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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Success

can lead to disaster.

1 Samuel 13:1–7

Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent.

And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” Now all Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel had also become an abomination to the Philistines. And the people were called together to Saul at Gilgal.

Then the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. And they came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth Aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

All of a sudden, Saul thinks that he’s Alexander the Great or something, and he starts another conflict with the Philistines. That isn’t necessarily wrong, but notice that there’s no mention of him seeking the LORD’s will in this.

So, not surprisingly, things don’t go very well. The Philistines amass an enormous army, and the Hebrews fear being overwhelmed in battle.

Saul’s arrogance will be his undoing. Saul’s victory over the Ammonites has gone to his head. With the LORD’s help, he won a battle of necessity.

Now he’s picking fights.


Sometimes success is the worst thing that can happen to someone.

One of the great ironies of life in Christ is the importance of trials and even failures. Ego is the enemy of sanctification, and our sinful nature can convert any good thing into pride.

According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God State of mind.”  — C.S. Lewis

Failure doesn’t exterminate pride, but it helps. Even being depressed over a failure doesn’t exterminate pride. Good Biblical doctrine doesn’t exterminate pride, but it helps too (and it helps with the depression).

We’re all like Saul. Pride is a lifelong enemy. Never stop fighting it.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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