A question of authority – 1 Sam 13:5-18

Text: 1 Sam 13:5-18

Being king is a big job. Saul just never seemed up to the task. His dad, a wealthy land owner, had tasked him with the donkeys and apparently wasn’t too concerned if he went missing for quite a few days. At his corronation they have to dig him out from hidding amongst the baggage (1 Sam 10:22-23). Right after the corronation people are already uncertain (1 Sam 10:27). The kingdom must be renewed shortly after the first battle (1 Sam 11:14). The prophet Samuel tells Israel – you made a mistake, but now you are stuck with it (1 Sam 12:19). And in the first real military test the Israelites are running (1 Same 13:6-7). Poor Saul had been told to wait for Samuel (the adult guidance?) for the pre-battle offerings, but Samuel took his time and Saul for once takes charge. What is the response? Not your responsibility – that will be the end of your kingdom (1 Sam 13:13-14). Saul never really seemed to understand his role. He ran and hid when courage was required, and he usurped the authority when it wasn’t his.

Are we not often like that? I think the phrase is “the grass is always greener on the other side”. We are given vocations and the living out of those vocations (job, family roles, church roles, political positions, etc.) is a call to justice and truth, a call to recognize and act on the correct and appropriate authority. Instead, we too often seek to run from those roles because they are hard. They require us sometimes to wait on God. They require us to act outside of our comfort and have faith that God works in our weakness. Jesus is our great example of living out his vocation. Jesus was the messiah, the son of God. Part of that vocation was the suffering servant – being perfectly obeidient to the Father’s will. Jesus lived out his vocation all the way through the cross. Because of that – uniquely – Jesus deserves and has been given all authority. We can’t do that, but Jesus did it for us. That cross covers our errors.

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