The story of Saul is a tragic story. He was the one God picked to be king but God quickly gave up on Saul. It does not appear that Saul did anything horrible – at least not to this point in the story. It even appears that Saul was trying to win God’s favor. But when he spared the life of Agag was it compassion or was it for Saul’s glory? What about the monument that Saul built to himself? What about the sacrifices – were they to honor God or to show God how honorable Saul was?
God decided that Saul did not have the leadership qualities necessary to be Israel’s future. As we will continue to see, Saul tried but he didn’t have the necessary qualities. Samuel’s rejection of Saul seems harsh, but Samuel acted out of obedience to God’s command and was filled with grief for Saul. God called Samuel to annoint David. God would choose the youngest and seemingly weakest, but the one “after God’s own heart”.
These chapters point to the importance of prayerful discernment of God’s will before acting, rather than acting with the assumption that God’s will is on our side. In Matthew 1, Joseph’s perspective was changed as a result of such discernment.
Lord, what do you want to do through me?