Learning from King SAUL’s Mistakes

But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”  (1Sam 13:14)

After King Saul’s first mistake, the tearing of the kingdom away from him had begun.

We need to learn the lessons from Saul’s mistakes so that we will avoid having the kingdom of Christ torn from us.

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen

(Rev 1:6; cf. 1Pet 2:9).

While Saul started out strong, the 4 mistakes in this article describe why the kingdom was torn from him so dramatically. Saul made other errors after these, but these are the reasons given by Samuel for the kingdom being given to David.

SACRIFICING without AUTHORITY: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him” (1Sam 13:8-10).

One of the key mistakes of King Saul, as seen in 1 Samuel 13, was his impatience and failure to wait for the prophet Samuel before offering a burnt sacrifice. Saul allowed fear and pressure from his army to push him into taking matters into his own hands, disregarding the authority of God’s chosen servant. This act revealed Saul’s lack of trust in God’s timing and his failure to follow divine instructions.

ARROGANCE and PRESUMPTION: “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed” (1Sam 15:13-15).

In 1 Samuel 15, we witness another critical mistake of Saul: his arrogance and presumption in disobeying God’s explicit command. God commanded Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites and everything that belonged to them. However, Saul decided to spare King Agag and some of the best livestock. Saul’s presumptuous act displayed his prideful attitude, thinking that his own judgment and desires were superior to God’s commandments.

UNWILLINGNESS to Accept Responsibility: “And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever” (1Sam 13:11-13).

Saul’s inability to take responsibility for his actions was evident in his response when confronted by Samuel. Instead of acknowledging his mistake and seeking repentance, Saul shifted blame onto others, making excuses for his disobedience. He attempted to justify his actions rather than humbly admitting his wrongdoing. This lack of accountability demonstrated a failure in Saul’s character as a leader.

LACK OF OBEDIENCE and Submission: “And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1Sam 15:20-23).

Overall, Saul’s mistakes can be summarized by his consistent failure to obey and submit to God’s authority. Whether it was sacrificing without Samuel’s presence, sparing King Agag, or not fully carrying out God’s command, Saul demonstrated a pattern of rebellion and disobedience. His lack of reverence for God’s instructions ultimately led to his downfall and the loss of his kingship.

In summary, Saul’s mistakes were: 

  1. Sacrificing without Authority, 
  2. Arrogance and Presumption, 
  3. Unwillingness to Accept Responsibility, and 
  4. Lack of Obedience and Submission.

 These lessons from Saul’s life serve as a reminder for us to humbly follow God’s commands, trust in His timing, and accept responsibility for our actions as we strive to be obedient servants.



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