9 Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’. Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV
Because of his careless attitude towards God’s ways and his later misrepresentations to God’s prophet, Samuel, King Saul disqualified himself from the kingly line. He had decided to conduct heavenly matters on his own terms rather than God’s, and God was not having any of that from Israel’s king.
God appointed the prophet Samuel to be responsible for all priestly sacrifices. King Saul might have had authority over the people, but only Samuel had the authority to approach God with heavenly sacrifices. King Saul was under pressure and needed God’s help against the encroaching Philistines. As the prophet was overdue in coming, King Saul decided to perform God’s sacrifice himself. Bad idea.
Right after Saul did this, Samuel showed up, and told Saul he had acted foolishly – now God was disqualifying Saul and the entire tribe of Benjamin from the kingly line. Saul would remain king for another couple of decades, but his behavior would become even more evil and ungodly with each passing year.
Samuel confronted King Saul with his error and laid out the consequences.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:13-14 NKJV
One interesting aspect of this is that Saul was a Benjaminite, and God had stated back in the book of Genesis that the kingly scepter shall not depart from the tribe of Judah. Nahshon, the chief of Judah, later led the people through the desert as God had directed through Moses. Christ’s kingly line that would stretch into eternity was on the throne of David in the line of Judah and was never intended to be in the line of Benjamin.
Samuel states that God would have continued Saul’s kingdom over Israel forever, yet he was a Benjaminite, not in the line of Judah. How could this be?
God was stating the end from the beginning. God operates both within and outside of our concept of time and can clearly see the future from the beginning. He could see King Saul’s failure as well as King David’s faithfulness, and spoke through the prophets of old, accordingly.
After King Saul’s rejection, God stated that He was seeking a man after his own heart, and implied that He had already given him the command. The man who God has in mind to be the anchor for the eternal kingdom, King David, may not even been born yet at this time. But God had picked him, and he is most definitely coming.
What lesson might God have for us in all this? Why would He install Saul as king even though He knew that Saul would fail Him and ultimately be rejected?
Saul was a man whose outward appearance appealed to mankind, but his heart toward God was weak. David would be a man of faith whose heart appealed to God, One who looks at the inside of men and women, not superficial appearance.
Just as God had prescribed a way to approach Him through Samuel’s sacrifice, He has prescribed a sacrifice for us to approach the Father, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Saul tried to do it his own way, and the result was rejection. We are advised to stick to God’s plan for a sure salvation, and there is assurance for all who come to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV
Where am I in danger of trying to do things my own way rather than God’s way? What adjustments can I make?
Are there other lessons that I can learn from the life and rejection of King Saul?
God had picked David to be Israel’s next king, perhaps before he had even been born. Can you look back to see where God has blessed you in your life, long before you had begun to follow Him? Can you identify a time when you thought you were having “good luck”, but can now see as a blessing from God?
Perhaps you have not yet surrendered your heart to the Lord. Now would be a great time to invite Jesus Christ into your heart to serve Him with a forgiven and joyful heart. He is there for you.