After God’s Own Heart

By on January 24, 2015

“After God’s Own Heart”
1Samuel 13:1-14

October 3, 2007
by C.W. Powell


“1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, 2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. 3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. 4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. 5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,)then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. 8 ¶ And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. 11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”
(1Sa 13:1-14 AV)

I will first of all consider the details of the early years of Saul’s reign over Israel, then see the occasion of his transgression against the Lord, and the results of that transgression with applications for you and me today.
—————–

It would be good this morning to remind ourselves of Paul’s words in I Corinthians 10.


11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
As we saw a few years ago when I preached through 1 Corinthians and then when I preached through Joshua and Judges, that here we have the use that we Christians have for the Old Testament. The reason for all the things of the Old Testament are for and to the Church. The ends of the world have come upon us, the purpose for which the world was created is realized and will be realized in the church, which is the bride of Christ. Paul uses two words here:
Ensample, or Example, or type. It is meant to strike an impression on the mind. The word “type” in printing is derived from this word: in a typewriter, the type strikes the letter, and makes an impression. Figuratively the word came to mean that which is in the mind that serves as a pattern or a standard. Thus the Old Testament stories are meant to impress our minds with the standard, and are the authoritative word of God to mark out the definition of who Jesus is and what the inheritance of the saints is.
Admonition: Placing in the mind. Established in the mind. The impression that the Old Testament makes in the mind serves to warn and remind and encourage us in the Christian walk. The study of the Old Testament is highly profitable for the person who uses it lawfully, for it indicates its own use and teaches how to fear the Lord. It leaves very sharp impressions upon the mind and heart and is most convicting of the flesh. Every part also reveals our Lord Jesus Christ as He Himself said to the disciples after His resurrection from the dead.

This passage that we read concerning the beginning of Saul’s reign has many applications to us in our walk with the Lord Jesus, as we shall see.
——————

I. The beginning of Saul’s reign. 1Samuel 13:1-3
“1 ¶ Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, 2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. 3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.

A. Before these events, Saul had been anointed king by Samuel; he had led Israel in a great victory over the Ammonites, and he had been crowned king, and Samuel had given his great address to Israel that is recorded in chapter 12, where he calls them to serve the Lord with fear, in truth with all their hearts..
B. Now Saul has set up his headquarters in Bethel with two thousand regular soldiers and his son Jonathan in Geba. Jonathan was to strike the first blow in the war for independence from the Philistines, as we shall see.
C. I follow Matthew Henry in interpreting the first verse. It literally reads, “Saul was one year old.” So we must not take it literally because he had a grown-up warrior son and was himself taller by head and shoulders over all Israel. I would take it to mean, “Saul was as silly as a one-year old child.” He showed it by the decisions he made in the next few chapters. It seems that God had already departed from him and from Israel, for he was unsuccessful in the task. I do not believe that a long period of time passed between this chapter and the events of the past chapter. But as so often happens, the Bible does not sort out all the silly questions we have about this and than, for the purpose of this record is to prepare the way for the anointing of David, the man after God’s own heart.
D. His silly retinue of soldiers. If they were wanted for defense, 2000 was far to few; if for a body-guard, they were much too many. God would not hear him, and he flits from one thing to another, reacting to events rather than taking charge of them.
E. People who are bad at heart often made much to do of outward ceremonies and rites, as we see concerning Saul. He did not know the heart of God nor his own heart, and therefore jumps from one thing to another of outward things, hoping to gain success by them.
F. The details of Jonathan’s exploits are recorded in the next chapter, as we shall see. These events did not show Saul in a good light, for he is reactive and silly, and the people have to deliver him from his own folly.

II. The Rallying of the Troops at Gilgal. 1Samuel 13:4-7

4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. 5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,)then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling

A. The Philistines had gathered a huge host in reaction to the debacle at Michmash, and Saul and the people were frightened, for Israel was without weapons or defenses.
B. It seems that the great victory over the Ammonites was without lasting benefit to Israel, for the oppression of the Philistines was greater than before.
C. It is difficult to understand the chronology of the events in these chapters, for that is not the purpose of the holy writers. Their purpose was to set down the silliness of Saul and the confusion that was their kingdom until the raising up of David, the man after God’s own heart. The larger purpose was to show us how weak and frail we are when we seek our own kingdom, rather than trusting in God as our king.
D. God had not abandoned His people, but he would chasten them and teach them the right and true way.
E. The actions of Saul simply reflected the state of heart of the men of Israel, and the silliness of their own hearts.
F. Everyday, Saul was losing men to fear and desertion. We find him later with only 600 of the original 2000, and we do not know of the 1000 that had been with Jonathan.
G. Needless to say, Saul was in a state of great danger and peril; he was outnumbered, overwhelmed, distressed, filled with fears and distress. He did not flee, to his credit, but neither did he seek the Lord in truth.

III. Saul’s transgression at Gilgal. 1Samuel 13:8-14:

8 ¶ And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. 11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”

A. His faith was tested by the delay of Samuel. Saul’s men were demoralized and abandoning him.
B. Saul did not truly seek the Lord; he was content with appearing to seek Him. Thus it is with so much of man’s piety.
C. It was not Saul’s fault, you know: He gives three reasons for the necessity of him offering the sacrifice:
a. The people were scattered from him.
b. Samuel was late in coming.
c. The danger from the Philistines was immanent and overwhelming.
D. He “forced himself” or against his own wished, he yielded to circumstances and did what had to be done.
a. It was necessary to offer sacrifices and seek the Lord.
b. Circumstances compelled him to order the sacrifices. He had the disgraced descendants of Eli there, who probably yielded to his command, for they were rejected of God as Saul was.
c. Samuel said that he did foolishly; without understanding—as a small child without understanding.
E. Saul was much too concerned about himself:
a. Even in the false modesty, in which he hid himself among the baggage, when they came to make him king. There is a false modesty that is hidden pride and self-consciousness. It is simply SELF-consciousness that is sinful.
b. Being shy is not always the opposite of being proud—often it is disguised consciousness of SELF and the fear of looking foolish, the desire to always appear to be right and noble.
F. It was not permitted for the king to offer sacrifices or to meddle in the work of the priests. Nor should Saul exalt those whom God had rejected. Samuel was the true priest and servant of the Lord, and it was a great sin not for Saul to wait for Samuel. Saul must trust the Lord and not rely on his own judgment, or worse, react in terms of fear and be driven by fear. But this sin sets the pattern for the course of Saul’s life: the desire for the appearance of godliness, but actually being driven by pride and the fear that goes with pride.

IV. Application

A. It is a temptation to think that circumstances compel us to actions that are forbidden to us. Disobedience is never justified by circumstances.
B. True faith will trust in God no matter what the circumstances are. Saul must not be blind to the danger that is before him and Israel and he must act appropriately, but he must act in terms of his office and his gifts from God, and not intrude into that which has not been given to him.
C. The ceremony of offering a sacrifice and calling upon the Lord are not exactly the same thing. Part of his excuse was that the Philistines were come and he had not made supplication to the Lord. But, although his religious sense was from God, yet it led him into idolatry because Saul did not allow himself to seek God after the lawful manner. Sin and pride blinded his mind to his destruction.
D. This shows that Saul had only received a temporary gift of the Spirit, when he was among the prophets. He had not received the benefit of regeneration in which the beginnings of eternal life were given to him. His life is not the path of the righteous man that shineth more and more unto the perfect day, but the path of the wicked soul, which turns away more and more from the light until it finds itself in total darkness, sin, and misery. The day would come for Saul, that the words of Proverbs 1 would be fulfilled: “28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Pr 1:28-33 AV)
E. It is much better with us who know Jesus Christ, for He has promised to be with us forever, a light that cannot be put out, for it shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot rule over it. The path of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day.

Amen and Amen
May God bless you.

Amen and Amen

No Comments to “After God’s Own Heart”

Comments are closed.