Monday, April 22, 2013

The Saul Syndrome; People Pleasing

Every time I read the story of Saul, I see the same thing; the very thing that drove him to losing his Kingdom. But worst of all is the fact that it is too easy to relate with what he went through, for me that just sucks! People pleasing seemed to be Saul's weakness and when such mindset is left uncontrolled we loose ourselves in the process, fall into sin and most of the time justify it. Here are three instances in which we see Saul express this;

#1. Saul sets up the burnt offering: "Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. .... 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.” 1 Samuel 13: 8-12

#2. Saul brings back plunder he wasn't supposed to: "He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them..... And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” ... Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded." 1 Samuel 15: 7-24 

#3. Saul asks Samuel to come with him: "But Samuel replied, “I will not go back with you! Since you have rejected the Lord’s command, he has rejected you as king of Israel.”... Then Saul pleaded again, “I know I have sinned. But please, at least honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel by coming back with me so that I may worship the Lord your God.”" 1 Samuel 15:26-30

Ever heard of the saying "You can't please everyone"? Or how about "If you don't stand for anything you would fall for anything"? These two quotes should remind us that living life or making decisions to "please" others can only lead to frustration and a life of no values. Such a lifestyle rids us of the ability to make sound decisions since they would always be changing depending on the people around us. Pleasing people is not always a sign of love as some may justify it to be. We can tell clearly that Saul did not make these decisions because he so loved his army and the people of his kingdom. He did this for his own selfish reasons; to keep himself as King, to honor himself.

As Christians our decisions and choices should be based on pleasing God and God alone. That is who we should make our standard, not Man. Man doesn't get us to heaven, Man won't save us, so why put in all your effort to please man when at the end of the day the futility in that is inevitable?

Though it might not be so easy with all the pressure from people we face, keeping this is mind and walking in the grace of God makes it bearable and "not so bad" after all. Grace is always there to help us do things normally our flesh refuses to do. So knowing this and tapping into his grace is a revelation needed to do God's will and not be stressed about it. That's the beauty of his Will and Grace!

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Stay blessed
Preserve your Saltiness

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