So last friday was another one of the bible-school-students-giving-5-minute-messages evenings at church. (why do I hate the word ‘sermon’ so much?) Dora shared last and I thought what she had to say was quite interesting.
She had been considering why Saul fell, yet David, who sinned just as much or more, managed to keep his heart right and repent time and again.
It is obvious that Saul was very concerned about his position and making a name for himself. When Samuel called him on his sin in 1 Samuel 15, he pleaded for Samuel to honor him before the people. Saul could not bear to have the people see him in a bad light.
Saul was an over-achiever who repeatedly tried to take matters into his own hands instead of allowing the Lord to fight his battles for him. David, on the other hand, was content to trust God to deliver him, even after he had Saul within his grasp on two occasions.
David knew what it meant to be totally reliant on God, Saul did not.
Where did all of this come from?
Dora went back and looked at their beginnings. Saul was ‘asked for’ by the people. His name means:
to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand: ask, beg, lay to charge, consult, demand, desire earnestly, wish for
It is said that he was a ‘goodly’ man, and that he was head and shoulders above the people. Saul was humble and didn’t react with pride when Samuel anointed him…on the contrary, he hid away when Samuel wanted to announce him to the people.
So, what went wrong?
A lack of adequate preparation. When Saul was called, he didn’t have sufficient character to realise that it was not about him. When he hid away, it wasn’t true humility, (true humility doesn’t hide) it was from a sense of inadequacy, which really is false pride.
David was called after he had already fought and killed the lion and bear in obscurity while he was a sheperd. He had learned to be an overcomer in a hidden place where there was no-one to see and pat him on the back. He had learned to rely on God to fight his battles for him before he was ever in the limelight. In this lonely place where he was not esteemed by anyone, God became his source, but more than that, He became his beloved…David’s name means ‘beloved’ but it comes from a root word ‘to boil’ – his heart boiled with love for God!
Have you ever experienced the pressure that comes when you learn that you are highly esteemed by someone whose opinions mean a lot to you? I remember how someone once told me this, and afterwards I couldn’t just be myself around that person, I always had to labor to make sure that I remained on that elevated pedestal that he had put me on.
I think this is what happened to Saul. He simply didn’t have enough experience in the things of God to understand that it wasn’t about him or his achievements. He was still highly insecure, and didn’t know how much God loved him, nor did he understand grace, like David did. Then, when he became king, he had to keep up the fascade of being the kind of man that Israel would desire as a king.
I wonder how many young people come out of seminary and are sent into the ministry before they have a thorough grounding in the things of God. Knowledge is helpful and necessary but what the world really needs is ministers of the word who have allowed God to build true character into their lives. People who have learned through their trials that they are totally reliant on God, and that when they are weak, He is strong.
Paul says that someone desiring to be a minister should:
1Ti 3:6 Not (be) a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
I agree with Dora, that it is better for ministers to have their insecurity issues dealt with before they are sent out, lest they become as concerned with keeping up appearances as Saul did. Of course, God is not to be put in a box and there are no hard and fast rules on this one, but I wonder how many people ‘went’ before they were ‘sent’ and got horribly burned in the process.