THE SINS OF SAUL
by Robert B. MACDORMAND
Saul was the first anointed king of Israel. It was not very
long after he took the throne that he sinned against God and had
the promise of a dynasty removed from him. The army of Israel was
gathered to fight the Philistines and waited for Samuel to come
and make a sacrifice to the Lord. Then Saul committed his first
grave sin. "And he tarried seven days, according to the set time
that Samuel had appointed; but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the
people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a
burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the
burnt offering." I Samuel 13:8-9.
After that, Samuel arrived and pronounced the Lord's
judgment on Saul. "And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done
foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy
God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord
have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever. But now thy
kingdom shall not continue..." I Samuel 13:13,14.
What a tragic event this was. It would have been better for
Israel if Saul had not lost the throne through his sins. There
could have been two lines of kings: one over Israel and the other
over Judah, descended from Saul and David. God intended all along
to separate Israel and Judah. Moses knew that someday Judah would
be a separated nation. He prayed for them, saying, "Hear, Lord,
the voice of Judah, And bring him unto his people..." Deuteronomy
33:7. When Israel and Judah separated, God said "...this thing is
done of me", 2 Chronicles 11:4. Instead of a line of kings from
Saul, there was a chaotic line of kings. From Jeroboam (the man
who caused Israel to sin) to the captivity there was not one
righteous king. Even Jehu, the mighty hero, turned away from God.
Compare this to the kingdom of Judah that had several righteous
kings, all descended from David.
There was nothing wrong with Saul offering a sacrifice for
himself. Samson's parents offered a sacrifice for themselves and
it was accepted by God. (Judges 13:19) Saul's sin was in offering
a sacrifice for the nation. He was making himself both
king and high priest. This is a right only Jesus Christ can
claim. (Hebrews 3:1) In the Old Testament, only a descendant of
Levi could be high priest. Saul was from Benjamin.
Saul's second terrible sin was going to the witch of Endor
to enquire of an evil spirit instead of enquiring of God. This
witch brought up an evil spirit which was disguised as Samuel.
"And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and
the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? For
thou art Saul... And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he
stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself."(I Samuel
28:12,14). The evil spirit revealed to the woman that her visitor
was Saul. She thought Saul had tricked her and would put her to
death, for he had a reputation of killing spirit mediums. The
evil spirit was Samuel the deceiver, not Samuel the prophet of
God. The spirit rebuked Saul for not killing all of the
Amalekites, but said nothing about his consulting the witch.
However, consulting a spirit medium was an extremely serious
offense for which God said He would cut the guilty person off
from Israel (Leviticus 20:6).
In our day, people in a deliverance ministry (expelling evil
spirits) claim that an evil spirit can disguise itself as
someone else. It can appear as a deceased loved one, a saint, the
Virgin Mary, an angel of light or even as Jesus. Possibly none of
us will ever see such a manifestation, but if we did, we would
have to test its words with scripture. An angel that preaches a
message of universal love and the brotherhood of mankind without
giving glory to Jesus Christ is not of God, but is a deceiver.
Jesus tested Satan's words and resisted temptation by using
scripture (Matthew 4:7).
The true nature of the spirit that appeared to Saul is
revealed in another part of the Bible.
"So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against
the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not,
and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to
enquire of it; And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew
him, and turned the kingdom unto David, the son of Jesse."
I Chronicles 10:13,14.
I believe it was not God's intention to kill Saul, at that
time anyway, but because of this second great sin, Saul brought
swift judgment upon himself and his sons. The familiar spirit
knew this would happen.
These creatures understand how God's Law work. We may think
it unfair that judgment fell on Saul's sons, but that is just the
way it is. People suffer for the sins of their fathers. We all
suffer for Adam's sin. It is also true that people benefit from
their fathers' righteousness even when they do not deserve it.
The good things we have are the result of a Christian
heritage. We are also in God's favor because of the righteousness
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God's promises to them remain with
us, despite our unworthiness.
From "Thy Kingdom Come" (January 2009) a publication of The
Association of the Covenant People, Burnaby, B.C. Canada.