The Folly of a Flawed Heart

from Lynda Lindsey

Samuel to Saul: You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which He commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you. I Samuel 13:13-14

And the men of Israel had been hard pressed that day, so Saul had laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people had tasted food. I Samuel 14:24

And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.”  I Samuel 14:44

Folly. Lack of good sense. Foolish. Rash. Impetuous. Speaking and acting before we plan or think.  Proceeding carelessly before we consider the consequence or outcome of our actions. Surely not desirable characteristics for an effective leader, yet Saul, flawed as he was, was God’s choice as Israel’s first king. Saul, equipped by the Holy Spirit, had both the authority and ability to reign over and deliver the Israelites, except Saul’s heart had a fatal flaw. Saul’s heart was not sincerely pursuing hard after the heart of God; Saul’s heart was not submissive to God’s reign and rule. 

God chooses to work through people with flawed hearts, people with foibles and shortcomings, to accomplish His purpose, with one caveat. Our heart must be attuned to God’s leading, be obedient to God’s direction, and be submissive to God’s guidance. We can’t make up our own rules, go our own way and succeed spiritually. God, an ever gracious parent, knows our heart. God allows for our mistakes, forgives us when we repent, and grants us fresh starts; but if we refuse God at our inner core, we miss out on kingdom life and service. 

God’s king was to love and obey God and to teach the nation to love and obey God, and in this Saul failed. Saul was self-centered, independent, rebellious, and impatient. He made excuses for offering unlawful sacrifices, made rash vows heading into battle, and was willing to kill his son Jonathan for breaking a vow Jonathan knew nothing about. Saul’s folly? His continual unwillingness to submit his heart to God’s reign and rule; his continual failure to run hard after God’s heart. It cost Saul the kingdom. The question isn’t if our heart is flawed, but is our heart submitted to God’s reign and rule?