“And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.”
1 Samuel 14:18-19
Saul, the first king of Israel, is well known to students of the Scriptures. He was given great honor, incredible responsibility, and every advantage. He started out very well at the beginning of his reign, but soon after began to drift from the Lord. His drifting was incremental but steady. Tragically, the man died depraved and demonized, having left a swath of destruction and tragedy in his wake. God had these sobering accounts written for our learning (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11), and Saul’s lamentable performance was recorded so that we might not repeat the same kinds of errors. Our loving God would spare us the same kinds of disasters. In 1 Samuel the fourteenth chapter, we read how Saul and his army saw from a distance the Philistines locked in battle with an unknown enemy. As today’s verse passage indicates, Saul wisely called for the priest to inquire of the Lord before the Ark of the Covenant. Suddenly, however, Saul heard the noise from the Philistines and concluded that their army had been routed. He reasoned that he ought to seize the advantage and attack these enemies of Israel. Instantly Saul commanded the priest to withdraw his hand (1 Samuel 14:19). In other words, Saul had instructed the priest to cease moving the ark into position, or to stop raising his hands in prayer to God. Convinced that his own perceptions and reasoning was sufficient, he not only saw no need to consult God, it was in his estimation a waste of time to do so. This deadly error came early in Saul’s downward slide away from God. It was in fact one of the first dominoes to fall. Once the Christian begins to operate in autonomy, that is, without any reference to God or guidance from Him, it is only a matter of time before he wanders into personal disaster. The Bible is replete with instructions to pray often and to include God in literally every thing we do (Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 34:10). The LORD Himself has promised, “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:3-6). Let us continually look to God for wisdom and instruction, refusing to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), fully trusting God that He will be our guide and our protection.
May God bless, encourage, and keep you today dear saints,