In Chapter 14 of First Samuel the Israelites were still pursuing the Philistines. Saul, no longer living with the character of being poor in spirit but driven by pride, does another stupid thing as seen in the following passage,
And the men of Israel were worn out that day, for Saul had placed the troops under an oath: “The man who eats food before evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies is cursed.” So none of the troops tasted any food. (1 Samuel 14:24, HCSB, emphasis added)
In Saul’s spirit it is no longer God’s avenging. It is now all about him. Saul has now gone a full 180 degrees from being poor in spirit to living the self-life. What leader in battle would deprive his troops’ food? The men needed strength for battle but Saul was not leading as any godly leader would. Because Saul’s son Jonathan was out doing the dirty work for his father he did not hear of the curse and ate some honey to give him strength. Jonathan had great success with his portion of the army while on the other hand Saul’s men had limited success. Jonathan, upon hearing about the oath, rebukes his father’s poor decision:
Jonathan replied, “My father has brought trouble to the land. Just look at how I have renewed energy because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the troops had eaten freely today from the plunder they took from their enemies! Then the slaughter of the Philistines would have been a much greater.” (1 Samuel 14:29-30, HCSB)
Saul is totally irrational in his response to finding out what Jonathan had done:
Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him and said, “I indeed tasted a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” Saul said, “May God do this to me and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan.” But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Far from it! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan and he did not die. Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place. (1 Samuel 14:43-46, NASB)
See how pride makes you think irrationally? The people of Israel had to talk Saul down from taking Jonathan’s life. Saul is so obsessed with himself he could see nothing else. His family and his people are now taking the back seat to his pride. The man poor in spirit would have recognized his folly and repented right on the spot. Instead the people of Israel had to rescue Jonathan from his own father. Note how this passage ends: “Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.” The victory was not secured – God’s will was not fulfilled. Victorious living, inheriting the kingdom of heaven, is for the man poor in spirit. Saul and his army should have finished the job, but they had to quit because Saul was too consumed with himself instead of the will of God. We need to be consumed with the love of Jesus Christ to affect the world for Him, not consumed with our narrow-minded and often misguided self-will.
The person who is poor in spirit is not obsessed with the self-will. Pray right know that the Lord will remove your will from the clutches of your hands and replace that control with the desire to seek His glorious and perfect will. Be consumed with being in the center of the will of God!