassed or feel ashamed if the people saw him without Samuel. It seems he was too people-orientated, not God-orientated.

Are we at a crossroads, torn between pleasing God or men, being rejected by God or men, being approved of by God or men? Do we care more about what men think of us than God?

The circumstances that led to Saul being a king were that the people had rejected God as their king, and now we’re seeing Saul disobeying God because he feared the same people who’d rejected God. He gave in to them, which led to God rejecting him. Being with some people will lead us into being rejected by God, and we should stay away from them.

Saul’s disobedience to the invisible God in heaven, whom he couldn’t see, had a negative impact on his physical and spiritual life here on earth. Only Samuel mourned for him when God rejected him, the people he feared weren’t there praying or comforting him. He suffered the rejection of God all by himself.

We might tend to lean more on men, because they’re physically with us. God hasn’t appeared to us physically, but rejection by Him will have a physical impact on us, which all will see. King Nebuchadnezzar lived like an animal for seven years when God rejected him.

The Lord is the lifter of our heads, not men, Saul viewed himself as being in the smallest tribe of Israel, and that his clan was the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin. But we read in 1 Samuel 10:6, ‘the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophecy with them; and you will be changed into a different person’.

We need to walk in the truth the Lord has deposited in us, not in our circumstances. Saul never even mentioned to his uncle that he’d been anointed as king. Even when Samuel summoned the people to present Saul to them, Saul didn’t show up, as he was hiding himself in the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22).

In 1 Samuel 10:27, we read, ‘But certain worthless men said, "How can this one deliver us?" And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent’. This scripture might indicate that Saul believed the words of these worthless men more than God’s. It could be that, from that moment on, Saul lived in the fear of men, suffering silently, and trying to win their approval of his kingship. But we haven’t got to prove anything to men.

It’s through God we can be all we were created to be, not through men. We need people in our lives who’ll encourage us, and see us through the eyes of our maker, people like Samuel.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for You’re the one who’s equipped me, and not people. Forgive me when I’ve made decisions based on my need to please people, or in fear of them. Lord, help me to have a holy fear of You, and see myself through Your eyes. Help me to stand strong in obedience to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Bernard Kariuki is from Kenya, and married to Yulia from Russia. They met in Ellel Ministries and served together for many years at both Ellel Scotland and Ellel Grange. Bernard has the desire to share the Word of God with young people, for he desires to see young people walking in holy fear of the Lord.


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