July 14, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Myra Chen, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Samuel 14:24-45
How did people suffer under Saul’s impulsiveness?
Under Saul’s impulsiveness, the people suffered in that they could not eat anything until the Philistines were completely defeated. They had just defeated a Philistine post and were tired but because of Saul’s oath, they could not eat. The passage says that the men were exhausted and faint. It doesn’t make sense to go into battle when you are exhausted, faint, and hungry, and this would in fact, hurt them even more. Even if they were to catch up with those who had run off, Saul’s soldiers had lost a lot of strength. Saul was careless, rash, and prideful in his words that had major consequences with his people.
Moreover, because of his impulsiveness and another unwise command, Saul almost put his own son to death. It is so ironic that Saul disobeys God’s commands flippantly but gets severely angry when others disobey his command to the point of death. But this is so like human nature in which I can be most impatient with others and overly generous with myself.

What lesson does this have for spiritual leaders, especially given the fact that “Saul built an altar to the LORD” and “it was the first time he had done this?”
As a spiritual leader, I cant merely be impulsive with my words and actions because it affects those around me. It can cause a lot of hurt or misunderstanding and at the end, hurt the advancement of the kingdom of God. Also, I need to be a leader who first looks to my own sins and myself before pointing at other people. Instead of being overly harsh, I need to see my own sins and understand the kind of mercy we’ve all been given for God.
It is sad that this is the first time Saul had built an altar to the Lord even though he had been King. Though he builds an altar to God, but he denies God’s power by often taking things into his own hands. The soldiers were so hungry that they forgot God’s law and started to eat meat with blood in it. So to take away their sins, Sault built an altar to God. Knowing that this was the first altar built to God, I can learn that Saul is not interested in a relationship with God or to worship him but merely because the men had sinned and he didn’t want God against them. As a spiritual leader, I need to make sure that my relationship with God is in the right place before I can lead others so that my position isn’t merely me having a form of godliness but denying God’s power. I need to make sure to prioritize my relationship with God first before desiring any kind of results or to look a certain way before people.
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