In my blog entitled The Focus Of Your Hope, I wrote about how Saul and his family were now the focus of all Israel's hopes. I also pointed out that the Bible reveals to us a flaw in the character of Saul, false modesty.
Now this might seem like a small thing at first glance and perhaps we might even call it "good manners" but often times what we believe to be small problems are in reality an indication of a much bigger problem. My malignant tumor was less than an inch and a half long and the aneurym which ruptured in my brain was only a couple of millimeters and yet without immediate medical intervention those "small things" could have eventually caused my death. Small things are important.
In the previously mentioned blog, I mentioned that false modesty is a common characteristic of the narcissist which is defined as:
a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/narcissistic-personality-disorder/DS00652)
We have all been guilty of false modesty at one time or another and even exhibit narcissist behavior at times. That's not surprising since as you can see by the definition, narcissism springs from pride and the greatest narcissist of all is the enemy. However in the case of Saul, this small problem worsens to the point that it eventually consumes and destroys him.
In 1 Samuel 10, Samuel anoints Saul as the King of Israel. After being anointed, the Bible tells us that Saul was told that he would meet a band of prophets coming down from the altar. At that time the Spirit of the LORD would upon him with power, he would prophesy and he would be changed into a new person. As Saul turned to leave Samuel, the Bible tells us he was given a new heart (1 Samuel 10:5-9 NLT). He was a changed man, ready to be used by God and he was... for awhile.
This man had the Spirit of God upon him. He was prophecying and God had given him a new heart and yet something went horribly wrong. Please take a look at 1 Samuel 13:7b-14 (NLT)
Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear.
Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away.
So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.
Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him,
but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”
Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle.
So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”
“How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
While Saul attempted to justify and even blame Samuel for his disobedience, the truth of the matter is he had no authority to do what he had done, he hadn't waited upon God as directed and he had been disobedient. The Bible says nothing about Saul repenting of his actions. Could he have done so? Yes. We have several examples of David, for instance, doing exactly that when confronted by his sins. David took responsibility for his own actions and when God confronted him when he did wrong, David repented rather than play the blame game.
To me, the story of Saul is a chilling reminder that it is possible for God to give us a "new heart", have the Holy Spirit, be uttering prophecies and even be busy doing "God's Work" and yet lose it all due to pride and rebellion against God. Equipped by God, Saul still had to make a choice. Would he serve God or would he serve himself? I believe too, that we must make that choice, not once but daily.
Early this morning, I was listening to a pastor addressing his congregation about the need for his members to pray about how to confront, in love, those whom they knew were committing and lingering in sin(s), or to confess and repent of sins of which they knew themselves to be guilty. He further expounded on how these sins hurt the entire body of Christ if they are not dealt with. I thought it remarkable that he chose not to exempt himself from either category. He set a great example of wanting to take responsibility for his actions
[quote]David took responsibility for his own actions and when God confronted him when he did wrong, David repented rather than play the blame game.[/quote]
This is what good leaders do: repent when confronted with their sins.
I think, too, this is one of the reasons David was, and is still, such a beloved example of a man after God's own heart. This is a wonderful blog, K