LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF SAUL - KING OF ISRAEL
Continued from part one
SAUL - STARTED RIGHT - ENDED WRONG
When Samuel told Saul that his father's household was
greatly favored in Israel, notice Saul's humble reply: "Am I not
a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my
family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin?
Why then do you speak like this to me?" (1 Sam.9:21 NKJV).
Certainly this attitude of Saul's shows the humility that the
Bible proclaims is the necessary attribute of mind to please the
Later, Samuel tells Saul what would befall him after they parted
company (chapter 10:2). You will see a promise was given by
Samuel that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon Saul. The
exact words are very revealing.
"....Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will
prophecy with them (group of prophets, verse 5) and be TURNED
INTO ANOTHER MAN" (verse 6). There can be no mistake - Saul was
going to be CONVERTED by the Lord through the power of the Holy
Spirit. So much so was this going to be that all who formerly
were acquainted with Saul, believed he had become one of the
prophets of God (verses 10-13).
Verse nine gives us the truth that the Eternal gave Saul "another
Not only was he turned into another man in heart and mind by
the Spirit, but Saul was also given by God, valiant men as
companions, whose hearts had been touched by the Lord (verse 26).
Saul had everything going for him. He was tall and handsome. He
was favored by the people of Israel. He was put with the prophets
of Israel, and looked upon as one of them. He was, through the
Spirit, converted and changed in heart. And then to help him rule
Israel righteously, he was given strong male companions who also
had been touched by the hand of God.
Could anything have been better for Saul's salvation and
relationship with the Almighty? I cannot think how. Saul was
STARTING OFF on the right road, which would have led him to the
first resurrection and eternal life.
But, by the time we come to chapter 15, Saul was WAY OFF
track and heading for the DITCH along the side of the road that
leads only to the loss of salvation and destruction.
What should this TEACH US?
Why, the truth that is shouted to us many times over in the
Scriptures. There is NO doctrine of the Lord as "once saved
always saved." Such a teaching is man made, from the minds of
individuals who have not only perverted certain verses in the
Bible, but have also willfully rejected many verses in the Word
(such as those we are studying in this article) that plainly
prove you will be saved into the Kingdom of God ONLY if you
ENDURE (REMAIN FAITHFUL) to the END (see Matthew 24:12,13).
This is not the place to expose in detail the heresy of this
false teaching of "once saved always saved." The reader can study
my in-depth article called "Saved by Grace" for the plain truth
of the subject and doctrine of personal Salvation.
SAUL'S SINS - LESSONS FOR US
As we analyze the errors, mistakes, and sins that Saul
committed in just this one chapter (15) of 1 Samuel, many lessons
and a lot of pertinent instruction for us can be found, if we
will search for it. Some of this instruction is plain to see, on
the surface, a little more is a little deeper to uncover, needing
extra thought. But it is to our benefit to search the matter out.
Samuel gives VERY CLEAR and precise instruction to Saul as to
what the Lord was commanding him to do against the Amalekites,
and the city of Amalek (chapter 15:13). Samuel was quite precise
in naming to Saul WHO and WHAT in the city of Amalek was to be
destroyed. Saul went forth to do the Lord's will. And when Samuel
came to him he proclaimed, ".....I have performed the
commandments of the Lord' (verse 13). As we read the next verses
it becomes clear that Saul had done no such thing. The first
teaching for us is that Saul just up front, openly, and very
simply, DISOBEYED the command of God, while making out he had
How often, in OUR carnality, do we just simply NOT OBEY a
commandment of God? We do at times, through the weakness of the
flesh, through the wiles of the Devil, fall short, miss the mark,
and DISOBEY the Almighty. Hopefully, as a true Christian, we will
not do as Saul did. Hopefully when God's command is set before us
in all it's simplicity, we will ACKNOWLEDGE when we have not
observed it (1 John 1:8-10). Saul added more sin to his already
sin, by trying to deceive others (and possibly himself) that he
had obeyed God, that he had NOT sinned, done NO wrong.
This second sin, manifested the real attitude of Saul. True
humility and a genuine converted heart had dissipated from Saul.
Now it was a pretence of "I am obeying" when he knew very well he
was not obeying. His religion had become HYPOCRISY! His theology
had now become the proverbial "say one thing but do another."
This sin we all need to realize, will take us away from the
grace of God, and back out into the darkness of the carnal world.
It will lead us on into willful sin - the unpardonable sin - sin
from which we cannot repent! For let's notice what further sin
Saul entered upon as Samuel began to untangle the truth from the
"But Samuel said, 'What then is this bleating of the sheep
in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?'" (verse
Look at the answer Saul gave.
"THEY have brought them from the Amalekites; for THE PEOPLE
spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to SACRIFICE to the
Lord your God, and the rest we have utterly destroyed."
Immediately, Saul put the blame on OTHERS. It was "the devil
made me do" or someone else was responsible type of attitude, but
NOT himself, he was clean in his own eyes. The sin of
SELF-justification and SELF-righteousness was proclaimed loud and
strong by Saul. Coupled with that was the deceptive reasoning
that what in fact was DISobedience, was thought to be
righteousness. Saul argued that what they had done was FOR THE
LORD! Why, they were going to honor and worship God with the
animals they spared. They were going to sacrifice them to the
Eternal. And this amounted to yet another sin - worshipping God
according to our own whims and wishes, whatever way takes our
fancy at the time, regardless as to the way the Lord has told us
to serve and worship Him.
The word is full of "Christianity" that is according to the
ideas of men. Yes, it may SEEM good, people may THINK or SAY it
is good, but if those forms of worship are in opposition to the
direct laws, commandments, teaching, and will of God, then it is
the sin of REBELLION, INIQUITY, and IDOLATRY, as Samuel told Saul
in those famous words of his found in verses 22,23.
The Eternal God has NOT given mankind the freedom to figure
out for themselves HOW to worship God, in the way they choose,
from their own inventions of the mind. The Lord has given to
mankind only the freedom as to WHETHER they will worship Him or
not, according to the spirit and the truth of His word. God sets
the RULES! He lays down the right from the wrong, LIFE from
DEATH! He only gives us the freedom to CHOOSE either life on the
one hand, or death on the other hand. Of course I am speaking
about the large, over-all areas of worship towards God, there are
none essentials that the Eternal does give us complete freedom
in, such as eating meat or not eating meat (Romans 14).
Jesus said to the Father, "not my will be done but your
will." Saul said in effect that he would not do God's will, but
he would do his own will, while claiming it was God's will, while
believing he was worshipping the Almighty in spirit and in truth.
The Eternal made it very clear through Samuel that such
theological concepts would NOT be accepted and were gross sin!
Samuel CORRECTED Saul's thinking (verses 17-19). Told him he
had not obeyed and had done evil in the sight of the Lord (verse
19). What was the second response from Saul? Was it one of
complete humble repentance? Did he acknowledge his sin, and cry
out in true repentance?
Verse 20 relates how Saul ONCE MORE stood with bold faceness
before God and claimed he had obeyed and had "utterly destroyed
the Amalekites." Once again SOMEONE ELSE other than himself was
to blame, but even their actions were done to serve the Lord
(verse 21). He still could not see ANY SIN being committed even
as he acknowledged that what the people took should have been
Saul had been given the INSTRUCTIONS as to the Lord's will.
The responsibility of following those instructions lay squarely
at the feet of Saul. It could not be shifted onto the shoulders
of ANYONE else! His service towards God was his personal
Likewise for each of us today. Our responsibility to serve
God, to obey Him, to do His will, is personally OURS! The will of
God is revealed to us in His word. The NT admonishes us to KNOW
His will, to understand His way, to have the mind of Christ in
us, to study to show ourselves approved, to search the Scriptures
daily, to prove all things, to grow in grace and knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
We must never make the mistake of blaming someone else for
our sins, for our errors, for our deceptions, for our being led
astray into false theology, and into ways that may seem right to
man but end in death. We must be on guard never to do, or to
reason as Saul did here at this time in his life.
We must always DESIRE to know the way, the will, and the
commandments of the Eternal. We are, as a true Christian, always
PERSONALLY responsible before God for finding, knowing, and
staying with His truth and righteousness. We can never blame our
sins, our backsliding, or our falling away from the Lord, on ANY
human person other than ourselves. Our salvation is VERY
PERSONAL. We cannot enter the Kingdom of God on the shirt-tails
or back of another flesh and blood individual. And in like
manner, no person but ourselves, can take us from truth into
error, from obedience to dis-obedience of the perfect will of
Samuel once more, with even STRONGER correction, denounced
the sin of Saul (verses 22,23).
Saul responded in a way that many mistakenly believe was
true repentance (verses 24,25). But Samuel knew the deceitful
depths of the sin of Saul's heart. Notice how he answered Saul:
"..I will not return with you, for you HAVE REJECTED THE WORD OF
THE LORD..." (VERSE 26).
The rest of the life of Saul, with its many UPS and DOWNS in
his personal character, shows clearly that indeed his heart was
never again within the righteousness and grace of God, that makes
for being a true child of the Eternal.
Saul, had what the apostle Paul later called "the repentance
of the world." He was in the state of mind that was merely
saying, "oh, poor old me, I feel sorry for myself." It was not
the repentance or sorrow that is the godly kind, not to be
regretted. But Saul had the sorrow of this world that produces
DEATH (2 Cor.7:8-11).
Saul was never again able to come to godly repentance
Did he commit the un-pardonable sin? Maybe! Only the
Almighty knows for sure. Certainly his attitude of heart effected
his entire physical life from that day forward to his death.
We need to take heed unto such an example as that of Saul, lest
when we have started out as did Saul, and when we have prophesied
(by our lips of confession to be a Christian) and preached (by
our conduct) to others, we should be a cast away (1 Cor.9:27).
Salvation is a GIFT. We are saved by GRACE through FAITH
(Eph.2:8). Yet, most professing Christians DO NOT understand the
doctrine of salvation by grace, as shocking as it may sound
(remember if you are in doubt about this subject to study my
article called "Saved by Grace").
Once we have received salvation as a gift, we have our part
to play in the process of being saved to INHERIT eternal life. We
are not "once saved always saved." We must ENDURE to the END!
Those who do shall be saved into the Kingdom of God, as Jesus
Now we are HEIRS of the Kingdom (Romans 8), not YET
The Father in heaven has not left us in darkness as to HOW
to endure to the end, as to how to inherit eternal life. He
inspired Peter to tell us HOW to make our calling and election
That WAY is found in 2 Peter 1:2-11. Read it carefully. Look
up the words used in verses 5-7, in a Greek/English dictionary
such as VINE'S NT WORDS. Study the section with the help of one
or more of the popular BIBLE COMMENTARIES such as "Barnes' Notes
on the New Testament," or the commentaries by Adam Clark, Matthew
Henry and others. Study this section of scripture with some of
the modem Bible translations, such as The Amplified Bible.
Truly, as Peter said, if you DO THESE THINGS as in verses
5-7, you shall NEVER FALL, but, ".....an entrance will be
supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (verse 11, NKJV).
Written August 1997