Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food. (1 Samuel 14:24)
King Saul was engaged in a bitter war with the Philistines and in this occasion he makes an oath that keeps his men from eating till as he put it “I have avenged myself on my enemies!”
Yet Saul who had been going down a moral spiral of disobedience to the Lord eventually starts to make his kingly reign merely about himself.
God, many years earlier consents to giving them a king, though it was not his ideal design, but as we see, sometimes God consents to people’s demands and let’s them suffer the consequences thereof.
When Saul first becomes king:
Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. (1 Samuel 12:1-2)
Samuel warns them that if they and their king become unfaithful to God, they both will perish together, them and their king.
Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.” Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel. The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.” “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” (1 Samuel 12:17-25)
Eventually king Saul dies in a battle with the Philistines and David becomes king shortly later.
Yet lets examine the life of king Saul and see how his words reflect his heart, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!”
Here we have him cause his own men problems with his oath as well as show he no longer is fighting these Philistines with the Lord’s glory in mind, but his own self centered desires.
He says “Before I have avenged myself” then adds, “On my enemies!”
Yet these people were not merely Saul’s enemies, they were the Lord’s enemies, and the Lord had been using Saul to avenge Himself against His and Israel’s enemies!
First the kings duty should have been to the glory and purpose of God, and secondly to the good of the Lord’s people. Yet pride had gotten in Saul’s way. Sin had taken him down a trail of self centeredness and arrogance.
Let us also never forget, when it comes to our duty as Christians as individuals, or spiritual leaders. We should never make it about ourselves. Rather, as it says,
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
We are then told, what we do and say should reflect not merely our own desires but seek the good of others also
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
Now, thoughtful application,- next time I make a decision, ask:
“Is this choice or what I’m about to say going to glorify God?
Then ask, “Is this choice, course of action or what I am about to say going to be of benefit to others?”
Reverse this and ask, “Do I just want to do or say this because I want to?
“Is this action or what I say only going to make me happy and benefit just me?”
God’s wisdom and how He calls us to live is summed up in this
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18)