"Justifying Our Actions"
BIBLE READING: 1 Samuel 13-14
Here is the situation; the Philistines are preparing to come down and face the Israelites in battle. Due to some previous raids that were successful by Jonathan, the Philistines were getting prepared to take their revenge on Saul and the Israelites. This sent the Israelites into a frenzy. Although some were ready for battle with Saul, many of the Israelites became afraid and hid themselves in caves and dens fearing the worst. Saul had been commanded by Samuel to wait seven days before they sought to overtake the Philistines so that he could offer burnt offerings to the Lord and seek out His blessing. As the seven days ended, still no Samuel. The Scripture doesn’t really give us any indication of why Samuel does not show in the allotted time, nevertheless Saul became concerned. The people were beginning to grow afraid and were scattering from him. In an effort to take matters into his own hands, Saul does the offerings himself. Now that presents a problem, because although Saul is the God ordained King of Israel, he is not a priest, nor was he from the tribe of Levi (only those who were of the tribe of Levi could assume priestly duties such as offer sacrifices). Samuel, even though he served as judge, was also a Levite who served under Eli as priest (I Chronicles 6 contains a genealogy of the Levities, I Chronicles 6:27-28 reveal Samuel in that line). When Samuel does arrive, he lets Saul know he acted foolishly in taking things into his hands that were not his to take. Saul’s punishment is that his kingdom would not endure, but God would rise up someone after His own heart. What was it that led Saul to offer such a sacrifice? Was he afraid that the Philistines would attack without having God’s blessing? Was he caught with pride in thinking that he was King and could do whatever he wanted? Was he worried he would lose the support of his soldiers by waiting? I believe it was a combination of all those reasons, but maybe we can simplify it by calling it a trust issue. It all boiled down to not trusting in the process that God had ordained. By taking matters into his own hands, he (maybe even unintentionally) usurped the authority of God. Have you ever done that? Before you answer, consider this; anytime we begin to justify sin, are we not doing the same thing? We know the sin is wrong, but we continue in it using grace as an excuse. Doesn’t that sound like we are not trusting God, by assuming sin is okay or by justifying it based on our circumstances? Let’s be careful that we don’t fall into the same trap.