Tag Archives: Saul

You are in big trouble when……..

“’I am in great distress,’ Saul said.  ‘The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me.  He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams.’”  1 Samuel 28:15.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 28-29, Psalm 109, and Matthew 11.

Saul is in big trouble.  He has a formidable enemy and God is no longer with him.

No wonder he was in great distress!

How often do we get distressed?  Big things?  Little things?

We all have “enemies” to deal with in this life.  They are formidable, at least in our minds.

But how can anything be formidable for believers?

“In this world, there will be trouble.”  We’re not going to avoid it.

But if we have something Saul didn’t have; God, why should we be afraid?

We behave as if God is not with us.  If I have an umbrella with me, and it starts to rain, I know that I have protection.

Don’t believers have protection?  Isn’t God on their side?

Is it possible that our faith is so shallow that we aren’t even sure that God is with us?

The wise man built his house upon the rock so that when the storms came his house was not in trouble.

I must be conscious full-time that God is with me.  I must converse with Him.  I must think about Him.  I must know His Words.  I must be fully aware that He is the difference between calmness and distress as I face what comes my way.

“Lord, forgive me for acting as if You aren’t even around.  For fearing.  For doubting.  You are everywhere.  You will be with me in all of life’s situations.  You can be fully trusted.  I will not be like Saul (distressed) if I am aware of Your presence in my life.”

If God is with us why do we get so distressed?


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Why are we afraid? Here’s why:

“Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David and had departed from Saul.” 1 Samuel 18:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 18, 1 Chronicles 6, Psalm 11, and Matthew 3.

Here, in today’s verse, we can clearly see why someone (Saul) is afraid: God is no longer with them.

We can also understand why David was so fearless: He knew that God was with him and acted accordingly.

The “acting accordingly” part is very important.  It is like hearing the Gospel and claiming to believe it.  If there is no “acting accordingly,” then it is safe to assume that the so-called belief is NOT in place.

Being apart from God did a number on Saul.  He was angry.  He was moody.  He was unpredictable.  He was devious.  Godlessness will do that to us.

We must be careful not to assume that if we are Godly we will be successful by the world’s standards.  No, the standards will be God’s.  In our times of trusting Him He will lift our spirits and strength us as we are aware of His presence no matter what our circumstances are.

“I fear because I forget Your sovereignty.” – Tim Keller.

“Lord, some things in the Bible are very understandable and this is one of those times.  When I am full of You, I will not fear.  When I am full of me, I will be terrified.  David was on one side of this and Saul was on the other.  Fill me with You.  Remove the footholds that Satan has set up in me.  The inroads I have allowed him to make.  I want only You in charge.  I resist the Devil, in Your Name. Take me over, Father.”

Our fears reveal to us what we have placed our trust in instead of God.


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How to gain separation from God

“’Saul has gone to Carmel.  There he has set up a monument in his own honor….’”  1 Samuel 15:12.

“’But I (Saul) did obey the Lord,’” Saul said.” 1 Samuel 15:20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 15-16, 1 Chronicles 5, and Matthew 1.

The Bible is replete with role models of all shades.

Saul displays the traits of a bad role model.  It is a helpful section of Scripture because we learn what we should NOT be doing.

Saul had success in battle and came away with the misguided notion that it was of his doing.  To confirm his lack of wisdom, Saul sets up a monument to honor himself.

Instantly I think of Nebuchadnezzar.  One minute he is marveling at his accomplishments and not long after that Nebuchadnezzar is grazing.

Saul is not going to graze but he will suffer the consequences of elevating himself to “god” level.

Saul also refuses to take ownership of what he did wrong.  Told to destroy everything, he instead saves the good stuff.

When confronted, does Saul admit his mistake?  No way.  He tries two familiar excuses: (1) What I did was actually a good thing, and (2) Others made me do it.

It is so easy to wonder how Saul could have exhibited such bad behavior.  However, isn’t he like us?

How often do we “forget” to credit God for His blessings?  Someone praises us and we elevate ourselves, despite knowing that God was clearly in the details and deserved the credit.

How often do we justify our behavior?  We do wrong and present it as presentable.  I took something that didn’t belong to me but no one really wanted it.

How often do we blame others for our behavior?  If I had a more understanding family or boss I would be better behaved.

All of this connects to getting our relationship to God right.  If we really love God we will aggressively seek to know His Will, and when we know His Will we will carry it out to the letter.

Samuel told Saul what was to be done so Saul knew what he was to do.  His issue was the second part; Saul did it his way instead of God’s way.

We must examine our own lives and take notice of where we are messing up in the manner that Saul did.  Once detected, we must cry out to God for forgiveness and restoration.

God let go of Saul because of his behavior and moved on to David.  We must not allow that to happen to us!

“Lord, You know us, yet love us.  We are unworthy.  Forgive us.  Restore us.  Teach us Your Will and empower us to do Your Will this day.  We love You, Father.”

It is instructional to know how Saul became separated from God so that we don’t do the same thing.

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My actions reveal the condition of my heart

“As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.”  1 Samuel 24:13.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 24, Psalms 57-58, 1 Chronicles 8, and Matthew 8.

What we do reveals what is in our hearts.

This truth is so obvious.

I can claim to be Godly but if my actions betray it then who could I think I’m fooling?  People in my midst certainly aren’t fooled and for sure God isn’t fooled.

An important spiritual step is to take ownership of my behavior.  I need to “call out” my behavior when it needs calling out.  What do I mean?  If I do something wrong, I must not only recognize that it is wrong but I must also recognize that the behavior reveals that something is also wrong with my relationship to God.

This is important because wrong, untended to, is like a mustard seed – small seed but capable of becoming a bigger problem.

Festering, undealt with, sin will rear its’ ugly head over and over again.  A believer, in non-stop communion with God, will constantly be aware of such a festering heart problem.  The beauty of a close relationship to God is that sin cannot fester.  It gets pointed out or it exposes itself in behavior.

“Lord, make me mindful of sin in my life.  Do not allow it to take root.  I want a clean, unfettered relationship with You full-time.  Help me, Father, I beg!”

Our behavior reveals the condition of our hearts.  A believer will not let evil fester in their life.

+9 turkey dinner


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“’But I did obey the Lord,’” Saul said.  ‘I went on a mission the Lord assigned me.  I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.  The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.’”  1 Samuel 15:20-21.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 15-16, 1 Chronicles 5, and Matthew 1.

King Saul was a big-time waffler.

He was told by Samuel to do a specific thing BUT altered the details of the intended completion to suit himself.  Then when confronted, tried to justify his actions.

God clearly knew the difference!

How often do we rationalize our actions?  The answer is, “Often.”

If I am walking tight with God, I will obey Him precisely.

When I am walking apart from Him there is a regular need to create an explanation for my behavior that puts it in a better light.

Saul, as in yesterday’s entry, is confronted by Samuel about his disobedience.  Today he decides to blame his soldiers for his disobedience.

The pattern of behavior was established and God moved on from Saul.

I want to do what God wants me to do.  It needs to be COMPLETE obedience.  Will I do His thing in the midst of options?

Will I immediately own up to mistakes?  Will I realize that even though I am older and educated I am not always wiser?

“O Lord, so much here for me.  Too often I flounder on the details of obeying You.  Too often I choose a “better” way that certainly isn’t.  Forgive me.  Fill me with You as You toss out the sludge that I have allowed entry.  O Father, have mercy on me a sinner!”

Do you follow God to the letter?  That is what He expects.


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Don’t follow the wrong leader!

“But the men said to Saul, ‘Should Jonathan die – he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel?  Never!  As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.’  So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.” 1 Samuel 14:45.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 14, 1 Chronicles 4, and 2 Corinthians 13.

King Saul had a hair-brained scheme that not everyone knew about.  “Don’t eat,” he said, “until we’ve done such-and-such.”  Violators will be killed.

Jonathan, unaware of what his father had come up with, ate some honey.

Jonathan earlier, before the honey eating, had started the rout of the Philistines following God’s lead.  Saul had no idea that this had happened.

The battle is over (and won) and Saul wants to track down any who may have disobeyed his eating rule.  Turns out that the violator was his son Jonathan.

Saul tells his forces that Jonathan must be killed.  At this point his forces, in today’s verse, tell him otherwise.

Sometimes right and wrong is very clear.  To Saul’s forces, Jonathan had been led by God to lead the Israelites to victory over the Philistines.  They were not going to be part of something that was wrong.

I need to be in God’s will full-time.  In that position I will be able to discern right and wrong.  If something is wrong, I must be willing to speak/stand up against it.

Standing up for right may not always be painless.  Contradicting King Saul could have repercussions.

That is why I MUST function filled with Him.  I’ll mess things up big-time otherwise.

Credit Saul for backing off when he saw the determination of his forces in opposition to killing Jonathan.

I must make sure that everything I do follows God’s lead, not my own whims.  I must be willing to change if I get things wrong.

“There is so much for me to learn about You.  I must learn that I will not get things right on my own.  I will mess things up and set things back.  O Father, help me.  Show me the way I should go.  Teach me to do Your will.  You are my God.”

Who is your leader?  It better not be a fallible human.



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Praying right

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.”  1 Samuel 12:23.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 11-12, 1 Chronicles 1, and 2 Corinthians 11.

Samuel had reason to turn against the Israelites.  They had insisted that they needed a king and in the process rejected his leadership as directed by God.

Samuel, however, announces that he would still pray for the Israelites anyway.

How selective is my praying?  Do I decide who I should pray for or do I pray as needs come to my attention?

The Israelites certainly needed prayer because they were embarking on following the lead of a human (Saul).  There would be trouble ahead for sure and Samuel could have beaten them to death with, “I told you so” but chose not to.

I must learn to be spontaneous with my prayers.  A need comes and I must connect to God.  A problem is averted I connect to God in thanksgiving.

God’s ways are not always my ways.  I want them to always be my ways, however.  Linking my life to Him is the only way to make this happen.

Samuel connected to need rather than to character.  That should my way as well.

“Lord, I am weak and You are strong.  Teach me Your ways, Lord.  I cannot rightly function apart from You.  Prick my conscience when I get it wrong so that I can change.  I want to honor You in everything I do.  In Your strength I can.”

Are there folks you won’t pray for??


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Saul: Just like us?

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos

“God changed Saul’s heart…” 1 Samuel 10:9.

“the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him..” 1 Samuel 10:10.

“Has the man come here yet?  And the Lord said, ’Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.” 1 Samuel 10:22.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: 1 Samuel 8-10, and 2 Corinthians 10.

Next time you go off the spiritual deep end, think of Saul.

Note the sequence: Saul is chosen and God is in him but later Saul tries to hide from his calling.

Think of how often we bask in God’s glory and later act as if we have forgotten Him.  It is a brutal sequence.

Why does it happen?  Think of the contrast between Samuel and Saul: Samuel is filled while Saul has only had a small dose….of God.

In my life I know that I still have spiritual ups and downs.  I am much more like Saul that I want to be.

On the plane yesterday (to Turks and Caicos) I again read the Brother Lawrence book on practicing the presence of God.  Simply told, the key to the best of spiritual living is constant awareness of God.  Can I live that way?  I certainly want to.

I must stay closely tied to God.  In the amazing setting I am now in (Turks and Caicos), it is simple to marvel at what God has done.  In other settings I must be just as keenly aware of Him.  Like Saul the settings determine, and they shouldn’t, how I’m doing.  That must change!

“Lord, I thank You for Your blatantly obvious beauty in my midst here at TCI.  What a Creator You are!  Open my eyes to You in “every” midst.  Forgive me for missing You.  I love You, Father.  Elevate me to a steadiness with You.”


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Obeying God on my own terms

“’But I did obey the Lord,’ Saul said.” 1 Samuel 15:20

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Samuel 15-16 & 1 Chronicles 5 & Matthew 1)

Saul was given specific instructions: Destroy the Amalekites completely.

What does Saul do? He destroys the people but keeps the best of the livestock. When called on this one by Samuel he first of all claims that the livestock was kept to be used as sacrifices. Then Saul put the blame for keeping the prize livestock on his men.

It all seems so unseemly to say the least. And as always it is easy to point a finger at someone else’s missteps. How could Saul do what he did?

But then I consider my own life. How often I rationalize my behavior. How often I provide my own version of His guidance.

God is not fooled by me. He knows my heart. When I claim to follow Him, He will sometimes give me opportunities to prove it.

Some of life’s choices are easy. I know that such in such is wrong and I am not drawn to it. But what if I am drawn to things less clear cut. Maybe both are good by themselves but when put into a choice, what will I do?

What happens when the choice I make blows up in my face? Then I would be on the threshold of where Saul found himself. The opportunity to rationalize my decision sits there ready for use.

What should I have done before and after? From the get-go I must be tightly aligned with God. I don’t believe that decisions are nearly as hard to sort out under that condition. It is also essential to know quickly that a decision was a bad one and seek to undo the damage in Godly ways…..”I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

“Lord, thank You for yet another Scripture with a life lesson I needed. I must be close to You or risk making bad decisions. I need You every second. I don’t need Your help I need You running me entirely. Help me, Father!”


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Bad choice

“But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God was your king.” 1 Samuel 12:12

(Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading – 1 Samuel 11-12 & 1 Chronicles 1 & 2 Corinthians 11)

Where do I turn in times of trouble?

In the story connected to this verse, we learn that Israel chooses a king over the King of Kings.

God had sent the Israelites prophets and judges to carry out His Ways. The history of this going on was truly remarkable. The victories against overwhelming opponents had been numerous.

But this way of life involved complete obedience. The Israelites were sinful and punishment was sure to follow. In some convoluted thinking they thought things would be “better” with an earthly king. I suspect they hoped for more lifestyle leeway.

It all seemed good in their heads but God wasn’t pleased because in doing this they had rejected Him once again.

When I turn to counterfeit gods I am rejecting The God. What would cause me to do such a thing? I have lost sight of Who God is and what He has already done.

God is the Creator. He is my Savior. He has given me every good gift I have. This doesn’t mean that I don’t buy insurance. It does mean that my ultimate assurance is beyond my insurance. God is in control.

“Lord, forgive me for turning to other gods. My ultimate trust is in You. You are the layer above anything this world offers as a god. Those gods have feet of clay and are all terminal. You are forever. I love You, Father.”

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