1 Samuel 13* The invasion of the Philistines. (1-7) Saul sacrifices, He isreproved by Samuel. (8-14) The policy of the Philistines.(15-23)1-7 Saul reigned one year, and nothing particular happened; butin his second year the events recorded in this chapter tookplace. For above a year he gave the Philistine time to preparefor war, and to weaken and to disarm the Israelites. When menare lifted up in self-sufficiency, they are often led intofolly. The chief advantages of the enemies of the church arederived from the misconduct of its professed friends. When Saulat length sounded an alarm, the people, dissatisfied with hismanagement, or terrified by the power of the enemy, did not cometo him, or speedily deserted him. 8-14 Saul broke the order expressly given by Samuel, see ch.#1Sa 10:8|, as to what should be done in cases of extremity.Saul offered sacrifice without Samuel, and did it himself,though he was neither priest nor prophet. When charged withdisobedience, he justified himself in what he had done, and gaveno sign of repentance for it. He would have this act ofdisobedience pass for an instance of his prudence, and as aproof of his piety. Men destitute of inward piety, often laygreat stress on the outward performances of religion. Samuelcharges Saul with being an enemy to himself. Those that disobeythe commandments of God, do foolishly for themselves. Sin isfolly, and the greatest sinners are the greatest fools. Ourdisposition to obey or disobey God, will often be proved by ourbehaviour in things which appear small. Men see nothing butSaul's outward act, which seems small; but God saw that he didthis with unbelief and distrust of his providence, with contemptof his authority and justice, and with rebellion against thelight of his own conscience. Blessed Saviour, may we never, likeSaul, bring our poor offerings, or fancied peace-offerings,without looking to thy precious, thy all-sufficient sacrifice!Thou only, O Lord, canst make, or hast made, our peace in theblood of the cross. 15-23 See how politic the Philistines were when they had power;they not only prevented the people of Israel from making weaponsof war, but obliged them to depend upon their enemies, even forinstruments of husbandry. How impolitic Saul was, who did not,in the beginning of his reign, set himself to redress this. Wantof true sense always accompanies want of grace. Sins whichappear to us very little, have dangerous consequences. Miserableis a guilty, defenceless nation; much more those who aredestitute of the whole armour of God.
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