13th September 2023
Read - 1 Samuel 13:8-15
Message Alan Burke
We have friends and we know when we make arrangements with them that you don’t hold them to their time keeping. We’ve experienced the same issue for years, in their house all the clocks are set about 15 minutes fast so when it’s 8am in reality they look at their clock and it’s 8:15am. Even with this they are always late, actually if they only showed up 15 minutes late I’d be in shock. The general rule is if you say come round for 11am you expect them for lunch, anywhere between 12:30-2pm and if they say come round for 2pm we’re having a family get together you know that there is no point of showing up to at least 3pm, maybe 4pm but we still love them. If they were always on time we would expect them on time and if they then for once showed up late we would wait, probably worrying about them wanting to know if they were ok.
Saul was told to wait for seven days at Gilgal, while he wanted we are also told that Samuel did not come to Gilgal. It seems that that Samuel did come on the seventh day it is just Saul couldn’t wait until the end of the seventh day. It’s like day seven at day brake, with the troops quaking with fear and Saul seeing troops scattering, under immense pressure, the fear the worry of what was happening with the Philistines gathering such a large force Saul takes things into his own hand. He offers the sacrifices that Samuel would have offered on Saul’s behalf, but Saul couldn’t wait. Well, it wasn’t that Saul couldn’t wait, he could have waited but he didn’t want to or rather he grew impatient out of his desperation, he was making a deliberate choice here don’t miss that, he was taking things into his own hands, he knew that it was Samuel who was to offer the sacrifices but he none the lest went ahead.
His desperation is clear, and in a sense if he had led as he should have in the beginning then he wouldn’t have found himself in this situation. What I mean by that is if his son Jonathan had not attacked, if Saul had sought the Lord, if he had have looked to the Lord in it all as he and all of Isreal were warned to do by Samuel then this entire station would have been avoided, but Saul went ahead and did it his way. Now Saul was facing the consequences of his failure to look to the Lord, was outnumbered, powerless, panicking, and before him all that he could see was the need to act, to take things into his own hands. In the midst of it all with the Philistine threat growing Saul should have been all the more eager for the Lord to speak and act. With all said and done, and the arrival of Samuel with Saul going out the blame game starts. Saul puts the blame squarely at Samuel’s feet, in effect he is saying, you were late, it’s not my fault.
This is one of those passages of scripture that if we are honest we will likely see so much of ourselves in and it should sadden us, for the picture that it portrays to us of someone who is unrepentant for their sin. Saul should have known better, but instead of waiting and listening to the council of Samuel, Saul instead points the finger away from himself. There is nothing new in this, think back to the garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve for eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the women you put me with, she gave me some and I ate, he passed the buck instead and showing no repentance. What about us, I ask that because Saul saw a situation that he felt the means was justified in-spite of how God’s will and God’s ways, then when confronted with his sin instead of holding his hands up and admitting what he had done he blamed another. Let’s not play the blame game, instead knowing that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9). Our Saviour Jesus Christ has dealt with it, to maintain fellowship with God and with one another we must continue to confess it, repenting from our sin. Is there unconfessed sin in your life or someone that you have blamed in the wrong, it’s time to do something about it.
Q45 Which is the first commandment?
The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exod. 20:3)