When There’s Fear

1 Samuel 13:1-7
1Saul [was thirty years old when he] became king, and he reigned [for forty-two years] over Israel, 2Saul chose three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent home, every man to his tent. 3Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4And all Israel heard it said that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. And the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal. 5And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, 7and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

On the coast are the cities of Philistia.
Throughout the reign of King Saul, there was an on-going battle with the Philistines. At this point in his reign, Saul is finally willing to engage with this superior army, although it was with fear and trepidation. The Philistines were mighty and fierce enemies.

While Saul appears to be standing up and acting as he should as king, that really isn’t the case. He was supposed to have dealt with Philistia years before this event. He was frightened and faithless in his dealings with this warrior nation. Now he stands on what looks like the brink of disaster and his reactions are not great.

When we face what seem like insurmountable obstacles, there is only one logical response. We face it with the Lord in the foreground. Saul did not do that. He was counting on his own resources. It seems as though I talk about this idea a great deal in these posts. I think there’s a reason for that. It’s because we are slow to trust in God and let Him handle our difficult situations. That demands a relationship with Him that is built on faith and a series of life-experiences that includes watching Him work things out for our blessing. Saul didn’t have that either. Not that he couldn’t have, but I don’t think he had that focus. Had he taken a moment to look back, I think he would have seen God’s hand all over his life. But that was a step he skipped. He’s going to count on himself in this situation and will continue that pattern throughout his reign.

I pray that you are able to look back over your life and see numerous times where God has intervened on your behalf and worked things out with His wisdom and power. It’s a wonderful thing to see and gives you opportunity to give Him thanks and recognition. It also makes a great addition to your witness. People love to hear about times when God worked as only He is able and made great things happen.

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