As a Lenten practice during this season, clergy and leaders in the church from youth to elders will be sharing their devotions.
Scripture: 1 Samuel 13-14
Reflection: How many of us can look back and see places pride has blinded us in in our own lives? Regardless of age, experience, social status, etc …, we’re all susceptible to moments of selfish pride and fear that drive us to bad decisions. In 1 Samuel 13-14, Saul takes misstep after misstep driven by those emotions, like in Chapter 13 when Saul breaks a very specific command he was given in 1 Samuel 10:8 with a very specific 7 day period to wait for Samuel before sacrificing the burnt offering. If only he had waited it would have guaranteed God would be with Saul. Instead, on that 7th day, with the Philistines getting closer, fear permeating the camp, and no Samuel in sight, Saul orders the burnt offering … and on cue Samuel arrives on time as promised.
Instead of repentance, Saul doubles down on his mistake with a dose of prideful excuse, saying “I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (1 Samuel 13:12)
How often does compulsion end up in foolishness?
1 Samuel 13:13 – “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.” (1 Samuel 13:13)
By grace, Saul and his army were still empowered to win the battle, but Saul missed out on having his kingdom established for all time. Aren’t we all subject to the repercussions of our own foolishness? Thankfully through the grace of God through Christ, we are met with more than what our actions deserve. Even as we have the chance to acknowledge our sin, and ask for forgiveness, and turn in our ways, it is always Jesus that comes to us in grace first. We are going to make mistakes, but maybe we ought to be careful our selfish pride doesn’t cause us to dig into our sin, and, instead, ask for forgiveness, for Christ is already there right on time extending God’s grace.
Prayer: Lord, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Please forgive us our pride and fear, and allow us the wisdom and strength to forgive it in others. Amen.
Author: Scott Welchel
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].