One of the easiest things do to is criticize the Church. There is a common saying, “If the church was perfect, it would no longer be when we joined it.” I think there are two churches, the temporal physical church represented by buildings, cathedrals and organizations of men, and the Congregation of Believers in whom the eternal Holy Spirit resides, a building not made with hands. (1 Peter 2: 5). The congregation of Believers is pleasing to God and submitted to Yeshua’s leading through the Holy Spirit. The temporal church is fraught with so much worldly influence and human contrivance that it ranges in degrees from waywardness to open opposition against Yeshua. I don’t have time to catalog these respective failings, though it might be interesting. It would be no less applicable to every human individually, as we are broken.
The scripture gives us plenty of examples to avoid the pitfalls, and distinguish the Spirit led Congregation from the religious organizations of men. (Rom.15: 4). Beginning with Cain men took matters into their own hands, even in their efforts to follow God. The enemy is a snare, but the fallen nature of man is a root of evil. Yeshua said, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15: 18-19).
A comparison of Saul with David, provides a clear illustration of following ones own best judgment and reasoning versus waiting on God for His ways, means, and purposes. Though they both had their failings Saul never had a heart for God. Saul took matters in his own hands when Samuel was late in arriving and later when he decided to keep the best livestock. (1 Samuel 13: 8-15; 15: 9-26). David refused to kill Saul in self defense even though presented with three easy opportunities. He took courage in the Lord and recovered the pillaged town of Ziklag. Though he made serious mistakes, he repented and maintained a humble abasement and adoration of God. (1 Samuel 24: 3-15; 26: 8-15; 30: 1-6). We should consider whether we are truly in submission to what God wants or are pursuing our own path and desiring God’s blessing of our way. This was Saul’s motivation, he preferred his rationalization over God’s will.
Things did not work out well for Saul, but God kept His promise to Israel. Israel had to wander in the wilderness for forty years as a result of unbelief and rebellion to God’s instruction, but He fulfilled His promise. The church has endured division and a spiritual desert under the quidance of men, but God is faithful to bring salvation to the hurting, outcast and needy through the power and message of Yeshua, Messiah. God will fulfill every promise in spite of the failings of men and establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, just as Yeshua taught us to pray.