King Saul and Worry

As this week’s follow-up to the recent sermon, let’s consider how King Saul is a negative example of what Jesus describes in Matthew 6:25-34.

King Saul was certainly a man filled with worry. Saul became anxious about approaching Philistine hordes when his own army was scattering (1 Samuel 13:8, 11); Saul worried about his people’s displeasure if they had animal spoils taken away (1 Samuel 15:15, 24); and Saul, after hearing the people praise David for leading them in victory, feared David as a critical threat to Saul’s rule (1 Samuel 18:6-9).

And what did Saul’s worry lead Saul to do? Saul turned from following Yahweh to secure himself according to human wisdom. Saul sacrificed to God against Samuel’s instructions (1 Samuel 13:8-12), gave in to the people’s demands to keep the Amalekite animals that were supposed to be destroyed (1 Samuel 15:9-15), and became angry with David and unjustly tried to kill David many times (1 Samuel 18:8-9, 11, 17, 21, 25; 19:1; 20:30-34).

Why did Saul worry and then act so foolishly and wickedly? Saul was idolizing his kingdom rule, the people’s support, and human strength. Saul supposed that, if he could just keep these three treasures, he would be happy and secure. Sadly, however, by looking ultimately to these earthly helps instead of God, Saul lost God, the kingdom, and all true happiness and security. If only Saul had sought God’s kingdom and righteousness first, God would have given Saul the lesser treasures (Matthew 6:33)!

1 Samuel 13:13-14a, Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure.” (NASB)

For more on Saul and David, check out the recent Sunday school lessons.

Questions to Consider:
1. How has worry caused you to act in your life or affected your relationships?
2. What earthly treasures do you need to be willing to give up in order to be free from worry?
3. How does David contrast Saul as a positive example when it comes to worry and seeking God?