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 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him.  So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering.  As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him.  Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash,  I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the LORD.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”  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. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
Saul wasn’t in a hurry to become king when it all began. At his coronation, they couldn’t find him because he was hiding in the luggage. Once he became king, however, he followed the people that he was supposed to lead and did what Israel did: he forgot God was the real king.
In other times God had acted and brought about great miracles to deliver His people. You can almost see the setup for one of those amazing rescues again as Saul has an army of 600 and the Philistines have thousands of men on horses, chariots, and more. Samuel gave him specific instructions on when to have the sacrifice, and when they would pray for God’s deliverance, and Saul jumped ahead by about an hour.
Saul believed that the actions were the thing that had the power instead of the God that prescribed the actions. Instead of obeying God that told him when and how to sacrifice, Saul got scared and went ahead and did the sacrifice - as if that is what did the saving. He even says that he was acting in fear when he ‘forced’ himself to offer the sacrifice.
It is way too easy to fall into believing that if we just do this or that then all will be a victory for us. Instead of seeking after the Lord of Love, mature faith, and wisdom, we look to the false gods of ease, playbook rules, and do-goodery. Samuel tells Saul, that’s not of value to being the king of Israel. Instead, the kingdom will be given to someone that seeks the heart of God. God wants people that will follow Him, not just the hocus-pocus rules or laws.
The sacrifice and burnt offering that Saul made wasn’t for God and His glory and pleasure. In an act of fear, Saul did it for himself to bring about a rescue from the Philistines. He missed the part that God is the one doing the rescue. If it sounds like I’m being hard on Saul, look at how Samuel (and thus, God) reacted. He lost the throne of the kingdom and his entire family line lost the throne of the kingdom. That is a big deal. Choosing to follow Jesus Himself over the