I’ve often wondered about King Saul. How could he so badly miss God’s voice? After being counted among the prophets (1 Samuel 10:11), he didn’t recognize God’s hand upon David, went against the prophet Samuel’s instructions (1 Samuel 15:3), and sought truth from the witch at Endor (1 Samuel 28:7). In his forty-year reign, he had started well. But he didn’t end up so well.
What was the crucial difference between Saul and David, a “man after God’s own heart”? Surely, David being a man guilty of murder and adultery didn’t deserve such a label. How was that possible? The apostle Paul says it was because David did what God wanted (Acts 13:22). Apparently, in God’s eyes, David had listened. Saul had not.
Paul says we are all without excuse (Romans 1:20), meaning that all have heard but all haven’t listened. If I “listen” to God, then I believe what he is saying to my heart. Will I do what he wants or what I want?
King Saul seems to have reasoned that God must be wanting what looked right to Saul. In contrast, David sought a change in his own desires so he would want whatever God wanted.
When the prophet listened to another prophet instead of God, it cost him his life (1 Kings 13:18).
I don’t know about others, but I believe this is true for me: I have my hands full in trying to do all that I already know God would have me do. God has my number and can redirect my path whenever he wants. If I ever finish all I know, then I’ll ask God why he hasn’t called.
God has shown you what is right and what he requires, to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly in obedience to him. — Micah 6:8, Frank Ball paraphrase