Thursday, January 11, 2024

After Man’s Own Heart

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. (Galatians 6:7 NLT)

Saul, the first king of Israel, had tremendous potential. He started out very well in the race of life, and if he had paced himself and played by the rules, he could have been one of the great heroes of the Bible.

As we read his story, he looks like one of the good guys. But suddenly and almost unexpectedly, he changed course. He began his reign in victory but ended it in humiliating defeat. He lost his character, his power, his crown, and his very life.

Saul’s life is a powerful example of what not to do.

Up to that point in Israel’s history, the nation had judges like Samson who fought for them and led them. Then they had the prophets who revealed the will of God to them. But the people wanted a king. Other nations had kings, and they wanted one too.

So, God gave the people what they asked for. He gave them Saul. If David was a man after God’s own heart (see 1 Samuel 13:14), then Saul was a man after man’s own heart.

This reminds us that we should be careful what we pray for, because God just might give it to us. It’s wise to follow the example of Jesus when He said, “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10 NLT).

God knows best. And if the Lord says no, then it is for our own benefit.

As for Saul, in many ways he had some fine qualities. He had everything he needed to be a good leader. The Bible gives us these details about Saul and his family: “There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. . . . His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land” (1 Samuel 9:1-2 NLT).

We know that Saul came from a good family because his father, Kish, was well-known and influential. Not only that, but the Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, and “God gave him a new heart” (1 Samuel 10:9). Everything was going Saul’s way. The Spirit of God came upon him, and he was ready to do what God had called him to do.

However, Saul squandered his resources and opportunities. He summed up his life with these words: “I have been a fool and very, very wrong” (1 Samuel 26:21 NLT).

Saul had a tremendous beginning but a tragic ending.

He stands as an example of what happens when someone rebels against God. His life reminds us of the fact that sooner or later, our sins will find us out. It may not happen today or a week from now. It may not even happen a month or a year from now. But the Bible teaches that ultimately, we will reap what we sow.

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