I Samuel

Cruising Route 66

Curse of the People Pleasers”

You acted foolishly,” Samuel said to Saul. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.  But now your kingdom will not endure…”   

I Samuel 13:13-14a 

Are you a Saul? Ever feel like you’re reaching your full potential? That you’re coming up short of what God has called you too? Go stand in front of the mirror for a moment and see if there’s any reflection of a Saul there. On the outside Saul looked good, strong, wise. Do others see you as having it all together? Have you become an image manager?

As you admire what you see, ask yourself a few questions about what’s on the inside:

  • Do you find your fulfillment in the approval of others?
  • Are you always concerned of how others may see you?
  • Is your happiness hinged on what others do for you, or think of you?
  • Do you see happiness out there, but in the grasp of someone else?
  • Do you think that acceptance and love is something you must earn?

Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel.”

I Samuel 15:17 

In other words, “Saul, you may not think much of yourself, but God does.”  Saul wasn’t expressing false humility, he really struggled with his identity. He had a good image to others, but a poor image to himself.

On the day of Saul’s coronation, the day the world would recognize him as king over all Israel, where was he? Was he standing before crowds of cheering admirers, amidst the shower of multi-colored balloons and gala music? No, Saul fearful of how he would be received, went into hiding.

But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So, they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?” And the LORD said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.”

I Samuel 10:21b-22

Saul was a man so desperate for approval that once he was on the throne the fear of losing approval drove him to attempt to murder David. Saul did not see David’s success as the accomplishments of his apprentice, but rather as a threat.

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry; … What more can he get but the kingdom?”  And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

I Samuel 18::7-9

We all know the events of the slaying of Goliath, but what happened to the shepherd boy after his victory?

From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house.

I Samuel 18:2

On the surface it sounds great. Saul liked David and wanted the best for him, but what he really wanted was to keep him under control. What does someone who wants to control you and God have in common? They both have a plan for your life. God wants you to submit to His control for your good. Men, such as Saul want to control you for their good.

Ever notice how those who are fearful and lack confidence put demands on you that are harsh or unreasonable? They do that to test your devotion and faithfulness.

It also measures how much control they have.

Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So, none of the troops tasted food.

I Samuel 14:24

This is a senseless demand, because as the old saying goes “an army marches on its stomach.”

But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb.

I Samuel 14:27

Jonathan, “I merely tasted a little …. now must I die?” Saul said, “May God deal with me if you do not die, Jonathan.”

I Samuel 14:43-44 

Saul is going to kill his own son over a stupid demand, for no other reason than to demonstrate his control. There is nothing rational about this. Love cannot exist in a control-based environment. Even God refuses to control us against our will.

Manipulating others isn’t loving them. Controlling others isn’t loving them.

Seeing just how far they will submit to your demands isn’t a sign of their love or respect for you. We were built for freedom and mutual respect.

Take a few moments and stand in front of your mirror and ask yourself, “Do I have a Saul in my life?” or more importantly, “Am I becoming a Saul?” Be honest, the two who know you best are standing in the room, Your God, and you.

See you next time,

Ben

Award-Winning Author of
Biblical & Historical Fiction

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