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  The Great Bible Story #56
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Saul is not obedient

Jacob Ninan
After Saul defeated the Philistines, they gathered a huge army against Israel. Israel became so scared that they began to hide in caves and wherever possible. Samuel had told Saul he would be coming to offer sacrifices and prayers after seven days. But when Saul saw that Samuel was not to be seen, he himself offered a burnt sacrifice. Just then Samuel came and asked him why he had done that. Saul was, of course, king, but he was not a prophet or a priest, and so he had no authority to offer sacrifices like this. Saul excused himself saying that since Samuel did not come in time and he saw people leaving him, he had been forced to do it. Samuel's reply was that if he had kept God's commandments his kingdom would have endured, but now God would look for another man after His own heart to take over as king.

Samuel now told Saul that God wanted him to destroy the Amalekites utterly, man and beast, because of all their sins against Him. Saul went and fought with them and defeated them. But he kept King Agag alive, and he also kept the best of the sheep and oxen alive. When Samuel confronted him about this, Saul said that the people had kept the animals for sacrifice! Samuel told him that God did not have as much delight in sacrifices as in seeing His people obey Him. So now God would take away the kingdom from him. Saul tried to plead with Samuel saying he should not put him to shame in front of the people. But Samuel left him and went.

Now God sent Samuel to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the next king. When Samuel saw the eldest son he thought this was going to be the one. But God told him that even though men were easily impressed with outward appearances, His focus was on the inner person. Jesse introduced seven of his sons in this way, but none of them was the one God had chosen. Then Jesse said that there was still the youngest, but he was out in the fields looking after sheep. When Samuel wanted to see him also, Jesse sent word for him and brought him. This was David, and he was young and handsome too. But God said this was the one. So Samuel took out his oil and anointed David with it, and the Spirit of God came mightily on him from that day.

At the same time the Spirit of God left Saul, and an evil spirit began to torment him at times. The people in the court suggested that if they brought David who was good with the harp to play for Saul he could be soothed. That was what they did.


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