I Samuel 13
From Saul's Journal
The Philistines had been a power threat to us for, well, ever since I can remember.
The day Samuel held a ceremony to renew my title as official king of Israel, the Lord had led us to a tremendous victory over Nahash, the meanest, Philistine commander around.
Two years have since passed. Our armies had fought the Philistines more times than I care to count. Today we would fight again.
Thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and a Philistine army as numerous as the sand on the seashore came to battle us at Michmash. The people of Israel hid in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, pits, anywhere they could find to escape the cruel Philistines. Some families crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead to hide.
I stayed in Gilgal, my home. Those who stayed with me admitted to their fear. We didn't have the equipment, chariots, horsemen, or army to fight back. How can an army fight without weapons?
Samuel had given me the Lord's instructions before each battle. This time, Samuel said, "Wait seven days, I will come and offer a sacrifice and prayers to God for our soldiers. The Lord will bless.
On the seventh day, I wanted to get the battle started. I went for short walks and paced a lot, I didn't like waiting.
The next morning, I expected to see the prophet Samuel waiting outside my tent. Maybe he'd tap his foot and tell me I should have been ready at first light. But he wasn't there.
I paced again and barely ate any breakfast. The men asked, "Seven days have passed...when will we go to battle?" I didn't know. I had waited as I was instructed. Where was Samuel?
The noon hour had come. No sign of the prophet Samuel. Maybe he was sick. Maybe he was hurt. Maybe he wasn't coming.
I decided I had followed all of Samuel's instructions by waiting seven days. The Lord expected a sacrifice to dedicate the battle to Him and I wanted to get busy. I ordered two scouts to look for Samuel one last time. No sign of him.
I couldn't wait any longer. I ordered a burnt offering and peace offering to be brought and an altar set up. I shaded my eyes from the morning sun and searched the hills and valleys. Still no Samuel.
The time had come for me to offer the sacrifice myself. I did everything like I remembered seeing Samuel do.
But when the last words of the sacrifice left my mouth, Samuel appeared over the hill.
He looked at the sacrifice and over at me. His eyes grew wide. "What have you done, Saul?"
"Samuel, I waited seven days like you said. Much of our army had given up and scattered far from here. If I waited any longer we wouldn't have had any soldiers left to fight. The Philistines had prepared for this battle and would have overtaken us. A sacrifice had to be offered and you weren't here."
Samuel's face grew angry. He was really mad.
He said, "Saul, you have done foolishly. You've disobeyed the Lord's commands which he gave you. God would have made you and your family king over Israel forever. But not any longer. The Lord has found a man dedicated to serving Him and has commanded him to be the new king. The kingdom has been taken from you, Saul.
Samuel refused to stay for the battle. He shook his head and walked away.
1. Who came to fight the Israelites?
2. Why did Saul wait seven days?
3. Why do you think Samuel did not show when Saul expected him?
4. Why did Saul offer the sacrifice?
5. Why was this wrong?
6. What punishment was given.
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