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God’s First Rejection of Saul

Scripture Passage: 
1 Samuel 13:1-23

INTRODUCTION: Both the sin of Saul in sacrificing and the absence of smiths (blacksmiths) in Israel point to the danger of fighting God’s battles according to the ways of man and the world. We must learn spiritual warfare if we would win God’s battles.

  1. THE INVASION OF THE PHILISTINES (1 Samuel 13:1-7)
    1. The Immediate Causes of the Invasion (1 Samuel 13:1-4)
      1. The choosing of Saul as king (1 Samuel 13:1)
        1. Saul had only reigned two years.
        2. The Philistines felt threatened by a king over Israel.
      2. Saul establishes a standing army (1 Samuel 13:2; see 1 Samuel 8:10-12).
        1. 2,000 with Saul in Michmash
        2. 1,000 with Jonathan in Gibeah
        3. The remainder of the Israelites sent home
      3. Jonathan defeats the garrison in Geba (1 Samuel 13:3a).
      4. NOTE: “and the Philistines heard of it” (1 Samuel 13:3). Begin winning a battle or two for the Lord and the enemy will hear of it. That explains why great victories are often followed by greater battles. We are in a spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When we attack, we receive a counterattack.
      5. Saul gives a general call to arms (1 Samuel 13:3b-4).
        1. He blows the trumpet (1 Samuel 13:3b).
        2. He spreads the word (1 Samuel 13:4a).
          1. That he has smitten a garrison of the Philistines
          2. That Israel is had in abomination of the Philistines – just as we are had in abomination of the world (John 15:18-20; Galatians 6:14; 1 Peter 4:12-13; 1 John 3:1)
        3. He calls them to Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:4b) - a safe place, close to the Jordan River, far from the enemy lines.
    2. The Invasion Forces Arrive (1 Samuel 13:5-7).
      1. The Philistines pitch camp in Michmash (1 Samuel 13:5).
        1. Well into the heart of Israel, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem
        2. At a crossroads where much damage could be done
        3. With chariots, horsemen and a great army
          1. 30,000 chariots
          2. 6,000 horsemen
          3. People as the sand on the sea shore in multitude
        4. NOTE: Chariots could never be used to full advantage in this mountainous terrain.
      2. The Israelites react with great fear (1 Samuel 13:6-7).
        1. They see the great forces against them (1 Samuel 13:6).
        2. They are greatly distressed at their plight (1 Samuel 13:6).
        3. They hide in any place they can find (1 Samuel 13:6).
          1. In caves
          2. In thickets
          3. In rocks
          4. In high places
          5. In pits
        4. Some of them flee to the eastern side of the Jordan (1 Samuel 13:7).
        5. Saul tarries in Gilgal with a terrified army (1 Samuel 13:7).
  2. SAUL’S DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD (1 Samuel 13:8-14)
    1. Saul Offers a Burnt Offering (1 Samuel 13:8-10).
      1. Samuel is delayed in coming to Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:8a).
      2. Saul is losing his army as they scatter (1 Samuel 13:8b).
      3. Saul impatiently offers the sacrifice (1 Samuel 13:9).
        1. He calls for a burnt offering and a peace offering.
        2. He only offers the burnt offering.
      4. Samuel arrives immediately afterward (1 Samuel 13:10).
        1. Saul, as the peoples’ anointed king, has no right to offer a sacrifice   (Leviticus 10:1-3; Leviticus 22:1-3; 2 Chronicles 26:1, 5, 16-21).
        2. Samuel’s immediate arrival shows that this is a test from God to see if Saul would trust in Him. He would have been much better to have gone to battle without the sacrifice than to have offered it himself. Saul is no longer little in his own eyes (1 Samuel 9:21).
        3. How often have we gotten in trouble by forcing action not in God’s will when we could have just waited a little longer on the Lord and seen a great deliverance?
    2. Samuel Rebukes King Saul (1 Samuel 13:11-14).
      1. Samuel questions Saul’s actions (1 Samuel 13:11).
      2. Saul’s excuses (1 Samuel 13:11-12; cp. 1 Samuel 15:20-21)
        1. The scattering of the people (1 Samuel 13:11); Note: Saul’s first reasoning has to do with what he “saw.” This reminds us of the failure in the garden in Eden when Eve “saw” that the tree was good for food (Genesis 3:6).
        2. The delay of Samuel (1 Samuel 13:11)
        3. The gathering of the Philistines (1 Samuel 13:11)
        4. The approaching of the battle (1 Samuel 13:12)
        5. The necessity of the sacrifice (1 Samuel 13:12) – “I have not made supplication unto the LORD.”
        6. The difficulty of the decision (1 Samuel 13:12) – “I forced myself.”
        7. NOTE: We always have a hundred excuses for disobeying God. But they are never enough.
      3. Saul’s condemnation (1 Samuel 13:13-14)
        1. His foolishness (1 Samuel 13:13)
        2. His disobedience (1 Samuel 13:13)
        3. His rejection (1 Samuel 13:14)
        4. His replacement (1 Samuel 13:14)
          1. The Lord seeks “a man after his own heart.”
          2. The Lord will make him “captain over his people.”
  3. THEIR PREPARATION FOR BATTLE (1 Samuel 13:15-23)
    1. The Army of Israel (1 Samuel 13:15-16)
      1. Samuel departs to Gibeah (1 Samuel 13:15).
      2. Saul numbers his army at 600 men (1 Samuel 13:15).
      3. Saul encamps at Gibeah (1 Samuel 13:16); separated from the Philistines by a deep ravine.
    2. The Spoilers of the Philistines (1 Samuel 13:17-18) – three companies
      1. One goes north toward Ophrah (1 Samuel 13:17).
      2. A second goes west toward Beth-horon (1 Samuel 13:18).
      3. A third goes east toward the wilderness and Jordan (1 Samuel 13:18).
      4. NOTE: Saul’s army is so weak that they ignore it.
    3. The Weakness of the Israelites (1 Samuel 13:19-23)
      1. Dependent on the Philistines for their smith work (1 Samuel 13:19-21)
        1. No smith in Israel (1 Samuel 13:19)
        2. Went to the Philistines to sharpen their tools (1 Samuel 13:20); we see churches and Christians today depending on the world to sharpen their spiritual tools. This is one of the greatest causes of weakness in the work of Christ.
        3. Did the best they could with files (1 Samuel 13:21)
      2. Without weapons in the day of battle (1 Samuel 13:22-23)

CONCLUSION: Saul is so consumed by the physical battles that he loses sight of the most important spiritual battles. In doing so, he not only stands in danger of losing a battle, but he has already lost the permanency of his kingdom.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 15:2

The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.