I Samuel 13:1-14

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Text: I Samuel 13:1-14



Sometimes circumstances can look pretty bad. Everything around us may seem to be crumbling at the same time. Regardless of how bad things may seem to be, we must always do things God's way in order to have God's blessing.

One of the first things that we should remember is that the Bible is the Word of God and that we should always get our direction from it. We remind ourselves of II Timothy 3:15-17 .

II Timothy 3:15-17 - (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

In I Samuel 13:1-14 we see that we must obey the Word of God no matter how difficult the circumstances appear to be. In order to do this, we must understand that the difficulties have been allowed by God and should be regarded by us simply as opportunities to do what is right in living for the Lord. God has put us in this situation (whatever this situation happens to be) for such a time as this. My attitude must be that God has allowed this for my good.


I Samuel 13:1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel.

Every Hebrew scholar recognizes that there is some difficulty in the Hebrew text. As we study various passages in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, we note that there are some difficulties with the numbers. In our study of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, we will see this on several occasions. No one really knows exactly what to do with this verse.

In my understanding, this verse is indicating that Saul had a problem with the Ammonites in the first year of his reign. This was dealt with in I Samuel 11 , and we worked our way through this chapter several weeks ago.

Hopefully, you remember -

I Samuel 11:1-2 - 1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against [i.e. besieged] Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant [i.e. a treaty or agreement] with us, and we will serve thee [i.e. serve you as your subjects]. 2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out [i.e. put out or gouge out] all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach [i.e. thus I will make it a disgrace or I will make it a cause of shame] upon all Israel.

Saul then led an army of 300,000 men of Israel and 30,000 men of Judah and delivered the people of Jabeshgilead from the Ammonites.

I Samuel 13:1 also indicates that in the second year of his reign, there was a problem with the Philistines.

I remind you of I Samuel 10:8 .

Samuel has just anointed Saul king of Israel and says to him -

I Samuel 10:8 - And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry [i.e. wait], till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.

What Saul did in I Samuel 13 must be understood in the light of I Samuel 10:8 . When Saul went to Gilgal, he was to wait seven days for Samuel, he was to wait until Samuel came to him. At that time Samuel would show him what to do.

Is there anything that was not clear about this instruction? Certainly not. It was very clear.

Up until this time, if Saul had a problem, he would summon the militia from all over Israel. This changed in verse 2.

I Samuel 13:2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent [i.e. he sent them to their homes].

Saul created a standing army of 3,000 trained troops. He stationed 2,000 under his control and 1,000 under Jonathan's control.

I Samuel 13:3 And Jonathan smote [i.e. attacked] the garrison of the Philistines [i.e. a Philistine outpost where an armed force was stationed] that was in Geba [Geba was located north of Jerusalem, half way between Michmash and Gibeah, which were both located northwest of the north end of the Dead Sea.], and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.

Jonathan was Saul's oldest son. In the second year of Saul's reign, Jonathan was already old enough to be an able-bodied leader in Saul's army. That Saul had a son this mature in the second year of his reign indicates that Saul was already a mature man when he became king.

I Samuel 13:4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison [i.e. an outpost] of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines [i.e. the Philistines hated the Israelites - So what else is new? This occurred 3,000 years ago.]. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal [Remember Samuel's instruction to Saul - Wait for me in Gilgal seven days and when I get there, I will show you what to do.].

I Samuel 13:5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen [Were these horsemen driving the chariots, or were they on separate horses? Because they are believed to be driving the chariots, the number 30,000 chariots is believed by some to actually be 3,000 chariots], and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched [i.e. set up camp] in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven. [A huge, innumerable army of Philistine soldiers set up camp in Michmash.]

I Samuel 13:6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait [i.e. in a dangerous situation], (for the people were distressed [i.e. hard pressed],) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits [i.e. wherever they could find a hiding place].

I Samuel 13:7 (7) And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead [Some fled the area because of an impending battle.]. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling [Those who remained with Saul were so afraid they were quivering].

Saul was in a very difficult situation.

Have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation? Of course, you have, probably a number of times. Everything seems to break or go wrong at the same time. You remember the expression, "When it rains it pours," don't you.

I am certain we can all think of some things which we have experienced that are a whole lot more funny now they were at the time they happened.

We do know the truth of Romans 8:28 , don't we? Of course, we do.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We also know that in order for Romans 8:28 to be true, God has to be sovereign and in control of everything, don't we? Yes, we know this intellectually, but are we trusting it?

We also know that God uses circumstances to help shape our lives and characters.

James 1:2-4 - (2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [i.e. trials or testings]; (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience [i.e. endurance or steadfastness]. (4) But let patience have her perfect [i.e. completed] work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting [i.e. lacking] nothing.

I Peter 1:2-6 - (2) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively [i.e. living] hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.

Take the worst situation in your life. It may still be painful. Ask yourself, "When everything went wrong at the same time, how did I handle it?" In some cases, the answer may be, "Not very well." Then ask yourself, "Would I handle it differently today, now that I have matured more in my spiritual life?" What lessons did God teach you through your difficulties? Or, are you still experiencing the same difficulties because you have not yet learned the lesson God has been trying to teach you? We probably all have had some of these experiences, and we have probably all had some of these repeat lessons.


I Samuel 13:8 And he [i.e. Saul] tarried [i.e. waited] seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed [in I Samuel 10:8 ]: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him [Saul's troops were gradually deserting him, and Samuel had not yet shown up.].

Regardless of how dire the situation may appear, we remind ourselves that God is still on the throne, and we must do things God's way. Saul, however, disobeyed God and acted out of expediency.

Although it was the seventh day, Samuel had not yet arrived.

Remember that God is in control of the circumstances. They are never out of His control. Saul should have done what was right rather than disobey God.

No matter how difficult things may appear, God is still in control. We should remember the truth of Psalms 37:23 :

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

We should also remember the truth of Romans 8:28 :

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We should always do what the Bible says no matter how dire the circumstances may appear to be.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

I Samuel 13:9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.

We remind ourselves that only the priests were permitted to offer burnt offerings. Because in Saul's thinking, Samuel had not shown up in a timely way, Saul thought, "I have to do something." Out of expediency, Saul did something he was forbidden to do. He disobeyed God in order to achieve a good result. He did something only priests were permitted to do.

Leviticus 6:8-13 - (8) And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, (9) Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. (10) And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. (11) And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place. (12) And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. (13) The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.

I Samuel 13:10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute [i.e. greet] him.


I Samuel 13:11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed [Samuel actually did come within the days appointed], and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;

I Samuel 13:12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

I Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.

I Samuel 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue [It means that none of his descendants would succeed him as king.]: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.


No matter how difficult things become, don't take a course of expediency. Always try to figure out what the Biblical way to handle the situation would be and do it, even if you don't understand it. Now, we all recognize that this may be easier said than done, but it is what we must be doing. We must always do things God's way in order to have God's blessing.


If you would like to go to heaven when you die, you must do things God's way.

You must believe in (i.e. trust in, rely upon, or commit yourself to) the gospel message, that Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again from the dead on the third day.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.