Do You Trust In The Lord?
King Saul could have been a great king! The Lord handpicked Saul, the son of Kish, to fulfill Israel’s request for a king (1 Samuel 9-10). The Spirit of the Lord was with King Saul (1 Samuel 11). King Saul had the potential to be a great king over Israel, as long as he trusted the Lord.
As we study the life of King Saul, we begin to learn that Saul did not always trust in the Lord. Having defeated the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11), King Saul should have had his trust in God fortified. However, stepping into chapter thirteen we are shocked to learn that King Saul’s trust in God wavered. The Philistines had assembled a force of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen. The scriptures compare the size of the Philistine army to the sand on the seashore. According to Samuel’s instructions, King Saul waited seven days before engaging the Philistine army. At the appointed time, Samuel was to return from Gilgal to offer a burnt offering to the Lord. However, Samuel was delayed in his arrival and the people began to scatter due to fear (1 Samuel 13:8). King Saul made the unlawful decision to offer the burnt offering. Instead of trusting in God enough to patiently wait on Samuel’s arrival, King Saul put his faith in the importance of the burnt offering. (It may be King Saul assumed for the moment that God was not concerned with who offered the burnt offering.) After King Saul had completed the offering, Samuel arrived and rebuked him for his actions. Samuel said to King Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever” (1 Samuel 13:13). Truly King Saul did not trust in the Lord.
In a later incident, King Saul again made the ill decision not to trust in the Lord’s instructions. In First Samuel, chapter 15, Samuel conveyed to King Saul the Lord’s instructions to utterly destroy King Agag and the Amalekites. Samuel said, “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey’ ” (1 Samuel 15:3). While King Saul attacked the Amalekites, he and “the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed” (1 Samuel 15:9). King Saul’s lack of trust in God’s instructions brought with it punishment and consequences. Samuel said to King Saul, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). King Saul, in not trusting the word of the Lord and subsequently rejecting God’s word, lost his fellowship with God as well as the throne of Israel.
It would seem that King Saul had fallen as far as he could. He had disobeyed the Lord and lost the throne. His son Jonathan would never reign as king. From this point on, King Saul was alone. Samuel would not see King Saul again until Samuel’s death (1 Samuel 15:35; cf. 19:24). However, Saul had not yet learned his lesson of truly trusting in the Lord. In one final attempt to find help, King Saul appealed to a woman, a medium, who lived in En Dor. King Saul asked this medium to bring up Samuel from the dead. The medium set about to fulfill King Saul’s request, although she did not know it was King Saul. Much to her apparent surprise, the medium saw Samuel. Samuel told Saul that the Lord would deliver Israel into the hands of the Philistines and King Saul and his sons would die the following day (1 Samuel 28).
While I am certain we could attribute many faults to King Saul, the one upon which we are focusing is his lack of trust in God. King Saul failed to recognize the importance of trusting in the Lord. However, the king whom Samuel anointed to reign after King Saul did trust in the Lord. Consider King David’s trust in the Lord as reflected in the following passages:
- “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD.” (Psalms 4:5)
- “O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me,” (Psalms 7:1)
- “In the LORD I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain’?” (Psalms 11:1)
The life of King David is a testimony to his trust in the Lord. While King David was not without guilt, he lived his life trusting in the Lord.
The question for you and I is quite simple: Do we truly trust in the Lord? When the enemy was threatening his army, King Saul panicked and did what he thought was right. Unlike King Saul, are we willing to trust in the Lord and His instructions no matter how difficult and challenging life may become? Are we tempted to take matters into our own hands, doing what we think to be best? Solomon admonished his sons saying, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;” (Proverbs 3:5). While we are expected to do our part in whatever the crisis or trial may be, we must always trust the Lord and His instructions and not our own understanding.
Do we trust in the Lord enough to look beyond the “advice” and the pressures of our peers? King Saul attempted to shift the blame for his second act of disobedience to the desires and wants of the people. King Saul blamed the people for bringing back the livestock which the Lord had commanded them to kill. There may be times when we are tempted to heed the “advice” and pressures of our peers over the instructions found within God’s word. We must always remember that no matter what people may say, God’s ways are always right (cf. Isaiah 55:9).
Do we trust in some other “source” for help and strength? One final lesson we can learn from King Saul is seen in his attempt to use the medium, or witch, to find strength and help. Without realizing the full implications of their actions, many Christians look to other “sources” for help or strength. While I doubt many Christians would actually turn to “witchcraft” for help, some Christians may view validity in fortune tellers, astrological signs, tea leaves, tarot cards, etc. For a Christian to turn to such “helps” at any point in his life is to cease trusting in the Lord. Even relying upon “luck” as a valid source of hope is to look away from the Lord.
King Saul lost his throne, his life, and his soul because he did not trust the Lord. Give careful consideration to your life and to your trust in the Lord. If you will trust in the Lord, have faith that His word is right, and look only to Him, then you will walk the path which leads to heaven. Consider one more time the words of Solomon: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;” (Proverbs 3:5).