Read 1 Samuel 9-31 (NLT)
First impressions can be deceiving, especially when the image by a person's appearance is contradicted by his or her qualities and abilities. Saul presented the ideal visual image of a king, but the tendencies of his character often went contrary to God's commands or a king. Saul was God's chosen leader, but this did not mean he was capable of being king on his own.
During his reign, Saul has the greatest successes when he obeyed God. His greatest failures resulted from a acting on his own. Saul had the raw materials to be a good leader - appearance, courage, and action. Even his weaknesses could have been used by God, if Saul had recognized them and lift them in God's hands. his own choices cut him off from God and eventually alienated him from his own people.
From Saul we learn that while our strengths and abilities make us useful, it is our weaknesses that make us usable. Our skills and talents make us tools but our failures and shortcomings remind us that we need a Craftsman in control of our lives. Does he control your life?
Saul's strengths and accomplishments: 1) First God appointed king of Israel 2) Known for his personal courage and generosity 3) Stood tall, with a striking appearance
His weaknesses and mistakes: 1) His leadership abilities did not match the expectations created by his appearance 2) Impulsive by nature, he tended to overstep his bounds 3) Jealous of David, he tried to kill him 4) He specifically disobeyed God on several occasions
Lessons from his life: 1) God wants obedience from the heart, not mere acts of religious ritual 2) Obedience always involves sacrifice, but a sacrifice is not always obedience 3) God wants to make use of our strengths and weaknesses 4) weaknesses should help us remember our need for God's guidance and help
Vital Statistics: Where: The land of Benjamin Occupation: King of Israel Relatives: Father: Kish. Sons: Jonathan and Ishbosheth Wife: Ahinoam Daughters: Merab and Michal
Key verses: " But Samuel replied, 'What is more pleasing to the LORD; your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to Him is much better than offering the fat of rams. rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king'" (1 Samuel 15: 22,23) (NLT)
LORD help us to listen and obey, in Jesus' name, amen