Our “hero” surveyed the landscape.
The enemy had the upper hand. His own troops quaked with fear. Many had deserted their posts.
The consequences were dire. Our hero’s once great nation was at war, and they were losing ground. The people’s future depended on the very choices he alone made today.
Should they lose this battle, his nation faced extinction by a Pagan enemy whose culture was bent on destroying his people’s very identity as a chosen nation of the one true God.
The time for waiting patiently had passed. Something needed to be done NOW!
Thus, with no other choice, Saul did the one thing he could do — offer burnt offerings to God.
But what was meant as an attempt to gain God’s favor in the midst of desperation was soon met with the greatest of rebukes by Saul’s spiritual advisor.
“What have you done?!” exclaimed the prophet Samual. “You have done a foolish thing. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you!”
The consequences of King Saul’s one single choice on that one single day were quite severe — his kingdom would not endure (1 Sam 13).
What appeared on the outside to be a faithful act of Saul turned out ultimately to be…faithless.
Before continuing, let me be upfront by saying I am no less guilty of committing faithless acts. Scientists estimate that the average human makes about 35,000 choices per day, and I am quite certain that a large percentage of my 35,000 choices are committed out of faithlessness rather than faithfulness.
I am also quite certain I have been faithless at times when entering the voting booth or throwing my weight behind a political opinion. What I may have thought in the past were acts of faith, upon further reflection, turned out actually to be faithless.
But how does one determine what is “faithful” and what is “faithless?”
The Bible is full of stories of humankind committing both faithful and faithless acts, along with the consequences that follow. An examination of all of these stories reveals the following themes that are repeated throughout: Continue reading