Character Studies

Lesson 16

SAUL

Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."  (1 Sam. 15:22-23)

Text: 1 Samuel 8-31; 1 Chron. 10
Name: Desired / Demanded; Son of Kish, tribe of Benjamin
Time: 1095-1055 BC
Place: The land of Benjamin
Occupation: First King of Israel
References: Hosea 13:11; Acts 13:21-22

SAUL'S BACKGROUND
1 Samuel 9
A Benjaminite, Son of Kish (9:1-2)
Physically impressive (9:2)

GOD'S SELECTION OF SAUL AS KING
1 Samuel 8-11
A king is demanded by Israel (1 Sam. 8)
God chooses Saul to be king (1 Sam. 9)
Saul is anointed and introduced to Israel (1 Sam. 10)
Saul rescued Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites (1 Sam. 11)

GOD'S REJECTION OF SAUL AS KING
1 Samuel 13-15
His presumptuous sacrifice at Gilgal (13:11-12)
His rash vow (14:24-46)
His rebellion concerning Amalek (15:1-23)
God rejected Saul as king over Israel (15:23-35)

SAUL'S SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL DECLINE
1 Samuel 16-28
The Spirit of the Lord departed Saul and an evil spirit troubled him (16:14-23)
Saul began to resent, envy and fear David (18:1-16)
Saul persecuted David and those who helped him (18:28-22:23)
Saul's life was spared twice by David (1 Sam. 24 & 26)
Saul consulted a medium (28:3-25)
Saul and three sons die in battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 31)

CHARACTER TRAITS OF SAUL
In the beginning:
    -Courageous, dutiful, humble & reverent (9:3-7, 21; 10:22)
He became:
    -Impulsive, disobedient, suspicious, jealous and vengeful (13:8-15; 15:11; 16:14; 18:8-12, 28)
Contrast his humility, command of temper & spirit of forgiveness with his wounded pride, violence of temper & spirit of murder - (1 Sam. 9:21; 10:16; 11:5, 13; 16:27; 18:8; 19:1-15; 20:30)

LESSONS FROM SAUL
We displease God when we are dissatisfied with His ways.
First impressions and outward appearances can be deceiving.
Situation ethics are elevate man's will above divine instruction.
God wants obedience from the heart, not mere outward ritual.
Obedience always involves sacrifice; but sacrifice is not always obedience.
Good motives do not take the place of humble, full obedience.
Weaknesses should help us remember our need for God's guidance and help.
Jealousy, envy and hatred destroy one's life and soul.
Faithful continuance is essential to please God (cf. Ezek. 18:24).

QUESTIONS
1. Why did Israel say they wanted a king? (1 Sam. 8:5-6, 19-20)

2. What led to Saul meeting Samuel? (1 Sam. 9)

3. Define "anoint" and tell why a king was anointed. (1 Sam. 10:1)

4. What happened with the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul? Are we to be changed when the Spirit of the Lord "comes" upon us?
(1 Sam. 10:6-13; Rom. 8:1-11; Gal. 5:16-26)

5. Who was Jonathan? What kind of a man was he? (1 Sam. 14; 18:1-4; 20:1ff; 2 Sam. 1:25-26)

6. What kind of heart did Saul have? (1 Sam. 13:13-14)

7. What did Samuel necessarily conclude when he heard the "bleating of the sheep" and the "lowing of the oxen" in 1 Samuel 15:13-19?

8. Why did Saul first meet David? (1 Sam. 16:14-23)

9. Give examples of Saul's downward spiritual course.

10. Did the medium have power to raise Samuel from the dead? (1 Sam. 28)

11. Describe the events of Saul's death. (1 Sam. 31; 1 Chron. 10)