When anger grows to bitterness
Saul ...demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:8-14
From our text, Saul took in his hand what he was commanded not to do. It was the role of the prophet Samuel to offer burnt sacrifice. This is what Samuel told Saul to do. He has to wait for him because he was the one responsible for the burnt offering. “Then go down to Gilgal ahead of me. I will join you there to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. You must wait for seven days until I arrive and give you further instructions” (1 Samuel 10:8). Yet, Saul filled with fear and pride took matters in his hand. He wielded his power by ignoring the command (see Leviticus 1:9, 13). When Samuel arrived and realized what Saul did, he pronounced the consequence of Saul’s actions. God had to act on the disobedience of Saul. He appointed a replacement for Saul and that his rulership will not last, thus his kingdom would not endure. Saul not willing to accept God’s rebuke, begrudged God. This was not the first time he violated God’s command. Then when he was asked to admit his disobedience, once again he lied to Samuel. Instead of recognizing his disobedience and turn to God for repentance, the more he became bitter towards God. He was enraged to the point that he no longer wanted to hear from God. Bitterness should not have any place in the heart of those that claim they believe in God. Before our anger build up to uncontrollable bitterness, we have to address it immediately. Do not allow your disappointments toward someone’s action crowd your hearts and minds. Instead immediately choose to come to God and bring to Him your anger. Lay them down at God’s throne of grace and do not let them to continue to linger in your heart and in your mind. Seek His grace so He would enable you to let go of all your bitterness. Your physical and spiritual health depends on your ability to surrender everything to God.
Noel De Guzman