Two Kings: Two Different Hearts

Many are familiar with the Biblical narrative of King Saul and King David, which is contained in 1 Samuel, chapters 9-13. One king had a righteous fear of the Lord, while the other was lacking in his reverential regard for Him. Spoiler Alert: King Saul was lacking in proper fear of the Lord, and King David had a heart for God—one full of awe, respect, love, and worship.

In light of yesterday’s discussion about what the fear of the Lord actually means, let’s look at a few of the actions and attitudes of King Saul:

1 Samuel 13:8-12—King Saul disregarded the instructions of God’s prophet Samuel and did not wait for him to come to Gilgal to make the burnt offering. Instead, Saul took it upon himself to make the offering because he felt Samuel delayed too long and the people were growing too restless. In other words, Saul presumed to know better what needed to be done and took action by his own authority. The consequence: The Lord did not establish his kingdom in Israel forever and his rule would end; God would choose another king.

1 Samuel 14: 24-32—Saul made an oath against his own army that if they ate anything before nightfall (after they had battled to exhaustion), they would be cursed. The curse was made to demonstrate their loyalty to him as he took vengeance on the enemy. Instead of focusing their loyalty and faith on the Lord, Saul made an impulsive vow that satisfied his own ego and anger. The consequence: Because of their hunger and faintness, the army ravenously devoured the spoils of the enemy; and, sinned against God because—in their haste—they ate the food with the blood still in it.

1 Samuel 15: 9-28—Saul only partially obeyed the word of the Lord when he gained victory over the Amalekites. The Lord had spoken through Samuel for the Israelites to completely destroy everyone and everything pertaining to the Amalekites; instead, Saul decided that he would do something even better for the Lord by keeping the things that were good, and destroying the things that he considered vile. He assumed that by using the animals as a sacrifice to the Lord instead of killing them, God would be appeased. Furthermore, Saul told Samuel that he had obeyed God! Saul did what was right in his own eyes and even attempted to manipulate God for his own ends. The consequence: This became the day that God rejected Saul as king and tore the kingdom of Israel from him. Then the Lord sought another king, one with a right heart towards Him.

After these events, Saul continued to decline in his fear of the Lord; he was then vulnerable to and greatly troubled by an evil spirit. The decline reached such severity, that Saul defied the will of the Lord by continually attempting to kill David, who had been chosen and anointed by the Lord to be the next king of Israel, and upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rested.

Part 2 tomorrow…

2 Replies to “Two Kings: Two Different Hearts”

  1. Thank you for those most excellent insights, and for furnishing such relevant scripture. You put Saul’s lack of fear so succinctly: A “what’s in it for me” attitude and a strong sense of self-sufficiency that lead to his actions. I certainly agree that “abiding awareness of God” is, as you said, necessary for fearing the Lord.

  2. What a wonderful contrast between a man with an abiding awareness of, and companionship with, God (David) and one obsessed with himself born out of a “what’s in it for me” attitude (Saul).

    Like you pointed out, David knew God as his guard and rescuer, and that awareness was a barricade against self-sufficiency. Saul thought he could choose his own paths, make his steps independent of the counsel of God, and his impatience was a direct consequence of that self-sufficiency. David, on the other hand, knew he must “wait” on God because his strength was not in himself. He refused to act independently because he knew in God he “lived and moved and had his being.” Saul depended on the strength of his army and thought it was not necessary to “wait” on God. An abiding awareness of God brings a fear of God.

    Thank you ❤️♥️ for sharing this great reminder of the many benefits of fearing God; “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him.” Psalms 25:14

    This post made me realize again how important it is to fear the Lord, for “The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear Him.” Psalms 25:14. “Who is the person who fears the Lord? He will show him the way he should choose.” Psalms 25:12

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