1 Samuel 14:19: “And it came to pass, while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand”; or, STOP, don’t inquire of the Lord! I see what I need to do, I don’t need to pray, I don’t need the LORD’S counsel or wisdom or strength! I don’t need the LORD for this…..
Do you ever get tempted to NOT PRAY, or, to CEASE from PRAYING, thinking to yourself….I know what to do…..or, this situation demands my immediate attention; yes, even to the point of not praying and asking my God and Heavenly Father for wisdom, direction, and grace. In the passage before us in 1 Samuel 14, Saul and Israel did indeed chase after and slay the Philistines that day, and with success and with a great slaughter.
“So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven”
All seems to have worked out fine; prayer was unnecessary. WHY? Because the Philistines fled from Saul’s army. But as we look deeper into Saul’s “Prayerless Victory” there were consequences to Saul’s hasting from the place of prayer to rush into the battle. After a long day of battle and chasing the Philistines all over the countryside, Israel’s soldiers were hungry, weakened, and distressed, for Saul pronounced a curse on any soldier that might refresh and revive himself with a little morsel of food along the way. Why would Saul do such a thing? Why do we say and do foolish things in our everyday lives; because we so often say and do things prayerlessly and without asking our Heavenly Father!
But as we read further, God blessed Israel’s Army in spite of the fact that Saul withdrew from prayer by leading them (between battles) through a forest full of dripping honey. God wonderfully provided for Israel’s soldiers to strengthen them! But this blessing from God was denied to Israel by Saul their king in his insistence upon keeping his self-inflicted curse that none should eat that day.
“Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies”
So this victory wasn’t for God and for His glory, it was for Saul and for his glory, (and that Saul might be avenged). This was Saul’s SELFISH victory, hence, no prayer needed. And now Saul had his reward and his victory, but what accompanied his selfish victory was the vexing of his own army; in his prayerlessness and pride he caused the Army of Israel to sin against God when they were finally freed from Saul’s curse and able to satisfy their hunger. Note, after the final battle, 1 Samuel 14:31-32:
"And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood”
Beloved when we cast aside the need for prayer and inquiring after God for wisdom, direction, grace, and strength, the main reason is because we aren’t doing things in our lives to bring honor and glory to God, we are doing what we’re doing in our lives for us.
“Be careful for nothing; but EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”
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