Looks like King Saul is in a bit of trouble with God – and with Samuel. There are lots of juicy little tidbits telling us why God is so angry with Saul, and I’ll be honest, most of them, I am just noticing for the first time even after having already read this chapter. I’ve always had kind of a tough time understanding why God would appoint Saul king and then lose hope in him, but this chapter (and a little nudging from the Holy Spirit) actually explains very well why God was finished placing his hope in Saul. I guess we could say that Saul got a little cocky, and God didn’t appreciate it at all. I underlined a few lines that describe Saul’s attitude:
Verse 9 says that Saul and his men did “everything … that appealed to them.” They already had a very clear understanding that they were supposed to destroy everyone and everything, but Saul justified his actions by saying they were going to use the animals as sacrifices. Samuel didn’t believe a word of it.
Verse 12 says Saul set up a monument ”to himself” in Carmel. Now, we all know this is a big no-no. I don’t feel the need to elaborate.
In verse 25, Saul asks Samuel to forgive his sin. I think Saul kind of forgot who he was dealing with here. Samuel was great, yeah, but he was no official forgiver of sins. That’s God’s job.
All of these things and more led up to the conclusion of this chapter, which left Samuel having to murder King Agag himself, and with that act, Samuel separated himself from Saul permanently. I think I would have too. Poor Samuel. I was wrestling with his emotions while reading the end of this chapter. I’m sure he was a little bitter, for he had to carry out a deed that probably left him feeling a thousand kinda ways, because of a king who was a controversy from the get-go. Samuel was no killer, so carrying out the act of murder probably left more emotional scars than we can imagine. The last paragraph even says that after that, Samuel mourned constantly for Saul. I hope Samuel’s last years weren’t full or torment and anger, but it looks as though he may have suffered the consequences in an effort to make up for Saul’s disobedience.
Writing prompt: the end
Have you ever been told that you’re finished before you were ready to be finished? Write about a time you’ve felt cut short of opportunity. Pay particular attention to your own actions and how they may have affected the eventual outcome.