Excuses, Excuses!

Well, I had a slumber party last night at a friend’s house and missed the opportunity to spread 1 Samuel 13 before the Lord. So we’ll do that this morning!

This is the first time we read of that brave, sensitive, amiable man, Saul’s son, named Jonathan.

Not surprisingly, he is introduced taking the initiative to protect the Israelites from their enemy the Philistines. He could clearly see that there was something more for the children of God than the peace of being a subjected people under their enemies.

He was certainly a can-do kind of guy, not spending much of his time in corporate meetings discussing the need or the possible solutions, but just getting out there and doing it! He’s in the same camp as Biblical Deborah…definitely not a procrastinator.

And what a bee’s nest Jonathan did stir! As soon as he starts trying to break from the bondage of life, everyone get’s in a cafuffle and makes things harder for him and the Israelites than they were before. They end up in caves, rocks, holes and pits. (that’s a cost to consider if you plan on breaking from harmful habits and old chains)

Verse four is a little disconcerting:

All Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines.

There’s Saul taking credit from his son. Insecurity is starting to seep into this man’s life.

I’m so prone to this sin, of taking credit for things I had no part of it, that I’ve kind of reacted to the other side of refusing credit for even things that I may be a part of. I think if I have to error on one side or the other, I’ll stay right where I am.

Interesting isn’t it, where this simple little lie (not correcting the rumor that it wasn’t him who attacked the garrison) led him to sin in other areas of his life.

From not redirecting the praise to the appropriate person, to actually engaging in sacrifices which, in the Old Testament, can only be mediated by a priest. The Lord is very specific. And Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, did not even come close to qualifying.

Look at poor Saul, seeing the logic in striking against the Philistines quickly, he dares to engage in the activities of a priest. And in his little pea brain, it makes perfect sense.

  • We need to attack now.
  • People are losing heart and
  • need a rallying cry.
  • We need God on our side.
  • Samuel is running late.
  • I don’t want to be a procrastinator!

And off he goes, doing his own thing according to his own logic!

I’m plagued with the question arising from his actions “can there be any devotion in disobedience?”

Samuel gives Saul an opportunity to repent by asking “What have you done?”

Instead of confessing and repenting he starts to give excuses why it was “impossible” to trust in God in this situation.

“I had to do something to impress the people and gain their support back.”
And I’m sure there were many Israelites who admired Saul for offering the sacrifice. “My, there’s a man of action! He gets things done! I never understood why the priests were so special anyway.”

“You see Samuel, it was really your fault. If you would have kept your word and come earlier, I wouldn’t have needed to do this.” Is there ever a time that someone else’s sin (even if Samuel was totaly in the wrong) justifies our own?

“We really needed God’s help against the Philistines and we needed it now…so I HAD to do it.” Of all the avenues available to the general population to cry out to God, why did he engage in the one thing he must not do: offer a sacrifice?

“I FELT compelled.” A great example of why we ought not to be ruled by our feelings.

Was God’s judgment on Saul’s sacrifice, an over-reaction to what some might think was a rather small sin? “To disobey God in the smallest matter is sin enough: there can be no little sin, because there is no little God to sin against.” (John Trapp)

Lord, I don’t want to engage in anything, bad or good, that isn’t Your plan for me. Protect me from my excuses and deliver me from the dominion of my Feelings.

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