King Saul’s Choice

Karine Chan

1 Samuel 10:17-25; 13:1-14

Samuel gathered the people together at Mizpah. God had a message for them. God‘s message was that the Israelites had rejected God, even though He had saved them from their troubles. They demanded God give them a king. Other nations had a king, and Israel wanted one too. The people came before God so that a king could be selected.

God chose Saul from the tribe of Benjamin to be the king of Israel. But no one could find him! The people searched and searched for Saul. They asked God where Saul was. God told them Saul was hiding among the supplies. They ran and found him. When Saul stood up he was taller than everyone else. The people thought he looked like a king. Samuel told the people God had chosen Saul. The Israelites were happy to have a king.

The time came when King Saul was preparing to battle the Philistines. Jonathan was King Saul’s son. He led his army to attack the Philistines’ garrison (or governor). The king blew the trumpet to warn the people to get ready for a larger battle. The Philistines gathered to fight against Israel. They had more chariots, horses, and men. When the men of Israel saw the size of the enemy army, they hid. Some of the men ran away. Samuel told Saul that in seven days he would come and make an offering to pray for the battle. Saul waited seven days in Gilgal. More of his men became very afraid and more men were running away. So King Saul chose to make the burnt offering himself.

As Saul was finishing with the offerings, Samuel arrived. “Because you disobeyed God’s command, you will not last as king,” said Samuel. God chose someone else to be the ruler of God’s people.

You might have learned about cause and effect in school. The cause of something is the reason why it happened while the effect is the result of what happened. For example, if you eat too much sugar before bedtime, you may have stomach trouble or a hard time falling asleep. If you peek at your birthday presents before it’s time to open them, you will not have a surprise waiting for you when you open them. Our choices have consequences. What we do affects what happens. Every choice you make has some type of consequence—either good or bad!

King Saul experienced specific consequences for his actions. They were not always positive consequences. One time, Saul and his men were preparing for battle against a much larger army. They were afraid, and some men ran away. The prophet Samuel told Saul to wait for seven days, and he would come and make an offering to the Lord on their behalf for protection in battle. Saul and his men grew impatient. Even though Saul knew burning offerings to God was not something he should do, he made the choice to do it himself. What was the result? When Samuel arrived and saw what Saul was doing, he gave Saul a stern warning. Because of his disobedience, Saul would not last long as king. Saul’s poor choice had lasting consequences on his life.

Just like Saul disobeyed God, we are often disobedient, too. It is important to note that every one of our choices has consequences. Saul’s consequence was that he would not remain king. Our consequences will probably be very different, but it is important to know that we are responsible for the choices we make. The consequences we are given are a result of the specific choices we make daily.

God desires for us to obey Him. As we obey His Word, we show respect for God’s authority over our lives. The choice is yours!

Review Questions:

1. Why did the Israelites want a king?

2. What did Samuel tell Saul when he heard they were afraid of the Philistine army?

3. What wrong choice did Saul make, and what was the consequence of his actions?

Pray: God, help us want to obey Your Word. When we are faced with hard choices, help us look to You to make decisions that honor You. Forgive us when we make wrong choices. Amen.