“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”
Samuel was an important man in the Old Testament. He was called as a young boy and lived a faithful life serving God as a judge, priest, and a prophet. However, when he was old, the people of Israel declared that they wanted a king. “And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5). Samuel was not pleased. However, he obeyed God and anointed the people a king (see 1 Samuel 8:7). His name was Saul.
Saul became the first king of Israel. God gave him what he would need to be a great king. Saul was:
- goodly, handsome, and head and shoulders taller than all (see 1 Samuel 9:2)
- given a new heart by God (see 1 Samuel 10:9),
- given the Spirit of God that would come upon him (see 1 Samuel 10:6, 10)
- given loyal friends (see 1 Samuel 11:12)
- privileged with the guidance and prayers of Samuel (see 1 Samuel 12:23)
When Saul began, he looked, acted and sounded like a great king. He led the people into a victorious battle against the enemy (see 1 Samuel 11). Yet in spite of these advantages given to him by God, he failed miserably. It was not long before Saul chose:
- to become deceitful (see 1 Samuel 13:3-4 where he took credit for Jonathan’s victory)
- to become impatience (see 1 Samuel 13:9-11 after he had been told to wait in 1 Samuel 10:8)
- to show irreverent presumption (see 1 Samuel 13:12-14)
- to become prideful (see 1 Samuel 14)
- to be disobedient to God’s Word (see 1 Samuel 15)
- to became presumptuous in his sin against God (see 1 Samuel 15:19-21), falsely proclaiming he obeyed God and blaming the people for his sin.
It was at this point in Saul’s kingdom that God rejected him as king of Israel.
What is a presumptuous sin? Sins that are committed with knowledge: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin” (John 15:22). Read the prayer in Psalms. “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (Psalm 19:13).
Saul was not disadvantaged. God had given him everything he would need to become a great king. Yet with all that he had all going for him, Saul chose to disobey God’s Word. “22. And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams. 23. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). God wanted obedience above all else. Because he disobeyed God, God rejected him as king.
Saul could have repented at that point. Instead, he only admitted that he had sinned. There was no change in his attitude or life. “24. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 25. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD” (1 Samuel 15:24-25). Notice that Saul wanted forgiveness of sin, but he did not want to turn from that sin. Repentance would have been revealed if Saul had wanted to turn from that sin. Instead, he wanted Samuel to turn with Saul. That was the opposite of what was required for forgiveness. Why wouldn’t Samuel turn with Saul? “And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:26). Samuel understood what Saul was saying. Remember what happened when Samuel would not return with Saul. “27. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 28. And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou” (1 Samuel 15:27-28). The thing that determined the removal of the kingdom from Saul and his family was when he disobeyed God and determined to continue in that choice. God would choose a man who would seek after God’s heart. A man who would obey God. Read how it is explained to us in the New Testament. “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:22).
Apart from God, Saul was just another man. When God allowed Saul to become the first king of Israel, Saul had the opportunity to be a mighty leader who followed God and led the people back into a right relationship with God. However, when Saul became proud, presumptuous, and refused to obey God’s Word, he failed disastrously. When Saul would not repent and turn back to God, he then lost the kingdom to a man who sought after God’s own heart.
Have you chosen to obey God, and not continue in presumptuous sin against God?