God Rejected Saul As King
Saul continued his pattern of sin. This week in The Gospel Project, your kids heard a story of how God responded to Saul’s continued failure. God had placed Saul in the position of king, but due to Saul’s folly and failure, God commanded that he would only rule for a short time until another was given his throne. Samuel delivered God’s message to Saul and then never saw him again.
God’s desire is for people to obey Him, completely. When sin creeps into our lives, God desires that we seek His forgiveness instead of continuing in the sin we are committing. God ultimately would give the people a better King, His Son, Jesus. Jesus’ kingdom, unlike Saul’s, would have no end. Jesus will reign for all eternity.
God Rejected Saul as King
1 Samuel 13:1-14; 14:18-48; 15:1-35
Saul was a young man when he became king of Israel. God’s people had asked for a king, and they got Saul. As ruler over Israel, Saul gathered an army. Some of the men went with Saul into the hill country, and the rest of them went with Saul’s son Jonathan to a place called Gibeah.
Jonathan led his men to attack and destroy a Philistine army camp. This made the Philistines mad! Saul sent messengers to tell everyone in Israel what had happened. Saul called for more men to help fight the Philistines.
The Philistines came out to fight the Israelites. They had 3,000 chariots, 6,000 men on horseback, and more foot soldiers than anyone could count! The Israelites were outnumbered. They were all afraid; some of them hid.
Saul waited seven days like Samuel had told him to do, but Samuel had not come with more instructions yet. Saul’s soldiers were leaving him. Saul didn’t want to wait any longer, so he made an offering to God.
Then Samuel showed up. “Saul, what are you doing?” Samuel asked.
“You hadn’t come, and the men were leaving me. I wanted to ask for God’s help before we went into battle against the Philistines,” Saul replied.
“You have disobeyed God,” Samuel said. Saul was king, not the priest. It was a sin for Saul to make the sacrifice! “You will not be king much longer. God is going to find someone obedient to be king.”
The fighting began between the Israelites and Philistines. Earlier that day, Saul had told the soldiers not to eat anything before sunset.
“If anyone eats before I get even with the Philistines, you will be cursed!” Saul said. The Israelite men soon became weak because they were hungry. They were in a forest when they came across some honey. It looked so good, but none of the men ate it because they didn’t want to be cursed.
Jonathan hadn’t heard what his father Saul had said. He dipped his staff in honey and ate some of it. All of a sudden, Jonathan had more energy and felt strong. Then one of the men with Jonathan said, “Your father made us promise not to eat today. Anyone who eats is cursed!”
“My father sure is making trouble for you,” Jonathan replied. “I had just a little taste, and I feel great!”
The Israelites were tired from all the fighting, but when they had won,
they ate the food they had captured from the Philistines. They were so hungry, they disobeyed God by not properly preparing the food.
That night, King Saul wanted to attack the Philistines again. He asked God, “Will You help us defeat the Philistines?” But God did not answer. Saul knew this meant someone had sinned. Saul pledged to find out who had sinned, and he promised to kill that person. But Saul found out his son Jonathan had sinned.
Jonathan said, “I tasted a tiny bit of honey.” Saul was ready to kill Jonathan, but the Israelites stopped him. Jonathan had been a good military leader; they did not want him to die. So Saul agreed to not kill his son.
One day, Samuel came to Saul with a message from God. God wanted Saul to attack the Amalekites, killing all of the people and all of the animals. So Saul and his army fought the Amalekites. They won, but they did not destroy everything like God had commanded. Saul only destroyed the worthless things and things he didn’t want.
God told Samuel, “I regret that I made Saul king because he does not obey Me.” Samuel confronted Saul and told him what God had said.
“I did obey Him!” Saul argued. “I only saved the best animals to sacrifice to the Lord.”
“Does God care more about obedience or sacrifices?” Samuel asked. “You rejected His instruction, so God has rejected you as king.”
Saul admitted his sin and pleaded for forgiveness. Samuel turned to leave. “God has taken away your kingship today, and he is giving it to another king,” Samuel said. Samuel left, and God was sorry He had made Saul the king of Israel.
Christ Connection: God’s message to Saul was clear: Obey Me and all will go well for you. But Saul did not obey God. Samuel told Saul he would not last as king. God rejected Saul as king, but He had a plan to bring Jesus—His Son and our perfect King—to rule over His people forever.