Saul and all that

In the 1st Book of Samuel (12), Saul is made king over Israel. With that sole condition, that both the people and the king ruling over them must obey the commands of the Lord, their God.
Though the choice of king instead the Lord is sinful per se, the Lord chooses to stay with his chosen nation. For his own sake. I sometimes like to think that He Upstairs must have felt fairly lonely, and this is why humans exist: to keep him company.
So what to do when one’s choices have been on the shady side or wrong outright? Refuse form communication with God, deeming Him to be upset past talking point, or still try to find out whether a change is possible? The answer, though obvious here, is a tough one. Samuel says: Do not be afraid. It is true you did wrong, but do not turn away from the Lord. Serve the Lord with your whole heart.
This gives a ray of hope in a situation when something in one’s choices has gone, lets say, astray. When the good things one has chosen have turned out to be the ‘low king’ (see former) sort of things. One’s memory of God’s work in their life is of assistance here.

Saul, being the epitome of the rise of the nation, is also the epitome of the fall of the nation. The episode with him doing the offering bit and not waiting for Samuel is most certainly illustrative of human fear and impatience and their fruit.
It was only a/the matter of hours, and the plan of God would have been fulfilled. Yet in his ignorance of the general plan (here I have to give one to Saul, he was under a lot of pressure there, him being the king in charge and all the army slowly drifting away just like that, losing the last of hope they had). It is only natural he chose to speed the victory process up somehow. Sometimes the instructions we get do not really encourage us. Sometimes they are meant to develop our reliance on God’s promises, and that is a hard job.
Yet by doing the right thing in the wrong time, Saul transgresses the frail borders of kingship.
So we have an action outline here: fear -> impatience -> more fear => sin [transgression] => {being cut off from kingship} => even more fear, and this time well founded.
This chapter speaks of the importance of waiting on the Lord – waiting, with weapons at the ready, with sacrifices and offerings prepared, alert and ready to strike out in the direction indicated. It also speaks of the importance of doing the right things in the right time.

Jonathan, in 1st Samuel 14, plays the voice of reason. And is defended by the army.
Saul 1) makes a hasty oath about all the army fasting and 2) builds an unsolicited altar to the Lord, and 3) tries to fulfil the oath to the letter, completely ignoring the spirit of the situation.

Had not Saul made the hasty oath about the army not eating the whole day (just think of all those guys dressed up in all that bronze or whatever they were wearing, fighting the whole day in the sun, and without eating at that) the army had not eaten the animals without draining the blood first. So actually the ‘low king’s’ command caused the people sin against the ‘high king’.

It will be interesting to follow the development of action in the future.

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