Saul: The Judas King, part 2 - A Matter of Pride
The Bible says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a stumbling." (Proverbs 16:18)
The world has had its share of Ceasars, Emperors, and Kings. There has been no want for Napoleons who place a crown upon their own head. The nation of Israel was to be different as God designed it. So how did it turn to evil? God's point in Israel's story is that there can be no differentiation between Israel and the surrounding nations when the people's hearts do not change.
From generation to generation, the hearts of the people were not willing to submit to the law of God. "because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." (Romans 8:7) Israel remained lost; only a small remnant of believers within the land had their hearts changed by God. So it is with present-day Christianity.
Therefore, when the people asked for a king, it was a sinful, rebellious people who desired Saul to be king and exalted above the God of Israel. It was the people of Adam's race and not those like Samuel who walked with God and a new heart.
"Then Samuel said to all Israel, "Behold, I have listened to your voice in all that you said to me, and I have appointed a king over you." (1 Samuel 12:1) After hearing from the people of his innocence before them and how God raised holy men to lead the people into the promised land and judges who led them to repent from their sins. "Then all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king."
Unfortunately, the die was cast, and Samuel did not ask them to refuse a man being king over God. He concluded with the words, "But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away." (12:25) Eventually, they were.
In the very next chapter, the Philistines made war with Israel. When Samuel delayed coming to offer sacrifices so the people could have victory before their enemies, Saul committed an act that revealed his heart's true nature. He offered the sacrifice for the people, a practice done by the Levitical priesthood alone.
When Samuel appeared, he said, "What have you done?" And Saul said, "Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash; therefore I said, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.' So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering." (1 Samuel 13:11-13)
Did you catch the reasonings of this first "Great" king? He entered into a priesthood that symbolically represented Christ before the people. Who can offer a sacrifice for sins other than Christ? What possible circumstance can justify entering into the office that belongs to Christ alone? What blessing will God bestow upon a person who presumes to take Christ's place?
"For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; ...there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “see,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:3, 4-5)
How many cults, by their teachings, presume to replace Christ? How many founders, leaders, and teachers seek to dethrone the crucified and risen Christ by substituting religion of their own making for Christ? Before we, who name Christ's name within the one true and living Church, think too highly of ourselves; we should consider every disingenuous act, whereby leaders take matters into their own hands, as those who dethrone our Savior also.
If you are ignorant of all such behavior, the method of identifying it is to look at how the world behaves, and when the Church mimics such behavior, then you will have recognized it. Why is it so essential to stay entirely faithful to the Word of God? To depart is to dethrone the author. While one Church argues with another about doctrine, the point missed is removing Christ by beliefs of defiance.
The truth is far too narrow for every denomination and Church to be right about every difference. The story of Saul continued. "Samuel said to Saul, "You have acted 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. "But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you." (13:13-14)
How much time are we spending in prayer to consider our ways before God?
Concepts to Contemplate:
Once an illegitimate system is established, it is almost impossible to remove it or not feel its effects. The extent of a Christian leader's authority is no small matter.
Come out and be separate from the world is no less essential for the Church today. Love, not the world, is a vital principle by which every Christian is to live their life before God, without exception.
Taking matters into our own hands can quickly become a deadly addiction. It always leads to death. Avoid it like the plague. We are in a perfect environment to see how that looks.
Justifying our actions becomes more effortless with the more power we possess. Therefore, always handle authority as though it were nitroglycerin.
Where differences exist, we should not assume we are correct. We should immediately take one step back and consider the possibility we might be in a position to dethrone God's Son. We need to be in a constant state of humbling ourselves before God.