SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Saul's tenure as king of Israel gets off to a bumpy start. His forces attack a leader of the Philistines, Israel's opposition, and the Philistines respond by dispatching a large number of soldiers to prepare to battle Israel.
- Saul attempts to rally Israelites to battle the approaching Philistines, but his forces quickly realize they are outnumbered. So they retreat into caves and other hiding spots.
- Samuel shows up and reprimands Saul for acting foolishly. (Previously, in chapter 10, Samuel had told Saul to wait for him before making any sacrifices or big decisions. When Saul didn't think Samuel would stay true to what God had told him, he took matters into his own hands.)
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We can relate to Saul. Even when we know what God wants us to do in a situation, it's tempting to take matters into our own hands and do what we want instead of what God wants. Giving into this temptation, however, can lead to huge problems in our life and our relationship with God.
- Make sure you are faithful to God, even when you're given an easier way out that will make you look better.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- In what situation are you tempted to take the easy way out, or go against what you know God wants you to do? Is there a relationship you know God wants you to end? (Or a relationship he wants you to start?) Do you need to confess secret sin to a friend? Do you need to apologize to a colleague you stepped on in your pursuit of your own advancement? Right now you can pick up the phone, write an email, or schedule a meeting to turn those situations around for God.