So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
1 Samuel 15:22–23
Saul’s life, or at least his official history, began well and gave promise of a most successful and brilliant career, but it ended in bitter disappointment. He has been rightly called “The man after the flesh.” As such, he possessed many admirable traits and at the start he seemed to be an ideal king. But his goodness was like the morning cloud that soon passes away. It was only the attractiveness of nature. We would like to believe that when “God gave him another heart” (1 Samuel 10:9), it means he was born again. But it seems rather to imply that he was given a new outlook on life, with new courage and new ambitions to fit him for the high office to which he was appointed. Apparently he never knew God in the true sense, as Samuel did before him, and as David did, who succeeded him. His life should be a solemn warning to those who would make a fair show in the flesh, emphasizing the importance of true repentance and genuine faith.
Be this the purpose of my soul,
My solemn, my determined choice,
To yield to Thy supreme control,
And in Thy kind commands rejoice.
Oh, may I never faint or tire,
Nor wandering leave Thy holy ways;
Father, accept my souls desire,
And give me strength to live Thy praise.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 51.