“To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and presumption is like the evil of idolatry.” (15:22-23)
Say what is just as evil as idolatry?! Arrogantly presuming to know what would actually make God happy regardless of what He commanded. (Uh, whoops, I do that). Israel’s King was supposed to write himself his own copy of the law and study it every day. Humility and obedience is the name of that game.
What are some other red flags? He set up a monument to honor himself (v.12), and this nice little sentence he used to defend himself: “I was afraid of the men so I gave in to them” (v. 24). In contrast, you’ll soon notice when David is king he often flies in the face of popular opinion and does something culturally outrageous, since he fears the Lord more than he fears people.
It can be really easy to skip over Saul to get to David, but he is (unfortunately) super relateable, well meaning, insecure and a way more familiar leader. We’re about to get to David, but keep a close eye on Saul. We still have a lot we can learn from him. Tell us what else you notice.
The first contrast I see, is Samuel assuming the oldest, tallest brother would obviously be the king. Why would he assume that? Maybe because Saul was the tallest, most attractive guy around when he became king, so those are the prerequisites, right? Nope, not anymore! The Lord is looking for a good heart this time.