Last week we saw how God provided for a foreigner, Ruth, and for her mother-in-law, Naomi, through a kinsman redeemer, Boaz. Not only does this story foreshadow the Redeemer that God would send to provide for all of His people, but Ruth and Boaz are also in the lineage of Christ, being the great grandparents of David. Looking ahead to 2 Samuel 7, we see God’s promises to Adam and Eve, and later to Abraham, are to be fulfilled through the seed of David. Jesus, the Son of God AND the Son of man, will reign forever (vv. 13-16) and anyone who calls on His name will be saved (Rom. 10:13). In 1 Samuel, God’s chosen people demand a king, rejecting God, the Maker of heaven and earth, as being king over them (see chapter 8). Still, God requires humility and obedience, even in those who have been anointed king. In light of this, the actions of Saul and David are seen in stark contrast. Humanly speaking Saul is the obvious choice to serve as king, yet focuses on himself, lacks God-honoring character, weakly hides, is disloyal, disobedient, prideful, jealous, paranoid, and hateful. Humanly speaking David is the least likely choice, yet focuses on God, is thankful and honoring to God, humbles himself, confesses his sins and receives God’s grace, and trusts that God will accomplish His purposes in and through him. God resists/ opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; Psalm 138:6; Matthew 23:12).
s - 1 samuel 15:10-31
After Saul acts proudly and disobediently:
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.’
When confronted with his sin:
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”
26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”
27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore.28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”
30 Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
It is clear where Saul’s loyalty lies. He reveals this when he defends himself by saying, “I was afraid of the men” (v. 24). Instead of fearing God, he fears what men think of him. He shows his displaced focus again when he literally begs Samuel to forgive him of his sin (v. 25). It is possible that his desire for Samuel to come back with him is an attempt to save face among the people. If Samuel returns with him, all would seem well for him in the eyes of the people. Instead, he is met with the reality of his situation. All is not well. God has rejected the king of the people who have rejected Him.
This is not the first time this word has been spoken over Saul. His kingdom would have been established forever. However, on another occasion when he had “felt compelled” to take matters into his own hands, acting arrogantly and disobediently rather than keeping the Lord’s command, the word came that his kingdom would not endure. God would instead give it to someone after His own heart (13:8-14). The stated reason for Saul’s rejection in this case is again his own rejection of the word of the Lord (15: 26). In desperation, Saul reaches again to a man for salvation, tearing the hem of Samuel’s robe (v. 27), only to be met again with the reality of God’s rejection of him (v. 28). Saul loses the kingdom, unlike David whose kingdom will endure forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
Not only is the kingdom taken from him, but it is “torn” – a word signifying a violent taking, a judgement that will not be reversed. Though taken on this day it is not easily relinquished, as we see in the following pages of 1 Samuel. Saul does not submit to God and His judgment, but will later mount a destructive and futile campaign to overturn what has already taken place. The kingdom, it is said, will be given to someone who is one of Saul’s neighbors, showing that the initial fulfillment of this prophesy is with one of his contemporaries, David, who is described to Saul as “better than you” (1 Samuel 15:28). Likely this prophesy also has a future fulfillment in the descendent of David, Jesus, who is given the throne of David on which to reign for all eternity (Luke 1:32). This also fulfills the Davidic Covenant found in 2 Samuel 7.
Again Saul admits his sin, but shows no repentance. He instead asks Samuel to honor him “before the elders of my people and before Israel” (1 Samuel 15:30). What’s striking about this instance is that it comes directly after Samuel’s right description of God as “the Glory of Israel” far greater than all humanity (v. 29). Instead of turning to Him at that point, Saul continues in his concern over how he is perceived by the elders of those he calls “my people” and before Israel (v. 30). Perhaps he has forgotten that the people are actually God’s people.
The application is simple. The theme is clear. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Rather than concerning ourselves with what people think, we are to walk in humility and obedience with God.
Honor/ glorify God, not yourself (see Romans 1:21)
Walk in thankfulness to Him for who He is and what He has done (also Romans 1:21)
Live under His authority. His rule is best! (see Romans 8:28)
Do not fear man, but fear God in a way that is full of trust and awe, producing wisdom (Matt 10:28; Proverbs 9:10)
Confess your sins to Him and know that He will forgive you (1 John 1:9)
Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you up (James 4:10)
Out of love, walk in obedience with Him (2 John 1:6)
Father, give each of us a growing desire for obedience and humility, to live in Your mercy and grace and the reality of Your enduring Kingdom. Reveal to us where we have been living for our own little kingdoms and for the approval of man. We know that you are the best leader. You are not man, Your thoughts and ways are higher than ours. We trust that You are good and will accomplish Your purposes. Thank You that because of Jesus we have been redeemed, reconciled, and can live near to You with clean hands and pure hearts. God, Your discipline is good. You discipline those you love, and I pray that we will surrender to You, not fighting against You as You reveal what is best for us. Thank You for Your heart of kindness that doesn’t leave us to our own ways. Convict us and forgive us when we act arrogantly and try to take matters into our own hands. We pray as David prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139).