Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. "What have you done?" asked Samuel.
Saul replied, "When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."
"You acted foolishly," Samuel said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." 1 Samuel 13:10-14
"Rut Roh!" That will probably be the only reference I ever make to the cartoon character Scooby Doo but it certainly fit here. You can almost hear Saul gulp when he realizes that Samuel is nearby. No kind of explaining away would work. Saul had erred and tried to cover over it.
"You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command."
Seems like a very harsh punishment, doesn't it? It was Saul's first real test as King of Israel and he failed miserably. Again, as in a previous devotion, we don't know the extent of the agreement between Saul, Samuel and the Lord, but Saul didn't really put up a fight so he knew he was in the wrong. How would you like to continue on as King after that kind of rebuke, and from a man that Saul had to have respected greatly.
Throughout this series on the Kings of the Old Testament I will again ask you to pray for your leaders. Pray for the judges who must make wise choices and discern many difficult cases. If you're in the U.S. pray for the Supreme Court Justices by name: John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, David Souter, John Paul Stevens,
Clarence Thomas. Pray that God would guide them as only He can.