These three chapters record three sins of King Saul--sins that ultimately cost him the kingdom.
The first was that of impatience. The time had come for Israel to gather at Gilgal as Samuel and Saul had agreed months before. The vast host of the Philistines began to assemble and the longer Saul waited, the more dangerous his position became. If he were to strike immediately he could defeat the enemy, but his delay only gave them opportunity to become stronger. Saul's impatience and unbelief led him to go ahead without Samuel, and while he was completing the offering the prophet arrived. Saul tried to put the blame on Samuel and the people. But the prophet knew the truth. This was the beginning of the end. If God could not trust Saul in this little matter, how could He trust him with the kingdom? Saul's disobedience cost him the kingdom.
The second of Saul's sins recorded here is that of pride. Jonathan is one of the finest characters in sacred history, a picture of genuine victorious faith--a glowing contrast to his father. King Saul was surrounded by a company, among whom were relatives of Eli, but who manifested unbelief. The Lord miraculously worked through an earthquake, sending confusion and destruction among the Philistines.
The third sin of Saul was that of disobedience. God would give Saul one more chance to prove himself, this time in utterly destroying Israel's old enemies, the Amalekites. But Saul did not obey the Lord. He lied to Samuel, saying he had obeyed. As a result, Saul lost his earthly humility and became proud and disobedient. He had rebelled against the Word of God and had tried to make up for his disobedience by sacrifices.
Saul wanted a good reputation; he lost the Lord's blessing; and he lost the kingdom. From then on it would be a dark, winding road to becoming a castaway, and being slain by the very Amalekites he refused to kill.
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