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In 1 Samuel Chapter 13 Saul does a foolish thing that leads him to no longer be poor in spirit as his character changes for the worse.  Saul’s intent in this passage is to inquire of the Lord – a good thing.  But because Saul did not get the direction from the Lord quick enough, according to his own timing, fear took control over Saul’s mind.  Fear is a great motivator; often it drives men to the Cross of Jesus – another good thing.  But when you add fear to impatience this combination often leads men to panic and to leave the shadow of the Cross for the will of the self.  Saul in this case knows he did the wrong thing, but justifies it because he was afraid and impatient in waiting to hear from the Lord.  Saul takes it upon himself to help God out, to force God’s hand instead of waiting patiently for His will to be revealed.  See how prevalent the self-will of Saul shows itself in this passage,

Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him.  So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.”  And he offered the burnt offering.  As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him.  But Samuel said, “What have you done?”  And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the LORD.’  So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.”  Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not endure.  The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”  (1 Samuel 13:8-14, NASB, emphasis added)

This was the undoing of King Saul.  The self takes the throne as the true king of his heart as Saul became disobedient to the commandment of the Lord.  Saul takes upon himself the duties of the priest and offers the sacrifices because he was in a bind, and he thought he had to act quickly all the while the Lord wanted Saul to wait on Him.  How often do we do the same thing when a circumstance arises and we desire God’s direction, but we don’t want to wait for it?  We often choose the wrong path because our perception of the situation is wrong without having clear direction from the Lord.  We can only see what a man can see; we see only the impending doom.  God has complete knowledge and when we do not act within that knowledge we often end up in sin.  God’s will was to wait – there was no hurry.  God was in control of the situation and was willing to guide Saul if he would have waited upon Him.  Wrong perception leads to wrong actions.   The man who is poor in spirit would have waited for God before acting.  A man poor in spirit recognizes that God knows better than him how to accomplish the task set before him.  Saul blew it and the kingdom will be taken away from him.  To inherit the kingdom of heaven we need to be poor in spirit.

The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  (Matthew 5:3, HCSB)

Train your heart to wait for God’s direction by developing a solid prayer life.  Never act without the clear direction of His will.  Knowing His Word is the best way of knowing His will because it is spelled out for us.  Be a student and know His Word.  Be a sheep and know His voice.  Be a man poor in spirit and submit to His will.

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