A Tale of Three Soldiers

Today I got spanked! No, not physically but the words I read slapped me upside the head. I saw myself in the failure of another.

I was reading about three different soldiers: Abner, Jonathan, and King Saul. Abner is the soldier I wanted to compare myself with, 1 Samuel 14:50, 51.

He was Saul’s cousin. Their shared great-great-great grandfather was the one remembered for his stalwart character, 1 Samuel 9:1.

Abner commanded the entire army but we don’t read of his actions or his comments. He took his orders from Saul and carried them out.

(Unfortunately, I saw myself in another soldier – Jonathan.)

Jonathan served under Abner and his father, King Saul. Yet, he did whatever he wanted.

  1. He went wherever he wanted, 1 Samuel 14:1.
  2. He didn’t report to his commanders, 1 Samuel 14:1.
  3. He didn’t answer to anyone, 1 Samuel 14:3.
  4. He took others along, 1 Samuel 14:6.
  5. He expected God to work for him, 1 Samuel 14:6.
  6. His attitude was, “Nobody said I couldn’t,” 1 Samuel 14:6.
  7. He told his men what his father should have done, 1 Samuel 14:30.
  8. He saw his error as small, insignificant, 1 Samuel 14:43.

King Saul was the third soldier in these chapters.

  1. He took it easy, 1 Samuel 14:1.
  2. He destroyed what no one wanted, instead of everything, 1 Samuel 15:9.
  3. He set up a victory monument in his own honor, not God’s, 1 Samuel 15:12.
  4. He lied about doing everything God commanded, 1 Samuel 15:13.
  5. He stopped being humble before God, 1 Samuel 15:17.
  6. He did not obey God, 1 Samuel 15:19.
  7. He trampled God’s word and instructions, 1 Samuel 15:24.
  8. He cared more about pleasing people than God, 1 Samuel 15:24.
  9. He let the people tell him what to do, 1 Samuel 15:24.
  10. He rejected God’s command, 1 Samuel 15:26.
  11. He tore Samuel’s holy robe to get him to do what he wanted, 1 Samuel 15:27.
  12. He repented to get Samuel to support him in front of everyone, 1 Samuel 15:30.

1 Samuel 15:22, 23, shows us what God does not want from His soldiers:

  1. Empty rituals just for show.
  2. Sacrifices instead of obedience.
  3. Lavish religious productions.
  4. Self-importance.
  5. Ignoring commands.

What does God want?

  1. Plain listening.
  2. Doing what He tells you to do.
  3. Humility.

1 Samuel 15:29, “Israel’s God-of-Glory doesn’t deceive and He doesn’t dither. He says what He means and means what He says.” The Message

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