Saul was 30 years old, when he became king (1 Sam. 13:1). Have you ever noticed that when leaders step up – they are generally around the big 3-0? Saul was 30 years old when he became king, and his career as king lasted for many many days.
Saul chose many men for himself, just as Samuel told the people Israel in 1 Samuel 8. The battle with the Philistines continued on, and they were found to be repulsive by the Philistines (13:4). Much like the world today, people who follow God – will be found to be repulsive. Jesus reminds us of this in John 15:18-25.
This is how the battle of chapter 13 went down –
- The men of Israel saw they were in big trouble (13:6), became very afraid (13:7), began to scatter away from the battle (13:8).
- Saul’s faith is put to the test (13:8), and his decision cost his family line the opportunity to reign permanently (13:13-14).
New King –
God has chosen a new king. One whose legacy would live on – way past the anniversary of his death. David, a lone shepherd boy, became king over Israel. And Jesus Christ would become King of the world, saving people from all their sins and rescuing them on a daily – even hourly basis.
The Lord has found a man after his own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over his people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded (1 Sam. 13:14b, CSB).
The On-Going Battle
While Israel fought the Philistines, they had something the others didn’t. They had the Lord God Almighty on their side. Just as God stood on their side, God stands on ours. The key in winning the battle and fighting well is in seeking Jesus Christ and remaining obedient to God – even when the temptation to go against God is great.
[Jonathan said,] “Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” His armor-bearer responded, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide (1 Sam. 14:6b-7).”
God shook the Philistines with terror. God brought together all the people of Israel, and He saved them from the hands of the Philistines – as the enemy fought each other out of shear confusion (1 Sam. 14:15-16, 20-23).
The Awaiting Curse
King Saul put a curse on the Israelite troops, which was far more than they could bear. This oath actually caused Israel to lean toward sin. They were given an oath stating they would not eat (14:24, 31-33), and ended up sinning against God – for they were not allowed to eat until the battle was won against the Philistines.
The priest reminded Saul and the troops to seek God’s direction (14:36-37). This is what a godly leader will do – call us to inquire of the Lord. “Should we fight them tonight, Lord?” Not only did they seek direction for the fight, Saul and Jonathan sought after God to see who was in the wrong – King Saul, his son Jonathan, or Israel. Now, God answered them. And while Jonathan was at fault, Israel remained an advocate for Jonathan – freeing him from death’s grip in that moment (14:45).
Saul fought bravely, as Israel’s leader. In verse 48, we are reminded that “[Saul] fought bravely, defeated the Amalekites, and rescued Israel from those who plundered them.”
The conflict with the Philistines was fierce all of Saul’s days, so whenever Saul noticed any strong or valiant man, he enlisted him (1 Sam. 14:52).
Feature image by Henry Hustava.