Charles Stanley (August-04-2021) Daily Devotional: The Danger of Spiritual Erosion
1 Samuel 10:17-25 – 17 Thereafter Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah; 18 and he said to the sons of Israel, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, `I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have said, `No, but set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans.” 20 Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the Matrite family was taken. And Saul the son of Kish was taken; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired further of the LORD, Has the man come here yet?” So the LORD said, Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.” 23 So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, Long live the king!” 25 Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house.
When the Israelites demanded a royal leader just like all the other nations, God gave them King Saul. He was exactly what the nation wanted—an impressive man who stood head and shoulders above the rest. Saul probably started out with good intentions, but before long he veered off course, and his character began to erode because of his disobedience to God.
Saul’s downhill slide began with rationalizing and excusing his rebellious actions (1 Sam. 13:6-14). Then he picked which parts of God’s commands to obey and which to neglect (1 Sam. 15:10-23). He claimed he’d obeyed fully, but after being confronted, he shifted the blame to his army. Eventually he became consumed with jealousy, rage, and fear, which led to many foolish decisions. Saul’s life stands as an example of what happens when sin creeps in and begins the destructive process of corruption.
Spiritual erosion is dangerous because it occurs so slowly that we’re often unaware anything is happening inside us. Don’t wait until nearing the end of your earthly existence before looking for evidence of erosion. Check your heart regularly to be sure your soul is clean from the nagging, destructive presence of sin.