14:24-52 – Making mistakes – it’s part of life for all of us: ‘We all make mistakes. If any one makes no mistakes… he is a perfect man’ (James 3:2). What are we to make of the ‘mistakes’ made by Saul and Jonathan? Saul’s ‘mistake’ was an error of judgment which ‘troubled the land’ (24,29). Jonathan’s ‘mistake’ was unfortunate. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he ‘had not heard’ what had been going on before he arrived on the scene (27). It was almost his last ‘mistake’ (43-44)! How are we to react to our mistakes? We can be like Saul or we can learn from our mistakes. Digging in his heels, Saul blundered on from one ‘mistake’ to another. He acted like he was the ‘perfect man’ who never makes ‘mistakes’. He had got it wrong, and he was the last to see it (44-45)! May God help us to learn from our mistakes!
15:1-35 – Saul chose convenience rather than obedience. He did what he wanted – not what God commanded (3,9). Saul was disobedient. God was not pleased with him (10). Saul made big claims for himself: ‘I have performed the commandment of the Lord’ (13). This was nonsense. Samuel saw through it immediately – ‘What then is this bleating…?’(14). Saul had done what suited himself. God said one thing. Saul did another. Saul tried to ‘pass the buck’. He blamed ‘the people’ (21). Saul appears to confess his sin. Still, there is this element of ‘passing the buck’. He blames ‘the people’ – ‘They put me up to it. It was their idea’ (24). This was ‘the last straw’. For Saul, this was ‘the end’ – ‘the show was over’. He would be replaced (26-28). Love God ‘with all your heart…’ – not just a part (Deuteronomy 6:5)!
16:1-23 – ‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’(7). ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart’ – This is something we must never forget!’. ‘It’s the presence of Your Spirit, Lord, we need’ (Songs of Fellowship, 256) – This is the lesson we must learn from the stories of Saul and David. The great difference between the two men is summed up in verses 13-14: ‘the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David… the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul’. David exerted a good influence upon Saul (23). Sadly, however, Saul’s best days were behind him. He was only a shadow of what he could have become if he had chosen to become ‘ a man after God’s own heart’ (13-14). Don’t settle for second best when you can have God’s very best!