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With New Testament Eyes: 29 - Saul's Great Sin

By Henry Mahan

      1 Samuel 13:1-14

      vv. 1-2. Saul had reigned for one full year over Israel and was near the end of his second year when he chose three thousand men of Israel for constant military service and protection. Two thousand were with him and one thousand were with Jonathan, his son. The rest of the men returned to their homes to be summoned if needed.

      vv. 3-4. Evidently the Philistines had garrisons and strongholds in the land, and Saul ordered Jonathan to surprise and destroy the garrison of the Philistines near Geba. There must have been some sort of agreement or understanding between Israel and the Philistines; for we are told that, because of this treacherous attack, 'all Israel did stink with the Philistines,' as men void of honesty and trust. Jonathan did it on orders from his father, the king. Knowing that the Philistines would retaliate, Saul sent messengers to call all the people to prepare for war, for his defense and theirs.

      vv. 5-7. The Philistines gathered together a great and mighty army 'as the sand on the seashore in multitude' to fight against Israel. When the people heard of the slaughter of the Philistine garrison, of the anger of the Philistines over it, and of the war plans of the enemy, they knew that they and their new king were in deep trouble. Many of them began to hide in caves, rocks, mountains, and pits. Some of them fled across Jordan to the land of Gilead, as far as they could from danger. Those who stayed with Saul in Gilgal 'followed him trembling and afraid.' Saul had not sought the counsel of God's prophet nor the will of God in any of these matters, but all of this trouble was of his own making.

      v. 8. When Samuel first anointed Saul (1 Sam. 10:8), he ordered him to tarry seven days in Gilgal, promising that at the end of those seven days, he would come to him, offer sacrifices, and tell him what God would have him do! Perhaps this was a general rule to be observed at Gilgal on all occasions, for Saul was waiting for Samuel as the people scattered from him.

      v. 9. Wait on the Lord, wait for the prophet of God to speak for God (Heb. 1:1), and wait for the prophet-priest to offer the Lord's sacrifice. This order Saul broke! He offered the burnt offering.

      Though he was neither prophet nor priest, because he was a king, he thought he could do anything. Uzziah paid dearly for this presumption (2 Chron. 26:16-21). There is no area where the judgment of God is more severe and the wrath of God more certain than when any man presumes to violate the sin-offering, sacrifice, and atonement, for this is the work of Jesus Christ alone (Heb. 1:3). All through the Scriptures men have perished who have sought to approach God apart from the priest and the true blood offering which typifies Christ, our great and only High Priest.

      Men who tampered with God's revealed way of acceptance and communion have felt the hand of judgment, for this is a denial of our sin and a disregard for his holiness. Examples: Cain - Gen. 4:3-5; Nadab and Abihu - Num. 3:4; Moses - Num. 20:9-11; Uzzah - II Sam. 6:6-7.

      Among all of Saul's rebellions and blunders, this was his greatest error and chief offense--to come before God without the appointed priest and true sacrifice (Heb. 5:1-5; Heb. 8:8-12: Heb. 10:11-14). To attempt to come to God apart from his ordained priest and sacrifice is to deny our sins and to deny God's holiness, righteousness, and judgment against us (Rom. 3:19-26).

      v. 10. When Samuel did come, Saul seemed to boast of what he had done rather than to repent of it, and he went out to bless Samuel, as if he thought himself a complete priest empowered to bless as well as sacrifice, This is the pride of the human heart. Only Christ can save, sanctify, and bless (Col. 2:9-10; 1 Cor. 1:30).

      vv. 11-12) When Samuel asked Saul what he had done, he began to justify his actions.

      I was losing the support of the people, for they were leaving.

      You came not when we thought you would come.

      The armies of the enemy were gathered together.

      The enemy planned to attack us, and I had not entreated the blessings of God; so I forced myself to offer a sacrifice.

      He realized NOT that no circumstances, no cause, and no situation can warrant a violation of the sacrifice of Christ and his priesthood. 'No man cometh to the Father but by me' (John 14:6).

      vv. 13-14. Saul had acted foolishly and proudly in acting as God's priest and offering a sacrifice. Not only had he broken God's commandment regarding the sacrifice, but he had acted as his own saviour and mediator. denying the absolute necessity of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). The anointed, ordained priest, offering the designated sin-offering and sacrifice before God, at the time and in the way God appointed, is a picture and a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, and his atonement. Any deliberate violation of this sacrifice is a rejection and denial of Christ. This was Saul's sin; and God took the kingdom from him and raised up David, a man after his own heart.

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant


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