BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
King Saul was a privileged man. He was privileged to be the first king of Israel, following the demand for a king by the people. They said they wanted to be like other nations around them, an action that Samuel saw as a rejection of him and God’s rule over them. However, God told him to heed their request but tell them the ways of the king who would rule over them. Nevertheless, the people’s minds were made up; nothing would deter them from satisfying their desire (1Samuel 8:11-20). This was not a surprise to God.
Samuel anointed Saul as the king of Israel. He was a man taller than every Israelite. He appeared to be doing well until he began to make some mistakes, which culminated in his rejection by God, and his eventual suicide, at Mount Gilboa, in the battle with the Philistines (1Samuel 31:4).
God has not assigned us the responsibility to judge Bible characters. You and I, many times, have done worse things than Eve, Adam, Cain, Judas, etc. did. We would have been destroyed, but for the mercy of the Lord. The strength and weaknesses of Bible characters are written in the Bible for us to learn from.
Saul’s life is a case study for those in leadership – spiritual or secular. I want to share with you some of the mistakes King Saul made in leadership, for you to avoid in your leadership position. My prayer is that your life will not confirm the saying of a German philosopher, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” May you learn from Saul’s life and avoid his pitfalls.
1.He was an insecure person. This was a personality defect in him. There is a difference between insecurity and humility. The latter proceeds from the Spirit of God, and the former could result from wrong experiences in life, such as rejection, which has damaged the self esteem of the person. It makes a man not to be sure of himself.
The day Saul was publicly chosen as king he was nowhere to be found. He had gone into hiding. This was despite the earlier private encounter with Samuel without the people’s knowledge when he had anointed him king (1 Samuel 10:1). At the public selection of the king by the tribes of Israel, Saul the son of Kish was chosen from the family of Matri in the tribe of Benjamin, but he had disappeared. Where did they find him eventually? Among the equipment or baggage! (1 Samuel 10:20-23)
Saul was not sure of himself, and this reflected in his leadership. He sees everyone as a threat including those who should be a blessing to him. Are you suffering from insecurity? It will show in the way you relate with people, even your friends and subordinates. You have to face this fact.
One of the things you need to do is to establish yourself in the love of God. God loves you and you don’t have to feel inferior to anybody – whatever they have and whoever they are. Accept yourself the way God has made you and stop going around looking for people’s approval or validation.
Don’t see your subordinates as threats or your competitors. If you do, you will not enjoy the blessing God wants them to be to you. Confess to yourself positive words, words of approval: I am who I am in Christ; I am who God says I am. No matter what others think, I shall become who God says I am. Despite what I am going through now, I will fulfill God’s purpose for my life. Let these confessions influence your actions or behavior.
2. He was a serial promise-breaker. Proverbs 25:14 says, “A person who doesn’t give a promised gift is like clouds and wind that don’t bring rain” (NLT). He broke promise of the reward he had made to anyone who killed Goliath.
In 1 Samuel 17:25, David was told, “Have you heard about the huge reward the king has offered to anyone who kills him? The king will give him one of his daughters for a wife, and his whole family will be exempted from paying taxes!” (NLT) It was unlikely that those who said this made it up because David confirmed it in verses 26-27.
David killed Goliath, and there is no record that Saul fulfilled the promise exempting David’s whole family from tax! It was unlikely he did. Neither did he give him his daughter as wife for killing Goliath. Instead, hoping to get David killed, Saul promised to give him his older daughter, Merab, as wife if he would prove himself to be a real warrior by fighting the LORD’s battles. 1 Samuel 18:19 says when the time came for the wedding, Saul gave Merab in marriage to Adriel, a man from Meholah. He broke his promise again. Men of honour don’t do that.
To marry another daughter of Saul, Michal, David had to fulfill another condition Saul gave. He asked David to pay as bride price one hundred Philistine foreskins, hoping again that David would be killed. Unfortunately, David met his condition and exceeded it – he killed two hundred Philistines and presented their foreskins to Saul. He exceeded his demand and silenced him! He had no option but to allow David marry Michal (1 Samuel 18:20-26).
The Bible also shows that Saul even broke the vow he made to Jonathan not to Kill David (1 Samuel 19:1-7, 9-10). Whereas David had opportunity twice to kill Saul, he didn’t because he had regard for the anointed of the LORD (1 Samuel 24, 26).
Saul was a serial promise-breaker. Saul broke the peace treaty that Joshua had made with the Gibeonites many years before his reign (Joshua 9:3-14). Consequently, Saul brought a three-year famine upon Israel in the days of David because he had killed the Gibeonites in violation of the covenant with them (2 Samuel 21:1).
As atonement for Israelites’ sin, and for the Gibeonites to bless the Israelites, the Gibeonites, in answer to David’s question, demanded and were given seven men of the descendants of Saul to be hanged before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul (verse 6). David granted their request for the famine to end but spared Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, because of the LORD’s oath between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son
Don’t be a promise-breaker. Make only promises you will keep. “Better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NKJV).
3. He took credit for another person’s success. He was not humble enough to give credit to the person who deserved it. Jonathan attacked and defeated the garrison of Philistines at Geba but Saul took credit for it. “And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, ‘Let the Hebrews hear!’ Now all Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel had also become an abomination to the Philistines. And the people were called together to Saul at Gilgal” (1 Samuel 13:3-4 NKJV).
By extension, a victory by his son or his subject was a victory by him, and, therefore,could be excused. Nevertheless, it could also be a manifestation of character flaw. Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” There was probably no mention of the fact that Jonathan performed the feat. The impression given to the Israelites must have been that Saul defeated the Philistines; hence, all Israel said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines. If they knew it was Jonathan, all Israel could have said so, just as the women sang in praises of David when he killed Goliath (1Samuel 18:6-7). Nevertheless, Saul’s soldiers later credited Jonathan with the victory for Israel.“But the people said to Saul, ‘Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.’ So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die” (1 Samuel 14:45 NKJV).
A good leader does not appropriate to himself the credit for the work done or the feat performed by his subordinates. If he does that, he will not only lose their respect, he may lose them, as they will feel that he would not reward their potentials correctly. Even if they remain under him, they will be demotivated and will not give their best because they know their leader will take the credit for any work done.
As a leader, even if you are the one that receives the praise for the collective performance of your team, be humble and magnanimous enough to share the glory with the team, recognize the contribution of team-members and praise them, privately and publicly, for both individual and collective performance. Don’t steal the credit due to your subordinates. Positive reinforcement leads to greater performance. Giving credit to the person it is due does not reduce you; it does not confuse anyone who is the leader.
4. He intruded into the office of a priest and offered sacrifice to the Lord thereby violating God’s word. Saul trespassed into the holy office of a priest. He thought his success as king until that time qualified him to offer sacrifice. “As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him’” (1 Samuel 13:7-10 NKJV).
God did not take this kindly because he had desecrated the holy thing of God; he did not sanctify God before the people. That was the first foolish action of Saul (verse 13) that signaled the beginning of the end of his reign.
If you will last in your office, you must know your jurisdiction and not overstep your bounds. Many like Saul have lost their positions because they presumed that the fact that God has given them success in one area gives them the licence to venture into other areas meant for others. Know what is given you and what is given others.
King Uzziah, a man marvelously helped by God was another king that intruded into the holy office of priesthood despite the efforts of the priests to discourage him (2Chronicles 26:16-21). His success had entered into his head forgetting that his success was because God marvelously helped him. Leprosy broke out on him right there in the temple and he was taken out. He could no longer reign as king and while still alive his son reigned in his place. He died with his leprosy.
5. Saul demonstrated lack of patience. Patience is a virtue that any leader must possess in sufficient proportion in his life. You cannot have too much of patience! We see the impatience of Saul in the way he offered sacrifice to God just because Samuel came late. It was true that Samuel came late but he should not have acted hastily. A little patience would have preserved him on the throne. He failed the test of patience. As soon as he finished the sacrifice, Samuel came (1 Samuel 13:7-10). Do not be under pressure to do what you are forbidden from doing just because the person charged with the responsibility is not around. Are you empowered to act? By whose authority are you doing what you’re doing?
6. He lacked faith in God. Saul manifested this at various times. If he had faith in God, he would not have been moved by his men scattering and the Philistines ready for battle with a mighty army of three thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and as many warriors as the grains of sand along the seashore (1 Samuel 13:5-12).
Similarly, if he had faith in God, he would not have been staying under the pomegranate tree, in Migron, with an army in a terribly bad shape with no sword or spear (1 Samuel 14:1-3). While he failed to provide the required leadership, Jonathan and his amour bearer, in a rare demonstration of gallantry, went to the camp of the Philistines. Jonathan said nothing hindered God from saving either by many or by few (verse 6). Saul, as the king of Israel, should have taken up the challenge of leading the people to that war instead of folding arms. He had no covenant mentality like David when he confronted and killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17:25-54).
7. Saul neglected the welfare of his army. I cannot find any explanation why a Commander-in-chief would put his soldiers under an oath not to eat until he had avenged all his enemies! (1 Samuel 14:24-30) These enemies were the Philistines he was not bold to confront until Jonathan provided a courageous and credible leadership that routed them.
Saul made the people sin. Because they were hungry, they ate meat with blood contrary to God’s law (1 Samuel 14:31-35; Leviticus 7:26-27). When he built an altar to the Lord and asked Him if he should pursue the Philistines, He didn’t answer him. He knew something was wrong. And when he discovered it was his own son Jonathan who had violated his fasting oath though ignorantly, he wanted to kill him. However, the people opposed him because he was responsible for the victory that day (1Samuel 14:39-45). Because of this foolish oath, Israel could not follow the Philistines and increase their victory because the soldiers were not pleased with Saul.
Jonathan, speaking on his father’s vow when the soldiers told him, after eating the honey ignorantly before Saul found out, said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?” (1 Samuel 14:29-30 NKJV)
A spiritual or secular leader must be concerned about the welfare of the people he is leading. Do not be concerned only about achieving the goals you have set for them. Your greatest resources are your people – your associate leaders, your staff, your church members, etc. If you do not maintain balance, your commitment to the vision may make you appear callous and unconcerned about the people. If the only time you show interest in the people is only when it concerns your vision – ministry vision, church vision, business vision, etc., that is not right. What you are doing is portraying yourself as using them (exploiting them). Jesus, as busy as he was, followed Peter to his house and healed the mother-in-law of fever and she ministered to them (Matthew 8:14-17). There is no record that she was a disciple of Jesus prior to that time or a member of his ministry. However, the problem was enough to disturb Peter’s service in Jesus’ ministry and Jesus dealt with it.
Leaders must be humane. Do not try to dress your lack of concern for your leaders, staff, church members, followers, etc. in a spiritual garment by saying for instance their reward is in heaven. That is true but there is earthly reward you must give them! Fulfill your responsibility towards them. “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life’” (Mark 10:28-30 NKJV). This was what Jesus told the disciples about their reward. He spoke about both heavenly and the earthly reward.
In Mark 6:34-44, Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-14, Jesus was so concerned about the welfare of the people who had listened to his sermon for a long time that he told his disciples to give them something to eat. He did not send them away hungry. He fed them miraculously; they ate as much as they wanted. There were five thousand men among them.
A similar thing happened in Mark 8:1-8 and Matthew 15:32-38 where, out of compassion for the multitude who had continued with him three days without eating, he miraculously fed them rather than allow them to go to their houses hungry. There were four thousand men among them.
Be concerned about the welfare of your people and they will give you the best service. I know some will abuse it, but many others will appreciate it.
8. Throughout his reign, Saul had an overwhelming fear of the Philistines and he died in their hands. The Philistines were the greatest enemy of the nation of Israel at that time but they were not invincible. David had defeated them so also Jonathan. Why was Saul afraid of them even after David had helped him to kill their foremost champion, Goliath?
If you do not deal with your fear, it will deal with you! Job said, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25 NKJV). That is usually the case. Deal with your fear; do not pretend it is not there. Do not spiritualize, euphemize or avoid it.
In 1Samuel 13: 5, Saul, as we have seen, went into the error of offering sacrifice inappropriately because of the fear of the Philistines (verses 7-12). In addition, in 1 Samuel 17, he was afraid of the Philistines and he could not take up Goliath’s challenge until David did.
When the battle where he and his three sons died came up, he manifested this same phobia for the Philistines as usual. “When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets” (1 Samuel 28:4-6 NKJV). He feared death and he died in the hands of the Philistines.
Handle your fears with the Word of God. The fear you do not deal with will keep growing! 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).
9. Saul preferred sacrifice to obedience to God. We see this in 1 Samuel 15:20-22 when he preferred sacrifice to obeying God’s Word that he should destroy the Amalekites. He said the troops brought the best of the sheep and cattle and plunder from Amalek to sacrifice to the LORD in Gilgal (verse 21).
Even when Samuel announced that the kingdom had been taken away from him, he was still more interested in sacrifice. He continued to plead with Samuel to forgive his sin and go with him to worship the LORD (verses 25, 30) until Samuel agreed. Saul preferred worshipping God to obeying Him!
It was also because of sacrifice that he couldn’t wait for Samuel but chose to sacrifice the burnt offering himself (1 Samuel 13:8-10). What do you prefer to do instead of obeying God’s instruction? This will destroy you if you don’t repent. “But Samuel replied, ‘What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams’” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT).
Nevertheless, even after the Saul’s unlawful sacrifice and Samuel’s verdict that his kingdom would not continue (1 Samuel 13:14), everything appeared to be going well. 1 Samuel 14:47-48 records the military victories during his reign: “So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he harassed them. And he gathered an army and attacked the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them” (NKJV). The only battle he lost was the one in which he died with his three sons.
Success could sometimes be deceptive. Everyone must be careful about this. Result is not a proof of divine approval. Don’t be deluded or blinded by result.
Saul could have wondered what had changed negatively in the kingdom since Samuel announced that his kingdom would not endure after offering unlawful sacrifice. That is how people get deceived when they don’t see immediately the result of divine judgment. Before God’s judgment, comes His warning. Moreover, there is usually a time lag between when the judgment is pronounced and when its effect becomes manifest. Repentance remains the only way to avert God’s judgment. God does not want the death of sinners but wants every sinner to come to repentance (Ezekiel 33:11).
10. Saul did not humble himself before the LORD in appreciation of the gravity and consequences of his violation of God’s Word. On the two occasions that he flagrantly disobeyed the LORD, he never asked for His forgiveness.
In the second instance, he even reduced it to a personal issue between himself and Samuel and begged Samuel to forgive him. “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD” (1 Samuel 15:24-25 NKJV). He asked for Samuel’s pardon, but what of the LORD’s forgiveness.
His eagerness to worship the LORD when he had not confessed his sin and received the LORD’s forgiveness showed him as a man who saw no need for genuine repentance. Verses 30-31 say, “Then he said, ‘I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.’ So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD” (NKJV). Did you see genuine repentance in what Saul said? He was more interested in looking good before men rather than before God.
Initially he lied to Samuel that he had obeyed the LORD. “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD,” Saul said (1 Samuel 15:13). It was after Samuel asked him about the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen he was hearing (verse 14) that he admitted that he had not obeyed God to the letter. He didn’t admit his sin unlike David when Prophet Nathan confronted him with his sin with regard to Bathsheba and Uriah. David said he had sinned before the LORD and Prophet Nathan immediately said the LORD also had put away his sin (2 Samuel 12:13). That was genuine repentance – no lie. In Saul’s case because there was no genuine repentance – he only wanted to worship the LORD – Samuel didn’t say the LORD had forgiven him.
In 1 Kings 21:27-29, after Ahab had heard the judgment of God over him and his house, the Bible says he tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his body, fasted, lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning, which touched the heart of God and he exempted him from the promised disaster. “And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house’” (verses 28-29 NKJV).
The Bible says whoever covers his sin shall not prosper but whoever confesses and forsakes his sin shall obtain mercy (Proverbs 28:13). If you have covered your sin before as a child of God, you will notice that you lost your peace and joy but when you confessed it, your joy was restored though each time you remember the incident you feel bad. Godly sorrow works repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Do not trivialize sin. Don’t cover up your sin. Covering your sin is one sure way to give the devil an inroad into your life and torment you with guilt and loss of peace and joy. Confess and put the devil to shame!
11. He was an envious person. Saul was envious of his subject, David who saved him from a national embarrassment. He was envious of his success which he should have seen as his own success as he did about Jonathan’s military success in 1 Samuel 13:3-4. See how he reacted to David’s success in 1 Samuel 18:6-9: “Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.’ Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ So Saul eyed David from that day forward” (NKJV). Saul did not like the way the women sang the praises of David above him after he killed Goliath. Envy launched him on the path of murder (1 Samuel 18:10 -11, 17-29; 19:1-2, 9-24; 20:30-33).
The Bible warns us against envy and jealousy. Don’t be jealous or envious of anyone. Proverbs 14:30b says jealousy is like cancer in the bones. According to James 3:16, “Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil” (NCV). Don’t be jealous of anyone except the jealousy of caring about others like Paul said he was he was “jealous for” the Corinthians. “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2 NKJV). This is positive jealousy!
How do you feel when others, and not you, are praised? How do you feel when somebody is promoted, and not you? What is usually your reaction to good news about another person? If your answers are negative, then you must deal with envy in your life. Start showing love to the person you are envious of, start speaking well of him, start praising him privately and publicly, support efforts to celebrate him, etc.
12. He liked shifting responsibilities to others. Saul liked making excuses, rather than accepting responsibility as a leader and admitting his sin at first instance. For offering the sacrifice before Samuel came, Saul made an excuse for that – he saw the people were scattered from him (1 Samuel 13:11).
For not completely obeying the LORD’s command to destroy the Amalekites, he also made an excuse – the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD (1 Samuel 15:15). Yet God did not communicate His commands to the people but to Saul. He was the one given the assignment and he was the one accountable. He cannot transfer the responsibility assigned to him and also transfer the associated accountability.
In fact, while begging Samuel to forgive him and return with him that he might to worship the LORD, he claimed that he transgressed the LORD’s command and Samuel’s words because he feared the people (1 Samuel 15:24). A good leader will accept responsibility for his subordinates’ failure and apologize, not to try to exonerate and extricate himself. This is useless.
Avoid blame game. God didn’t pardon Adam and Eve for their blame game (Genesis 3:9-13). He pronounced judgment on them for their sin. A sin is a sin; don’t make any alibi or excuse for it.
13. Saul had no fellowship with God. The Bible records in 1 Samuel 14:35 that he built his first altar to the LORD. That was after many years of being on the throne. “And Saul built an altar to the LORD, the first one he had ever built. Then Saul said, ‘Let’s chase the Philistines all night and destroy every last one of them.’ His men replied, ‘We’ll do whatever you think is best.’ But the priest said, ‘Let’s ask God first’” (1 Samuel 14:35–36 NLT).
Prior to this time, he never built an altar to the Lord. You could see in that scripture that though he built an altar to the Lord, he didn’t think of consulting God before going to chase the Philistines. It was the priest that said they should consult God. Thank God the priest did because when Saul consulted God He didn’t answer. It was then he suspected that something was wrong. He found out that Jonathan had sinned – he ignorantly violated the oath that the soldiers should not eat until he had avenged all his enemies (1 Samuel 14:24-30).
Saul didn’t have a personal relationship with God. He never said, “The Lord my God.” In 1 Samuel 15:30b, he said to Samuel, “The Lord your God” (NKJV). If you compare him to David, a man after God’s heart, you will see the difference. David usually enquired of the LORD. Saul consulted God only as a last resort.
You are as powerful as the quality of your fellowship with God. You are as strong as your closet life. A leader must spend quality time with God and must lead people from the presence of God. Daily fellowship with God will help a leader not to go astray. It puts him in a place where God can talk to him. Do not get carried away by your exploits that you think you do not need God. Your need of God will soon become very clear but by then you might have been in deep waters.
14. Saul manifested extreme desperation to sustain his throne in spite of God’s word that his kingdom would no longer continue. He pursued an impossible task of keeping alive what God had already killed! (1 Samuel 13:13-14; 20:30-32; 23:7-14, 24-29; 24:1-2; 26:1-2)
In his desperation to kill David, his former staff, he chased him from one cave to the other; and, from one city to the other, after his attempts to kill him with a spear failed twice. He wanted to eliminate a boy who had saved him and the entire nation from national disgrace at the hands of Goliath.
Saul, in his bid to hold on to power, got 85 priests and the entire city of Nob, (city of priests) killed by the sword for helping David, for not telling him about David’s escape. Saul committed this unprecedented evil to sustain his kingdom (1 Samuel 22:7-19). Even Saul’s guards were God-fearing unlike him. They refused to carry out his order to kill the priests. However, Doeg the Edomite, at the command of Saul, killed the priests. He went to Nob, the city of the priests, and killed the priests’ families — men and women, children and babies, and, all the cattle, donkeys, and sheep (1 Samuel 22:17-19).
Are you a leader carrying out wickedness in order to sustain your empire? Have you been acting in the flesh asking your close associates to do what is evil in order to hold on to power? These body guards of Saul refused to do evil, just as the midwives in Egypt refused to kill the male children born by the Jewish women (Exodus 1:17). Do not carry out the evil act, instructed by the leader you are serving. In addition, as a leader, do not lead the people under you to do evil. Do not try to cover up; reconcile with your God. Your maneuvering and scheming cannot keep alive what God has already killed!
As a further manifestation of Saul’s desperation, he began to play the tribal card. He used tribal sentiment to gain the loyalty of his servants who were from his tribe, the tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 22:6-8). He poisoned the mind of the Benjamites against the tribe of Judah, David’s tribe.
Those who are drowning use all kinds of sentiments to retain their positions. They use divide and rule tactics, lie, use fear to sustain people’s loyalty, run down or disparage those they consider as threats, try to cut off from others those they are afraid they would lose if they know the truth, etc. Instead of seeing himself as a national leader, Saul began to see himself as a tribal leader. He was a tribal chauvinist.
Compare what he did, in the scripture I have just cited, to what the Bible says about David, in 1 Chronicles 12:1-2, 16. Despite the fact that Saul, a Benjamite, wanted to kill him, he took, as his soldiers, some who were Benjamites – Saul’s brethren. In verse 16, both the children of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to be with David. That was a national leader not a tribal leader. After Saul’s death, he first reigned over Judah before he eventually reigned over the entire nation of Israel.
15. He consulted a witch contrary to God’s word. Deuteronomy 18:9-14 forbids witchcraft and other forms of occult practices. 1 Samuel 28:3 says that Saul had banned all mediums and psychics from the land of Israel but when God would not talk to him either by any divine means of communication, he disguised and went to consult the witch of Endor to find out about the war with the Philistines where he eventually died (verses 4-25).
The point is how God could have spoken to Saul when he had cultivated the habit of disobeying Him. If you want to enjoy divine communication, obey both the written Word of God and what the Spirit of God is speaking to you. Cultivate the discipline of hearing, recognizing, and obeying the voice of God. One day, you will need to know the will of God seriously. If you do not know how to hear the voice of God, when you are in serious need of it, you may be at the mercy of others. Unfortunately, they might not be sure themselves; but are just bold to tell you something, claiming that is what God is saying. They may mislead you. In the alternative, in dare need of the voice of God; you may resort to what Saul did, patronizing the fortunetellers, contrary to the Word of God. That would amount to opening your life to demonic operations.
Conclusion: As I said earlier, God has not set us up as judges over Bible characters; He wants us to learn from them. Many of them did not have examples to learn from as you and I have today. If you will be honest with yourself, you have made some of the mistakes highlighted in this piece. God is a merciful God and He does not want you to be destroyed like Saul. He lost his throne and died with his three sons in one day, and in one battle, as one who had not been anointed with oil (2 Samuel 1:21). Great shall be your peace if you learn from the mistakes of Saul. You are blessed in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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