I might have done worse than Saul.
It is easy to be critical of Saul here (and clearly he did wrong because he got anxious and decided to take matters into his own hands). But look at his situation:
1. He only had 3000 soldiers to begin with to face the 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and innumerable foot soldiers of the Philistines.
2. All his soldiers were unarmed - they had no swords of spears (verse 22) and they were terrified (trembling - verse 7).
3. Samuel did not show up at the appointed time. We know he was on the way but Saul had no way of knowing that.
4. Saul did wait around and do nothing for seven days - an entire week while the enemy threatened to overwhelm his tiny band any day.
4. His "army", if a few unarmed, terrified men can be called an army, of 3000 was deserting him and fleeing for cover.
5. During the week of waiting 2,400 of the original 3000 men deserted him! He now only had 600 trembling, unarmed men to face the hoards of Philistines. (verse 15)
6. He knew the Philistines could attack at any time and he wanted, and knew he needed, God's blessing and favor if he was to stand a chance of surviving the coming battle.
Yes, Saul chose poorly but I wonder if I would have even waited seven days. I wonder if I would not have joined the cowards (some would say the "prudent" ones) who fled to hide in the caves. It is too easy to look at the problems of others and criticize foolish decisions they make.
Standing on this side of the story I can see Saul should have just waited knowing God would restrain the Philistines until the right time. It is easy to see how wrong he was and be critical of his impatience. And there is no harm in judging Saul but it is another story when I make the same sort of judgments about those around me.
How wonderful if, instead of just looking out for themselves and running, if someone would have stepped up and encouraged Saul. If someone would have spoken hope, reminded him of the promises of God, stirred faith within his withering heart. One friend like that could have changed his entire future.
Lord, help me be a friend that encourages, speaks faith and hope, brings light and life into the souls of others. It is easy, it is natural to be critical. Help me be supernatural, above my fallen nature, and be an encourager.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
Created 12 months ago