The Lord arranged for Samuel and Saul to meet. Samuel knew he was looking at Israel’s future king.
In the early days Saul wore the crown well. Israel was energized by the newness of their perceived position of strength. Little by little, Saul accomplished more and more, establishing himself as an effective and reliable leader.
Saul had been given so much, but he made the grave mistake of thinking that what he possessed had come to him by his own hand.
But he didn’t recognize that he treated the God of his fathers like any other god. When he saw his troops arrayed before him, he counted them up and doubted that they would be able to defeat the Philistines as if the outcome of this battle hinged on the size of his army. He believed he needed his God’s blessings of theirs, so he brought an offering, hoping to rally the Lord behind him, just as the Philistines had done with their gods.
Saul presumed that since he was the king, he could also do the work of a priest, even though the prophet had forbidden it. This wasn’t just a mistake. It was an offense to a holy God who swore that he wouldn’t give his glory to another [Isa 48:11]. Saul was not God’s peer, nor was he made righteous by his crown. The priests were consecrated to act as mediators between a holy God and sinful humanity…Their work among the people was holy, bloody, and humbling.
With this sacrifice, Saul rejected the Lord. And when he did it, the Lord rejected him as king.
Samuel grieved over Saul…And the Lord reminded him of a truth that led to Saul’s downfall but would restore Samuel’s confidence. “Do not look for the strongest or most attractive. I do not see as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but I look on the heart.” [1Sam 16:7]