Desperate Measures

How does your behaviour change when you are under pressure?  Do you turn to faith or do you try and control the situation yourself?  Is God the last resort or the first person you turn to?  For Saul, in the Bible, he felt the mounting pressure of Samuel not showing up and he turned to his own resources.  He started to try and control the situation himself.  His fears of losing control would plague him for the rest of his life.  It would drive him to near madness in his interractions with David.

1 Samuel 13

1 Saul was thirty[a] years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-[b]two years.

2Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand[c] chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

   Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11“What have you done?” asked Samuel.

   Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal[d]and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

Israel Without Weapons

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah[e] in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash. 17 Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual, 18another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness.

19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles[f] sharpened. 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel[g] for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel[h]for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.

22So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Attacks the Philistines

23 Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.

Questions

  1. What did Saul do that was so wrong?
  2. What was Samuel’s judgement?
  3. How was the king meant to function?
  4. How do you act under building pressure?
  5. How does God expect us to act under pressure?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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12 Responses to Desperate Measures

  1. Rebecca Langer says:

    What did Saul do that was so wrong?
    He did not trust Samuel and ultimately the Lord to do what they said that they were going to do so he took action himself.
    What was Samuel’s judgement?
    He told Saul that his kingdom would not endure and that the kingdom would go to a man after God’s own heart.
    How was the king meant to function?
    The King was supposed to follow God’s law and enforce it.
    How do you act under building pressure?
    Many times I get stressed under pressure and I kind of freak out inside. often instead of going to God for help, I try and do everything myself. It usually doesn’t work.
    How does God expect us to act under pressure?
    He expects us to go to Him and to wait for Him to work. We shouldn’t try and just do things out of our own strength. We can only live and breathe through God.

  2. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.What did Saul do that was so wrong?
    – He impatiently offered up the burnt offering before Samuel’s arrival because he feared to be defeated by Philistines.
    2.What was Samuel’s judgement?
    – Since Saul has not kept what God commanded, his kingdom will not endure and God ALREADY has appointed a man as a new king.
    3.How was the king meant to function?
    – King is to keep God’s command to establish the king’s kingdom.
    4.How do you act under building pressure?
    – I become intensely sensitive and I can’t see things rationally so I seek God for inner peace.
    5.How does God expect us to act under pressure?
    – Find peace in God and do what is right, trusting Him that He will give strengths to deal with the problem.

  3. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. Saul didn’t wait for Samuel and when he got nervous he decided to offer up the burnt offerings but that was not what he was supposed to do, he was supposed to wait for Samuel.
    2. Samuel said that since he did not obey the commands of the Lord his kingdom will not endure.
    3. The kingdom was meant to function as a kingdom under God, focused on His commandments and plans.
    4. Under building pressure I act flustered and confused and do not make great efficient decisions.
    5. God expects us to trust Him in times of stress and pressure and still obey His commandments!

  4. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. Saul took matters into his own hands and offered up the offering instead of waiting for Samuel. He disobeyed Samuel and God.
    2. If Saul had waited for him, then his family would have ruled over Israel forever. However because he disobeyed, the Lord would appoint someone else to be king over Israel.
    3. King was suppossed to be an example to the people in how they were to obey and worship God.
    4. After it has built for a while, I kind of freak out and either go to others for help or try to fix it myself. Honestly, going to God is sometimes my last resort.
    5. He expects us to still obey Him and follow Him. He also expects us to go to Him to find the peace and reassurance we need instead of going to others or trying to find it in ourselves.

  5. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.What did Saul do that was so wrong?
    Saul did not obey God’s command and offered up the offering.
    2.What was Samuel’s judgement?
    Samuel told Saul that Saul’s descendants would not receive the kingdom of Israel since Saul disobeyed God.
    3.How was the king meant to function?
    The king was supposed to follow God’s command and be a model of all people.
    4.How do you act under building pressure?
    I have a tendency to deal with the problem by myself while being under pressure and not to turn on God.
    5.How does God expect us to act under pressure?
    God wants us to turn to God first when we are under pressure.

  6. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. Saul disobeyed the ordinance of God by offering the sacrifice that was only for a priest to do.
    2. Saul’s kingdom would come to an end.
    3. The king was supposed to be a good role model for his people. He was to obey God and His commandments.
    4. I tend to worry and try to fix things by myself.
    5. God wants us to trust Him and know that He can do all things. Also, that He is able to create a way when there is no way.

  7. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) He disobeyed God, offering the burnt offering before Samuel came.
    2) Samuel tells him that his kingdom will not endure.
    3) The King was meant to follow God’s commands in everything.
    4) I pray a lot, but I also tend to try to control the situation on my own.
    5) He expects us to fully trust in Him.

  8. trishaindonesia says:

    -He was impatient, didn’t listen to the Lord’s command and did something only a priest could do.
    -Saul’s kingdom is going down.
    -The king is the role model and leader of his kingdom, including the spiritual aspect.
    -I freak out and do my best to have it all under control.
    -To not worry and give it all to Him.

  9. Moon [ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.What did Saul do that was so wrong? Saul did not fully trust God and he was not patient. so he offered up the burnt offering before Samuel came.
    2.What was Samuel’s judgement? (v.14)”But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command”
    3.How was the king meant to function? God’s meant to function as a follower of God’s commandments and ruling over the nation by the commandments
    4.How do you act under building pressure? ah. honestly i have, many times, found my impatience before God and tries to change things by my own power….
    5.How does God expect us to act under pressure? to do faithfully what we are supposed to do and trust God who is bigger than the pressure and working in our lives faithfully.

  10. Cassie Clark says:

    1.He was impatient and easily swayed by the people.
    2.The kingship would be taken away from Saul.
    3.As a spiritual leader and example for the people.
    4.Like right now? Completely stressed. I will pray but I still worry.
    5.With peace and trust.

  11. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. Saul offered the burnt offering and the fellowship offering himself, rather than wait for Samuel to get there and do it.
    2. Samuel’s judgment was that Saul’s kingdom would not endure.
    3. The king was meant to function as someone who kept the LORD’s commands.
    4. Under building pressure, I get stressed out. I don’t turn to God as much as I should, but I do turn to Him.
    5. God expects us to completely trust Him and follow His commands when we are under pressure.

  12. aaron wright says:

    1. he offered up an offering in haste without waiting
    2. his kindom was condemned to fail
    3. He was to act under God’s will and commands
    4. its very difficult, but i usually have to rely on God even more. (which is good)
    5. with patience and a deep trust in Him

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