By Susan Nero

In order to give us a better background into Saul, the Lord pointed us to first look at the circumstances surrounding His choice of Saul to be the first King of Israel and the cause of King Saul’s loss of the kingdom.

EXODUS 19-24

EXODUS 19:5-6

“Now therefore if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

(God specifies that they “shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”)

NOTE: Samuel was the last judge/priest to lead Israel under this covenant until the people demanded God give them a King who would lead their army in battle against their enemies. So God gave them the kind of king they wanted and he was anointed as the first King of Israel.

This covenant was predicated on man’s faithfulness and man’s obedience. The purpose of the covenant is always to bring man into a relationship with God; to give them a clearer awareness of His presence. It must be noted that God had an even stricter requirement for a King: to be an example to His people to display the blessings of obedience.

In the Old Testament covenant, the emphasis is on keeping God’s commands and laws; basically do not do what God has told you not to do; however, there are quite a few times when it is clear that the obedience called for is to do the affirmative things the Lord has called on you to do.

Two of the most serious acts of disobedience in the Old Testament consisted of refusing or failing to do what God told someone to do.

  1. God told the Israelites to take the land of Canaan - They refused (Numbers 13-14) and had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

It is interesting to note that this refusal is referred to in Scripture as an act of unbelief, disobedience, rebellion, and contempt for God. (Heb. 3:12-19) (Numbers 14:11-23) This description of disobedience can also apply to the second example.

2) God told King Saul to “completely destroy the Amalekites and all that they have.” Saul did not fully obey by sparing King Agag and the best of his stock. As a result, God rejected Saul as King.