Friday, March 13, 2015

What Hast Thou Done?

And Samuel said, What hast thou done?

It’s a simple question, isn’t it? Too often it is answered with excuses, just as:

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;  (1 Samuel 13:11 KJV)

Saul is taking credit for seeing a problem that required a solution, then blames Samuel for not being on time as well as blaming the Philistines for preparing for battles. Makes himself sound very good, doesn’t it? He’s aware of what’s going on around him, Samuel’s not paying attention – as well as being late – and the Philistines must be stopped. Only Saul is doing as he should, in his answer.

Unfortunately, Saul didn’t stop, with this explanation or his actions:

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. (1 Samuel 13:12 KJV)

“Therefore”, after giving his reasoning Saul confesses his sin. He took over Samuel’s responsibility of making a burnt offering.

Doesn’t sound too bad in black and white, does it? Oh, but it was – and is. I believe it has to do with what is in a person’s heart when they approach God. When we read “I forced myself,” we know that Saul was aware that making the burnt offering was not his responsibility. Saul had already complained about Samuel not showing up and gave that as one of the reasons for making the offering.

Also, Saul appears to equate beating the Philistines and asking for God’s help with the burnt offering, not with building a relationship with God. We see the difference in Samuel’s answer:

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. 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. (1 Samuel 13:13-14 KJV)

A look at Psalm 26 shows a lot about David’s relationship with God – why he was a man after God’s own heart:

A Psalm of David. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. (Psalms 26:1-2 KJV)

Saul is never shown as seeing God so personally. David’s prayers to the Lord are as personal as one friend to another, yet acknowledge God’s omnipotence. David approaches God acknowledging his shortcomings, understanding that his life is in God’s hands and stating his dependence upon God.

Huge differences between these two men. Samuel’s pronouncement “thy kingdom shall not continue” indicates there had been the possibility that it would. It was not his actions that removed that possibility, but what was in his heart - the foundation for the actions – that Saul’s kingdom did not continue.

It is my foundation – my heart’s desires – that determines my relationship with God, too. When I trust in the Lord, His desires are in my heart:

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4 KJV)

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