“And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:13)
Saul had been anointed king to deliver the Israelites from their enemies. However, this only happened to a limited extent. The people lived in fear of the Philistines and were oppressed by them. When the Philistines gathered for battle, “the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns” (1 Samuel 13:6). King Saul called out his army, “and all the people followed him trembling” (1 Samuel 13:7). At Gilgal, Saul had to wait for the prophet Samuel, who was to offer a sacrifice. While waiting, the frightened soldiers began to scatter, even before the battle had begun. This was a defining moment when Saul had to show his leadership! Now was the time to show himself as a good king.
Unfortunately, Saul proved unable to withstand the pressure of an approaching enemy and a deserting army. Against God’s instruction, he offered a burnt offering himself because he did not trust that Samuel would come. Samuel took this very seriously, and he sternly rebuked Saul. A fight did not ensue after all; Saul and his 600 soldiers anxiously retreated.
Jonathan was present in the army as a young prince. He saw his father’s lack of courage, leadership and trust in God.
What example do role models set around you? Who is a good role model for you, and why?