Last week, we watched as Saul turned against the LORD in his second military campaign. His first one, a sort of test run, went well as he followed the instructions of God. In this second one, however, he got nervous going up against the big Philistine army. His men scattered. Some hid. Others went home. Still others defected to the other side. So, Saul jumped the gun on asking the LORD for help. He went against God’s specific instructions and came up with his own plan.
"How foolish!" Samuel exclaimed. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. Had you kept it, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after His own heart. The LORD has already appointed him to be the leader of His people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." (1 Samuel 13:13-14 NLT)
The day that he messed up, the LORD sent him into battle anyway. Saul had 600 men. The Philistines had an army so big that they could not be counted. The LORD gave Saul, his son Jonathan, and the Israelites victory that day. The Philistines ran in fear. The battle belongs to the LORD.
The Israelites fought constantly with the Philistines throughout Saul's lifetime. So whenever Saul observed a young man who was brave and strong, he drafted him into his army. (1 Samuel 14:52 NLT)
Even with the victory that day Saul’s disobedience would cost him the throne, but not for another 40+ years. The throne would not be passed down to his son, Jonathan. Saul messed up, but he still had a job to do. He was still Israel’s human king.
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. (2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV)
As Christ-followers, we have a job to do, too. Our love for God drives us to fight the enemy and love people. We are at war, whether we like it or not. We have battles to fight, whether we have been successful in the past or not. God doesn’t leave us as a civilians to be slaughtered by the enemy. He drafts us as soldiers who will defeat the enemy. We simply need to learn to follow His command and we will win, because the victory belongs to the LORD.
How about you? Do you see the war? Do you see the battles? Do you see yourself as a civilian or as a soldier? Are you drafted into the military of the King?