How did Saul go from hiding in the baggage when Samuel was pronouncing him as king...to building himself a monument after the battle with Amalek? That was the question I was asking God yesterday as I did a lot of driving.
You see, I'm teaching these stories to children on Wednesday nights. The first week, I taught about Israel asking for a king and rejecting God as their king. God gave them what they asked for and gave them Saul as king. But Saul didn't think very highly of himself. He told Samuel that he was from the least tribe of Israel and the least of his tribe. And then he hid in the baggage when Samuel had called all of Israel together to choose the next king. (Samuel & Saul already knew what the outcome would be even though Samuel was apparently drawing lots to find the next king.) When Samuel drew Saul's straw, he was nowhere to be found, so Samuel prayed and asked God where he was and God told them to look in the baggage.
I'm not sure this was meant to be a metaphor, but what a great metaphor! Saul was hiding in the baggage. And I believe his baggage was insecurity and inadequacy.
I wanted to find the reason Saul went from hiding in the baggage to raising a monument in his own honor. It appears he went from one extreme to the other--feeling like a nobody to thinking he was someone pretty important! I think I found the answer from Saul's own words in I Samuel 15:24, "I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice."
Saul feared men. He wanted to please them. He was a people-pleaser instead of a God-pleaser. Because he was an insecure man and felt inadequate (his baggage), it was easy for him to listen to the voices of other men. He needed their approval.
And in that process...he disobeyed God. And Samuel told him that rebellion was like witchcraft and stubbornness was like idolatry. Because Saul had rejected God's word and disobeyed, God rejected Saul as king.
Baggage is an easy place to hide. But when you hide behind your baggage instead of coming out into the open and dealing with it, it becomes an easy place to fear man, disobey God, rebel, and become stubborn. The end result seems to be building a monument unto yourself. Idolatry.
God desires altars where we worship Him...not monuments where we worship ourselves.