Saul was made king over Israel. But he never became the king he pretended to be or the king that God wanted him to be. He never lived up to the reputation he wanted to have. He always wanted others to believe that he was a better king than he really was. And this was a problem.
Now that we are saved, God intends for us to become kings and priests with Jesus during his millennial reign [Rev 1:5-6; Rev 5:9-10; 2 Tim 2:12]. However, we must learn some lessons from Saul or else we will never amount to what we want to be or what God wants us to be.
Saul wanted most of the credit – 1 Sam 13:3-4 – Jonathan was a much better, much braver soldier and commander of troops than his father. Yet, when Jonathan and his men smote the garrison of the Philistines, Saul took all the credit. In 1 Sam 14, when Jonathan and his armor bearer killed 20 Philistines that then started a rout against them, Saul knew that Jonathan was the one responsible for this victory [1 Sam 14:17] and yet he was willing to kill his own son to keep all the glory for himself [1 Sam 14:39]. Saul was furious when David received more accolades than he did [1 Sam 18:7]. You’re going to ruin your Christian life seeking the limelight. When you do things to make a name for yourself, you damage your walk with God. That spotlight will ruin you.
Saul was just concerned about his image – 1 Sam 13:9-12 – Saul didn’t offer his sacrifice to gain God’s blessing in battle; he offered it to regain the trust of his soldiers. They were scattered from him. He said, “the people were scattered from me,” [v.11]. His offering had nothing to do with making “supplication unto the Lord,” [v.12]. He was putting on a show. And many Christians are just putting on a show. When Saul disobeyed the Lord in 1 Sam 15, he wanted Samuel to to pardon him and worship the Lord with him [1 Sam 15:25]. He had only one motive. He wanted Samuel to honor him “before the elders” of his people [1 Sam 15:30]. That is a dirty, rotten motive. And yet, that’s what many of God’s children are doing. If you are putting on this kind of show, it will absolutely ruin you.
Saul despised good men – 1 Sam 19:10; 20:30-34 – Saul tried to kill David and Jonathan. They were better men than he was and he knew it. He couldn’t stand that God was blessing them more than he was blessing him. I have heard men run down good men trying to eliminate the competition. When you see that kind of behavior you know you are dealing with a Saul. You don’t promote yourself by tearing down men better than yourself. You bury yourself.
Saul feared men, not God – 1 Sam 15:24; 1 Sam 18:28-29 – the fear of man bringeth a snare. When you fear men you seek their approval, their praise, their support etc. When you fear men you don’t fear God. So, Saul did things to please his people that were absolutely contrary to what God wanted him to do. You must do God’s will no matter who else might approve or disapprove. They don’t count; only God does, when it comes to doing his will.
Saul ruled for his personal benefit – 1 Sam 13:11; 1 Sam 14:24; 1 Sam 18:8; 1 Sam 22:8 – notice, in these passages, all the references to “me.” Saul was stuck on. himself. He took advantage of his office for personal gain. He was more concerned about himself than he was about God. When you hold a spiritual office and use it for personal gain and recognition, you will ruin yourself.
Conclusion: Saul lost the kingdom – 1 Sam 13:13-14; 1 Sam 15:23 – and so will you.