Quarter’s Theme: PORTRAITS OF JEWISH KINGS
Unit 1 – Portraits Of The King Of The United Kingdom (Lessons 1-3)
(SOUL WINNERS CROWN COMPETITION MONTHS)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 32, 61
Devotional Reading: 1 SAM. 2:2-10
Topic For Adults
Topic For Youths
DON’T MISS DIVINE OPPORTUNITIES
Topic For Intermediates
GOD ALWAYS HAS WORTHY REPLACEMENTS
1 SAM. 9:11-21, 25; 10:1-8; 13:1-14;
SAUL: A KING WH
6/3/2016 LESSON 1
SAUL: A KING WHO MISSED HIS CHANCE
Now the LORD said to Samuel, “how long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? (1 Sam. 16:1a) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Saul’s Pre-Kingship Profile
1 Sam. 9:1-10
God harkened to the voice of the Israelites by giving them a king. Saul was chosen to be the first king of Israel. He was the son of Kish, a Benjamite. He was the most handsome and the tallest person in Israel in his days. Saul was an obedient and committed son of his father. He was a caring rancher who would go a long way to look for his father’s missing donkeys. He also cared for the emotions of his father. He believed in God and respected His servant. When all efforts failed, he turned to God through His servant, Samuel, to know the way forward. He was also a listening leader who listened to the counsel of his servant. These are good qualities everyone should have but were these qualities enough to see Saul through? What are the qualities you have at the moment? Are they enough to ensure God’s purpose for your life to come to pass? Can those qualities guarantee your eternal rest? Do these qualities include total and regular obedience to the word of God? If not, you are not secured yet.
Point of Emphasis: If your profile does not include obedience to the word of God, you haven’t started yet.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to make obedience to Your word the primary feature of my life.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5). That was what God told prophet
Jeremiah as He was about to commission him for His work. Just like Prophet Jeremiah, God gives everyone opportunity to be used and to glorify His name. However, this does not come automatically, what each person does with his or her opportunities determines the fulfilment of God’s plan and purpose for him. This week’s lesson reveals God’s choice of King Saul and the steps he took that led to his downfall.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: SAUL WAS CHOSEN TO BE KING (1 SAM. 9:11-21, 25; 10:1)
Saul was a Benjamite, the most handsome and tallest man in Israel. He was a dutiful and committed son who traveled a long journey to search for his father’s donkeys. When all efforts failed, Saul and his servant resorted to seeking God through Prophet Samuel. Sometimes, who you are, what you do and what you have passion for can lead you to God’s divine purpose. Who are you and what are your passions? God had told Samuel a day before, His plan to send the king of Israel and as He promised, Saul came around. This means God was the cause of the missing donkeys. Whatever we are going through may not be accidental; God may be the originator of it. The Bible says “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). When Saul came to the realisation of what was about to happen, he protested because he was from the smallest tribe in Israel. Where you came from, your background and all that relate to you does not matter if God has interest in you. All you need to do is to cooperate with God. We need to emphasise the fact that God can use anyone as long as he or she cooperates with Him. It is only those who make themselves available to be used that will be used of God.
PART 2: OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE (1 SAM. 10:2-8; 13:1-9)
Two major instructions were given to Saul which he flouted. On the day Saul was anointed, Prophet Samuel gave him three signs (1 Sam. 10:2-7) and one instruction (1 Sam. 10:8). Another instruction was given to him in 1 Sam. 15:1-3. All the signs in 1 Sam. 10:1-7 came to pass automatically but for the instructions, they had to be carried out. When God gives instructions, they have to be carried out to the letter. We need to pay maximum attention to and be careful of the details. Many people go to God’s presence without writing materials and expect Him to speak expressly to them. When God speaks to us, we need to note all necessary details.
Saul failed to carry out the two instructions God gave him. Samuel asked him to wait for seven days until he came to him. Though he waited for him for seven days, he didn’t wait for Samuel to come but went ahead to offer the sacrifice which was exclusively meant to be offered by Samuel. He was also asked to utterly destroy everything in Amalek but he spared Agag the king and some of the big, fat animals.
When confronted with his sin, instead of Saul to admit his sin and ask for forgiveness, he began to make excuses. He was always using the people as cover up. It was because of the people he didn’t wait for Samuel to come (1 Sam. 13:11, 12) and it was also because the people took the animals that they didn’t destroy everything in Amalek (1 Sam. 15:15). No matter how good our excuses are, they can never be acceptable before God. Adam gave excuse but God did not accept it.
We need to also note that Saul was not a Levite and was not qualified to make sacrifices unto the Lord. The Lord chose only the Levites for this responsibility (Num. 3:10-12; 1 Chro. 15:2). Irrespective of what we are going through and pressure around us, God must be the centre of all our decisions.
Saul never repented, instead, he begged Samuel to honour him before the people. He didn’t apologise for his wrong deeds. God doesn’t want anyone to perish but repent of their sins. Proverbs 28 verse 13 says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” He didn’t even realise he had sinned. He was busy building monument (1 Sam. 15:12) for himself. Monuments are meant to be for the dead and not for the living.
PART 3: SAUL’S REJECTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES (1 SAM. 13:13, 14; 15:22-29; 16:14-16)
No sinner will go unpunished and everyone who covers his sin shall not prosper. On the two occasions Saul sinned, God pronounced judgment on him. His kingdom would have continued but it was taken from him. God had to replace him. He had to choose a man after his own heart, David. God is looking for a man who will reverence His word forever.
Rejection and replacement were not the only consequences of Saul’s disobedience. Many other consequences were to follow. The Spirit of God departed from Saul the king and a distressing spirit from the Lord tormented him instead. David was sought to constantly play for him to be relieved of the distress.
Because the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, he became a coward. Saul could no longer face the enemy in battle. Goliath terrified Israelite army day and night for forty days and the commander of God’s army could not do anything. It was young David that rescued Israel (1 Sam. 27:1-end). When we go against the will of God, we lack courage to face the devil, our arch enemy. Saul hated David. He was jealous of him. The king of Israel who supposedly controlled the affair of the nation was now jealous and he hated a young boy. He hated him to the point that he tried to kill him on several occasions. He even instructed people to kill him.
That was not the end; eighty five priests were killed in one day just because one of them helped David by giving him food and sword. How did the anointed man of God become a murderer of God’s priests? At this point, Saul was no more in control of himself. His life was working contrary to the plan and will of God and he didn’t realise it.
Saul didn’t stop at this point, instead of going to God to ask for mercy, he preferred to consult a medium in order to speak with the spirit of Samuel. He had to disguise himself and went at night. He consulted the medium he had excommunicated from Israel. This showed that Saul didn’t have any relationships with God from the beginning. It was Samuel who always consulted God on his behalf, so he needed Samuel to speak God’s mind again. That was different from David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Uzziah, etc. who had relationship with God. We need to have and maintain a healthy relationship with God. This we can do by always obeying His instructions.
Last of all, Saul died a shameful and tragic death. He died the same day with his three sons in the hands of the Philistines. He committed suicide after he had been wounded by the enemy (1 Sam. 31:1-6). What a tragic end for a man who was chosen by God to lead His people!
Saul had a good profile which anyone would admire. He was humble but when it came to handling the word of God, he missed it because he didn’t take note of minute details and because pleasing the people was topmost on his mind. In handling the word of God, what is your priority? Pleasing God or pleasing men? As many as seek to please men and self-will end up like Saul. How you handle the word of God and your focus matters in your relationship with Him. Our relationship with God should be valued above every other thing and nothing should severe it.
- Who was Saul?
- Mention the two instructions given by God to Saul.
- Explain how Saul missed his glorious chance.
- What are the dangers of not following God’s instructions to the letter?
- In the light of today’s lesson what is that all-important step that you must take towards God’s word?