Lessons from King Saul’s Life
34Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel. —1 Samuel 15:34-35
A lot of times preachers make a mistake after preaching about a Bible person’s life. They don’t connect the dots. But we’re not just about hearing the Word; we’re about doing what it says. Here are four principles for life application from 1 Samuel 15 that will benefit us.
- Don’t make God feel regret (1 Samuel 15:11, 35). If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you can look to a time in your life when you’ve turned from your sin and embraced Jesus Christ by faith so that you could be forgiven. If you’ve made that decision, don’t ever live in such a way that God would look at your life and go, “That’s it? That’s the response to grace, forgiveness, and eternal life?” “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
- There’s no excuse for disobedience (1 Samuel 15:13-21). No excuse. But Saul sure tried hard. You can identify four excuses (vv. 13, 20, 21, 24). You might recognize them from your own life. I certainly see this sinful tendency in mine.
- Disobedience to God destroys human relationships (1 Samuel 15:34-35). This point is lost in the whole story of Samuel. He poured his life into Saul. Samuel cared about him, prayed for him, and tried to help him. And when Saul chose to disobey, Samuel was devastated.
- There are some things from which you can’t recover. If we kid ourselves and think, “Well, I’ll just disobey God for a while and then I’ll tell Him I’m sorry and He’ll receive me back.” Is that what you think? Because you could decide to destroy your life by 5:00 tonight. And would God forgive you? Yes. But would you bear the consequences of that decision for the rest of your life? Yes, you would! Don’t ever mix up God’s forgiveness and consequences. Too often we sow bad seed into wrong fields and then we pray for crop failure. A bad harvest is coming. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). You harvest what you plant. We make choices and we live with them for the rest of our lives. —James MacDonald
- What has God taught me about the weight of consequences in my life?
- Which of the four principles above presents a significant challenge to me? Why?
Prayer: Father, thank You for including the life-lessons of so many people in Your word. Saul’s life is a warning to me in significant areas of life where the undertow of sin can easily take me down and drown me. Help me to live today in humble dependence on You as I make decisions, seeking always to know, do, and be satisfied with Your will in all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.