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Daily Devotion for July 15th, 2020

1 Samuel 13:10-11 Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

Here's the “big picture” behind this scripture: The LORD chose Saul to be Israel's first king. Samuel anointed him and told him to “go down to Gilgal ahead of me and wait for me there seven days. I will join you there to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. When I arrive, I will give you further instructions” (1 Samuel 10:8).

As Saul and his men were waiting in Gilgal, an enormous Philistine army came to camp at Micmash. “When the men of Israel saw the vast number of enemy troops, they lost their nerve entirely and tried to hide in caves, holes, rocks, tombs, and cisterns” (1 Samuel 13:6). Saul's men were trembling with fear. “Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn't come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, 'Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!' And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself” (1 Samuel 13:8-9). Of course, Samuel arrived “just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering” (1 Samuel 13:10). Samuel then informed Saul that his disobedience would cost him the kingdom.

Hmmm.....There's a couple of points to ponder on this....

  1. Saul knew what he was supposed to do, but he chose to disobey. He was supposed to wait 7 days for Samuel. Samuelwould then come and sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. But the situation looked bad. Saul became impatient. He decided, in this circumstance, to take matters into his own hands and offer the sacrifice himself...

When faced with a difficult situation or circumstance folks, don't allow impatience or fear to drive you to disobey GOD and take matters into your own hands! We are to “be sure to obey the truth we have learned already” (Philippians 3:16). GOD often uses delays to test our obedience and patience. Saul failed here...don't you fail! Hang on! Your way is NOT the best way: HIS is! If you know what GOD wants you to do, regardless of the circumstance, stick to the plan! Saul's failure to obey cost him the Kingdom of Israel: “You have disobeyed the command of the LORD your GOD. Had you obeyed, the LORD would have established your kingdom of Israel forever” (1 Samuel 13:13). When we disobey, we lose the blessings that would have come from our obedience. Consider friend, what you might lose should you choose to disobey what you already know to do...

    1. Saul had LOTS of logical excuses for his disobedience: When Samuel asked him what he had done, Saul replied “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn't arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, 'The Philistines are ready to march against us, and I haven't even asked for the LORD's help! So I felt obliged to offer the burnt offering myself before you came” (1 Samuel 13:11-12). According to Saul, he was forced to disobey because 1) his men were leaving, 2) Samuel was late, 3) the Philistines were ready to fight, 4) and he HAD to ask the LORD for help right then...

We can come up with some pretty good excuses for our chosen disobedience, can't we? Saul illustrates this perfectly. His 4-point logic for why he chose to make the sacrifices himself sounded pretty good...but GOD knew his heart. And GOD knows ours. Just like Saul, we often gloss over our own mistakes and sins, thinking we were “justified” in our “special circumstances.” Worse yet, we can “spiritualize” our sin...trying to make our waywardness look like the spiritually “right” thing to do! We might fool ourselves, we might fool those around us, but we NEVER fool GOD. Disobedience is disobedience, no matter what color you paint it! Moreover, disobedience will cost us every time....we NEVER “get away” with it.

I don't know where you are friends, but use Saul's story to remind you of this: “There is a path before each person that seemsright, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12). Any way we choose that is not GOD's way, regardless of circumstance, is the wrong way!!! And “wrong ways” have consequences!!!! You can lie to yourself, you may be able to deceive those around you, but you can't fool GOD. You've got to obey what you know is right (Philippians 3:16). “Don't be misled. Remember that you can't ignore GOD and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the SPIRIT will harvest everlasting lifefrom the SPIRIT. So don't get tired of doing what is good (and right!!!!). Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time” (Galatians 6:7-9). Hang in there! Keep your eyes on the KING, and do what you know you need to do! AMEN!!!!

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