“’Enough!’ Samuel said to Saul. ‘Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night. Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission. Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?’ ‘But I did obey the Lord,’ Saul said….’You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!'” 1 Samuel 15:16-18,20,26
1 Samuel 15 is a sobering chapter. The Lord gives Saul a specific command, and Saul executes, his way. He is half-hearted, doing what he thinks best– again. Full of pride, having set up a monument for himself, Saul boasted that he had performed God’s command, then back-pedaled to blame his soldiers for his disobedience. The sad reality is that he headed down this pride-path from the beginning, and never relented, never turned around. His bent to promote himself and to serve his own whims and desires went unbridled, and grieved both Samuel and the Lord.
Saul manifests pride in areas that can make us squirm. His hiding from introduction, after receiving God’s anointing and power from the Holy Spirit, betrays a self-consciousness and focus on self, not God. When have I eschewed an introduction because of my own insecurity or unease, rather than accepting God’s mantle? His impatient decision to make an offering himself reveals his wrong thinking that exercising the role of priest when it was not his was no big deal, and magnifies his lack of trust in the Lord. When have I treated the profane as sacred, or acted ahead of my holy God, thinking my way is better and He will understand? Saul’s partial obedience in war that left him with plunder intended for destruction smacks of a willful choice to do what he thought best and what would benefit him most. How do I excuse half-heartedness, blame others, or make excuses for what I have intentionally decided or done? God is God, His word is His word. (1 Samuel 10:1,8,21-22; 13:8-12)
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16
Holy Father, expose and uproot the seedlings of pride. In every moment, at every crossroads, may I choose to accept Your word and heed Your good instructions to me.