If it were possible, Saul would have done well to reflect on the Psalms of his successor David. One line in particular stands out as a great caution against Saul’s behaviors: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Saul just could not be patient.
We first encounter Saul’s impatience in his disobedient sacrifices following Samuel’s delay (1 Samuel 13:8-14). In response God tells Saul that he loses out on an incredible reward, the opportunity to have his kingdom established forever, because he could not wait a few hours. Later Saul makes a rash curse against anyone who eats, followed by a rash vow to kill whomever has caused God’s silence on directing ongoing warfare with the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:39). Without knowledge of his father’s curse, Saul’s son Jonathan ate some honey, and thus is responsible for God’s refusal to answer. When Saul discovers this, his impatience causes him to nearly take his own son’s life. This sad situation should remind the reader of Jephthah, the judge who vowed to kill the first thing that greeted him upon returning to battle, only to sacrifice his daughter. Thankfully in this situation, through the wise warriors with Saul, God spares Jonathan the grave punishment of his father’s impatience and self-will. How many troubles do we meet when we are in a hurry to do something instead of being eager to wait on the Lord?