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by Rosco Brong

Sau1 and David
1 Samuel 15:10-23; 16:1

We begin a series of lessons from the history of ancient Israel under the rule of kings, of whom the first was Saul. The nation's insistence on having a king was displeasing to God, and history demonstrates again and again the disastrous consequences of giving too much power to earthly rulers.

Samuel, sometimes referred to as last of the judges and first of the prophets, was the recognized spokesman for God in establishing the kingdom of Saul and then in anointing David as his successor. The lesson Scripture dealing with Saul's disobedience and rejection may be outlined as follows:

1. Regrets, I Samuel 15:10-15.
a. Gracious grief, 10-11.
b. Pretentious piety, 12-13.
c. Haughty hypocrisy, 14-15.
2. Reproof, I Samuel 15:16-19.
a. Audience accepted, 16.
b. Attitude anointing, 17.
c. Arrogance assumed, 18-19.
3. Rebellion, I Samuel 15:20-23.
a. Optional obedience, 20.
b. Royal ratting, 21.
c. Divine delight, 22.
d. Sequence of sin, 23.
4. Resource, I Samuel 16:1.
a. Ruler rejected, 1a.
b. Ruler replaced, lb.

REGRETS, I Samuel 15:10-15.
"It repenteth me" means merely that God sighed and mourned because of Saul's disobedience. Samuel in turn grieved and "cried unto the Lord all night" when informed of the fact.

Gracious Grief, 10-11.
Why should the infinite God concern Himself with the infinitesimal aberrations of one of His puny creatures? We cannot tell why it is so, but we may be thankful that in His Word He reveals Himself as the God Who cares for His creatures. Incredible as it seems, He cares more for us than we care for ourselves, because He knows better than we do the dreadful consequences of sin. Likewise the faithful prophet, given some spiritual perception, was filled with gracious grief that the king took the commandments of God so lightly.

Pretentious Piety, 12-13.
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" [II Timothy 3:5] may be especially characteristic of "the last days," but it is not anything new. With an air of great innocence, Saul was able to bless Samuel in the name of Jehovah while pretending a piety not possessed.

Haughty Hypocrisy, 14-15.
Preceding context [verse 19] tells us that it was "Saul and the people" that departed from the divine commandment, and of course as king Saul was mainly responsible for that departure. But when confronted by the prophet, the king with haughty hypocrisy disclaimed responsibility and sought to blame the people.

REPROOF, I Samuel 15:16-19.
But Samuel was no fool. He had eyes to see and ears to hear, brains to think and a heart to feel, and so he continued with his reproof of the presumptuously disobedient king.

Audience Accepted, 16.
Momentarily ignoring the brazen denial, Samuel asked the king to give audience to a message from Jehovah. Whether out of respect for the prophet's age and position, or out of his own overweening self-confidence, the king accepted the challenge: "Say on."

Attitude at Anointing, 17.
Humility was the appropriate attitude for the son of Kish at the time of his anointing to be king, as indeed it is appropriate to all of us poor sons of men as God anoints us with His Spirit to be kings and priests unto Him. If we can only retain or regain that proper humility, we shall do better than Saul.

Arrogance Assumed, 18-19.
Too easily we forget that whatever power we possess is in and from the Lord, and that when we turn aside to our own thoughts and our own ways, we condemn ourselves to lose that power.

REBELLION, I Samuel 15:20-23.
Confronted by our sins, we can respond in one of two ways: we may confess and forsake them and so obtain mercy, or we may try to cover them with denials and worsen rebellion [Proverbs 28:13]. Saul took the path of persistent rebellion.

Optional 0bedience, 20.
Partial obedience, obedience that goes not further than we choose, is no obedience at all. Quite in vain do kings and peasants alike try to cover up what they do wrong by bragging about what they do right.

Royal Ratting, 21.
Sometimes there is honor among thieves, and no one admires the criminal who rats on his buddies to escape punishment himself. But nothing is more contemptible than a supposed leader, a person with unquestioned authority and responsibility, who tries to evade that responsibility by blaming others who have done nothing worse than follow his lead. Such was the royal ratting of Saul.

Divine Delight, 22.
See Hebrews 10:5-10. Surely our highest and noblest end in life is to please our Creator and Redeemer, and we cannot do this in disobedience. We delight him when we obey Him.

Sequence of Sin, 23.
One sin leads to another, and all sin is in opposition to God, because "sin is the transgression of the law" of God [I John 3:4]. Since Saul showed by his stubborn disobedience that he had rejected the supreme kingship of God, he was no longer fit to serve as king over God's people Israel.

RESOURCE, I Samuel 16:1.
Within proper limits, we ought to mourn over sinners, but we need to be careful lest our concern for souls obscure the sovereign will of God. Our source and resource in every need is not in our efforts or in our emotions, but in God.

Ruler Rejected, la.
As sometimes happens, the prophet forgot the very Word of God which he had preached, so that he needed to be reminded that God had rejected Saul "from reigning over Israel."

Ruler Replaced, lb.
No matter what the situation, no matter how hopeless it may appear to us, God is never at a loss. Always we can be sure that He has provided for Himself, for His cause for His people. "I have provided me a king."

CONCLUSION [Luke 6:46]
Let us be consistent. "If the Lord be God, follow him" [I Kings 18:21].

[From Ashland Avenue Baptist paper, June 1, 1979, pp. 2-3. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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